So here are my top 10 tips to get rid of student loan debt so you can get on to other important things in life (like traveling, inventing, and jamming).
1. Make friends (or at least amends) with your debt.
Student loan debt is currently hitting the US in a huge way (as in over a trillion owed). Being part of such an enormous sum can be weirdly uniting and comforting. It’s terrible, but it also means that you aren’t alone. But while it’s nice to share a certain camaraderie over your debt, it’s easy to spend more energy on feeling defeated than on actually paying it off. That’s why it’s essential to focus on your personal numbers and come to terms with what that means for you. Engage with your student loan debt, make peace with the fact that it’s a part of your life. That means opening bill statements and doing research that allows you to truly understand your options and how to pay off your debt even more quickly.
2. Understand the terms of your repayment plan.
Next up? Understanding what the heck is going on with your student loan debt repayment. I was (rightly) intrigued by all the federal loan repayment plans when I was in college. It seemed like they were there just for me… the low earner and high debtor! Under an income-based repayment (IBR) plan, 25 years of consistent on-time minimum payments meant the remaining balance is just forgiven. Plus I would get to push off repayment for a good year via grace period, forbearance, and deferment? Psh, that doesn’t seem too bad…said the 22-year-old with no real concept of time or how interest works.
Twenty five years is indeed a long time–I’ve since realized. And I’m not that interested in being chained to debt for quite that long if I can help it. It’s a lot of time for compounding interest (and not the good kind) to accumulate. I’m definitely not interested in paying tens of thousands of dollars in interest.
It’s not that these programs don’t make sense–anyone who’s struggling financially could (and does) benefit from any one of them. But they’re also not the end-all-be-all of your debt repayment. I went straight-shot to a plan where I paid the least amount each month because I thought it was my most feasible option. And honestly, at the time it was. But I didn’t really understand what my repayment should look like over time and I stuck to paying minimums even as I started to make more money. I was just happy to be following a plan! Unfortunately, it was one that put me on the slow track to debt free. Do some homework (ahhh, never thought I’d say that again!!) and carefully consider what each repayment plan means. Take into account the length of repayment, how you might accelerate your plan as you continue to increase earnings, and even just consider what it means to pay student loan debt for so many years.
3. Create a personalized repayment plan.
Once you’ve figured out exactly what repayment plan works best for your present (and your future) circumstances then it’s time to put your sweet college skills to good use! Creating your very own repayment plan will help you to keep track of your payments and ensure that you’re going about repayment in the most efficient way possible. Decide on your timeline, how much you can sensibly pay into your repayment plan, and how you want to go about paying off your student loan debt most effectively. Visuals that highlight your repayment timeline are particularly useful to help you really picture the trajectory of your repayment. When I first started using ReadyForZero, I was a bit appalled each time I saw my principal balance creep up on the graph when I was accumulating interest. It was motivating!
4. Make your payments work FOR you.
Micromanage your debt! There are so many sneaky tactics that could be keeping you in debt for longer than necessary. To pay off your student loan debt you’ll need to keep your wits about you–especially as you sort out your initial payment plan. Ultimately, you want to make sure that you’re paying off your higher interest rates first while paying minimums on the rest, and also that your payments are actually applied to the principal balance! Be diligent with your payments or the entire process will go on for longer than anyone would probably like.
5. Bi-weekly payments.
Making bi-weekly payments is a fun “trick” to share and it also happens to be an awesome way to accelerate your repayment plan. If you’ve never heard of bi-weekly payments before they essentially add an extra payment each year. It works like this… instead of making one single payment each month, you take your monthly payment and divide it by two. Then you pay two half payments every two weeks, instead of one full payment at the end of the month. Since there are 52 weeks in the year, that means you’ll have an extra payment on your debt repayment. It’s fairly simple and the result is pretty awesome. Punch in your numbers to see how it works for you using this calculator!
I know, it’s a crazy cool trick! And it’s not even magic.
6. Track your daily interest…
… because you will be traumatized into action. I remember the moment that I truly understood just how much interest I was accruing on a daily basis. Let me tell you, it was a doozy of a panic. The only thing worse was seeing how that translated into monthly interest charged, and then from there, the yearly interest.
Keeping track of interest paid is one of the most effective motivators when it comes to paying off your student loans. It hurts to see how much interest you’re paying on a daily basis, even if your loan is attached to a slight interest rate. Even years into repayment it pains me to see my daily interest charges. On the same token, these numbers have motivated me to throw more force into my repayment plan.
7. Pay above the minimums.
Yet another must for millennials who want to dig out from under student loan rubble… pay above the minimums! If you pay the suggested payments you will be stuck in the student loan payment wheel for a long time. Much longer than if you paid even a small amount above the minimum payments. That’s because minimum payments are often largely a representation of the interest accumulated over the previous month. It’s essential that you boost your payments above the minimums, even if it’s just $20 a week.
8. Tweak your spending habits (or create good habits that will help speed up your repayment).
One of my favorite tricks to connect with my spending is to preface every “extra” purchase with… “are you willing to buy this AND match the amount in your repayment?” So for instance, if I see something that I want, but don’t need I’ll challenge myself to match whatever I spend on that item and put it directly into my student loan debt payoff. Sometimes, that stops me from making the purchase. Other times, it incentivizes me to put more into my repayment plan. It’s a great way to add a bit of thought to my purchasing–especially since it’s so easy to swipe more than I intend to when I’m hungry at the grocery store.
9. Use accountability.
Talk about your student loan debt! Tell people about your student loan debt! Sharing is a great tool to help you stick to your repayment plan and stay accountable to your goals. I’m not saying you have to live-tweet, snapchat (I’m trying to sound hip by using these references), or paste your numbers on your resume, but sharing your student loan payments goals with someone you trust and who will kick your butt when you’re distracted is extremely valuable. And remember when I talked about the camaraderie over student loan debt in the beginning of this post? It can work for motivating each other’s repayment too!
10. Have common sense (AKA, hone in on your inner Kali).
I’m not stretching in the least when I say that Kali is one of most inspiring millennial financial bloggers I’ve come across. She’s done an amazing job at securing her finances by using a powerful, but simple tool: common sense. And even better–she’s spreading this common sense and sharing tips that are simple and easy to implement. By making good financial habits widely applicable, she’s shown that this is not something that people have to struggle with alone and that much of financial wisdom can be boiled down to making informed and sensible decisions.
She’s a smart cookie – I’d listen to her.
Bonus: Open up a retirement account
OK, I know I said 10. But here’s a “bonus” tip, if you will…
If you don’t already have a retirement account, get thee to a computer/bank/financial advisor/friend and go about opening one!! I was practically forced to open up a Roth IRA and it was one of the best decisions of my young life. Not only did I start to build up savings for my eventual retirement kingdom, the biggest benefit came around tax time when I realized that I qualified for the savers credit! $500 into my retirement savings and then $500 returned at tax time. Millennials are winning in one area… we’re young enough to benefit from compounding interest in our retirement accounts. Start today!
Student loan debt can carry a stigma, but finance is a part of life. It isn’t something that you have to turn into a dry, boring topic as evidenced by some of Kali’s creative posts. There are tons of resources available to help you out. If you want to optimize your life and happiness you’ll need to lock-down your repayment so that you can free up more of your attention and funding to pursue personal goals. Get your student loan repayment together and you’ll be all the closer to your dream job of traveling the world while spearheading your own startup! Or, in my case traveling to New Zealand to take the Lord of the Rings movie tour.
Retrieved from https://www.levo.com/posts/10-things-millennials-should-do-to-get-rid-of-student-loan-debt
Several decades after last attending class, a 96-year-old World War II veteran on Saturday reportedly received his college diploma.
Bob Barger, who piloted Navy planes during the war, received his associate’s degree from the University of Toledo in Ohio to a standing ovation, according to The Associated Press. Dressed in the classic cap and gown, Barger beamed as he looked at his diploma.
The degree came more than 60 years after Barger last took a class. But when his records from the late 1940’s were recently looked at again, they indicated that he’d finished enough credits to receive the two-year degree, which hadn’t been an option when he was attending the university.
After Barger learned that he would be graduating, he told The Associated Press that it “was something I never dreamed of.”
“I’m going to be proud to hang that diploma on the wall and think about the friends behind it,” he previously said. “I found out without friends, this old world wouldn’t be worth living in.”
After serving in World War II, Barger returned to Toledo, Ohio and enrolled in college. But working and raising a family consumed his time and he ultimately didn’t finish his degree.
The decision to pull up his records came after Barger became friends with Haraz Ghanbari, the school’s director of military and veteran affairs. The pair met five years ago when Ghanbari, a Navy Reserve officer, asked Barger to officiate his promotion to lieutenant.
He soon learned that the veteran never graduated, despite taking a full course load from 1947 to 1950.
Ghanbari was present at Saturday’s commencement ceremony, sitting with the 96-year-old and escorting him from the stage as Barger shook hands with school officials after receiving his diploma.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Private lenders are using free movies and happy hours to entice people to refinance their student debt
Are you one of the 44 million Americans drowning in student loans you fear you’ll never pay back? Worried that you’ll be in the red for the rest of your life? Well, why not forget about your spiraling debt by kicking back and watching a movie!
This month, banking company Laurel Road announced that if you refinance your student loan with them, they will give you a years membership to MoviePass, the movie theater subscription service.
The partnership shines a light on the growing market for private student loans. Private lenders currently hold less than 10% of the $1.4tn in outstanding student loan debt but have been aggressively lobbying for legislation that would loosen the government’s monopoly.
I started this blog to document my thoughts and to do research about paying off my student loans. I search frequently on the internet and other media resources for stories of why and how other people have successfully paid off student loans. As a teacher, the amount of education decides how much you can earn each year. When the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 defines highly qualified as a teacher with a Master’s Degree this was a determining factor during the economic collapse of 2007-2008 whether or not you kept your job as a teacher. Between 2004 and 2017 I earned 3 graduate degrees and my annual pay never decreased because I was constantly column jumping because of my graduate degree progress. There were also tax advantages because of the school tuition deductions and interest accumulations. So was it worth it?
In the current school district with a BA, my pay would have been frozen at $51, 952 after five years of service. But with almost 15 years of service and a doctorate, the annual salary is approximately $93,000 for 186 days of work during the school year. Currently, a doctorate earns an additional $91 dollars a month which doesn’t help much for repaying the student loans. So while I am working everything is just fine. But looking forward to retirement with a student loan does not look so good at all. If I die then the wife does not have to worry about the debt under current statues. But the current administration presents some worries that prompt this former student to look at ways of paying off the debt in seven years.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness
As a math teacher, I was anticipating getting my loans partly forgiven. After completing my Masters I submitted for loan forgiveness and was denied because my school district had opted out of Title I status. No Title I no loan forgiveness at least that is what I was told. The only other way of loan forbearance is to become a lifetime learner. If you stay in school you never make any payments and I know of quite a few teachers who were turned down for forgiveness just enrolled back into school to delay paying. But this is only a delay because he or she can NEVER retire. Lesson learned is to not trust anyone but make plans to pay off the loan somehow and someway.
Paying Off Your Student Loans
Debt can feel like a weight pressing down on you, but ignoring it doesn’t make things any better. To chart a path out of debt, the first step is figuring out how much you owe. Most people have a vague idea of how many loans they have, but many avoid facing the total head on.
The only way to get control over your finances is to take a full inventory. Add up all of your student loans, credit card balances, car loan balances, lines of credit, overdue bills, and other debts. The grand total can come as a shock, but once you know exactly what you’re dealing with, you have several avenues to explore — increasing your income, cutting back your spending, and decreasing the sum that you owe.
The last is the one that people overlook most often. But some debts, like medical bills, can be negotiated down. High-interest credit card balances can often be transferred to a new card with a 0% introductory APR. And student loans can often be refinanced or consolidated, saving thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
8 Tips to Help You Pay Off Student Loans Faster
Paying off student loans isn’t easy, but the following strategies can help you get out from under your debt faster.
1. Refinance for a better rate
Don’t pay more interest than necessary. Refinancing or consolidating your loans could cut hundreds of dollars off of your monthly payments and save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. Most federal student loans charge everyone the same percentage, a one-size-fits-all interest rate that is often higher than what private lenders offer, because it has to account for high-risk applicants who are more likely to default or not finish their degrees. People who have built up their credit in the years since graduation are often better off getting a new loan on their own merits. A recent review by the National Student Loan Union found that people who refinanced saved an average of $259 a month and $19,231 over the life of the loan. Some borrowers saved more, and some less, depending on the size of their debt and their credit histories. But the average amounts were pretty staggering.
2. Make extra payments any time you can
With most lenders, there is no penalty for paying early. So any time you have extra money – for example, if you get a tax refund, a bonus at work, or have a month with a third paycheck – it’s smart to make an extra loan payment. Someone with $35,000 of student loans and an interest rate of 6.8% would typically have to pay about $400 a month for 10 years to get out of debt. Adding an extra $100 a month would cut the payoff time by about 2½ years and save $3,583 in interest.
To get the most benefit from your extra payments, be sure to put them toward your highest interest loans first. Start by logging in to the Federal Student Aid website to find out your federal loan interest rates. If you have private loans, contact your student loan servicer to find out your rates. Rank them accordingly and put extra money toward the highest rate loans first.
3. Make a 3- to 5-year plan
It’s easier to make budget sacrifices when you know that it’s temporary. Focus on the end date of your loan, and consider doing things like living with a roommate or keeping an older vehicle until then. Returning to the nest, eating Ramen noodles, and embracing the college lifestyle for a bit longer might not sound that appealing, but committing to your goal will make it all worthwhile.
4. Set up autopay
You’re less likely to overspend if you schedule your loan payments to be debited as soon as you get paid. You won’t miss the money as much if you “take it off the top” and don’t see it in your account. Also, most lenders will give you a 0.25% interest rate discount when you sign up for automatic debit.
5. Explore freelance and “side hustle” opportunities
Doing freelance or part-time work can help keep debt down during and after college. Whether it’s photography, dog-walking, web design, or catering – anything you can do to earn extra money will get you out of debt faster. Sites like Upwork, iFreelance, and Project4hire have a wide range of short-term and long-term projects. You can also participate in the sharing economy with companies like Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and TaskRabbit. Earning an extra $500 a month could cut your payoff time by 5 years or more, depending on how much you owe.
6. Use the buddy system
The buddy system is not just helpful for exercising or losing weight. A lot of people find paying off student loans easier if they have an “accountability partner” who shares the same goals. Things like shopping or going to happy hours can sabotage your financial plans. A buddy can help you stay motivated to cook at home, pursue extra income, decorate with “upcycled” thrift finds, travel cheaply, and avoid splurges. With a little creativity, it can also be fun. You can also read debt success stories and subscribe to couponing and savings blogs.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask for a raise
If you’ve been at your job for a while, you’ve been giving 100 percent, and especially if you have an annual review coming up, consider asking for a raise. Start by keeping track of ways you’ve helped your company save money or make money. Do some research about salaries in your industry and how yours compares. A week or so before your review, schedule time with your boss to discuss your goals with the company and make your case for a raise. They might say no. But if they say yes, you will get a bigger paycheck.
8. Monitor your credit score
Paying your student loans on time each month helps you establish a good credit history. It’s smart to monitor your FICO score for a variety of reasons like buying a car or home, and protecting yourself against identity theft. But as your score rises, you also might qualify for lower interest rates on your outstanding balance – particularly once your score gets above 700. Everyone is entitled to a free credit report every 12 months. You can check yours at https://www.annualcreditreport.com.
A cake celebrating a South Carolina teen’s high school graduation turned into a not-so-sweet surprise when a Publix supermarket censored the inscription “summa cum laude.”
The grad’s mom, Cara Koscinski, said she ordered a cake online from her local Publix for a graduation party for her 18-year-old son, Jacob. The store allows customers to customize cake orders with a personalized inscription.
Koscinski said she ordered a cake the words: “Congrats Jacob! Summa Cum Laude Class of 2018.”
Instead, supermarket bakers wrote: “Congrats Jacob! Summa – – – Laude Class of 2018.”
Incredulous, Koscinski shared pictures of the censored cake on Facebook. “I seriously couldn’t make this crap up!!!!” she wrote. “Funny, not funny.”
The Washington Post, which did a deeper dive on the Publix website, reported that the online box where customers enter cake inscriptions is extremely temperamental, and filters “profane/special characters.” “Cum,” despite its use as a preposition meaning “with” in the Latin phrase summa cum laude “with the highest distinction” was rendered profane.
Koscinski told the newspaper that she “explained that Summa Cum Laude was a Latin term for high academic honor and was not profane” in the “special instructions” box on the Publix website, and included a link that defined the phrase.
She said she was busy with party preparations and didn’t notice the cake’s messed up message until it was time for dessert. The dashed-out message, she said, was humiliating for her teenage son.
“It was unbelievable. I ordered the special graduation edition cake. I can’t believe I’m the first one to ever write ‘Summa Cum Laude’ on a cake,” Koscinski told the Post.
Publix offered to make another cake, but Koscinski said she declined because Jacob would “only graduate once.” She said the store refunded $70 for the cake and gave her a store gift card.
Koscinski told HuffPost that she and her son “think it’s overwhelming and crazy.”
“But we are laughing about it,” she said, adding that she’ll “probably avoid” Publix “for now.”
Publix told HuffPost in a statement that satisfying customers is the “top priority” of the chain, which has locations in the Southeast.
“You can feel confident that this situation has been addressed, and the appropriate business areas and leaders are involved,” the statement said.
HuffPost spoke to Jeanne Neumann, a professor in the classics department at Davidson College, who shared this saucy tidbit about cakes and Latin over email: “A cake celebrating the end of a war of a simpler time might have proclaimed Gladii Omnes in vaginas recondantur! (May all swords be sheathed! (or) All swords should be put in their sheaths).” Neumann noted that “vagina” in Latin means “sheath for a sword.”
That might have passed the Publix censors, but what about words that might not have?
“The commands ‘tell me’ (dic) and ‘do it’ (fac) sound a bit like ‘dick’ and ‘fuck’ when pronounced. Just a bit, but enough to get students laughing,” said Neumann.
This article has been updated to include a statement from Publix and comment from Neumann.
A third-grade student at an elementary school in Texas got a special surprise Tuesday during lunchtime when her mother was brought home a day early after a seven-month deployment with the Navy.
The Hutto Independent School District organized the reunion for Navy Chief Petty Officer Marqueta Grant and her daughter, Christina Zamora.
“I know my baby so well. I know her so well. I just knew she would cry, and the arms would fly up. I anticipated it,” Grant told FOX7.
Grant, who has been in the Navy for 22 years, said she loves her job.
“It teaches life lessons people don’t normally get,” she said.
But the deployments have become more difficult, especially leaving her family.
“It’s hard to be away from the family but I know what I’m doing serves a purpose,” Grant told FOX7.
Zamora said the deployments make her “really miss” her mom.
“I feel like she’s never coming home and it’s really emotional to think about her not coming home,” she said.
Grant will spend two weeks at home, then deploy for the very last time before returning home for good in August. Her 22 years of service is something her family told FOX7 they are thankful for.
“She told me to be brave sometimes when she’s overseas and to think about something else instead of crying,” Zamora told FOX7.
If you’ve ever felt a nagging sense of shame every time you crave a frozen margarita, you shouldn’t. But statements like these may be the reason you feel that way:
“Frozen cocktails carry a good deal of baggage in the cultural imagination. … Your first vision at the mention of ‘frozen cocktail’ is that of a rotating slushie machine, dispensing candy-pink blends of cheap booze and artificially flavored mixers into plastic palm-tree-shaped novelty glasses.”
If you want a frozen margarita, don’t let the naysayers stop you. Make your own damn frozen margarita and enjoy every last icy crystal. There are just a few things to keep in mind.
Use good alcohol. Don’t use a crappy blender. And many would argue you should never use fresh fruit juice in a frozen marg. Rather, it’s suggested that you use a frozen fruit concentrate (preferably made of all-natural juice, with no sugar).
The eight recipes below don’t all adhere to that rule, but to each his own. Take your pick and find your best-frozen margarita.
Teachers have long supplemented their incomes by tutoring. And there’s perhaps never been a better, or easier, time to do it than right now. The reason: China-based online education companies are in an apparent race with each other to hire U.S. teachers who’d like to work from home this summer and, using their webcams, “teach cute kids” the English language — in the marketing parlance of one of those companies, Beijing-based VIPKid.
If you doubt that’s true, you haven’t been looking at the classifieds. Just today, five-year-old VIPKid — which reportedly raised $200 million in fresh funding last summer at a $1.5 billion valuation — listed openings for thousands of U.S. teachers, from Jacksonville Beach, Florida, to Saint Joseph, Missouri, to Carmel, Indiana.
Its jobs offensive comes just three days after seven-year-old, Beijing-based China Online Education Group, known as 51Talk, did precisely the same thing.
Both companies are growing quickly and, in the process, trying to outgun competitors. These include 14-year-old, Goldman Sachs-backed iTutorGroup, which operates out of Shanghai as VIPABC and boasts of it’s $1 billion valuations on its home page, and 15-year-old TAL Education Group, a holding company for a group of tutoring-related companies that went public in 2010 and now enjoys a roughly $17 billion market cap. (51Talk is also publicly traded, having IPO’d in 2016. Its market cap is currently $215 million.)
There’s seemingly plenty of demand for all. According to a recent report from the China-focused consultancy iResearch, online language lessons in China represented a $4.5 billion market opportunity in 2016 and is expected to grow to nearly $8 billion by next year.
VIPKID seems to be winning the war for media attention, however.
Back in January, Forbes named the company the best employer when it comes to work-from-home jobs (up from fifth place in 2017). Its founder, Cindy Mi, has also received glowing coverage in Bloomberg, the Financial Times, and Fast Company, among numerous other English-language outlets. (We also featured Mi in a fireside chat at our signature Disrupt event in San Francisco last fall.)
According to one of its job listings today, teachers are paid on average between $14 and $18 an hour and the openings are available to candidates who are eligible to work in the U.S. or Canada, have a bachelor’s degree in any field, and have at least one school year of traditional teaching, mentoring, or tutoring experience.
The company — which is backed by Sequoia Capital, Learn Capital, and an investment firm co-founded by Alibaba’s Jack Ma, among others — says it already works with more than 30,000 teachers. We’ll have to see how much those numbers change after this summer.
Kevin Durant scored 34 points and the Golden State Warriors are heading to their fourth straight NBA finals after fighting back from another big deficit
Kevin Durant scored 34 points and the Golden State Warriors are heading to their fourth straight NBA finals after fighting back from another big deficit with a huge third quarter. They beat the Houston Rockets 101-92 in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals on Monday night.
Stephen Curry and the defending champions trailed by as many as 15 in the first half after falling behind 17 in Game 6. Curry, who finished with 27 points, scored 14 of Golden States 33 points in the third quarter as Houstons shooting froze. The Rockets missed all 14 three-point attempts in that quarter as part of 27 misses from long range.
The Warriors will host LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 on Thursday night. The last three finals have been between the Warriors and Cavs, with the Warriors claiming two of them.