Save for Retirement and Tackle your Student Loans

A recent Forbes.com article entitled “Yes, you can save for retirement and pay your student loans” featured advice by Cheryl Sherrard regarding the desired approach for tackling student debt while also saving for the future. An excerpt from the article follows: Fund your emergency savings account. Once you’re doing the basics in terms of retirement savings and student loan payments, start stashing money in an emergency savings account. If an unexpected event occurs, having a rainy day fund will keep you from borrowing from your retirement account or taking on credit card debt. “You’ve got to have a cushion for emergencies,” says Cheryl J. Sherrard, a certified financial planner and director of financial planning and clearview wealth management in Charlotte, N.C. Increase payments strategically. After you’ve got your emergency account squared away, you can start thinking about the best way to direct any additional funds. If you have high-interest, private student loans, using extra cash to pay those off first is a smart move. If your student loans have low interest rates, you may be off better putting money in the Read on! →

FAFSA Changes for College-Bound Students

If you are the parent of a high school junior who is preparing to attend college in the fall of 2017, the filing process for financial aid just got easier!  President Obama’s recently signed executive order changes the rules for completing and submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) beginning October 2016 for the 2017-2018 academic school year.  For this and subsequent academic school years, the FAFSA application process will start in October 1st of the year prior to the child starting college and it will rely on prior-prior year income. October Start Date Traditionally, the FAFSA opened on January 1st and utilized income figures from the previous year to determine how much aid a child or family might be eligible to receive at the start of the school year in September of the same year.  This may seem reasonable but colleges often want to provide student aid estimates by mid-March.  Since tax related documents are sometimes not available until mid-February, with K-1s from partnerships, LLC, S-Corporations or Trusts often not arriving until March, the window for completing Read on! →

Student Loans Weighing you Down?

Over 40 million Americans currently carry student loan debt with average balances of $29,000. If medical school was part of the equation that number could easily triple or quadruple. If you find yourself grappling with hefty student loans and all the decisions that come along with them, make sure you fully understand the details of your loans and all of your options before devising a plan to deal with your debt. The details can be overwhelming, so we’ve done our best to break down some key points for you here. The Basics There are a number of different types of student loans available to borrowers. If you’re in the process of applying for a student loan, understand the details before accepting the loan. If you already have student loans, understand consolidation options and payback choices so you know how to properly deal with them. Federal Loans are loans offered by the federal government which offer benefits that are not available if taking a loan out from a private institution. These include flexible repayment options (see below), deferment (postponing payment for Read on! →