Best idea for your child

images (24)Splitting the Pot
As your child starts to receive money – for example, from an allowance – it is time to sit down and show them how to make a saving and spending plan.

This used to be called “budgeting”, but the word has gained too many negative connotations. Regardless of the terminology, this plan is essential. You have to give your child the power to decide how much to save and how much to spend. By giving your child this power, you will also confer the responsibility and excitement that comes with making adult decisions. You can make suggestions and prepare some example plans, but the final choice should be left to your child.

If the allowance payment will vary, you should use percentages instead of set amounts (save 25% of the allowance versus save $4). By giving your child a choice of how much to save, you bypass the question of whether or not to save. This is, after all, a saving and spending plan, rather than the other way around. The goal of this exercise is to teach your child to make saving a habit.

Spending
You should not interfere in how your child uses his or her spending money. To a child, a few dollars often seems like a fortune. Don’t interfere with your child’s spending habits other than to point out that once it’s gone it’s gone – you won’t provide more money if your child spends his or her own too quickly. It’s a difficult lesson, but children will do better if they learn it early.

Explaining the Importance of Saving
Children are masters of interrogative sentences; don’t be surprised when your child asks you why he should save money. The ideal reply has two parts. One, you have to save money for the future. Two, you save money so you can meet your spending goals. When your child decides how much to save, you will then have to ask them how much of that will be for the future and how much for goals.

If you child is very young, you should encourage him or her to choose one spending goal rather than many. A piece of sports equipment, a toy or some relatively inexpensive item will suffice. Your child will be able to see how X% of his or her money will go into savings and X% of that will slowly accumulate to buy a chosen item in the near future. This may encourage your child to increase his or her saving rate.

As your child ages, he or she may want to save for a number of different spending goals – a car, a computer, a stereo. That’s fine – as long it all comes from the spending goal fraction of the savings account. The amount going to the future should remain constant. You can call it his house or college fund if you like, but nurturing habitual saving in your child is more important than his or her monetary progress. Once the plan is complete, and you both agree on it, the next step is to go to the bank.

Opening a Bank Account
You should visit your bank in advance to check what type of accounts they offer for children. You may be surprised by the incentives they offer for juvenile accounts. Banks view juvenile accounts as PR expenditures aimed at creating the next generation of loyal customers.

After settling on a particular account, set up an appointment to attend with your child. Explain that a bank is a place you put your money until you need it. Your child should be old enough to have an understanding of interest – the money your bank pays you for letting them use the money you keep there – and you should explain that banks use that money for investing.

When you go together to the bank, let the bank associate sell your child on the account you have decided on. Your child will feel much more involved in the process. The account should be in your child’s name and all the mail should be addressed to your child. Receiving bank statements like mom and dad is a source of excitement for most children. Some banks will allow you and your child to structure the savings account. This means you can split the account into two separate accounts: one for the future and one for spending goals.

Get Organized
On the same day as you open the account, go shopping with your child and select a binder, a congratulatory present. You will use this to organize your child’s bank statements. Starting out with an organized record-keeping system will be valuable when your child gets older and has to grapple with taxes and accounting.

When the statements arrive, go through them together and explain the interest and any other numbers that may appear upon it. You can even check the math together to practice doing sums. On the same day as you regularly pay out your child’s allowance, go together to make the deposit at the bank. This will help to reinforce the habit of saving before spending. It is also an excuse to spend time with your child. You can couple these trips with some positive reinforcement, such as a walk in the park or stopping for ice cream. Saving should feel good!

How to Check Your Credit Report

download (2)However, most people have no idea what’s on their credit report, how to read it, or how to correct any erroneous information.

In this article, we’ll take a look at six of the items that appear on a credit report, and show you how to fix any errors you may find.

1. Personal Information
Is your name, social security number, address and other personal information accurate? If not, contact the credit reporting agency to let it know it has made an error. A lending company would be skeptical of making a loan to an individual whose name and address (as listed in the credit report) are not consistent with the information provided to access the loan.

Note: Discrepancies, no matter how small they may seem to the individual, can cause financial institutions to not approve loans.

2. Open Account Information
The report will detail all of the individual’s open credit card accounts. The report will spell out the individual’s credit limits, whether the person has been paying his or her bills on time, and if there are any balances on the account.

In short, pay particular attention to the accuracy of this information because lenders use it to gauge whether they’ll make a loan.

Note: Inaccuracies in this section are a major reason for why many loans are rejected.

3. Mortgage Information
Credit reports also detail information on any mortgages the individual may have outstanding. The reports indicate whether the individual has been late with payments, the account number of the loan and the date of mortgage origination.

The same information is available for any other loans that the individual may have outstanding including personal loans, home-equity loans, credit lines and other financings originated by a financial institution.

Note: Again, it is vital that this information is correct because if a lender perceives an individual as being saddled with too much debt (even if the information is incorrect), the lender won’t approve the applicant for another loan.

4. Collections/Negative Account Histories
Credit reports will identify whether the individual has any accounts that are in collection and what the status of those cases is. Because this information can adversely impact the individual’s overall credit score and affect whether they are able to obtain a loan, it is important that it is correct. Credit reporting agencies often offer services that will help you resolve these issues or provide you with general advice and strategies on how to improve your credit score.

Note: If there are any data discrepancies or misleading data presented, the individual does have some recourse (more on this below).

5. Judgments/Liens
If there is a judgment or an award against a person in a court of law (stemming from a personal suit, small claims matter, etc.) those terms will be included on the report. More specifically, this section of the credit report will specify the case number. It will also identify the plaintiff and the defendant by name, give the status of the case (whether it is open or closed), and detail its resolution (meaning the amount that has been awarded).

Should an individual or some other entity have a lien on your property, that information will also be made available. Specifically, the case number, the court where the lien was established, the amount of the lien and its resolution (whether the lien has been released) will also be detailed.

Note: This information often causes problems for consumers because the lien may have been satisfied, and/or the judgment reduced or rescinded even if the credit report fails to reflect this. Keep your eyes peeled!

6. Bankruptcies
Bankruptcy information is also available and should be checked as well. Specifically, the report will outline whether it is an individual or a joint bankruptcy (with, for example a spouse). It will also include the amount of assets and liabilities the individual has incurred.

Note: Incorrect bankruptcy information (especially the date the bankruptcy was incurred) is a frequent source of problems for consumers looking to obtain loans.

Learn about Social Security at risk

download (3)You can retire, file bankruptcy and walk away from the house without worrying about any repercussions from the Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, or Uncle Sam. I don’t know of any reason why the government would come after you.

While this might not matter much to you, since you and your wife are on such a limited and fixed income, the VA does not look kindly on anyone who walks away from one of its loans. The agency cannot do anything against you personally, but you would find it very difficult to obtain another mortgage loan through the VA in the future.

You ought to contact the VA prior to making this decision. If the mortgage is the only reason you are filing for bankruptcy, you likely could avoid the bankruptcy altogether. The VA has various payment options available, though you would also need to contact the loan servicer. The loan servicer is not the VA itself, but is a public or private entity that collects, monitors and reports loan payments; handles property tax, insurance escrows and late payments; forecloses on defaulted loans; and remits payments on behalf of VA loans.

RATE SEARCH: Comparison shop for a VA loan today.

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In many cases, the loan servicer can be difficult to contact. Many people say that reaching a representative to discuss loan workout options can be nearly impossible. The VA has loan technicians in 8 regional loan centers and 2 special servicing centers who actively help veterans communicate with loan servicers.

Here are a few of the options that are available to you if you are willing to make the effort:

Special forbearance. You could be given time to get caught up on delinquent payments. Maybe you know you are going to receive a large tax refund that could bring the delinquent payments current. The VA will contact the loan servicer so that it does not begin foreclosure.
Loan modification. You may be able to reduce your mortgage payment through a modification of the loan terms.
Additional time for a private sale. The property may have a little equity, and you could request a delay in the foreclosure process while you sell the house.
Short sale. The loan servicer may agree to let you sell the property for less than what it’s worth.
Deed in lieu of foreclosure. You voluntarily agree to turn the property over to the servicer instead of going through a lengthy foreclosure process.
Ultimately, you need to decide whether it is easiest to simply notify the lender that you are walking away from your VA loan and move out. Though there’s no risk to your Social Security, I just think it’s worthwhile to explore your options before making a final decision.

Buy hex-en Hexen research Chemicals Online

Ethyl hexedrone can be a structural analogue in the substituted cathinone hexedrone. The substitution in the nitrogen by getting an ethyl group increases the effectiveness of ethyl hexedrone having a factor of three in comparison with its chemical relation hexedrone. NDRIs block the reuptake of dopamine and noradrenaline released towards the synaptic cleft. These neurotransmitters subsequently spend a longer time within the receptor growing their effect. 

Ethyl hexedrone is the one other part of the large number of compounds known as substituted cathinones. It’s going by alternative names “hexen for sale” and “n-ethyl-hexedrone”. The structural signature in the substituted cathinone kind of compounds can be a phenethylamine backbone by getting an alkyl quantity of various lengths within the alpha carbon near the nitrogen plus a ketone inside the beta position. The cathinones certainly are a beta-keto analogue of amphetamines.

It’s hypothesised that ethyl hexedrone can be a noradrenaline-dopamine reuptake inhinitor like the cathinones MDVP and alpha PVP. There isn’t any research confirming its status just like a noradrenaline dopamine ruptake inhibitor. It had been initially synthesised inside the 1960s by Boerhringer Ingelheim, only increased to get broadly known as “research chemical” by 2015. It’s suffice to condition then that little information exists relating to this compound together with your a short good status for human use.

You can compare ethyl hexedrone for the buy mdma broadly known cathinone pentedrone. Ethyl Hexedrone features additional time in the carbon chain extending within the aryl group by one carbon. Inside the structure activity from the class lengthening in the alkyl chain from 5 to 6 generally results in a diminishment in potency. Nonetheless the substitution from the ethyl group within the amine increases potency.

You may find it overwhelming with all the different resins available these days. How does one choose when you have octene, metalocene, butene, hexene, etc. A knowledgeable sales representative will be able to help determine what grade to use. Each grade has different characteristics and choices should be based on applications. Understanding resin properties is critical in formulating the right product for your specific application.

Before you go online and start looking at research chemical suppliers, it’s advisable to ensure that is the right chemical you need to complete your research. Whether you’re conducting testing at an educational facility, for a project or you work in a laboratory and are looking for a new depression cure, you need to get to know as much as you can about the chemical, making an informed decision on how it will impact your research in the long run.

Before you go online and start looking at research chemical suppliers, it’s advisable to ensure that is the right chemical you need to complete your research. Whether you’re conducting testing at an educational facility, for a project or you work in a laboratory and are looking for a new depression cure, you need to get to know as much as you can about the chemical, making an informed decision on how it will impact your research in the long run.

How to Hire a Lawyer : follow this tips for right choosing

If you are looking to hire a lawyer, you’ll find no shortage of legal talent. The United States holds 5% of the world’s population and 70% of its lawyers. Law schools awarded 43,588 J.D.s last year, up 11.5 percent since 2000, and the United States boasts one lawyer for every 200 U.S. citizens.

With a record number of practicing lawyers in the U.S., finding a lawyer for your legal needs is no easy task.

The best way to find a lawyer such as trust attorney glendale is through word of mouth and referrals. Wide variations exist in the skill level and expertise of each lawyer so recommendations from friends and acquaintances are a good way to locate quality legal talent.

The nature of your legal problem will determine the type of lawyer you need to hire. Most lawyers concentrate their practice in a few legal specialties such as family law, criminal law, employment law, personal injury law, bankruptcy or civil litigation. Therefore, it is important to retain a lawyer with expertise and experience in the practice area for which you require his services. Below are a few of the best resources available to help you find a lawyer that fits your needs.

# Legal Aid Services

If you need a lawyer but cannot afford one, you can contact your local legal aid office, an organization that provides free or pro bono legal assistance to low-income individuals in non-criminal matters. Check the white pages of your telephone directory or type in “Legal Aid [insert the name of your county of state]” into an Internet search engine to find local legal aid providers near you.

If you seek legal assistance, finding a qualified lawyer is only the first step. The next step is choosing the best attorney for your legal needs. For tips on how to choose the best lawyer for your case

# Internet Resources

A number of for-profit directories on the Internet offer search vehicles through which you can find a lawyer.

# Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directory

Available at your local public library or law library, this directory of lawyers is an authoritative resource for information on the worldwide legal profession. Martindale-Hubbell also offers an online lawyer locator service which contains a database of over one million lawyers and law firms in 160 countries.

To find a lawyer, you can search by practice area or geographic location.

# Word of Mouth and Referrals

Word of mouth and referrals from friends, relatives, neighbors, business associates and acquaintances are the best way to find a lawyer. These individuals have no vested interest, financial or otherwise, in recommending a certain attorney and can communicate any positives or problems they encountered in their dealings with a particular attorney or law firm.

While it is tempting to hire a friend or relative for your case, this may not be your best strategy. If the friend or relative specializes in an area of law outside your needs, he or she may not be competent to address your particular legal issue.

# Local Bar Associations

Another great resource for finding a lawyer in your area is your local bar association.

Most county and city bar associations offer lawyer referral services to the public although they do not necessarily screen for qualifications. The American Bar Association also maintains a database which offers assistance to consumers seeking legal help.

# Other Lawyers

Lawyers can often recommend other lawyers in the legal community who can assist you with your specific needs. Legal circles are small and most lawyers will know several other lawyers who specialize in the practice area for which you seek advice. Lawyers are also aware of other lawyer’s reputations in a particular practice field. Keep in mind, however, that lawyers often receive referral fees when they refer a case to another lawyer which may influence their decision as to whom they recommend.

Hiring an Accountant please read these tips

A new SMB has many choices to make such as selecting an office location to picking bank accounts and finding a good accountant. It can often become overwhelming and the temptation is to take shortcuts.

But choosing the right accountant like accountants Goodyear AZ can make a huge difference to a business. BoxFreeIT asked several accountants for their advice in match-making a business to an accounting firm.

1. Must consider alternative payment schedules

Accountants have typically charged hourly rates like most professional services. However, the move to cloud accounting software has kicked off a trend towards fixed-price billing.

Firms have convinced clients to pay half or all the fee up-front for a specific service before work starts.

“Accountants should provide a clear explanation of fees via their engagement letter and frank and upfront discussions with their clients,” Langlands said. “It’s courses for horses. Some people like to know exactly what they’re paying for. Others just say, hey, I assumed that’s what you do so just bill me every month.”

2. Must give the best advice, not the easiest

Some accountants only tell clients what they want to hear and avoid the difficult conversations. Clients sometimes need to be pushed into considering better ways to increase and protect their business wealth. A bad accountant just focuses on tax returns and financial statements and GST matters. In business, you always have to ask yourself all the time ‘is this the best way of doing things or is there a better way to do this?

3. Must be organised

An accountant must also have time management skills and know where their time is best invested across its range of clients. “If you do a little bit for everybody, you would probably miss the boat, There’s a natural tendency to work with people you can help the most. Tax is huge but really, it’s about those who can help people structure their affairs and financial reporting.

4. Check their qualifications

First let’s take a look at the definition of accountant. In both Australia and New Zealand the title of an accountant is not regulated which means anyone can call themselves an accountant irrespective of their educational or professional qualifications.

A key difference is whether the practitioner can prepare and lodge income tax returns. An accountant must be a Registered Tax Agent and belong to a professional association such as Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), Certified Practising Accountants Australia (CPAA), the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia (ICAA), or the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA).

5. Must be multi-skilled

For an accountant to be an asset to an SMB, the accountant needs to have a combination of genuine passion to help clients, tax law knowledge, a willingness to improve their skills and be able to communicate advice in a simple and clear way, said Timothy Munro, director and CEO at Change Accountants and Advisors. When the going gets tough, you’ve got to talk to someone whose able to roll up their sleeve and work out the business issues. You’ll find that your chartered accountant has a bag full of options for you rather than a standard accountant.

I often get my best relationships with SMB owners who have had a previous accountant who underperformed and they come along and they experience our service and its like night and day.

6. Must offer reporting and analysis – not just tax

Accountants can do much more than sign off on year-end reports and prepare tax returns. They help businesses with cash flow analysis, finance applications and succession planning.

Real time reporting and access to software that is now available via cloud based applications means that your accountant can be involved in all the financial aspects of your business on a real time basis.

7. Must have technical knowledge

There is a general consensus that practitioners need to possess a high level of knowledge in accounting and business software to ensure clients obtain the most from their software packages. The level of technology knowledge has risen as conventional tasks such as data entry into a general ledger have given way to analysis, reporting and advice.

I believe all accountants should have at minimum a basic knowledge of cloud accounting related software and how it can be used by their clients. The leading accountants in the future will be able to quickly design a combination of cloud accounting and business software tools and link them together to create exactly what their client needs.

8. Must understand the options in accounting software

There are more than seven accounting software companies active in Australia. Accountants disagree on how many programs a firm should support, but no single package suits every business. It is necessary for accountants to be knowledgeable about multiple products.  Accountants can then assist a client to select the most appropriate package for their needs.

There is no right or wrong to have be certified or knowledgeable with only one or multiple accounting software programs.

We’re a smaller firm and all of us need to have a good understanding of the different options out there. I think it important to know more about one program, especially when you’re talking and working with people in business.

On the other hand, Change Accountants and Advisors only accepts clients willing to use or switch to Xero. This strategy has worked brilliantly for us and there’s no way I’d change it. It’s interesting that more and more accounting firms are making this same choice and becoming a Xero-only accounting firm.

Do you need small business loan

Small banks typically have much higher small-business loan approval rates than big banks, according to a monthly index prepared by Biz2Credit, an online matchmaker between borrowers and lenders. In the June 2015 index , small banks approved 49.3 percent of small-business loans, compared to 22.2 percent that big banks OK’d.

Why are small banks so much more welcoming? One reason is they rely less on the computerized algorithms big banks use to vet loan applications, say experts. Often, they leave lending decisions to loan officers who know the communities where they lend.

“They understand local business better,” says Biz2Credit CEO Rohit Arora. “They haven’t really outsourced or centralized their whole underwriting process in a way where there is no connectivity between the underwriter and borrower. A lot of their loan officers still have a say in how loans are underwritten. It’s more relationship driven.”

“In bigger banks, it’s all driven by a centralized underwriting department,” Arora adds. “The loan officers are, much more, paper shufflers.”

Robyn Tippins, CEO and co-founder of Mariposa Interactive, a content marketing agency in Claxton, Georgia, turned to The Claxton Bank, a small institution, to get $55,000 in working capital for the business in 2014. The two-year loan, which she used mostly for staffing up, came with an interest rate of about 8.5 percent, she says.

Tippins initially tried the big bank where she had kept her business checking and savings accounts for three years, but was told her firm, founded in 2012, didn’t have enough business credit. “They weren’t interested in helping us,” she says. “It was weird.”

Then she thought of approaching The Claxton Bank, which happened to be a client. “I’ll help you out,” a banker told her immediately. Compared to her old bank, she says, “I feel they are more invested in our success. They kind of held our hand through the whole process.”

Of course, big banks aren’t exactly bit players in small-business lending and some have launched programs to increase their loans to small firms, so it’s still worth looking into what they have to offer you. Given their massive reach, big banks do make a large number of loans to entrepreneurs. In the 2015 Mid-Year Economic Report by the National Small Business Association (NSBA), 42 percent of respondents in a survey of small firms said they had relied on a bank loan in the past 12 months for financing. Twenty percent got them from large banks, 18 percent from community banks and 5 percent from credit unions.

Still, the NSBA survey found that 31 percent of owners weren’t able to win the financing they need. If you’re in that category, including smaller banks in your money hunt may increase your odds of success. Here are some strategies for approaching them successfully.

1. Prepare a strong case for yourself. “In small banks, decisions are made on a branch level,” says David Gritz, senior partner at Gen-Y Consultants, a firm in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, that advises growing companies and has secured more than $1 million business loans for itself and its clients. “They look at more of the holistic picture and the background of the business owner.”

Preparing the information a banker will need to form that holistic picture before you meet will help you make the right first impression. A community banker will look at factors such as how many years of experience you have in running the business, whether you have knowledge of the industry from previous work in the same field, what the business’s cash flow looks like, your gross revenue for the past two years and whether your growth rate is increasing or decreasing, says Gritz. Your banker will likely also take into account personal financial information, such as your credit score, and ask for a personal financial statement that outlines your assets and liabilities and your cash flow, says Gritz.

During the application process at The Claxton Bank, Tippins found that the president was most interested in her firm’s cash flow statement. To inspire confidence, she brought documentation to show that the business — which serves clients such as Facebook and Mozilla — had sufficient money coming in from retainer contracts and other sources to pay off the loan. She also provided a statement of accounts — a record of recent transactions done with customers that includes details of invoices, payments received and other information.  “For us, large clients and retainers made us look very stable,” says Tippins.

2. Shop around.  To find the ideal bank for you, Gritz recommends starting your search by looking at three big banks, three small banks and three credit unions in your community located near your business. While a small bank may end up being your best bet, it’s important to know all your options before choosing one. Some banks may offer a special program, such as one for startups, that is particularly beneficial to you, or focus on loans in the size range you need.

“If you treat it like ‘I’m just going to stop in one bank and see what happens,’ you may get lucky and fall upon the best possible bank — or get unlucky,” Gritz says. “This is a large decision. You’re taking a loan for a large amount of money that will materially impact your business. You’ve got to take it very seriously.”

Some small banks specialize in lending to businesses in industries they know well, such as delis or gas stations, that big banks often view as too risky, says Arora. Ask other local entrepreneurs in your field if they know which banks lend to businesses in your own field, so you can include them in the mix. “Before you start investing your time, money and effort, you should know if that bank will be comfortable in that particular industry,” says Arora.

Take a look at each bank’s website to see what options it offers in loans and lines of credit, Gritz suggests. If you don’t have collateral to put up, such as real estate or inventory, you will need a bank that offers unsecured options. “If banks don’t have [unsecured loans], it generally means they are more conservative on lending,” Gritz says. “It will be more difficult to get a loan.” What you find out from your online research may help you narrow the list of banks you are considering.

How to save your money so carefully

For the couple I was meeting with, what they were really asking was whether it would be possible for them to retire early based on their current savings. But for a young couple just having kids, the same question is likely to center on saving for college or moving into a bigger house. People ultimately want to know if they will have enough money to do the things they still hope to do.

Digging deeper

To begin answering this question for yourself, you first need to know the type of life you want to live. You must understand how much you are spending versus how much you are earning. But determining your spending needs is a tough nut to crack.

That’s because spending decisions are heavily influenced by quality-of-life considerations. Some people hire house cleaners and lawn services, while others prefer doing it themselves. Eating nice meals out frequently may be the spice of life for you, but others enjoy cooking at home.

Decisions on the bigger-ticket items have the greatest impact. A large house will require a larger down payment, meaning less liquid savings. Some people aspire to drive nicer cars for short periods, while others want to drive cars until the wheels fall off. Then there’s that little decision about having kids, which will have more than a slight impact on your financial trajectory.

Acknowledging the things you consider important to your quality of life can give you a great blueprint for the amount it will take to sustain that life.

Struggling to save

While some who ask “Am I saving enough?” are seeking validation, others are worried that they haven’t saved enough.

Recent research finds that 68% of people believe they’ve saved too little — but only 3% are actually following through by saving more. This isn’t surprising. It’s the same disconnect you find in all endeavors that require consistent action. We can all get charged up on a jolt of motivation, but when it’s time to implement, we freeze.

Thoughts bubble up about the big trips we want to take this summer, or that luxury car we’ve always wanted (and deserve). We start thinking about putting more money into our 401(k), and we realize we need to limit our current spending to make it work. Then it doesn’t sound like such a good idea.

This is when what seems simple in theory (saving more) becomes hard. Making choices that change our quality of life now is more painful than we originally thought and often results in inaction.

The answer

The only way to know if you are saving enough is to piece together your financial puzzle.

Take inventory of what you’ve saved and how much you anticipate you can still save. Set up automatic transfers of money from checking to savings — but watch the credit card bills. Automating savings while accumulating credit card debt is counterproductive.

Working with a qualified advisor can make an enormous difference. Studies have shown the effect that good advice can produce. Often, this advice helps prevent you from ratcheting up your lifestyle too quickly in the first place.

 

Pay Off Your Student Loan Tips

Make fun of the so-called “professional students” all you want. You know, the ones who, unlike the TAs, remember the original Dukes of Hazzard TV show. But would you be in a huge hurry to check out of the ivory tower and into debtors’ prison?

More and more, recent graduates are trading their sheepskins for student-loan debt payments. Plenty of college grads face five-figure debts, and for those with professional degrees, loans of $100,000 or more aren’t uncommon.

But what if you had the means to wipe the student-loan slate clean? Those who are fortunate enough to get good-paying jobs out of school may accumulate savings rapidly enough that they can pay off their loans early. If you can choose, which should you do: Kill off the loan, or keep cash in the bank? Well, it depends.

Wipe out that loan ASAP if:

  • You’re stuck in a high-interest private student loan. Private loans aren’t subject to the same interest-rate limits that apply to many federal loans, so even if you consolidate your loans, you may end up paying more than you should. If private loans are a necessity, be sure to shop around to see whether you can get lower rates.
  • The interest you’re paying is not tax-deductible.
  • You are flush with cash — or at least flush enough to pay off your loans and still have money left over to start your emergency savings account.
  • A sweet job with an even sweeter salary awaits.

Sit on your student loan if:

  • You locked in a low, fixed-interest rate before the July 1 deadline.
  • You’re able to deduct the interest from your taxes.
  • You have other higher-interest debt looming — for example, if you paid for your college textbooks with a credit card, and those books are sitting on the balance.
  • If you’re unsure of your future income.

How to Pay Off Your Student Loans

So you’re out of college, drowning in debt and probably wondering, “Was it really worth it?”

Whether it was or wasn’t is probably yet to be seen. But either way, you might be desperate to rid yourself of student loan debt — especially if the amount of your debt is on par with the national average, which is more than $35,000 for the average student graduating in 2015.

The good news: Employing all of the following 10 tips can help you get rid of your student loans in just one year. There are, however, a couple of things to consider, such as how much you owe vs. how much you’re earning. If your base loan is $30,000, and you’re only making $35,000 a year, eliminating your debt within 12 months might not be an achievable goal. And if you’ve already begun a family, these tips can be very challenging to employ. So, it might take you two, three or more years instead to pay off your debt.

But nonetheless, use these strategies to reduce or erase your student loan debt. It will be a tough year, but it will be rewarding when you see your loan balance shrink to $0.

1. Seek a job offering student loan repayment reimbursement.

Many government agencies and other employers provide employee recruitment and retention incentives in the form of student loan assistance. When looking for your first real job after college or perhaps seeking an employment upgrade, look for employers who offer programs such as these.

2. Take on extra work.

If you’ve got the time and energy, pick up extra work. Whether your current gig offers overtime or you can make money on the weekends cutting grass, consider taking on a part-time job to add to your monthly income. Who knows — maybe working 60 to 80 hours a week for a year will eliminate thousands of dollars from your indebtedness? If so, the short-term grind will be worth it for the long-term gain.

3. Set up payroll allotment.

Check with your job’s human resources department, and ask to set up payroll allotment. With payroll allotment, a certain amount of your regular paycheck goes directly into another account and not into your main checking or savings accounts. If you don’t see the money, you won’t be tempted to blow your paycheck. And in a short period of time, you will have accumulated a nice chunk of change that can be used to make a lump sum payment on your student loans.

4. Say ‘no’ to the 401(k) plan.

Opposite most advice you’re most likely receiving, if getting out of debt is your No. 1 goal, consider delaying your retirement savings by 12 months. Delaying the “benefits” of one year of 401(k) contributions in favor of faster debt servicing is worth it in the end. The amount you’re paying in loan interest will probably be more than you earn in your 401(k) after you factor in market risk and taxes due.

5. Do more things at home.

You’ve probably already learned that you can save more money by doing more things at home. Making your meals, watching movies on Netflix and even mixing your own cocktails can be much cheaper than going out. Use the money you saved to go toward your student loan payments.

 

Bank Account To Stop Slow Leaks Tips

Bank statements don’t make for scintillating reading, but if you take a close look, you could find a few unpleasant surprises. Such was the case when I glanced at one of our statements and discovered our bank was simultaneously charging us for banking with online bill pay and banking without it. How we could be doing both — and paying for it — was beyond me. But there the charges were, $9.95 and $5.95 respectively, leaking dollars out of our checking account.

What small leaks are there in your financial life? What charges — erroneous or simply unnecessary — can you eliminate? The leaks may be small ones in the form of fees or larger ones like monthly expenses for services you just don’t use. Large or small, getting rid of these drains on your finances can leave more money for retirement savings, your emergency fund, or just plain fun.

Here’s a list of just some of the charges that could be dribbling money away you’re your important financial goals and down the drain:

  • Banking fees.

    If you’re being charged for banking, it’s time to evaluate your choice of financial institutions. After we discovered the fees we were being charged we switched to a different bank that allows us to bank online for free. Likewise, you may want to approach your existing bank to see if you qualify for an account upgrade that will offer you free checks or other perks and save you money in the process.

  • Programs through your employer.

    Your employer may sponsor programs that you’re no longer using, such as a prepaid legal program or pet insurance. Take a look at the deductions from your paycheck and make sure that, if they’re optional (i.e., not required by the IRS), they’re all for services you still want.

  • Netflix.

    I love our Netflix subscription, but we make a concerted effort to use it enough to make the fees seem worth it. Take a look at your subscription and ask yourself: Do I use this regularly or should I cancel it? Should I go down a tier in service and fees?

  • Web hosting fees.

    Are you paying a web-hosting fee for a site that has fallen by the wayside? Use it or lose it.

  • Cable charges.

    Give your cable bill a look; perhaps you are paying for some premium channels that you never use. Going down just one level in your cable service can save you big bucks over the course of a year.

  • Gym membership.

    If you use the gym regularly, a membership makes sense. But for many of us, signing on the dotted line was the most exercise we’ve gotten out of the whole experience. Take a look at your contract to determine when you can opt out. That $40 a month that’s automatically debited to Gold’s Gym can help pad your emergency fund.

  • Credit protection programs.

    Take a look at the protection your credit card company already affords you before you say yes to additional coverage. You may well find you are sufficiently protected, without the upgrade and additional charges.

  • Credit monitoring services.

    According to federal law, you are entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from each of the credit bureaus. If you space out your requests (for example, requesting Experian’s report on Jan. 1, Trans Union’s four months later in May, and your Equifax credit report in September), you can monitor your own credit for free.

  • Anything you could get at the library for free.

    Memberships to periodicals such as Consumer Reports may be unnecessary drains on your bank account if you’re at all inclined to use the library. My local reference librarian recently showed me all of the databases I could access off of the library website, including full text reviews from Consumer Reports for all but the most current three issues. Never underestimate the power of the library!