Insights


Tips on Winning More College Scholarships

Scholarships can make the high cost of a college education bearable. While most students do not win a full scholarship, it is possible to save thousands of dollars on your education by creating a systematic plan to win more free money for college. Select the Right Scholarship Applications Begin by read more


Why Carrying Minimum Car Insurance Coverage Could Cost You More

When shopping for car insurance there is the temptation to select the lowest price which often means the lowest level of coverage. Enhanced vehicle coverage may increase premiums, but in most cases, increasing coverage will save you money in the long run. When Might Minimum Coverage Be the Right Choice? read more


What You Need to Know About Car Insurance Rates

With millions of cars on the road, 2016 experienced an increase of 5.6% in traffic deaths rising to 37,461, 1,715,000 injuries, and 4,548,000 car crashes causing property damage, according to the USDOT. Auto insurance protects against financial loss due to an at-fault accident. In most cases, you have been paying read more


Money Saving Tips When Insuring Your Teen Driver

The stress of having a teenage driver goes beyond the white-knuckled driving lessons; it also pounds your wallet in the form of skyrocketing insurance rates. Teenagers have more accidents than any other age group, and, insurers reflect the higher rate of claims in the cost of premiums. Taking proactive steps, read more


How to Decide If You Need Car Insurance Riders

Car insurance policies include coverage for bodily injury, personal property, and in most cases, uninsured motorists; they protect against an at-fault accident up to a maximum payout. In addition to the standard inclusions you have the option of adding riders, which have specific benefits but raise the cost of the read more


Should You Invest in Car Repair Coverage?

Car repairs can be an expensive part of vehicle ownership. A major repair can set you back thousands of dollars. For instance, a rebuilt engine or transmission can cost between $2,500 and $5,000 to replace. Is insuring against future repairs a waste of money or a good investment? Everyone who read more


7 Ways to Lower Car Insurance Premiums

Driving a car requires you to buy insurance for all your vehicles. Insurance requirements vary by state, as do the consequences for driving without proper coverage. Even though you must buy car insurance, there are ways to save money on premiums. Insurance company’s base rates on driver risk. Lowering your read more


Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Reaching Discharge Eligibility

Student loan borrowers who want to receive loan forgiveness through public service, cross the ten-year mark in October 2017, providing the first round of qualified borrowers to receive the benefit. The Department of Education (DOE) will make the application for loan discharge available in September of 2017. However, there are read more


Key Drawbacks to Store Credit Cards

Store credit cards can be a low hanging fruit because companies make it easy to qualify, fast to apply, and provide incentives to entice enrollment. However, there are several features of store credit cards, which might have you reconsidering the next time a clerk asks you to sign up. High-interest read more


Household Debt Reaching New Heights

Total household debt in the US breached the $12.68 trillion-mark set in 2008, to a new high of $12.73 trillion, at the end of the first quarter in 2017. The higher balances represent a growing trend of increased debt, with levels rising between December 31 and March 31, by 149 read more


Top 3 Challenges of Parent Plus Loans

Colleges often encourage parents to borrow through Parent PLUS loans, when facing shortfalls in the financial aid package. These actions could reduce the parent’s readiness for retirement. Before signing the dotted line consider the top three challenges faced with PLUS loans. Difficulty transferring student debt to the child’s name. When read more


The Ins and Outs of Parent Plus Loans

From the 1989-90 school term to the 2011-12 term, Parent PLUS loans grew by 385%, according to a Nerdwallet study. The increase in reliance on Parent PLUS loans could put millions of retirement accounts in jeopardy, as they struggle to pay high-interest loan balances at the end of their careers. read more


5 Financial Decisions Impacted by Credit

Credit has become increasingly important over the past decade as more companies rely on it to evaluate candidate applications. No longer used solely by lenders, poor credit can cost more than a loan approval. Here are the top five areas of your financial life directly impacted by credit. Loan applications. read more


Understanding the Difference Between Your Credit Report and Credit Score

In the past few years, credit companies opened the doors to greater consumer access to credit tools which impact your financial life. Moving credit to a more consumer-friendly approach can give you more control over credit and the cost of borrowing by improving credit education and monitoring. Maintaining credit is read more


The Difference Between Traditional and Roth IRAs

Individual retirement accounts or IRAs are available to most Americans with earned income. In many cases you may supplement retirement savings with an IRA even if you participate in the company sponsored retirement program. IRAs come in two varieties, the Traditional and the Roth. Common Characteristics of Both Accounts Deposits read more


Understanding 401K Fees

Building a retirement fund through a 401K plan is an easy and effective way to increase savings. You can enjoy automatic withdrawals, tax benefits, and often matching dollars through your employer. However, high fees reduce the rate of return and chip away at earnings. Each quarter, the law requires fund read more


How to Get the Highest Return on Your College Investment

Not all colleges and universities provide the same outcomes after graduation. Making smart choices about your education can increase job prospects after school and lead to higher lifetime wages. With a higher number of college graduates competing for each job opening and debt levels hitting new highs, consider the following read more


Is College Still a Good Investment?

Rising student loan debt balances and stagnant wages among college graduates has many high school seniors reconsidering whether college attendance. Frequent reports highlighting the plight of Millennials to gain financial security commonly grace the headlines. In 2015, the average college graduate left school with $34,000 in debt, with 44% of read more


Seniors Face Student Loan Debt Crisis

The student loan crisis in not only a problem for Millennials. Surprisingly, the fastest growing segment of borrowers is among those 50 and over, which have seen student loan balances quadruple. Total outstanding debt for rising seniors topped 183 billion dollars, an increase of 140 billion in the last ten read more


Garnishments on Student Loans Hurting Retirees

Student loans can haunt seniors struggling to pay down debt before or in retirement. The loans are notoriously difficult to discharge leaving many seniors with loan defaults on the debt. It is difficult to qualify for a disability or bankruptcy charge, providing little or no relief for seniors. There is read more


Credit Report Changes Coming in 2017, What You Need to Know

Regulators are increasing the pressure for credit bureaus to offer more consumer-friendly practices in their businesses. The result of increased legislative involvement for consumers is an easier dispute process, more accurate credit reports, and overall higher consumer credit scores, within the past few years. The most recent challenge came from read more


Reward Programs Which Save The Most Money

With most major companies offering various forms of rewards programs, it can be hard to compare them across brands to find the ones with the best value. Signing up for every store program might give you an initial discount on the current purchase, but will likely not offer any ongoing read more


How to Save Money with Loyalty Programs

Companies offer loyalty incentives to encourage consumers to favor their brand, with the goal of increasing profits and differentiating their brand from competitors. With so many companies offering different forms of reward programs, you can end up with a wallet full of cards, and very few benefits. Grocery stores, department read more


Top Options for Funding Graduate School

Returning to college to complete an advanced degree is an important and expensive decision. You return to a formal education setting with hopes of a better paying job or more fulfilling career but must find ways to pay for additional schooling without adding thousands of dollars in debt to your read more


Dissecting Loan Options When Returning to College

With the average cost of a graduate degree costing between $30,000 and $120,000, finding ways to pay for it are an important aspect of returning to school. While many students may secure scholarships, fellowships, or other forms of free aid, many must turn to loans to fund part of the read more


Tips on Lowering the Cost of Prescription Drugs

Along with rising premiums and higher deductibles, out-of-pocket costs for required medications has risen sharply over the past several years. Three years in a row, the average cost of medications rose by nearly 10%, with many increasing by over 100% since 2012. When you require medication to maintain health, rising read more


3 Ways to Save Money on Health Care Costs

Rising health care costs have taken a toll on the average family budget. Increased deductibles and co-pays have led to higher out of pocket costs. Employers are transferring rising premiums to workers, and those obtaining insurance through the Marketplace finding less choice, and little or no access to low cost, read more


Using an UGMA or UTMA Account to Pay for College

Children are unable to enter contracts, which limits their ability to invest money in their name before they become an adult. The Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA) and Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA) provide a way for a parent to establish an investment account, in the child’s name, read more


Save Money on College by Graduating Early

Rapidly rising college costs have many parents looking for ways to cut the cost of attending school. One of the most overlooked ways is to encourage your child to complete their degree in four years or less. While the cost of an education rises, so is the time it takes read more


Impact of Rising Interest Existing Debt

This month, the Federal Reserve raised the benchmark interest rate for the second time in four months. A stable economy and strong employment numbers encourage economic growth, which could lead to higher levels of inflation, prompting the rate increase. Rising interest rates are good news to those looking for fixed read more


Increase Emergency Fund Balances by Selling Unwanted Items

Most households contain many items in good condition which you rarely use. From clothes, your children have outgrown, to sports equipment or instruments you no longer play. Earn additional money to fund your emergency fund by locating and selling these items. Kitchen appliances, tools, and old furniture maintain their value, read more


Saving Money on College Through Tuition-Free Schools

The cost of a college education is rising faster than the consumer price index, leading families to search for creative ways to lower the cost of a college education. For the 2016-17 school year, the average cost of a year at a private university is $33,480. In-state colleges charge local read more


Increase Emergency Fund Balances Through Additional Income Sources

Building an emergency fund increases financial security and reduces the dependence on short-term loans, such as credit cards, to pay for unexpected expenses. Finding extra money each week to fund an emergency fund can be a challenge with the demands of limited income and ongoing monthly bills. One effective way read more


Save Money on College Through Community College Programs

With the cost of a college education rising faster than inflation, and the average graduate in 2016 carrying $37,172 in student loan debt, many entering colleges are rethinking the traditional path of four to six years at a major university to obtain the all-important college degree. One strategy to keep read more


Top Ways to Save Money on College While in High School

High school students focus on grades, extracurricular activities, and maximizing SAT scores. Students also have the opportunity to save money on the cost of a college education before ever graduating from high school, by earning university credits which will transfer upon graduation, allowing some students to shave off an entire read more


The Financial Benefits of Downsizing

Empty nesters are finding that downsizing their home has many benefits and can free up time and money for things that have more value as you near or enter retirement. If you find yourself with more space than you need, consider the following benefits of downsizing. A smaller home cost read more


Saving for College with Prepaid Plans

Prepaid 529 plans allow you to save money on the cost of attending college by pre-paying for some of the costs. When there is a decade or more before the beneficiary attends school, these plans can save a significant amount of money with lower market risk than traditional 529 saving read more


Advantages of Saving for College With a 529 Savings Plan

Congress initially approved the 529 Savings Plans in 1996, providing an additional way to set aside money for college. These plans have some distinct advantages, making them a popular choice for investors. The plans, run by each state, offer four key benefits, which include the following: Few restrictions. The 529 read more


The 1% Effect and How It Impacts Retirement Balances

One effective way to increase retirement balances is by contributing an additional 1% each year, above current contributions. Doing so increases the balances faster accounts for inflationary costs, and leads to a more secure retirement, without significantly impacting cash flow. The idea is simple. Increase deposits to your 401K or read more


Why Tax Efficient Accounts Matter for Retirement Savings

Tax savings on investments depends on the type of account chosen. You may select an account featuring pre-tax or post-tax contributions, both which offer tax-free growth during your working years. To pay the least amount of taxes, consider the tax treatment on the account before choosing your path to retirement. read more


7 Easy Steps to Building Retirement Account Balances

Whether you start saving for retirement at the age of 20, 30, or even 40, the key to long-term success is consistently putting money away over time. The younger you are, the less urgent retirement seems, yet the younger age will give you more years to contribute, resulting in smaller read more


Life Goes On: A Primer for Financial Security at Every Stage of Life

Life is an adventure—and like all adventures, it’s both fun and stressful. You come up with a plan. You take your first steps. It works just fine. You think you have it all figured out. And then suddenly everything changes. Frequent travelers and Boy Scouts know that the key to read more


The Story Behind Your Credit Score

Obtaining credit can be a real puzzle, yet your score will impact the interest rates lenders offer and whether you will be approved for a loan. Even if you are not applying for a loan, your credit score will impact what you pay for insurance, whether you will need to read more


Financially Managing a Job Loss

A job loss is one o f the most devastating events that can happen in your career. Yet in today’s world, job losses can occur multiple times in the course of employment. Gone are the days of working for the same company for 40 years and then retiring with a pension and read more


The Right Way to Pay off Debt

Accumulating debt can really sneak up on you. Credit cards often offer low monthly payments and high rates of interest that when combined with high balances can become a real financial nightmare. Once you recognize you have too much debt, there are a number of ways to address the problem read more


Ten Surprising Things That Won’t Hurt Your Credit Rating

Question: Your Visa bill, your electric bill, and your mortgage are all due on the 1st of the month and you don’t have enough money to cover them all. You are worried about hurting your credit rating. But a bonus check from work will come on the 8th. What should read more