Debt Management

Student Loans 101: Vocabulary

Money and college can be confusing. Whether you’re just starting out on your college journey or dealing with student loans from years ago, here is a glossary of helpful terms you may need to know: Accredited: If your college and program is accredited, it means that it has met specific requirements by the U.S. Department of Education. …

Student Loan Forgiveness: Move to a Place that Pays Your Loans

Dealing with student loan debt can seem unbearable and overwhelming. As mentioned in the article, 15 Ways To Deal with Student Loan Debt, the average student owes a whopping $40,000 after graduation but almost 19 percent owe $50,000 and above with 5.6 percent owing over $100,000. Maybe you worked hard to save money in college …

15 Ways to Deal with Student Loan Debt

Dealing with student loan debt is tough. You’re probably no stranger to the student loan crisis we’re facing with $1.2 trillion and growing in debt. The average student will graduate with a whopping $40,000 in student loans, but for those who pursued graduate or higher degrees, switched majors, or went back to school, that number …

How to Use the “Snowflake” Strategy for Debt Repayment

When you’re facing a giant mountain of debt, it feels almost impossible to overcome it. When your total debt exceeds your household income, it can feel like debt is just going to be a part of your life. It can seem as though, in order to live your life, you’re going to have to constantly …

How to Switch to Paying Cash for Your Car

In 2003, I purchased a 1997 Ford F-150 pickup. Given the financial disaster that my life was at the tiem, I “paid” for it entirely with a loan, which saddled me with car payments for the next three-plus years. In 2010, the Ford F-150 needed to be replaced, so we bought a 2004 Honda Pilot. …

Credit Card Interest Typically Compounds Daily – Here’s How to Take Advantage of That

A few weeks ago, I posted an article on the idea of interest that accrues daily. Here’s a brief explanation; check out the full post for more details: Some banks will accrue interest daily. Some even accrue it continuously. Rest assured, the more often a bank accrues interest on your debt, the worse it is …

Should Your Partner’s Debt Keep You Out of a Relationship?

Recently, a reader wrote to me with what would have been a stellar reader mailbag question except for the fact that it was full of personal details. I attempted to edit the email down to something that could be shared without identity concerns (as I never want material readers send me to ever come back …

Rent vs. Buy: Which is Better?

Is it better to rent a place to live or to buy one? It’s a question that I get asked multiple times per week in some form or another. Usually, it comes from young couples who are being pressured by older people in their life to get out of renting and buy a home or …

Alternatives to Payday Loans If You Need Cash Immediately

Payday loans are an incredibly poor deal for the customer. It’s a loan with an absurdly high interest rate. If you take out a payday loan, you’re going to come out the financial loser almost every time. They almost always cause more problems than they solve. Almost everyone knows that payday loans aren’t worthwhile, so …

4 Steps to Take If You Loan Money to Friends or Family

This article first appeared at US News and World Report Money. A friend or a family member is struggling with a financial problem. That person comes to you and asks you to lend money to help them through their crisis. What do you do? This situation comes up quite often in tightly-knit families where there …

Categories: Debt Management, Family

Does Good Debt Exist?

A long while ago, I wrote about the idea of good debt and bad debt: There are several fairly similar definitions of each kind of debt, but generally they either revolve around the terms of the debt (low interest rate debts – usually below 7% or so – would be “good debt”) or the purpose …

Categories: Debt Management

Five Steps You Need to Take If Bill Collectors Are Contacting You

This article first appeared at U.S. News and World Report Money. You failed to pay a bill when you were out of work or you forgot about an old debt. Suddenly, debt collectors are contacting you through the mail and on the phone. It can be frightening, particularly if you’ve never been in such a …

Categories: Debt Management

Why Lending Money to Family Is a Bad Idea

I have very few fundamental rules of personal finance that I follow. Spend less than you earn is a big one, but once you get past that, there tend to be exceptions to most rules in life. However, there is one principle that I’ve followed for a long time that has never guided me wrong. …

Credit Card Debt Getting You Down?

This article first appeared on U.S. News and World Report Money. Personal finance writers, whether on the internet, in magazines, in books, or elsewhere, are usually very strong advocates of investing. There’s good reason for that, of course: assuming that you’re in a financially stable position, investing in things such as the stock market or …

How to Pay Off Debt

There are few things quite as painful as looking ahead at your future and seeing nothing but debt. So many people today graduate from college with extensive student loans and consumer debt on top of that. They struggle to find a job and, sometimes, they never find the job that they want. Sometimes, people get …

How to Fix Your Credit Properly

Sometimes, it seems like you can scarcely turn on your television or radio or web browser without seeing someone offering you a great solution to your credit woes or proper protection against credit worries. Pretty much anything involving the word “credit” is a hot commodity. There are thousands of businesses out there who want to …

“House Poor” Versus Controlling Your Own Destiny

Anyone who’s been awake to watch the changes in the economy over the last five years is familiar with the burst of the housing bubble. Too many people were given mortgages that were bigger than their budgets could handle and when those people couldn’t pay, the banks that offered those mortgages were in serious trouble. …

Low Home Mortgage Rates and Early Payoff Info

Over the last few years, home mortgage rates have drifted up and down between 3% and 4.5% for a thirty year fixed rate loan. That’s astonishingly low, especially considering savings accounts were giving out 6% returns in 2006. (I remember those days… 6% in a savings account. What I wouldn’t give for those days to …

Categories: Debt Management

How to Deal with Debt Collectors: Your Consumer Rights

Money has been tight, there’s no doubt about it. The Great Recession has taken its toll. But even before a financial crisis shocked the economy, American wages were stalled. According to the Social Science Research Council, the typical American earned $2,200 less in 2010 than in 2000. And while we all want to pay our …

Categories: Debt Management