Tag Archives: financial planning

How to Pay Off Student Loans

Taking out student loans is a fairly common practice. Many young people do this for the sake of investing in their education or otherwise being able to attend college or university. Initially, being able to take out student loans and attend college may seem like a dream come true. However, this dream can quickly turn into a nightmare when young people are not only billed for the money they borrowed, but also the subsequent interest fees which come along with it.

Virtually everyone has heard of the countless horror stories of young people who spend decades or even lifetimes attempting to pay back their student loans. Thankfully, there are some helpful tips for those who wish to pay off their student loans in a reasonable time period and enjoy the upsides of being debt-free and financially well-off.

Look Into Certain Occupations

Student Loan Hero explains that there are various occupations which offer certain mandates in exchange for forgiveness of borrowed funds. Usually, jobs of this nature fall into the category of teaching or providing some other type of public service. However, taking advantage of such an opportunity requires more than simply applying for the job and being accepted. In most cases, these type of occupations also require work terms in addition to various mandates.

Finally, if an individual is ineligible or otherwise barred from receiving student loan forgiveness, they will have likely incurred additional interest fees during the time they spent towards acquiring forgiveness. For this reason, students should always look into whether or not they are eligible for this opportunity prior to pursuing it.

Make Certain Lifestyle Changes…at Least Temporarily

Rarely does anyone enjoy changing their lifestyle for the sake of having to pay back previously borrowed funds. However, the reality is that student loans must be returned, one way or another. Hence, Nerd Wallet advises young people to look for various ways to reduce their expenses and put the extra money towards paying off their student loans.

This doesn’t mean that individuals who owe student loans can never go to the movies or dine out; however, they would do well to perhaps engage in these activities less frequently or find similar ways to decrease what they owe to the government. This is can be done by either decreasing expenses or increasing income. Ideally, if both changes are successfully implemented, young people will be able to pay off their student loans at a much faster rate and save thousands of dollars, if not more.

A Final Word

The amount of young people who owe student loans is increasing each and every day. For this reason, more and more individuals are questioning whether or not college is truly worth it. Nevertheless, those who have already incurred loans will have to pay them off, one way or another. Many young people make the mistakes of either delaying payments or only paying the minimum amounts. This is not conducive to financial or economic success.

Finally, individuals who believe they can cheat the government out of getting returns on borrowed funds should tread very carefully. People who play this game never really win; the government almost always get their money back — on top of the sky-high interest fees.

 

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal

How to Financially Prepare to Leave Your Parents’ Home

As the cost of living becomes more and more expensive, many young adults are living at home with their parents or other relatives. However, many people reach a point and time where they wish to live on their own. This is quite understandable and to be expected; however, leaving home and venturing out into the real world requires serious, calculated preparation. This is not something which should be done carelessly or on a whim.

Anyone who is thinking about leaving their parents’ homes will benefit from the following pieces of advice. Not only do they provide insight regarding this particular situation, but the forthcoming tools can also be applied to achieving general, economic success.

Know the Cost of Living

In general, the cost of living greatly varies according to one’s geographical location. Bearing that in mind, young people who wish to leave their parents’ homes should first know how much it will cost them to live on their own, explains Money Crashers.

This means doing research and looking into not only the costs of rent, but also utilities, groceries, transportation, and miscellaneous fees. Many young people may be shocked to learn that independently supporting themselves is more costly than they thought.

Have A Decent Amount of Funds in Savings

Even in the best of situations, unexpected events have a way of popping up. This is why The Balance advises young people to have extra funds put aside in case of emergencies. Car accidents, damage to valuables, and other unforeseen occurrences happen each day and preparation is paramount. Having a few thousand dollars put aside in cases of emergencies is a good idea and will likely pay off sooner or later.

Try to Minimize Use of Credit

One of the biggest financial mistakes people make is overusing credit cards. They continuously swipe their cards and are then unable to pay the bill when it comes due. This leads to subsequent interest charges which quickly pile up on top of the original debt. Before you know it, interest outweighs income and people sink further and further into financial hardship. For this reason, Mint urges young people to minimize their use of credit and reserve credit cards for only emergencies.

Of course, doing this requires a degree of discipline and stable, regular income, but reducing one’s use of credit is much better than the alternative.

A Final Word

In many regards, moving out of your parents’ home and becoming financially independent is a rite of passage. The majority of society also views this milestone as the true beginning of adulthood. By knowing one’s living costs, saving money, and using credit as infrequently as possible, young people will more than likely do well for themselves as they venture into the world of adulthood and independent living.

 

Authored by Gabrielle Renee Seunagal

Financial Advice for Married People

While many people are often given advice on how to manage their sole finances, the game somewhat changes after marriage. This change is not bad, but simply a reality of life. Therefore, learning how to manage, protect, and grow funds with one’s spouse can be invaluable. Every marriage is different and no two couples are exactly alike; nevertheless, the awareness and application of the forthcoming advice will certainly engender fruitful and properly managed finances.

Handle Money Both Separately and Together

When two people are married, the most common questions regarding money often pertain to bank accounts in one way or another. Chances are that both individuals maintained their own personal checkings and savings accounts prior to the marriage. After getting married, couples often wonder whether or not they should create a joint account or continue working with their current personal accounts. The correct and proper decision just so happens to be all of the above.

Marriage is a partnership. However, within said partnership, it is still important for both parties to feel as though they have an identity outside of one another. The Balance affirms that married couples should have a joint, shared account and then their own personal accounts. More often than not, the joint account can be used for expenses which both individuals in the marriage will incur. Examples of the previously mentioned expenses include (but are not limited to) rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, etc. The personal accounts which both spouses had outside of their marriage can now be used for individual expenses, such as going to the movies, dining out, shopping, etc.

Ensure that Both Parties are on the Same Page

Arguments over money are some of the leading causes of divorce and failures within marriages. In many instances, this problem can be counteracted prior to its inception; this happens via communication and ensuring that both spouses are on the same page regarding financial matters. Discussing financial goals, investments, accounts, and potential forthcoming purchases is extremely important in a marriage. Both parties should be absolutely clear on where money is going, how much money is leaving accounts, and how much money is coming in.

Moreover, both spouses should be comfortable with money and the associated feelings. Different individuals have different perceptions regarding monetary capital. Therefore, seeking out the services of a financial advisor may be a good idea if spouses are unable to come to similar terms regarding money, its management, or other associated issues.

Steer Clear of Debt

Maintaining joint and separate accounts whilst being on the same page regarding finances is all well and good. However, the benefits of the foregoing advice can quickly be counteracted if spouses fail to steer clear of debt. As the ultimate foe of financial prosperity, debt can wreak serious havoc on bank accounts and marriages.

This is why both spouses have the obligation to live within their means and be honest with one another and themselves. Sometimes, putting aside money and then paying for something in cash is a lot wiser than charging it to credit and then being unable to foot the bill when it comes due.

 

Authored by Gabrielle Renee Seunagal

How to Financially Prepare for Maternity Leave

Pregnancy is often a very exciting time in the lives of soon-to-be-mothers. However, like all things, a degree of preparation is always in order and appropriate. While some employers and places of business do grant their workers paid maternity leave at the appropriate time, this is not the case with all institutions. Therefore, if a woman’s company does not pay for her maternity leave, she will inevitably have to do some financial planning of her own. Thankfully, there are a series of well thought out steps that expecting mothers can take to ensure that all goes well during their leave from work.

Start A New, Separate, Savings Account

Although having a new baby can be very exciting, it can also be very expensive. The added costs of childcare combined with the reduction in income can serve as a major blow without the proper funds. According to U.S. News, one of the best ways to financially prepare for maternity leave is by putting aside extra money into a savings account. Ideally, this should occur prior to the time in which the woman takes off for maternity leave. Starting months in advance or even as soon as the pregnancy has been discovered can be very helpful in the long run. Baby-related expenses add up extremely quickly. Preparation is absolutely imperative.

Try to Build A Strong, Support System

Having and caring for a baby within the first few days and weeks can be an amazing experience, but also very overwhelming at times. Having the support of a spouse, in-laws, or other relatives can make all the difference in the world. It can also cut back on childcare expenses which would likely follow after the new mother returns to work.

Financial reasons aside, a strong, reliable support system always makes a difference in the lives of new parents. Raising children is a journey and as the old saying goes, it takes a village.

Put Together A Budget

Prior to maternity leave, putting together a strategic and reasonable budget is going to be very important for soon-to-be-mothers. Not only does this allow the review of income, expenses, and other matters, but it also allows women to track patterns and specifically understand how their baby will impact them financially. Of course, there is no set number and many variables which will impact the budget which needs to be set.

Some women decide to meet with financial advisors as they work to put together the right budget for themselves and their families. However, this is optional; with or without a budget, moms-to-be can still take the right steps, thus ensuring a smooth and stress-free maternity leave.

A Final Word

Regardless of how much planning takes place, maternity leave is likely to present its own unique and likely unforeseen occurrences. However, with the right financial planning and a strong support system of loved ones, any potential challenges which may arise can be easily handled and dealt with. Finally, talking to other women who have experienced pregnancy and maternity leave can also make a tremendous difference.

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal

How to Financially Prepare for a Divorce

Divorce is a difficult and tragic time in the life of any couple. However, there are times when things happen, irreconcilable differences occur, and the only best recall is divorce. When divorce is the best option, it is very important to follow through on it. Divorces are generally regarded as stressful and draining, although, these pains can be minimized to a certain extent. The proper and thorough financial planning is both necessary and can save a lot of drama, misunderstandings, and confusion. Preparation can also come in handy in the event that one’s spouse proves to be greedy, dishonest, or otherwise disingenuous.

Collect All Documentation Relating to Financial Affairs

Gathering all financial-related documents in very important when preparing for a divorce, according to Nerd Wallet. After all, financial preparation is incredibly challenging, if not impossible, without having full knowledge of one’s financial state and monetary contributions which have occurred throughout the marriage. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative to collect and review documentation such as statements for investments, checking, and savings accounts, income taxes, pay stubs, credit card statements, etc. Having the aforementioned records can prove to be quite useful, especially if uncertainties or untrue allegations about money arises. Collecting documentation is one of the very first steps regarding financial preparation for a divorce.

Save and Accumulate Funds

Divorce is an inherently expensive and costly endeavor. Therefore, saving and putting aside money is absolutely imperative. There are countless fees, costs, and unexpected occurrences which are almost guaranteed to pop up in the midst of a divorce. This is why so many people save money and put aside funds so that they are not caught off guard by something unexpected. Protected furthermore states that consistently stashing aside money over time can significantly ease the burden of paying attorney fees. No matter what, saving funds is always a paramount aspect of financially preparing for a divorce.

Try to Work with Your Soon-to-Be Ex-Spouse

Although this may seem ironic and counterintuitive in the midst of a divorce, working with one’s soon-to-be-ex can make a phenomenal difference and save both parties unbelievable amounts of headaches and money. An amicable or cordial divorce can mean the difference between proceedings which take a few weeks or several months. Unfortunately, working with the other party is not always an option. Some spouses can be incredibly difficult or vindictive, especially depending upon what happened in the marriage and how events played out. Nevertheless, working together is always worth a shot.

A Final Word

Financial planning for any divorce is always the best course of action. However, there are many expenses and fees which are simply unavoidable. Divorce creates a difficult and often stressful environment, regardless of how prepared one or both parties may be. Sometimes, the very best forms of preparation simply involve having an awareness of all financial aspects and putting money aside to be able to effectively cover any associated monetary costs.

Consulting a financial adviser can also come in handy when planning for divorce.

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal