10 Ways to Manage Your Student Loans

Manage Student Loans

Student loans are a hot topic these days, with everyone wondering the same thing: How are current college students or recent college graduates going to repay theses debts?

While millions of Americans have been navigating these waters for years, new graduates may be nervous about the total bill for their degree. Education is still a wise investment to make, and paying these loans back is very doable.

Here are a few tips to help you manage your student loans and keep them from overwhelming you:

Choose a career field that will pay you back

For those who aren’t 100 percent sure what line of work they want to go into, a career in public service can be rewarding, in more ways than one. No only will you get the benefit of the opportunity to improve your community, but working for a local, state, or federal government agency makes you eligible to apply for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. If you qualify, some of your student loan debt may be forgiven. Additionally, since the public sector is about to experience a mass exodus in the form of baby boomer retirement, there’s predicted to be millions of vacant jobs in the coming years for millennials to fill.

Add a little to your monthly payment

If and when you can afford it, add $10-20 to each monthly payment you make. This amount will be applied directly to your principal amount, as opposed to paying off some of your interest. This also creates a small avalanche effect of its own, since reducing the principal amount also reduces the interest accrued.

Get a part-time job

It’s not ideal, but if you’re already employed full-time, and your loans are still overwhelming, there might be some part-time jobs out there that can help ease that burden. The side-hustle economy is booming, and there are hundreds of jobs out there that can be done on your own time and at your own speed.

Expand your job search

If you’re not finding full-time work in your area that pays enough to help you manage your student loans, consider expanding your job search… across the ocean. A lot of other countries, such as Japan, Korea, and China, are looking for native English speakers to educate students. These jobs pay well and often offer paid room and board, so you can send as much money home to your student loans as you want.

Cut out wasteful spending

Instead of buying a morning cup of coffee every day on your way to work, make your coffee at home instead. At the end of each month, calculate the money you didn’t spend on daily coffees (or other similar luxuries) and consider adding that amount to your student loan payment that month.

Consolidate your loans

Professional loan consolidation or credit repair may be a good option for those who have multiple loans from various lenders, and may be paying several different interest rates. Loan consolidation can be done in a variety of ways, but if you’re not sure where to begin, a specialist can help you.

Find employers that offer tuition assistance

Many different industries that didn’t exist twenty years ago have taken root in America, and they’re looking for the best talent, which makes them competitive with their benefits packages. Many employers will now offer tuition assistance or reimbursement. Try asking a new or prospective employer if they would consider putting this in your benefits package. The worst they can do is say no!

Apply the ‘avalanche’ method

If you have multiple loans, make the largest payment to the one with the highest interest rate each month, paying it down in a shorter amount of time. When this is paid off, move to the next highest interest rate, then the next, and so on. While already a popular method of paying off large sums of credit card debt, this can also help those who have multiple loans at varying interest rates.

Refinance through a different lender

If all you want is to simply lower the monthly amount of your student loan payment, try refinancing through a different lender. New loans generally get lower interest rates, so take advantage of this.

Bump your payments incrementally

During the first year of student loan repayment, you may not be able to pay more than the bare minimum due, and that’s ok. But if you get a raise, and you can afford it, use the raise to bump up your payment a small amount. Do this every year and before you know it, you’ll cut months or even years of repayment off your loan.

 

If you’re concerned about your credit, you can check your three credit reports for free once a year. To track your credit more regularly, Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card is an easy-to-understand breakdown of your credit report information that uses letter grades—plus you get two free credit scores updated each month.

You can also carry on the conversation on our social media platforms. Like and follow us on Facebook and leave us a tweet on Twitter.

 

Image: iStock

The post 10 Ways to Manage Your Student Loans appeared first on Credit.com.

How Much Notice Should You Give When Quitting a Job?

quitting-a-job

As the saying goes, all good things come to an end — and often times that’s true for awful things too. If that good or awful thing is a job or career phase, having it end typically means planning an exit strategy, bowing out gracefully and telling your manager you’re quitting.

Quitting a job isn’t always a bad thing. Sure, you have your situations in which you’re miserable and ready to run out of there right now, but leaving a job may also mean you’re ready for bigger and better things. Or at least a raise and a promotion at another firm.

People quit their jobs all the time, and they do so in any number of ways. Some people storm out, stealing or breaking things along the way. Others make it known well in advance that they’re planning to quit, retire or otherwise move on. Some seemingly fade away — they stop showing up, and their colleagues forget all about them. There is a right way and wrong way, traditionally speaking, to go about quitting a job. How you do it, though, is ultimately dependent upon you and your circumstances.

But what if you’re just a prototypical employee who’s ready to move on, or has accepted a job somewhere else? You’re not angry or spiteful, for example, and just want to make the quitting process as smooth as possible. Well, you’re probably familiar with the general “two week’s notice” rule of thumb. That’s a good place to start.

A Two-Week Notice

The idea of giving your employer two week’s notice is that you’re doing them a professional courtesy by cluing them in to your plans. They’re going to have to replace you, in most circumstances, and by giving them a buffer to work with, that transition can be easier. It’s the same logic if you’re being fired or laid off — though that often doesn’t come with the courtesy of notifying you before it happens.

That’s the gist of the “two-week” rule. Though you’re not legally bound to or obligated to follow it, in most cases (you may want to review your contract for any exit regulations to see what rules may apply to you).

What’s the proper etiquette, though? Who better to quote than the folks at the Emily Post Institute, the keepers of all things etiquette-related?

Peggy Post, of the Post family and Post Institute, wrote a five-step plan for quitting in Good Housekeeping. The basic rundown is to tell your immediate supervisor, keep working hard, take care of your responsibilities and don’t burn bridges. Essentially, you’ll just want to handle it like an adult.

Remember, though: You can leave anytime you want, and never come back. Just remember: There are consequences for doing that.

Consider Your Overall Strategy

Professional courtesies aside, you’ll really need to take stock of your individual situation to know how and when to announce your resignation. While you might not like your boss or employer and spitefully want to walk out when it would hurt them the most, it may not be in your best interest to do so.

Basically, what you want to do is ensure you’re not doing any damage to your long-term career goals or strategy. This is why you want to be courteous — leaving on a bad note might cost you references or relationships down the road. If a potential employer calls the place you left and you didn’t go on good terms? That won’t help you land the new gig you’re hoping for. That’s why it’s a good idea to avoid these types of grudges and stop short of all out bridge-burning.

To sum it all up, consider your individual situation. In most cases, giving your boss a heads up two weeks out is appropriate. Most people expect it, and it’ll save you from ruffling too many feathers.

[Editor’s Note: Remember, many employers look at a version of your credit report as part of the application process. Because of this, it’s a good idea to know where your credit stands. You can see your free credit report snapshot, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.]

This article originally appeared on The Cheat Sheet.

Image: M_a_y_a

The post How Much Notice Should You Give When Quitting a Job? appeared first on Credit.com.

How to Make the Best Impression At Your First Job

Female Woman Sitting At Interview

Whether or not you worked all through high school and/or college, those early days (or months, even) at your first job out of school are bound to bring on the nerves. There’s a lot to learn about office politics, how to behave, how to best deal with co-workers and bosses, all before you even start trying to perfect the skills you’ll need to perform your new job to your optimal ability.

Here are some things to keep in mind that will hopefully help you navigate those first tricky days in the real world, when everything might seem scary and totally brand new.

1. Have an open mind and be flexible

Probably far and away the trait that will help get you through the first couple months at your new gig is the ability to be flexible. So you were told you’d be reporting to two people and now it’s three, and the desk they showed you at your interview is actually half a mile from where you’ll actually be sitting (near the noisy kitchen facing a brick wall). Repeat after us: It’s all good. While there are certain things that won’t be okay to have pulled out from under you after you start working (like your salary and benefits, for example, but that’s why you get everything in writing before signing on the dotted line), the quicker you can realize that everything else is open to change, the quicker you’ll be able to adapt to the curveballs that surely will be thrown your way.

2. Be a team player

The sooner you can prove to the staff that you’re on their side and eager to be a part of the team, the sooner you’ll start winning people over and making strong, valuable first impressions. Of course being a team player doesn’t mean you sit back and only do what you’re told, but be strategic in terms of when and how you decide to share your own thoughts and opinions (which you absolutely should!). Taking the first couple of days to get the lay of the land and understand how work flows through the office before suggesting your 20-point plan for increasing productivity might be a good idea, for example.

3. Never be without a notepad

Those first couple of months at your new job will be chock full of things you’ve never done before, phrase you’ve probably never heard and people you’ve definitely never met. Keep a notepad and pen with you at all times and take diligent notes to avoid having to follow up multiple times on the same point. Having said that, always ask questions if you have them, rather than doing something incorrectly the first time and needing to fix it.

4. Be busy all the time

While it will probably take you a while to get into the groove of your new gig, and it might be hard for your boss to break away throughout the day to explain projects to you or help point you in the right direction, be sure that you’re using any down or free time you have to your advantage by tidying up where you see messes, researching on upcoming or past projects your company has undertaken or anticipating things your boss might need before he or she even has to ask (low on printer paper or toner? Work on getting those things refilled before your boss even notices.) It also doesn’t hurt to show up a little early and stay until you’re basically told to leave those first couple of weeks. A good first impression is everything.

5. Don’t be a stranger

Even though you’ll be pretty busy getting caught up those first couple of weeks, if you notice a group of co-workers hanging out in the kitchen during lunch, take a couple extra minutes to stop by and say hello, even if you can’t stay the entire time. The sooner your co-workers get to know your real personality, the sooner you’ll start to feel more like one of them, and less like ‘the new person’ in the office, which no one likes to be.

6. Be organized

Even if organization isn’t your strongest suit, make it your strongest, as least for the first couple of weeks. Keep your area tidy and familiarize yourself with where everything is kept that you might need at a moment’s notice (like that extra printer paper and toner we mentioned before). Do some practice runs on the copy machine and scanner, tidy up after yourself in the kitchen and refill the coffee pot if you finish it. Every little bit adds up, especially when you’re new.

7. Let your confidence shine through

The more you come across as confident, the more your boss and co-workers will see you that way. Being confident can be tough, since it often includes straddling the line for things that appear opposites of each other (take initiative but know when to ask questions or just follow orders; stand up for your own thoughts and opinions but know when to apologize for mistakes), but if you find yourself struggling, remember the golden rule that most people at work are following as well: fake it ‘til you make it. No one expects you to know or understand everything about your new job the first day or first few weeks you’re there, but put in a solid effort and always be present and make smart decisions, and soon enough you’ll catch on.

While we’re on the topic of jobs, check out this piece for suggestions on how to network like a pro, this one for three questions you should ask yourself before taking on a low-paying gig, and this one for six things you should do right away if you lose your job.

The post How to Make the Best Impression At Your First Job appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Want to Pay Down Your Student Loans? These Employers Will Help

Female Woman Sitting At Interview

What are some of the benefits you’d hope to receive from your dream job?

A good salary?

Decent health insurance?

Paid time off?

Matching 401(k) plans?

How about a student loan repayment plan?

If you never thought that having your employer pay for some of your student loans would be possible in the past, now’s the perfect time to reconsider, as more and more companies are starting to add this perk to their list of benefits in an effort to attract talented workers. According to a recent report by the Society of Human Resource Management, about 3% of companies offered assistance with student loans, but that number is expected to start growing.

If student loan repayment is something that could seriously sway you into a new position, consider the following five companies that offer this perk:

1.Fidelity Investments: Offers up to $2,000 per year, up to a maximum of $10,000 over five years, if you’ve worked at the company for at least six months.

2.PricewaterhouseCoopers: Offers $1,200 per year for up to six years starting in July of 2016.

3.Natixis Global Asset Management: Offers a lump sum of $5,000 towards Federal Stafford or Perkins loans for full-time employees with the company for five years, as well as an additional $1,000 each year for up to five years.

4.Nvidia: Graduates within the past three years could qualify for up to $30,000 in repayment.

5.LendEDU: Offers $200 per month — up to $2,400 per year — towards outstanding student debt.

For a more complete list of employers who are offering student loan repayment to their employees, check out this story.

The post Want to Pay Down Your Student Loans? These Employers Will Help appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

3 Questions to Ask Yourself to Determine If Taking a Low-Paying Job is Worth It

Depressed man slumped on the desk with his hands holding credit card and currency

If you’ve recently been laid off, you might be juggling a few different tough decisions all at once. The struggle to find a job after losing one is real, and if it’s taking you a while to find something new, know that you’re not alone.

Once you’ve determined how you’ll take care of yourself and your family in the immediate aftermath of losing a job (check out this piece about six things to do right away if you lose your job if you need a little help), the next big question that might come up is when to bite on a new job offer. You may be able to find a lower-paying gig immediately after losing your job more easily than something that would replace what you were making at your previous one.

If you’re struggling with the decision of whether or not to take a lower-paying job, consider some of the following questions:

1.Will this new job at least help cover some of your basic expenses?


Especially if you’re paying rent or a mortgage, making payments on student loans or have other pressing monthly bills, if a lesser paying gig will at least help you stay on track with making some of those important payments, then it’s probably worth taking.

2. Will a loan or balance transfer help you in the interim?

If you’re worried that your new job offer doesn’t cover everything you were paying off with your previous job, take some time to do a little math and see if you can at least cover your major expenses (as mentioned above), and then consider if a credit card balance transfer or even a personal loan might help you for a little while until you can find a job that pays what you’re hoping. Check out this piece for more information on the best balance transfer cards out there now and this for more about personal loans.

3. Can you do something else in addition to supplement your income?

While it might not seem optimal, if the job you’re being offered can help with the majority of your bills, perhaps a part-time or hourly gig on the side can help you make up the difference so that it doesn’t seem like such a drastic change, at least for a little while.

If you’re still struggling with the idea of taking a lower-paying job, check out this piece for more things to consider.

The post 3 Questions to Ask Yourself to Determine If Taking a Low-Paying Job is Worth It appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

5 Questions You Should Get Answered Before Accepting a Job Offer

Female Woman Sitting At Interview

When you’ve put in every effort to receive a job offer, those two small words — “you’re hired” — can set you floating on air.

Before you accept a new gig, though, it’s important to take a step back and make sure that some important questions have been answered. It might take everything within your power to hold off on yelling “I accept!” right away, but taking some time now to cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s can help avoid confusion once you actually get started in your new role.

Here are a few things you’ll likely want to consider before agreeing to a start date (although that’s something you’ll want to make sure you ask about ahead of time, too!).

Question 1: Who exactly will you report to, and how involved will they be?

While it’s not necessary to determine exactly how many emails you’ll be exchanging with your boss every day or how often you’ll be required to attend meetings, it is a good idea to find out exactly who you’ll be reporting directly to (whether that’s one or multiple people, it’s good to have an idea before you start), and just how involved they will be in your everyday goings on. For example, is this job more autonomous, or will you be required to mostly partake in group or guided projects?

What to do if you don’t like the answer: You probably can’t do much to change the structure of the role you’re applying for (and if you find you do want to change a lot about it, it’s probably not the role for you), but you can ask pointed questions to get to the root of whether or not there will be any opportunity for leadership roles in this new gig, if that’s what you’re interested in. For example, asking whether or not the job in question will require mostly projects as a team and/or whether or not there will be leadership opportunities either within those team roles our outside of them will help you understand how much autonomy you’ll have once you start.

Question 2: What is the review process like?


While it might seem nitpicky to inquire into how often you’ll be graded on your performance before you’ve even started, how a company handles evaluating its employees is actually an important indicator of how much they value their efforts. If the company you’re about to start with doesn’t have regular opportunities for peer and boss reviews, it could be harder for you to make sure your hard work gets noticed and your achievements are properly rewarded.

What to do if you don’t like the answer: If you’d prefer a review process and the company doesn’t seem to have one in place, it’s worth asking if that’s something the company is looking into developing, or if you will personally be able to call upon your boss for evaluations at least once a year so you gauge your efforts and determine how to better your position within the company.

No. 3: Is there room for growth?

While you don’t want it to seem like your foot is already out the door before you even start, there’s nothing wrong with asking where most people who have been in your position previously end up moving on to. If the answer is that they’ve mostly been promoted within the company, it stands to reason the company likes to nurture their valuable employees. On the other hand, if it seems like most leave the company to pursue other endeavors elsewhere, that might be a sign that there’s not much room for you within this company past that specific role.

What to do if you don’t like the answer: If moving up the corporate ladder is important to you, this will be an important point to consider. Especially if this will already be somewhat of a lateral move for you, then you may want to reconsider taking a job where a promotion will require another move outside of the company. If the title is already a great step up for you, though, and you know you’ve got some years to put in before you’ll be ready to move again anyway, if everything else about the job fits your goals, it’s probably still a good idea to accept the job.

Question 4: Have you agreed to a job title?

You might not be able to imagine accepting a job without agreeing on a title, but you might be surprised how often this important detail gets overlooked, or changes after the fact. If the job you applied for was more vague in description than you’d like your actual title to be, be sure to bring this up before signing on the dotted line.

What to do if you don’t like the answer: Within reason, your job title is probably one of the more negotiable aspects of accepting a new role. Remember that whatever you start out with will determine your future titles, as well, so be sure to put some thought into what you’d like it be, as well as what other companies within your industry will be looking for when it comes to your skill level and years of experience.

Question 5: Can I have everything in writing?

From your title to your salary to your retirement benefits and time off, it’s a good idea to make sure you have everything in writing before actually starting your job so you have something to refer to if things change for whatever reason once you actually start working.

What to do if you don’t like the answer: There shouldn’t be any problem with getting all the details written down (most places will do so in their offer letter or contract before you formally accept, anyway), but if it’s not offered up, it’s worth asking for one.

The post 5 Questions You Should Get Answered Before Accepting a Job Offer appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

5 Questions You Should Get Answered Before Accepting a Job Offer

Female Woman Sitting At Interview

When you’ve put in every effort to receive a job offer, those two small words — “you’re hired” — can set you floating on air.

Before you accept a new gig, though, it’s important to take a step back and make sure that some important questions have been answered. It might take everything within your power to hold off on yelling “I accept!” right away, but taking some time now to cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s can help avoid confusion once you actually get started in your new role.

Here are a few things you’ll likely want to consider before agreeing to a start date (although that’s something you’ll want to make sure you ask about ahead of time, too!).

Question 1: Who exactly will you report to, and how involved will they be?

While it’s not necessary to determine exactly how many emails you’ll be exchanging with your boss every day or how often you’ll be required to attend meetings, it is a good idea to find out exactly who you’ll be reporting directly to (whether that’s one or multiple people, it’s good to have an idea before you start), and just how involved they will be in your everyday goings on. For example, is this job more autonomous, or will you be required to mostly partake in group or guided projects?

What to do if you don’t like the answer: You probably can’t do much to change the structure of the role you’re applying for (and if you find you do want to change a lot about it, it’s probably not the role for you), but you can ask pointed questions to get to the root of whether or not there will be any opportunity for leadership roles in this new gig, if that’s what you’re interested in. For example, asking whether or not the job in question will require mostly projects as a team and/or whether or not there will be leadership opportunities either within those team roles our outside of them will help you understand how much autonomy you’ll have once you start.

Question 2: What is the review process like?


While it might seem nitpicky to inquire into how often you’ll be graded on your performance before you’ve even started, how a company handles evaluating its employees is actually an important indicator of how much they value their efforts. If the company you’re about to start with doesn’t have regular opportunities for peer and boss reviews, it could be harder for you to make sure your hard work gets noticed and your achievements are properly rewarded.

What to do if you don’t like the answer: If you’d prefer a review process and the company doesn’t seem to have one in place, it’s worth asking if that’s something the company is looking into developing, or if you will personally be able to call upon your boss for evaluations at least once a year so you gauge your efforts and determine how to better your position within the company.

No. 3: Is there room for growth?

While you don’t want it to seem like your foot is already out the door before you even start, there’s nothing wrong with asking where most people who have been in your position previously end up moving on to. If the answer is that they’ve mostly been promoted within the company, it stands to reason the company likes to nurture their valuable employees. On the other hand, if it seems like most leave the company to pursue other endeavors elsewhere, that might be a sign that there’s not much room for you within this company past that specific role.

What to do if you don’t like the answer: If moving up the corporate ladder is important to you, this will be an important point to consider. Especially if this will already be somewhat of a lateral move for you, then you may want to reconsider taking a job where a promotion will require another move outside of the company. If the title is already a great step up for you, though, and you know you’ve got some years to put in before you’ll be ready to move again anyway, if everything else about the job fits your goals, it’s probably still a good idea to accept the job.

Question 4: Have you agreed to a job title?

You might not be able to imagine accepting a job without agreeing on a title, but you might be surprised how often this important detail gets overlooked, or changes after the fact. If the job you applied for was more vague in description than you’d like your actual title to be, be sure to bring this up before signing on the dotted line.

What to do if you don’t like the answer: Within reason, your job title is probably one of the more negotiable aspects of accepting a new role. Remember that whatever you start out with will determine your future titles, as well, so be sure to put some thought into what you’d like it be, as well as what other companies within your industry will be looking for when it comes to your skill level and years of experience.

Question 5: Can I have everything in writing?

From your title to your salary to your retirement benefits and time off, it’s a good idea to make sure you have everything in writing before actually starting your job so you have something to refer to if things change for whatever reason once you actually start working.

What to do if you don’t like the answer: There shouldn’t be any problem with getting all the details written down (most places will do so in their offer letter or contract before you formally accept, anyway), but if it’s not offered up, it’s worth asking for one.

The post 5 Questions You Should Get Answered Before Accepting a Job Offer appeared first on MagnifyMoney.