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Interest Rates on Federal Student Loans Heading Higher

Interest rates on new federal student loans change each year based upon results of the May 10-year Treasury auction.  The 2017 auction closed last week.  Although the Department of Education has yet to officially announce the new rates expectations are: The rate on federal Stafford Loans for undergraduates will likely rise from 3.76% to 4.45%. [...]

Boosting FICO Scores by Eliminating Negative Information from Credit Reports

In response to regulatory pressure and settlement of lawsuits with 32 states the Big Three of credit reporting – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – have decided to omit certain negative items from the credit reports of consumers. Examples include: Tax-lien and civil-judgment data that don’t include a complete list of at least three data points [...]

Paying for College – How Assets Impact Financial Aid

"I won’t qualify for financial aid.”  It’s a familiar refrain.  But how do you know? The problem isn’t what you own – it’s that you feel like you own too much. The solution?  Understanding which assets help/hurt the financial aid decision. With parents filing for financial aid for the 2017-2018 school year this is a [...]

Parents Fund Kids’ Sports – At the Expense of Retirement

Participating in competitive sports can teach youth valuable lessons. It can also be costly. According to a recent TD Ameritrade survey parents whose children participate in competitive youth sports spend $100 - $500 per month per child. The costs often have a negative impact on parents’ retirement goals. Some of the interesting findings: 1/3 of [...]

What’s In a Google Search?

In an oft-paraphrased 1789 letter to Richard Price Thomas Jefferson wrote that a well-informed electorate is a prerequisite to democracy. The next time we as a society collectively wonder about the political landscape and direction of our country we need look no further than ourselves and the things we deem important. Just what are the [...]

IRS Announces 2016 Inflation-Adjusted Limits

Last week the IRS told us what’s new in 2016. While some items remain unchanged there are interesting developments with 401(k) contribution limits, income tax brackets and deductions, IRA contributions, the estate tax credit, AGI phase outs and more. More than 50 tax-related items were addressed. A partial summary and some of the more interesting [...]

Know Where You’re Going Before Choosing How To Get There

Carl Richard is a believer in The KISS Principle. He spends his time providing financial education by explaining complex strategies and terms using simple, easy to understand diagrams. You can find examples in his weekly “Sketch Guy” column in The New York Times and his book “The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb [...]

The Sad State of the Financial Web

Sex sells. This isn't a surprise. But while we're titillated (how's that for a delicious pun?) by financial porn the feeling is fleeting. The results are disastrous. Just how bad is it? Kudos to Jimmy Atkinson at Fund Reference for putting together this plain language comparison (with pretty charts for the USA Today crowd) for [...]

Public Colleges Losing Sight of Public Mission

As governmental support and funding continues to decline the state university system is being forced into seeking out new sources of revenue. Staples such as ‘amateur’ athletics and public/private sector research are rapidly being supplanted by an arms race for wealthier students with a downplayed emphasis on academic proficiency. In theory public universities provide a [...]

Failing To Plan Is Planning to Fail

According to a recent survey by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards 86% Americans say they’re stressed about their finances. What do they do about it? Nothing...at least in a meaningful or productive sense. 27% say that having a financial plan is the best way to reduce stress 22% say the answer is having [...]