Although there is no doubt that having a college degree makes a significant difference in the quality of life of young adults, making smart decisions before and during college can be the difference between financial success and lasting struggles with debt.
The tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt that many borrowers owe can take years, or even decades, to pay off – and that’s if you earn enough money to make the payments. No wonder many graduates feel overwhelmed, or even hopeless.
Finding a way to get on top of your student loan debt is crucial. Ignore it and your balances will just continue to grow. You may even find yourself dodging debt collectors.
Don’t box yourself in by only learning the skills that are specific to your profession. The more skills you have, the more value you can bring to any situation.
Here are 7 key skills that you need to learn, regardless of your path in life:
When I teach classes on budgeting and credit, many people do not have a strong plan in place to build a budget or to build their credit.
One of the best and easiest ways to stay out of debt and reach your financial goals is to use debit and credit cards for different purchases. One of my basic rules of personal finance is to use debit cards for small, everyday purchases and use credit cards for larger amounts (such as hotels and airline tickets).
Spending creep is a phenomenon that occurs when we increase our spending (consciously or subconsciously) as our perceived wealth grows. With every subsequent pay raise and/or run in the stock market, I’ve noticed spending creep settling into my budget.
Where I would once call my bank to challenge a $10 fee, I now let little things slide. If I buy something that I found cheaper elsewhere, I don’t bother to return it for the difference. I notice myself paying for meals and drinks out with friends. I buy more luxury goods (...
I have two recommended approaches to paying off your debts. One approach is more analytical and the other behavioral. The first will lead with your mind, and the second will lead with your heart. In either case, stamina and determination will be required to reach financial freedom.
If you’re in your 20s, this may be the first time in your life that you’ve had any significant money of your own to manage. This is your chance to create good money habits that will help you build a successful financial future, or to develop bad habits that will cause you grief, erode your finances, and (as with most bad habits) be difficult to kick.
When you first start earning money, it can be a lot of fun to spend it on...
My parents always encouraged/expected me to do well in school, and I realized the only way I was going to be able to get a good-paying job was to study. The only obstacle standing in my way was money. At a very young age, I realized my parents could not afford to pay for my college tuition and expenses, so I decided to start playing the scholarship game.
Fast forward four years, one bachelor’s and two master’s degrees later... I ended up receiving nearly $100,000 in scholarships.
A high credit score is important to me, so I check my credit report once every three months to make certain it’s free of errors. Recently, I noticed some inaccurate information; my mortgage loan had been sold to a new company, but on my credit report, there appeared to be two mortgage loans – one with the new company and the same one with the old company.
To correct the error, I filed a dispute on the Equifax website, which only took about three minutes. About two weeks later, I received a letter from Equifax stating that the old loan was now closed. The process to correct the error was quick and easy.
But for many people, credit reports can be filled with pages of...