Debt Problems

Save or Pay Student Loans?

If you recently graduated from college and landed a good job, congratulations. You may face a dilemma: Begin saving for your future or pay off student debt now?

Of course, avoid missing payments on your loans and at least meet your monthly minimums. The big question depends on whether your income exceeds your monthly expenses (including your minimum payments). How do you best put that money to work?

Improving Your Credit Score

Your credit score is like the GPA of your finances. To get better financial options in the future, you should know your credit score and how you can improve it if necessary.

Your credit score plays a role in almost every financial aspect of your life. Banks check your credit score to determine whether or not to approve you for credit and how much you pay in interest charges. Your landlord may ask for your credit score for your lease application, and more and more employers are interested in it as a way to measure how responsible you are.

Boom Times for the Repo Man

The good news for the economy is that consumers are buying more. The bad news is that they’re not paying for what they buy. Debt delinquencies are surging, and so are collection agencies.

Young and Burdened by Debt

Today’s college grads carry unprecedented amounts of debt. How should they deal with it? Here are some strategies.

The problem sneaks up on many young borrowers. Wall Street Journal reporter Veronica Dahger, moderator of a panel of advisors, noted that a lot college grads will wake up to discover that they are burdened by an “overwhelming amount of debt.”

Talking Money With Honey

One of the most ticklish situations in a marriage is dealing with money – often because couples don’t talk about it, or if they do, not well. Advisors explored this fraught subject at National Financial Advisor Week.

“Being compatible romantically does not mean being compatible financially,” said Hilary Hendershott, on a panel of advisors that dug into the issue.

Couples Merging Finances

When a couple weds, each in the new pair often feels pressure to marry individual finances together as well. Smart financial planning actually dictates that you don’t have to – and in many cases shouldn’t – put all your money into a single, joint account. You can enjoy both cooperation and autonomy in your financial marriage.

The Feel-Good Shopper

While shopping can make you happy for a while, it has the potential to hurt your financial future in the long run. What is ominous is that half of Americans shop to feel better.

“It’s not just shopping, it’s retail therapy.” As a bumper sticker or a joke between friends, this may be amusing. But if shopping is a significant way to relieve stress, the expression isn’t so funny.

Dating Money Talk

One of the challenges at the beginning of a romantic relationship is having the conversation about money. What questions are OK to ask, and when? How do you bring the subject up without seeming like a braggart, a coldhearted miser, or someone looking for a meal ticket?

There really ought to be some rules of etiquette for exploring this essential topic; something like, “by the third date, it’s appropriate to start undressing financially.” Unfortunately, we don’t have such guidelines.

Grow Savings or Trim Debt?

If you’re like most young adults, you juggle many financial priorities at once. With only so much cash to go around each month, how do you know what to put at the top of your money list? Should you build a nest egg or pay off debt?

Most personal financial advice focuses on one or the other but doesn’t explain how to decide if you want to accomplish both. Here’s what to consider:

Take stock of your savings. The size of your savings plays a big role in deciding whether to sock away more or whittle your debt.

Families and College Costs

Planning to afford increasingly costly higher education should be a family affair. Together, parents and their high school-age youngsters must figure out ahead of time how to find the money and spend it. This can be a tricky proposition.

Now is a good point to start thinking about this. Summer is passing by and once again, students are headed back to class. Some teens change buildings, some finish their high school careers and all face big questions about their future.

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