You Can Save Big Money on Your Student Loan Payment – But Hurry!

Student Loan ConsolidationYou worked hard. You studied late nights and spent hours in the library doing research. You took some grueling exams. Now you’re finally through with college and out in the working world. Everything’s going great, but your monthly student loan payment is huge! It cuts into your entertainment budget. You can’t even afford to go out to a nice dinner or take a trip. You sure as heck can’t save a down payment for a house, and you’re still throwing your money away renting that little apartment. What can you do? There’s got to be a way to improve your situation.There may be a way to improve it. You may be able to save a substantial amount of your hard earned salary every month by consolidating your student loans. Then again, this may not be the right choice for you. “Great!”, you say, “I could really use a way to save some money every month.” If you’re like most people however, you know little about loan consolidation, student or otherwise.Student loan consolidation is a bit different from consolidating your high interest credit card or auto loans. You don’t need to own a home or other real estate to use for collateral for one thing. Your student loans are different from most other loans, they are guaranteed by the federal government. There are two main types of student loans.In one program, the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FELP), students receive money through guaranteed bank loans. This student loan program has been around since the 1960’s and many students have taken advantage of it to finance their education. With FELP loans, the lenders are banks or other financial institutions, who loan money to the student. These institutions make a profit from the interest on the loan, while at the same time being protected against loan default by a federal government guarantee.With a newer program, 1993’s Federal Direct Loan Program, the money is loaned to student directly through the federal government. This is more affordable for the taxpayer because the federal government is collecting the interest and using it to help underwrite the loan program. The loans are actually provided to students by various companies under direct government contract.The interest rates for both types of loans are fixed and the individual school decides which type of program, FELP or Fixed, they will offer. The FELP is more common, as it allows more services to be provided directly by the lending institution to assist students with their loans. There are possible changes brewing. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif, directed the GAO to investigate ways for the federal government to save money in the student loan program. The GAO’s report indicated that the government could save substantial money, possibly as much as $3B a year, by using the Direct student loan program exclusively.Even if changes are made, you will still be able to consolidate your student loans. Why would you want to? You can save substantial money, that’s why. Consolidating all you student loans allows you to lock in lower interest rates on all your loans. The interest rate is adjusted each year, and remains fixed for the year. For the 2006 fiscal year (this year) it is at 4.7% for student currently attending school. This is set to increase to 6.8% for fiscal year 2007. This rate increase goes into effect on July 1 2006. PLUS loans will increase from 6.1% to 8.5%. Needless to say, this is a substantial interest rate increase. Avoiding it will save you hundreds of dollars each month.As an example, if you are currently in school and have $45,000 in outstanding debt at the current rates, you are paying about $471/month. If you consolidate, you could reduce this payment to only about $300/month. There is an incentive to consolidate now, if you can benefit from student loan consolidation. Because of a consolidation deadline, each year there is a rush to get the proper paperwork filed by the due date. Typically congress allows a grace period, so if you have filed the paperwork, but it has not been processed, you still receive your consolidation loan at the existing interest rate.This year, because of the 2005 Budget Reconciliation Act, you may not get to enjoy the grace period. There is a strong chance that if you don’t have the completed loan in hand by the deadline, it will just be too bad. You will still get your loan, but have to pay the increased interest rate from 2007. To illustrate how this can affect you, take our $45,000 example above. Rather than enjoying the $300/month payment, you could find yourself paying almost $350/month!You need to act now! Student loan consolidating may or may not be the right choice for you, but you need to know. The sooner you determine the correct course of action, the sooner you can get going. If you wait, it may just be too late.

Commercialism and Black Friday

Did you really get a bargain on Black Friday?Here are the numbers: Last year 195 million people spent on average $343.31 on this sale day of all sale days.This year? 212 million people spent on average $365.34 each.Apparently this is NOT a sign that we, as a whole, believe the economy is looking up. Nope. We just wanted to get those killer deals.In case you’re wondering, word on the street is electronics were the top sellers. No huge surprise there.
But I’m wondering, did we really save much?Now, if you had a nice little budget tucked away in preparation for “Everything in America is On Sale” day and you paid cash for everything, then you are doing well. I applaud you.But if, say, you used a credit card like most of us, let’s look at how much you really spent.The average annual interest rate for a credit card is 17%. If you take that $365.34 and factor in a minimum payment on your card (assuming this is the only charge on your card) of 3% or $10, you are looking at 52 payments over 4.33 years and $150 in interest.And that’s also assuming you don’t do the same thing NEXT Black Friday.So, was it really that great of a deal?Sadly, we immerse ourselves in commercialism at the expense of planning for our future.If we took the little spending here and there and invested them in real estate, we could create real wealth for the future.The question becomes how serious are you about securing your financial future. Because the last time I checked, a great deal, or a new electrical appliance, doesn’t get you any closer to retirement.Think about it.

Foreclosure, Bankruptcy, and Your New Home – Bad Credit Mortgages Explained

Bankruptcy is tough, but is often the only alternative to get relief from piled-up debts. Most people file bankruptcy after significant financial events: divorce, serious medical condition, long-lasting loss of income, and many others. Some people manage to avoid bankruptcy, and to pay off or discard their debts by means of debt consolidation and foreclosure. This way, or another, both foreclosure and bankruptcy make most people think that they would not be able to become homeowners in the near future.How Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Affects Your CreditDespite the fact that bankruptcy helps you to forget about most, if not all, of your past debts, it leaves an ugly scar on your credit report that would not heal for the next 7-10 years. Most lenders try to stay away from lending money to people after bankruptcy, as they have a proof that a borrower had left other lenders empty-handed, using bankruptcy as legal shield from debt repayment.Foreclosure, while having a less negative effect, does not sound too promising for prospective lenders either, as they may see that you could not cope with scheduled monthly payments for whatever reason. As lenders would not foreclose for a couple of missed payments, foreclosure is a sign that you either had initially overextended yourself financially, or had a long-term cash shortage. Simply put, most lenders would decline your mortgage application after foreclosure or bankruptcy.Bad Credit Does Not Last ForeverThe fact that you filed bankruptcy or experienced a foreclosure does not mean the end to your homeownership dreams. Many people manage to buy a home shortly after bankruptcy or foreclosure. Very often, it does come at a higher price, as lenders who would undertake the risk of financing people with past negative marks would surely compensate it with higher interest rate and inflated charges. To avoid paying more in the long run, it is important to make every step you can to improve your credit ranking and to minimize the impact of your past bankruptcy or foreclosure on your credit score.Home Buying Tips For Bad Credit BorrowersWhile foreclosure and/or bankruptcy will haunt you for years, there are several things you can do to improve your credit ranking spend less money on your new home.First, you should reestablish history of timely payments. Getting a secured card from a major bank would help you to improve your credit score tremendously.Second, you should make a pause. The negative effects of bankruptcy and foreclosure tend to lessen over time. Instead of trying to apply for mortgage right after bankruptcy or foreclosure, wait a year or two. Your credit score will rise, allowing you to get better interest rate on your new mortgage.Last, you should perform a heavy research of subprime lenders. Despite the mortgage crisis in the recent years, many lenders continue to finance bad credit home purchases, especially since the home prices dropped. Therefore, seek all possible options to get a low-cost mortgage: find subprime mortgage lenders online, get loan quotes, and select the one that features the best terms.A bankruptcy or a foreclosure does not mean the end of borrowing. While obtaining a home loan with bad credit may be a significant stress, your bad credit would eventually go away, once you make timely payments on your new mortgage, allowing you to be more confident about your borrowing abilities again.

Why You Should Consider A Home Mortgage Refinance Today

There are many reasons why homeowners are seeking out a home mortgage refinance. These reasons vary from simply wanting to have more money to pay off debt, all the way to lowering your monthly mortgage monthly payments. While there are many different reasons why you may want to refinance your home mortgage, there are several things you must know about this process that could save you time and money. The first of these is to understand all of the benefits of refinancing your home mortgage. Even though you probably have a good understanding of why you want to refinance, if you don’t know all of the benefits you may be missing out on some of them.The first benefit to refinancing your home mortgage is to give you control over how much interest you will actually be paying. If you are like many homeowners, then your mortgage probably has an adjustable rate. While this may have seemed like a great idea at the beginning of the loan, throughout the years you have probably experienced an increase of interest, which can ultimately cost you thousands of dollars.This type of instability causes many people to worry about their next month’s mortgage payment, and whether or not it will stretch their finances too slim. When you have an adjustable rate on your home mortgage, you can refinance your mortgage to a fixed rate, which will allow you to have stability with your monthly payments.Some individuals feel that an adjustable rate mortgage is the way to borrow your home loan, however, if you have experience an interest peak then you quickly understand why this is a hassle you just don’t want to deal with. When you go with a refinanced, fixed rate, mortgage, you may have a slightly higher interest rate, however, you will have confidence in knowing that this rate will never rise.One of the main reasons why you would want to use a home mortgage refinance for this use is if you are planning on living in your current home for quite some time. Otherwise, you may want to consider another benefit of a refinanced mortgage.If you want to refinance your mortgage, but you don’t want to settle with a fixed rate interest plan, than you can choose to have a cap put onto an adjustable rate mortgage. This is perfect if your current adjustable rate loan does not have a cap because it allows you to have semi-control over how high your interest rates will actually go. With a capped adjustable mortgage, you will be able to experience lower interest rates, and the interest will never increase past your pre-determined cap.This type of home mortgage refinance option is perfect for individuals who want more security within this mortgage, but aren’t planning on living in their current household for many years. When you refinance your home mortgage, you are able to help streamline your finances and are given an opportunity to grasp onto financial freedom. Whether you want to consolidate your various debts, or if you simply want more security, a home mortgage refinance is definitely a great way to do so.

Holiday Shopping in a Tough Economy

In today’s tight economy, more consumers than ever are looking for alternative ways to stretch their Christmas shopping dollar. The key to saving money when shopping retail is to find the deals in advance and stick to your budget. With proper planning, you won’t be tempted to pay full price for any of your gifts.The early arrival of Black Friday this year offers consumers more time for holiday budget planning. It seems that the traditional day after Thanksgiving mega-deal day, has been turned into an entire season. Some stores started as early as Halloween with their ‘Black Friday’ savings.Along with Black Friday, shoppers can also look forward to Cyber Monday online shopping deals. Many websites list stores and their Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals for your convenience. When ordering online, many payment screens have a space to input a coupon code for additional savings. Many times, you can quickly pop onto a coupon forum website and find a valid coupon code. I did this recently when making airline reservations and ended up with an additional 10 percent savings. These same coupon sites also have printable coupons for in-store shopping trips.An additional way to save is to consider handmade or low cost gifts. With a little creativity and planning ahead, inexpensive gifts can become classic favorites.Small gifts for babysitters, gift exchanges, neighbors, and friends at work could include the following:Ornaments. Whether you make them or purchase them, ornaments are a perfect gift. Most women love new decorations for their tree, and the person who receives this gift will think of you every year when trimming the tree.Recipe Cards. A sweet personalized gift, you can use pretty recipe cards and write five or six of your favorite recipes on them. Leave the rest blank so they can be filled out by the receiver of the gift. Fabric and craft stores generally have decorative recipe cards and matching boxes for one or two dollars each.This gift can also be presented with one or more of the recipes (such as cookies or fudge) wrapped in a tin.Calendars. Target and other stores have cute calendars and planners in their dollar bins during this time of year. They are very attractive and practicalGift Baskets. Gift baskets are a perfect way to be both creative and personal. If your friend likes golf, put together a small basket using golf balls, tees, and a few homemade club covers. If they knit, give them a new pair of needles along with a few skeins of yarn. Another inexpensive gift basket for a couple could include two coffee mugs along with some hot cocoa or decorative tea.Other Gifts that could be given to family members or close friends:Quilts or throw blankets. If you like to sew, blankets are the perfect gift, especially for young people who have recently moved out on their own.Decorative pictures or framed photos. Use your computer and decorative fonts to print out motivational or meaningful quotes, poetry, or Bible scriptures and frame them. Frame favorite photos and give them as gifts to grandparents, aunts, or uncles.Aprons, potholders, or placemats. Depending on your sewing skills, these can be quick and inexpensive presents for loved ones who love to cook.There are many more, but these should spark your imagination. Christmas shouldn’t be something that you later regret because of overspending. This holiday season, make it a memorable, meaningful and stress free time.

What Exactly Are Low Cost Home Equity Loans?

Low cost home equity loans are a type of loan through which the equity in a borrower’s home is used as collateral. These loans are different from a full mortgage in that they do not attach the full value of the home, but rather, the amount of money the customer has already paid toward the home purchase. These types of loans can be beneficial in emergency situations, such as for the payment of medical bills or major home repairs. The home equity loan places a lien against the house for the amount borrowed, in turn reducing the home equity.Low cost home equity loans are considered as “second position” liens, or second mortgages. In other words, the loan creates a second trust deed in the property. If the home were to go into foreclosure, the initial loan issuer would have first claim to the property, after which the equity loan issuer would be granted their rights. The loans are intended for a much shorter period of time than the traditional mortgage.Although most equity loans require a good credit history, some companies will consider outside factors such as job history, circumstantial evidence supporting the reason for poor credit accounts, time at the residence, how reliably the regular household bills are paid, and so forth. After all, most consumers will hit a financial snag at some time or another, typically for reasons beyond their control such as lost wages, auto accidents, natural disasters, and so forth. Companies who cater to the less-than-perfect credit market understand these circumstances, unlike major loan companies who consider credit worthiness based upon the credit report exclusively.Low cost home equity loans are much different than home equity lines of credit, and it is important for the consumer to understand the differences between the two. Home equity loans are issued in one time sums, typically with a repayment schedule and a certain fixed interest rate. On the other hand, home equity lines of credit are essentially creating a revolving credit line with adjustable interest rates.When choosing a financing company for a low cost home equity loan, there are a few factors which must be carefully considered. Choosing a company based on reputation, interest and other related financing rates, terms of the loan are all wise decisions. Likewise, by working with a local agent you will most likely get a better loan plan than if the company has no personal interest in your area.

The Facts About Government Debt Consolidation

There seems to be a great deal of talk about government bailouts these days. Every time you hear new financial news it seems that some company or group of companies are asking the government for help to get them out of a financial mess. But what about the individual? Are there any government-sponsored bailout programs out there to help the average U.S. citizen when he runs into financial problems? Do government debt consolidation programs exist?Generally speaking, there simply aren’t many government-sponsored programs to help the average citizen who is having problems managing their growing debts. When speaking of debt consolidation programs, many people immediately think of loans which are arranged as a means to bring several outstanding loan balances together into a single debt. While such consolidation loans may be available, other repayment programs work by an agency or intermediary acting on behalf of the borrower to negotiate more favorable loan terms with their lenders. Most often these are not directly sponsored by the government. There is one area, however, where government debt consolidation programs may be able to help: student loans.In the United States, federal student loans are guaranteed by the U.S. government, and therefore are treated differently than other sorts of consumer loans. If you’re looking for government debt consolidation of your federally guaranteed student loans, you can look into one of the many student loan consolidation programs available. Under such plans, your existing student loans may be purchased and closed by a special student loan consolidator, or by the U.S. Department of Education.Before you consider a government debt consolidation agreement, make certain you understand that student loan consolidation should not require the payment of any fees by the borrower. This is decidedly different than private lending arrangements where the borrower is usually required to pay fees at the time of the loan’s closing. In the case of private lending, whether it be unsecured or secured using a tangible asset such as your home as collateral, there are almost always fees that must be paid at the time the loan is assigned. In some cases, these fees will be rolled into the new loan agreement and won’t require out of pocket payment. In the case of government debt consolidation of students loans, no such fees are required nor would they be rolled into the new consolidated loan.Government debt consolidation of student loans is beneficial to the borrower by helping to protect their credit rating. However, it should be noted that not all federal student loan holders report their account to all the credit bureaus, so there may be no material impact on the borrower’s report or rating.So if you happen to be carrying a number of student loans and you’re looking to the government to help, make sure you investigate the possibility of government debt consolidation through a student loan refinancing program. In the long run you may find that turning to the provisions provided by the federal student loan program may work in your favor.

Four Things To Watch For When You Get A Home Equity Line Of Credit

Home equity loans are a great way to get the cash you may need – for just about any reason. It could also be enough money to fulfill some of your dreams, too, if you have lived there for some time. Many people are tapping into their home equity in order to do some things they have always wanted to do. Still, though, there are some traps along the way that can be costly to those who are not watching. Here are four things to watch for when you get your home equity line of credit.What Is The Interest Rate?Probably one of the most important things that you need to watch for is the interest rate on the home equity line of credit (HELOC). This will mean that you need to watch the market some and be a little patient. Wait until you see that the interest rate is good. The interest rate may be near that of a first mortgage, but will often be a little higher.Besides the interest rate, though, there will also be what is called a margin. This is an interest rate that is added to the prime rate, and it remains on it for the life of the loan. This figure is variable with each lender, and they often will not reveal it unless they are asked. You need to ask, because this could, in some cases literally double the interest you will be required to pay.Is There A Guaranteed Conversion – If Necessary?Because a home equity line of credit is an adjustable rate loan, you will want to have the protection of being able to convert – if necessary. This means that if the prime rate becomes high, that you will be able to convert your now high interest loan to a fixed rate loan. Oftentimes, adjustable rate loans have no caps on the interest rates, or very limited control over the caps. Currently, there are only about two states that put a cap on it – of about 16 to 18%!What Charges Apply?A home equity loan can come with quite a few charges – or just a couple of them. It really is up to the lender and what they think they might be able to get away with. Many home equity lines of credit do not have any closing costs now, so look around to find one that does not.Other charges may include a charge per check that you write. Another is a charge that will be given you if after a certain period of time you have not withdrawn any more money – often referred to as an inactivity fee. Then there may be an annual fee, or a monthly fee for participation in the program.How Is It To Be Paid For – Amortized?Another thing that you must look into is to find out how the home equity line of credit
loan is to become amortized. You need to know how long is the draw period – the time that you have to withdraw the funds as you need them, and when you start paying on the principal of the loan. Some HELOC’s require a balloon payment for the full amount at the end of the draw period. This would require that you refinance the loan. Other plans require that you start making payments that will fully amortize the amount you borrowed, but the time period to do so may vary.As you can see, there are many different features given by different lenders. You want to make sure that you get several quotes when you go to apply for your home equity line of credit. Then carefully evaluate and compare them in order to find the features you like and that will fit your particular need for your equity.

A Wells Fargo Home Equity Line Of Credit – What You Really Need To Know

Have you taken the opportunity to look closer at a Wells Fargo home equity line of credit recently? This revolving credit line that homeowners can tap into has some pretty good features. Here’s a closer look at what Wells Fargo is doing.A home equity line of credit is similar to a loan with the main difference being that you can take out funds at any time up to the total amount of the credit line.This is better than a loan in many cases because you are only using what you need instead of taking out a big lump sum. Wells Fargo home equity lines of credit make it possible to only have to use your money when you really want to.Naturally, what you use the money for is completely up to you. Many use it to pay off high interest debt, medical bills or a home improvement project to further increase the value of their home.Wells Fargo offers a wide array of convenient options in gaining access to your funds. It can be through your checking account, ATM, Wells Fargo credit card, or simply by visiting your local branch bank.This type of home equity line of credit being offered by Wells Fargo has a standard 10 year open credit period. After that time your repayment begins.Funds that you take out of your HELOC may be paid back with small minimum payments or in some cases it can simply be an interest only payment.Depending on the Wells Fargo plan and size of the credit line, payments can be stretched out for as long as 30 years after the credit period ends.As with most home equity loans or lines of credit, interest rates are based on the Prime Lending Rate at the time of your loan. Since this is a line of credit, your rate will be variable, meaning it can go up or down. This is something to consider before taking out a HELOC.A Wells Fargo home equity line of credit, like any other credit line, will have certain fees involved when signing up. These fees can include appraisal fees, loan fees and others as well. It really depends on the type of loan and your credit history.If you are looking at setting up a home equity line of credit you will want to take a good look at what Wells Fargo has to offer.

How to Get a Miami Home Equity Line of Credit

Home equity lines are an extremely beneficial way of borrowing a loan, wherein one takes a loan against their Miami home. The home serves as security, against the loan amount. To have a home in a popular city like Miami is an added advantage. The lenders are assured that their credit is safe as Miami is a hot favorite with tourists from all over the world. The buyers too are assured of high returns on their investment, owing to the sound economy of Miami.Advantages Of Home EquityHome equity lines of credit have many advantages over a regular loan. It gives you the flexibility of borrowing a large sum of money according to your need. You can easily access the funds, as and when you need them. This way you and other Miami home owners can save money by paying interest only on the amount borrowed. Most of the times, the interest is also tax deductible, which means, you save more money.Home Equity Lines – Some DrawbacksHome equity lines also have some shortcomings. As this is not a fixed loan, the rate of interest can change anytime. Thus, the payments also change. Interest rates are high as compared to a fixed loan, but that is the price you pay for the flexible nature of this loan. This may make it difficult to refinance your first mortgage.You must also know that the amount that you can borrow on your Miami home is calculated in a certain way, which may differ marginally from lender to lender. A percentage (set at 75% to 80%) of the assessed value of the house is taken. From this amount your remaining dues in mortgage are deducted. The amount reached at, is the available line of credit for your Miami home. This available limit varies from one client to another in accordance with their capacity to pay back the loan.Before deciding to opt for home equity lines, you must ascertain whether the cost you are paying is well-worth it, in terms of the benefits that you are getting. The conditions laid down by the financial organization should fulfill all your requirements and at the same time, not pose excessive financial burden on you. If these things are not taken care of, you will fail to make your payments on time.Your Miami home is your most precious asset, don’t lose it.