Tag: student loan debt

Your Money in the News – November 2018

Your Money in the News – November 2018

Your Money in the News:? Student loan everything is in the news. As more and more uncomfortable facts about rising student loan debt are surfacing, lawsuits are flying. But perhaps a new breed of politicians brings hope.

Uncomfortable Facts About Rising Student Loan Debt – Forbes

I know. It?s depressing. But we have to face what the explosion in student loan debt is doing to our country and its people. Here are some figures taken from 7,095 borrowers who participated in a 50-state survey for the new report ?Buried in Debt,? a national research study on the state of student loan borrowers in 2018.

  • Most borrowers reported they have less than $1,000 in their bank account
  • 80% cannot save for retirement
  • 19% reported a delay getting married
  • 26% put off having children
  • Nearly 90% are struggling to make payments
  • 6% have had their Social Security payments or wages seized
  • 18% report being in default on at least one student loan
  • Over 30% report their student loan bill is higher than their rent or mortgage bill
  • Nearly 40% report they have been unable to achieve their career goals
  • 28% said their student debt prevented them from starting a business
  • 60% reported that their loan servicer has given them ?confusing? or ?unhelpful? advice about their loans
  • 57% had experienced unexpected demands after a sudden change in the loan servicer
  • 42% had trouble negotiating a change to the repayment plan when they had financial hardships
  • Every 28 seconds a borrower defaults on a student loan
  • Some borrowers are struggling with the idea of suicide

More Uncomfortable Facts About Rising Student Loan Debt – Bloomberg

Beyond what student loan debt is doing in borrowers’ lives on a personal level, a broader national level view is equally disturbing and, quite frankly, unsustainable over the long term.

Share of student loan debt held by federal governmentSince 2006, student loan debt has almost doubled as a share of the economy.

 

Student Loan Debt as a Share of Gross GDP

The percentage of student debt held by the federal government has risen from about 30 percent to almost 80 percent since 2010. (In 2010 the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act nationalized the student-lending industry, eliminated guaranteed loans and replaced them with direct government lending to students.)

 

Federal Government Total Financial Assets

Student loans now represent the largest percentage of the federal government?s total financial assets.?

 

 

This is particularly sinister because not only are student loans hurting the people they?re supposed to help, the government obviously has a strong incentive not to change the system.

It?s up to us to give them one.

An Quick Overview of the Navient Issue – Washington Post

Navient is one of the largest student loans servicers in the country. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a lawsuit against the Navient in January 2017 for systematically and illegally failing borrowers at every stage of repayment. After the suit was filed, the Department of Education conducted an audit that confirmed there were compliance issues.

The results of the audit appear to support federal and state lawsuits that accuse Navient of boosting its profits by steering some borrowers into the high interest incurring forbearance without discussing less expensive income based repayment plans. But the DoE failed to release the results of the audit which until now have been kept from the public.

Even while knowing of its conclusions, the DoE repeatedly argued that state and other federal authorities do not have jurisdiction over Navient?s business practices.

Presently, 5 states are also suing Navient ? California, Illinois, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Washington ? for breaking consumer protection laws.

This finding is both tragic and infuriating, and the findings appear to validate the allegations that Navient boosted its profits by unfairly steering student borrowers into forbearance when that was often the worst financial option for them. – Senator Elizabeth Warren

In August, Seth Frotman, Student Loan Ombudsman with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, resigned. In his resignation letter, he accused the DoE and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of using the Bureau ?to serve the wishes of the most powerful financial companies in America? and hurting American families as a result.

DeVos Sued by Housing and Economic Rights Advocates – NPR

The Department of Education is being sued again. This time by the Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, a California-based legal service nonprofit group, that claims that the Department of Education is continuing to collect on loans that it should be discharging?with?the Borrower Defense rule.

A Federal Judge ruled last month that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ delay of the student Borrower Defense rule was improper and unlawful.

The Borrower Defense Rule made loan discharge automatic for students who could not complete their education because their schools shut down while they were enrolled. DeVos was first sued last year for delaying the Borrower Defense rule by 18 states and Washington DC.

Under current leadership, the Department of Education seems determined to deny student borrowers the financial relief to which they are entitled. – Aaron Ament, president of the National Student Legal Defense Network

A New Generation of Politicians Committed to Tackling Student Loan Debt – MarketWatch

But perhaps there is hope on the horizon. The first generation of students who have experienced our debt-financed higher education system is coming of age politically. ?As a result, ideas like tuition-free college, a push for scrutinizing student loan companies, and even student debt cancellation are common themes this year. Meet 5 candidates who are pushing for reform:

Natalie Higgins, running for re-election to Massachusetts? House of Representatives

  • Took out $130,000 in student debt to attend law school.
  • Says her $500 student loan payment is keeping her from saving more for retirement.
  • Was kicked off her repayment plan because she missed an email reminding her to re-enroll in the plan.
  • Introduced a bill that would require student loan servicers operating in the state to abide by certain consumer protections
We just want the same shot our parents had to get access to higher education, to be able to do better. – ?Natalie Higgins

Sarah Smith, running to represent the state of Washington in Congress

  • Has about $40,000 in student loans ($100,000 when combined with her husband?s.)
  • Pays roughly $800 a month in student loan payments.
  • Expects to be repaying her debt until she?s well past middle age.
  • Is pushing for a complete bail-out on student loan debt which could, in fact, stimulate the economy.
I just got tired of waiting for someone else to help people like me. – Sarah Smith.

Matt Lesser, running for a state senate seat in Connecticut

  • Lesser and his wife are managing the roughly $60,000 she took out in student loans.
  • Sponsored legislation in 2015 to create a student loan bill of rights in Connecticut that require student loan companies to abide by certain consumer protection rules.

Andrew Janz, running to represent California in Congress

  • Estimates that he owes about $300,000 in student loans from undergraduate and graduate degrees.
  • Wants to advocate for proposals that create incentives from the federal government for states to invest more in their higher education institutions.
I don?t think that the vast majority of current members of Congress get what us (sic) millennials are going through.- Andrew Janz

Liuba Grechen Shirley, running to represent New York in Congress

  • Acquired $60,000 on her way to a degree in politics and Russian.
  • Took on another $45,000 in debt to complete her graduate degree.
  • Would push for allowing borrowers to refinance their federal student loans at lower interest rates and making it easier for borrowers to discharge student debt in bankruptcy.
If more members of congress know what it?s like to balance the obligations of a working parent with expenses like student loans, their policymaking will reflect that. – Liuba Grechen Shirley

We can only hope that the generation most impacted by the student loan crisis will be the one to come up with a solution. As a country, we can do better. We have to .

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Your Money in the News – July

This month: Why do people stay in debt?, Financial milestones for your 60s, Climbing credit card interest will eat tax cuts and wage increases, Beware student loan repayment scams, Mobile banking replacing bank branches…

Keeping it Real: A Short Q&A on Consumer Debt – KNOE

What is one reason people stay in debt?

They want to keep up appearances or try to keep up with the Jones, but end up damaging their financial security in the process.?The fear of feeling broke may be keeping people broke.

Related: ?Over 50 Broke and in Debt: ?Starting from Ground Zero

Does getting out of debt take sacrifice?

Yes, but practicing frugality to get out of debt can lead people to win with money. The lifestyle changes you make when getting out of debt can also be put to use to accumulate wealth.

Related: ?From Frugality to Financial Freedom: ?A Path for All

What is another reason people stay in debt?

People are afraid of change. If you have always charged on credit cards, or had a car loan, then you may have become conditioned to believe that paying tons in interest is normal. People know what to expect and it feels comfortable.

Related: ?Credit Card Payoff Strategies: ?What the Card Companies Don?t Want You to Know

Are some people really addicted to stuff?

Yes. People need to realize that no amount of stuff will make you happy and, at some point, too much stuff can actually cause both financial chaos and stress in your life. (The more stuff you have, the more stuff you have to take care of.)

Related: ?Declutter Your Life and Make Money

What is the main reason people stay in debt?

Some people stay in debt because they don’t know how to get out of debt. Financial literacy is not taught in schools but it needs to be. The first step in taking control is becoming informed.?

Once people get interested in their finances, they will understand for themselves how insane it is to carry consumer debt.

Related: ?DIY Credit Card Debt: ?A Guide to Permanent Debt Relief

In Your 60?s? Focus on These 6 Financial Targets – Motley Fool

We hear a lot about retirement planning when you?re young, but what should you be shooting for when you?re staring retirement in the face? These 6 financial targets may help give you some direction:

1. Have a fully loaded emergency fund

In the years leading up to retirement, having three to six months’ worth of living expenses in the bank will help you avoid debt later in life, and give you a measure of security as you look at letting go of that paycheck.

When you’re at the end of your working career, the last thing you need is for an unplanned bill to disrupt your financial plans.

2. Have 10 times your ending salary in a retirement account

While no one knows how long they will live there is no guarantee that you won?t run out of money. As a general rule, it’s smart to enter your full retirement with a minimum of 10 times your ending salary in an IRA or 401(k).

While Social Security will serve as a steady income source, it’ll only be enough to replace about 40% of the average worker’s pre-retirement earnings.

3. Pay off your mortgage

Once you stop working, you’ll be on a fixed income, so you’re better off not having a mortgage payment around to eat up a substantial chunk of it.

Unfortunately, an estimated 30% of seniors 65 and over continue to carry mortgage debt.

4. Eliminate credit card debt

If you have credit card debt, pay it off before making your retirement official. If you have credit card debt and a mortgage, pay off your credit card first.

Chances are, your credit card is charging at least double the interest rate you’re paying on your mortgage, which means the longer you carry a balance, the more money you stand to throw away.

5. Buy long-term care insurance

We don?t know what is going to happen to our bodies in the future. Medicare won’t cover long-term care. That’s why it pays to secure long-term care insurance during your 60s if you haven’t already. If you wait too long you can risk getting denied, or paying higher premiums.

While most Americans don?t believe they?ll need long term care, in reality, 70% of those turning age 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care during their lives. – AARP

6. Learn how Social Security works

It?s critical to understand how Social Security works so that you can plan a filing strategy ahead of time. The age you choose to file for Social Security could cause your payments change. You need to understand how and why.

Don?t ever file for Social Security before you?ve done your research.

How your Credit Card Interest Will Pay for the Next Recession – The New York Times

The Current Stats

National credit card debt has reached 1 trillion.

  • 70% of Americans carry a credit card balance from month to month.
  • The current average APR is 16.8%.
  • The average credit card balance is $5,700.

Credit card debt is growing at a rate of 4.7% while wages are growing at only 3%.

  • More families than ever have zero or negative wealth, excluding their homes.
  • Household net worth has decreased for all income groups since 2007 ? except the top 10%.
  • Net worth for the richest Americans is up 27%.
  • Net worth of the middle class has decreased 20-30%.

The wealthiest 10% now own about 75% of the nation?s total household wealth – up from less than 35% in the 1970s.

  • The nation?s richest 0.1% now own as much wealth as the bottom 90% .
  • For the bottom 90% – the ability to build wealth depends on the ability to save (which is impossible when interest rates are rising and eating into their earnings.)
  • The personal savings rate, at only 2.8 %, is heading in the wrong direction.

The Future Prediction

Ok, keeping the above statistics in mind, consider this – The Fed?s prediction is that the federal interest rate is on target to reach 3.4 percent by the end of 2020 from the current 1.9 percent. This means you?ll be paying more to get a mortgage, a new-car loan, or to carry a balance on your credit card. How much more? Possibly enough to absorb whatever extra income you might be enjoying from lower tax rates or higher wages.

Those who benefited the least from the recent tax cut ? wage workers, farmers and anyone else not in the top 10% of earners ? will have to pay the most ?in interest to mitigate the damage that the tax cuts caused to the economy. This could result in hundreds of dollars in additional interest every year per household for those carrying credit card debt.

Raising rates now, perversely, gives the Fed a monetary tool with which they would be able to fight the next recession ? by cutting those rates.

Student Loan Repayment Scams to Watch For – BBB

Massive student loan debt can make you feel desperate. But don’t get scammed. The Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau are warning consumers about an increase in student loan repayment scams.

The FTC recently reached two multimillion dollar settlements with a shady student debt relief company and a law firm that preyed on desperate consumers with student loan debt. They both falsely promised to lower payments through alleged enrollment in student loan forgiveness or other programs – for a fee. They also lied about being able to improve credit scores – for a fee. Some scammers might also claim that they can save you money by consolidating your loans for you – for a fee.

Here?s the thing: ?
If you are eligible for loan deferments, forbearance, repayment forgiveness or loan discharges, you can do it yourself without a fee. Same with loan consolidation. ?

The FTC and BBB offer some tips to give these scammers a miss:

  • Go to bbb.org to check out companies before working with them. ?If you have been a victim of a scam, report it at bbb.org/ScamTracker
  • Go to the FTC page to check out student loan debt relief scams on record as well as tips to avoid them.
  • Never pay a fee upfront for help
  • Never share sensitive information, such as your FSA ID.
  • Scammers often have official-looking names and claim they have special access to certain repayment plans. They don?t.
  • Scammers will rush you saying you could miss qualifying for repayment plans, loan consolidation, or loan forgiveness programs if you don?t sign up right away. You won?t.
  • Legitimate repayment programs such as loan deferments, forbearance, repayment and forgiveness or loan discharges are FREE to access through U.S. Department of Education or your loan servicer at no cost.
  • Check out the Federal Student Loan site for federal student loan repayment options.?

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Any company that claims it can erase your student loan debt in minutes is lying. ??

These fraudsters commonly promise student debt forgiveness and lower payments. They often demand upfront fees up to thousands of dollars for this “service,” which is illegal. – CNBC

Related:? Know the Wolf:? Credit Card Counseling vs Debt Settlement

Branches Shrink as Banks Embrace Fintech – CNN

The rapid adoption of mobile banking has allowed big banks to shrink the number of expensive branches they operate. Traditional banks are being forced to innovate due to?competitive pressure from Silicon Valley as tech pushes into finance.?Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB) are all moving into financial technology.

Big banks are even working together on mobile payment systems. Bank of America teamed up with Wells Fargo (CBEAX), JPMorgan Chase, and other big banks to build Zelle, a digital payment service that rivals PayPal(PYPL) and Venmo. More than $25 billion moved through Zelle during the first quarter of 2018.

Big banks have sunk hundreds of millions of dollars into new technology aimed at luring customers online.?Bank of America?(BAC)?stated that deposits made on mobile devices are outpacing those made at branches for the first time. Some day branches may be a thing of the past.

Editor’s Note:? Mobile and online banking are convenient and can help you stay on schedule with set and forget recurring payments. But don’t let this make you lazy. Find out what can happen if you don’t check up on your payment system periodically -??Is Technology Making You Lazy? The Dark Side of Set and Forget Payments.

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Your Money In The News – June 24th

This week:?Will rising interest rates benefit savers? Millennials are stuck with a chunk of consumer debt in student loans, Most people are not assertive enough with their finances, The skinny on credit card debt consolidation loans, Difficult choices for the house rich/savings poor,? A decade after the financial crisis – how are we doing?

Most People Are Not Assertive Enough When it Comes to Money – CNBC

While most people take ownership of their education, professional careers, and personal lives, they are less assertive when it comes to finances. This one mistake keeps them somewhat powerless over their life. Financial expert Suze Orman believes that the biggest mistake most people make, whether they are wealthy or not, is not taking an active role in handling their own finances.

Confidence and mindset are at the crux of the issue. People get excited about spending money but look at saving money as drudgery. People need to get just as excited about saving money and learn to enjoy the journey. We need to get more involved with our finances. So, while other projects may seem more important or urgent, we don’t want to forget about the most important one – financial health.

You will never be powerful in life until you are powerful over your own money. How you think about it, how you feel about it, and how you invest it.?

Related:? The Well Wallet Good Money Guide

Will Rising Interest Rates Benefit Savers, Too? – MPN

If you have an adjustable rate mortgage or a credit card, you probably know that you will be affected by the Fed’s ongoing rising interest rates. But what about the interest rates on your savings accounts? Will rising interest rates benefit savers, too? The short answer is ?yes, but??

Unfortunately, interest rates for savers will not increase in step with interest rates for borrowers. What?s a saver to do? These days the best savings rates are offered by online banks rather than traditional brick and mortar banks.

If you are looking for greater returns on your savings without the risk of the stock market, you need to look at online banks.

Related:? Emergency Savings:? Is it for me?

The Low Down on Credit Card Debt Consolidation Loans – Student Loan Hero

If you use a credit card consolidation loan to your advantage, you will be able to accomplish the following things:

  • Simplify your payments: ?Single payment date and loan term
  • Save money: ?Save money on interest
  • Accelerate your payoff date: ?A lower interest rate means more of your payment goes toward your balance resulting in paying off your debts sooner
  • Improve your credit score: ?The ratio of your available credit to your balances is a large part of your credit score

But be careful:

  1. Make sure you comparison shop for the best deal.
  2. Don?t use your credit cards after they are paid off.
  3. Make sure you always have enough in your account for your monthly loan payment.

If you?re ready to make changes to your spending habits and commit to a repayment strategy, getting a debt consolidation loan can be a smart move.

Related:? How To Get The Best Personal Loan

The Grim Reality of Being House Rich – Seattle Times

Homeownership is the largest source of wealth for Americans over 45. As Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are closing in on retirement, those who have most of their assets in their house are looking at some big questions. And the answers may not be what they want to hear.

Depending upon your situation, you may find that your plan to try to stay in your home as long as possible may not be the best. For many Americans who are house rich and savings poor, downsizing and investing their house equity for retirement may turn out to be the best option. But it?s easier said than done. Financial reality and sentiment are not always compatible.

With more than 3 million members of the baby boom generation turning 66 this year alone, many are wondering whether ? and how ? to use their housing wealth to pay for retirement.

Related:??7 Ways to Make your Home a Sustainable Source of Income

2008 Financial Crisis: ?10 Years Later, How Are We Doing? – Business Insider

It?s been 10 years since the 2008 financial crisis. According to Lending Tree?s Consumer Debt Report, while our overall debt has increased 1 trillion, our types of debt have shifted considerably. Even though mortgages weigh the most in debt analysis, while in 2008 they represented 98% of disposable income, today that figure has dropped to 68%.

Consumer debt, inclusive of student loans, auto loans and credit card debt, has increased 45% in the last decade. In fact, student loan debt now represents 42% of all consumer debt while credit card debt comprises only 27%. 10 years ago, those figures were reversed. This means that millennials, who hold most of the student loan debt today, are shouldering a large percentage of the overall consumer debt for the country.

By the end of the second quarter 2018, we’ll have $1 trillion more in household debt than we did in 2008 ? and none of it is attributable to housing.

Related:? The Problem with Growth Economics:? Time For A New Model

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