×

Empowering a Brighter Future Video Contest Winner

On a bright and sunny day in over 100-degree heat in Virginia, Barbara Thomas and ELFI team arrived at the home of the winner to surprise them with their prize. It was a tough decision to pick only one winner, but we’d like to announce the 2018 Empowering a Brighter Future video contest winner: Simon Rivera from Moseley, Virginia.

 

Simon Rivera, a husband, and father of two from Virginia used his video to share how important eliminating student debt would be to him and his family.  Simon is a self-taught videographer and he uses video as a platform for his creative expression. “I started just making fun videos for my nephews, but now having my own family has given me the opportunity to capture the most important stories and moments in my life…My boys are age 4, and 20 months—which I find to be such precious ages. I don’t want to miss a single moment! Enjoying family time alongside my interest in videography certainly complements each other well.” said Simon when asked about his interest in video.

 

Click Here to View Simon’s Winning Video

 

Simon’s winning video submission illustrates his family life and discusses the strain student loan debt can put onto a young family. Many young people who carry student loan debt are waiting longer to reach family milestones, from buying houses to having children.  Some families have had to hold back on their growth to eliminate or make student loan debt manageable.

Before heading to school, Simon served in the U.S Air Force Reserves for six years. He received a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree through the Touro College Physician Assistant Program. The prize earnings from the Education Loan Finance video contest will allow Rivera to pay off his debt and possibly allow his wife to return to complete her education.

Thank you to all who participated in the Empowering a Brighter Future video contest.  The entries provided showed the creativity of entrants along with the struggle to meet student loan obligations.  Education Loan Finance is committed to helping those refinance their student loan debt so that they can Empower a Brighter Future!

What Could You Be Saving When You Refinance?

Our Simplest Guide To Student Loan Refinancing: Part I

Student loan refinancing can seem like a terrible exercise in adulting, but if you’ve ever thought you’d rather get a root canal than learn about refinancing options, we’re here to save you.This is Part I of ELFI’s Simplest Guide to Student Loan Refinancing!

What Is Student Loan Refinancing?

Definition

Refinancing a student loan means you set up a new loan. That new loan pays off your old loan and sets you up with usually a new loan servicer, new interest rate, and different payments. The interest rate is based on current standard interest rates as well as your personal financial situation like your credit score and report and your annual income. It’s important to note that not everyone qualifies for student loan refinancing, so be sure to speak with one of our Personal Loan Advisors to see what your options are.

Example

For example, maybe you have a mix of private and federal student loans that are higher interest than what you can currently get. So if you have $25,000 in loans and you’re paying anything from 5% to 8.75% interest, if you can get them refinanced at 4%, then you will save a lot of money by lowering the rest of your payments until the debt is paid off.

Information About Student Loan Repayment Plans

When should I change my repayment plan instead of refinancing?

Sometimes you may want to pay your loans off quicker or get a lower payment if your situation has changed (like you make less money now). Those can be reasons to set up a new payment plan. Depending on the type of loan you have, you may be able to set up payments that are based on your income or that change your repayment based on helping you pay off the loan faster, or draw out payments for a longer amount of time.

Make sure to check with your loan servicer to understand your repayment options. Federal student loans have several repayment options that can lower your payment or raise your payment to help you pay off faster, but private loan options vary.

Consolidation vs. Refinancing

Consolidating

Consolidating your student loans simply means combining several loans from different servicers into one loan. It’s pretty similar to refinancing. You can combine all or some of your loans, and you’ll get an opportunity to pick repayment options that can be more manageable than paying all of your loans separately. It’s especially helpful to consolidate when you have loans from many servicers, which can be confusing to manage.

  • The interest rate you get from consolidating is based on an average of your combined loans, or a weighted average.
  • Consolidating extends the life of your loans, which can be a way to get lower payments. You pay less each month, but for a longer period of time.
  • Be careful consolidating federal loans into a private loan. There are some rights you lose under the federal student loan program if you switch your federal loans into private loans.
  • Consolidating is one way you can get out of default and start making payments again to get in good financial standing.

With the Direct Loan Consolidation Program, borrowers can consolidate:

  • Stafford Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized)
  • Supplemental Loans for Students
  • Federally Insured Student Loans
  • PLUS Loans, Direct Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • Health Education Assistance Loans
  • And just about any other type of federal student loan
  • State and private loans that are not federally guaranteed aren’t eligible for consolidation with this program.

A Note About Refinancing Student Loans Instead of Consolidating

Refinancing can combine your loans and get a new interest rate and payment terms, but when you refinance federal loans, you have to get a private loan. There is no refinancing option to be taken out through the government. Government loans, however, can be consolidated through Direct Loans.

There’s so much more we could say about refinancing your student loans! That’s why we’ll be continuing this guide in Part II, which will cover different types of student loans, what to take into consideration, and what to watch out for when refinancing.

 

Be Sure to Check Out Part II of Our Student Loan Refinancing Guide

 

Questions about Part I? Give us a shout here to talk more!

Student Loan Refinance Head Barbara Thomas’ Advice to Those Caught in the Gender Gap

The gender gap, sounds like something that ended when women gained the right to vote, but think again. Every day women are fighting for the same treatment as men. Not only do women get paid 80 cents to the dollar that men receive, but recent research from Pew Research Center shows that women hold only 10% of the top executive positions. The same report goes on to illustrate that in the financial sector, women make up only 8.1% of executive level positions. Basically, what all these stats are showing is that women not only get paid less, but they also don’t have leadership positions. If you’re like us, you’re thinking finding a woman executive in the financial sector is like finding a unicorn, but we did it! Luckily, we have the pleasure of working with SouthEast Bank Executive Vice President and Head of its student loan refinance division Education Loan Finance, Barbara Thomas. We sat down with Barbara and discussed what her long and successful financial career has been like and if she has been affected in the past by the gender gap.

How did you start working in the financial industry?

My first job out of college was a credit research analyst for a municipal bond insurance company. After graduate school, I went into investment banking.

Why did you want to work in finance?

My BS degree is in mathematics, and MBA in Finance, so I consider myself quantitative and highly analytical. I always had a knack for numbers so a career in finance was a natural fit.

Did you ever feel that people in your personal life tried to deter you from working in the finance industry?

My family and friends have been very supportive of me and my career throughout my life.

Did you have moments when you reconsidered your career? How did you move past them?

Yes for sure. I have three children – I traveled a lot and worked very long hours, including weekends, throughout my career so I was away from them quite a bit. The work life balance just doesn’t exist in investment banking. However, I achieved so much in my career, and my children have been so supportive of me and are proud of my accomplishments. I believe I set a great example of how hard work and perseverance can lead to success and all three of my children are successful in their own right. In addition, I always made sure that I was there for them when they needed me most and for the important events in their life. Whether it was editing their papers at midnight when I arrived home from work or driving for hours after a long business trip to make my daughter’s field hockey game, I made sure I was there for them.

Can you explain a bit about the gender dynamics in the finance industry at that time?

No doubt, the finance industry has been and still remains today an old boys’ club. I believe that not much has changed to promote women, including providing the proper mentoring and advancement opportunities, in the past 25 years that I have been in the business. When I finally achieved Managing Director status at Morgan Stanley, so many of my clients and professionals outside of the firm thought that I was already an MD for years.

Can you share some moments that you think may have been different, if you were of a different gender?

There are so many moments- from being promoted long after demonstrated success, lack of invitations to casual events (i.e. golf outings and yes I play!) outside of the office, lower compensation than my male peers and lack of opportunity for lateral moves within financial firms. Just to name a few.

There is often a stigma associated with women – you have to choose between your career or a family. Do you have any comments regarding that statement?

Yes, in fact, when I had my third child and was an investment banker, my colleagues thought I was going to retire. So I left that firm to take on a new investment banking position in a more exciting industry at another investment banking firm – that showed them all that they truly misjudged me!

Were there other women that you had worked with in finance? Did they too notice the gender dynamics of the industry?

There were very few women and most left after they made vice president because the opportunities for advancement were slim and the uphill climb was just too steep. We all felt it.

Have you seen gender dynamics change in the finance industry within the last decade?

Nothing has really changed other than the creation of “Heads of Diversity” and “Diversity Committees” in corporations. It is very hard to change the dynamics when men continue to serve in the vast majority of leadership and management roles in the finance industry.

Have you had similar experiences in your current role? 

In my current role as an Executive of Southeast Bank, I have been presented with opportunities to take on new challenges and leadership roles with the full support of our CEO. As head of certain of the Bank’s business lines for the bank, including Education Loan Finance, mentoring and promoting women is a high priority for me.

What advice can you share with women today who may be facing similar challenges in industries like technology? Where the gender dynamics may not be equal?

Always stay true to who you are, demand to take the lead on those plum assignments, prove that you are the right choice for the position, have a voice and speak up but make sure what you say is relevant and toot your own horn, because no one is going to promote you like you can!

 

Should You Join a Local Professionals Group ? 

10 Facts About Student Loans That Will Save You Money

Many millennials are first-generation college students, which is awesome! Going to college is a huge achievement, and you should be proud of your hard work. Navigating the financial side of college, however, can be a little tricky. There are definitely some basic facts you should know—all of them will save you money. We’ve compiled 10 facts about student loans that will save you money. Make sure you’re reaching out to your school to see what resources are available to you and read up on how you can make good borrowing choices.

  1. Not all student loan servicers are created equal.
  2. Small differences in interest rates and origination fees can mean BIG dollars down the road.
  3. Keeping an eye on your principal can help you understand the repayment process.
  4. It could behoove you to pay interest while in school
  5. Deferment is a short-term solution that you should avoid if possible.
  6. There are different reasons to consider fixed or variable interest rates.
  7. You pay taxes on forgiven loan amounts.
  8. You might qualify for loan forgiveness.
  9. There are options if you can’t pay. Don’t try to hide.
  10. Some borrowers save tons of money with refinancing.

 

Click Here to See What You Could Be Saving 

 

Not all student loan servicers are created equal

Some people think that getting a student loan from any company or bank is roughly equal. Maybe the interest rate will be a little different, but they all offer mostly the same thing. Sadly, too many millennials have found out the hard way that some student loan companies are not as reputable as others. Whether it’s a lack of payment options, little to no deferment even, or just plain difficult customer service, there are a lot of reasons why shopping around for the best service and best options can save you time and money in the end.

 

Small differences in interest rates and origination fees can mean BIG dollars down the road

The interest rate you pay for borrowing money is a percentage that’s calculated based on the principal or the amount borrowed. Interest rates might be fixed or variable, depending on your loan, and knowing the difference will save you big money. For instance, if you get a loan with a variable rate because it’s low now, you need to know how high the rate could go, which might affect your decision. When comparing loans, check the interest rate, but also look at the life of the loan and other associated fees. For example, some lenders or products charge an origination fee as well. Here’s a scenario to show how some of these variables play out:

  • A student takes out a $20,000 loan with a 7% interest rate & 0% origination fee. This loan accrues interest monthly and when it capitalizes at repayment 48 months from now, this student will have an outstanding balance of $25,600.
  • A student takes out a $20,000 loan with an 8% interest rate & 4% origination fee. This loan accrues interest monthly and when it capitalizes at repayment 48 months from now, this student will have an outstanding balance of $27,456.

It might look like a minor change, but these small differences matter a lot!

 

Keeping an eye on your principal can help you understand repayment progress

Your principal and payoff balance will appear on your loan statements and you should note those amounts each month. Obviously, you want to see them trending down, but sometimes watching your principal balance each month will help you realize how much more impact you could have on your loans if you increased or restructured your payments.

 

It could behoove you to pay interest while in school

There’s one reason why paying even just your interest payments on student loans while in school is a good idea: compound interest. Compound interest is when your interest gets added to the principal. When this happens, your principal is higher, and you end up paying more interest. To combat it, pay interest payments! If you make these small payments while in school, you won’t graduate with even more debt than you actually took out. If you continuously defer your loans, the debt grows and grows until you start paying. This is how some people get into a lot of trouble!

 

Deferment is a short-term solution that you should avoid if possible

Student loan deferral can sound like a great deal if you’re in dire straits, but there are a lot of reasons why you should avoid student loan deferral or forbearance if at all possible. These options increase your debt and add fees to your loan. If you’re in an extreme situation and have to defer payment or two that you can catch up on in a few months, you do what you have to do. But don’t opt to defer just because you want more money for something like a wedding when you could find other ways to save.

 

There are different reasons to consider fixed or variable interest rates

Government loans are always fixed-rate, but private loans can be fixed or variable. Knowing the benefits and possible downside of both options can help save you money when it’s time to decide which loan to get. With a fixed rate, you know what you’re going to pay for the life of the loan. Variable rates are not so certain. You might start with a low rate that goes up over time or vice versa, but they also generally start lower than the fixed rate. Consider how the variable rate is set and whether you’re okay with a variable rate or would prefer the fixed amount.

 

You pay taxes on forgiven loan amounts

Student loan forgiveness can be a great thing since your remaining balance after 10, 20, or maybe 25 years is forgiven. Many people don’t know, however, that current IRS rules require the forgiven loan amounts to be treated as taxable income. That means you could be on the hook for a hefty tax bill when you least expect it. Knowing this information could change the way you pay your loans, or at least prepare you for what’s at the end of the rainbow.

 

You might qualify for loan forgiveness

Speaking of loan forgiveness! Only you can figure out if you qualify, grasshopper. The government doesn’t keep track of this, and the rules for qualification are rigid. Be sure that you know your qualification status before you start planning your “student loan forgiveness day” party. Check out our blog on student loan forgiveness.

 

There are options if you can’t pay. Don’t try to hide (other word choices for ‘hide’ – run, ignore it, lie, pretend it’s not there).

The worst thing you can do is ignore student loan payments. Student loan companies have ways of getting money from you even if you’re hiding under a blanket in mom and dad’s basement. If you ever can’t pay your student loans, call them immediately and talk about options. You might be able to set up a new payment option or refinance to save some cash and keep making payments.

 

Some borrowers save tons of money with refinancing

There are many ways to save money with refinancing. For instance, if you consolidate private and federal student loans into one monthly payment, you might be able to score a lower payment. If you have several loans with high-interest rates or if rates have gone down since you borrowed, refinancing your student loans can save you bundles.

 

Common Misconceptions About Student Loan Forgiveness 

How Much of Your Income Should be Going Toward Rent?

You’ve got that first job or a new job. Maybe just got a raise or your moving to a new city, that’s awesome. You’re excited about this new chapter in your life and then you find, “woah, rent is really expensive!”  That’s likely what you’re saying as rising rent is outpacing income in most major cities in the country. So, what do you do? How much can you afford? How much should you pay? Well, you’ll find the standard answer is 30%, but it’s not that simple. Every situation is different and there are a lot of things to consider but don’t worry, you’ll figure it out and you probably don’t have to live in a van down by the river, unless that’s your thing.

How much are you really making?

First things first, you need to know how much you’re really going to be bringing home from that paycheck before you know how much you can really spend on rent. People often base their rent on their annual salary, which can really leave you hurting financially because they haven’t considered things like taxes, health insurance, 401ks and other deductions. Here is a good paycheck calculator to help you get to a more reliable number to work with. After that you need to calculate your debts, be it credit cards, auto loans or student loans.

Figure out what you really need.

This isn’t just a tactic to be really frugal, it’s pretty fundamental. Do your research. Know yourself, your habits and what’s realistic for you and the city you are going to live in. Living in the suburbs may be an attractive option because it’s cheaper, but maybe you don’t even need a car? Could walking and public transportation be enough to get you around? If you are moving to a new town or city that you’re not really familiar with, try and stay with a friend or rent an Airbnb for a couple of days in an area you’re considering. It can be a great way to prioritize what is going to be most important to you. You’ll often find that some things that seem like important must-haves could potentially be needless costs.

So, what’s the answer?

You’ve figured out your salary. You’ve weighed your priorities. If you’re like most people, you’ll find that the decision still isn’t easy. If you need something more concrete to avoid yourself financial heartache in the future, try following the 50/20/30 rule. That’s 50% towards the must-haves like rent, utilities, transportation, and food. 30% towards fun and 20% towards savings and/or paying off debt, like cars, credit cards, and student loans. As an example, the average rent in Manhattan, NY is $3,100 for a one-bedroom. In order for that to be a financially sound decision, you’d want your monthly take-home pay to be above $8,300. Using a rent affordability calculator is another great way to see if a particular rent amount would work well for your budget or not.

If all of this still sounds totally unrealistic to you then you may have to look to alternatives like having a roommate, especially if your situation is more temporary. If you know you’re definitely going to be staying somewhere for a while, you may be able to negotiate with your landlord or rental company for cheaper rent.  if you can commit to an 18 or 24-month lease. No matter what you decide to do, just make sure you give it some good thought. Save where you can and spend on what’s important to you.

 

Click Here to Learn About the 50/20/30 Budget

 

Supporting Articles:

https://www.apartmentguide.com/blog/percentage-annual-income-rent/

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/23/realestate/how-much-of-my-income-should-be-budgeted-for-rent.html

 

Lease or Finance a Car – What to Do

Is it better to lease or finance a new car? The truth is there is no perfect answer. There are benefits and disadvantages to both, so your answer depends on your own needs.  The real question is, which one will fit your needs and budget best? Here is a breakdown of leasing a car versus financing a car and the pros and cons of both.

Leasing

In the simplest of definitions, leasing a car is very similar to renting. You pay a down payment and a certain amount of money each month to drive your car until the end of the lease term – usually 3 to 4 years. When buying or financing a car, you have to pay for the entire purchase price. When you lease a car you simply pay for the depreciation of the car over the term of the lease (its initial value minus its residual value).

There are numerous benefits to leasing a car including:
  • lower monthly payment
  • a smaller down payment
  • possible tax savings
  • likely under warranty
  • newest auto technology every few years
While leasing a car offers several pros, it also comes with many cons. These cons include:
  • you do not own the car
  • many stipulations
    • Number of miles permitted
    • Possible wear and tear fees
  • GAP Insurance
  • Good credit

Most leased cars have a restriction on how many miles you can drive it per year built into the contract you sign. If you go over this number, you may have to pay a hefty mileage fine. There is also the potential to pay excess wear fees if the car is not returned in its original condition. Another downside is most leasing companies require you to have very good to excellent credit to lease a car, as well as GAP insurance which generally ensures you are wholly responsible if the car is totaled or stolen.

Cost Example:

Car Cost- $30,000

Down Payment– $5,000

Trade In Value– $10,000

Lease Term Length– 48 months or 4 years

Sales Tax- 9%

Interest Rate- 6%

Monthly Payment- $189

Sum of Money  Spent (by end of lease)- $34,417*

Financing

Financing a car is simply taking out a loan to buy a car. If you pay in cash, you own the car as soon as the paperwork is signed. If you take out an auto loan, or finance, the bank holds ownership of the car until you pay it off. Once the final payment is made on the loan, you are the sole owner of the vehicle.

When you finance a car, you actually own the vehicle so there aren’t any restrictions on what you do with it or how many miles you drive in it. You can customize the vehicle however you please and don’t need to worry about excess wear fees. Another pro is once you have made the last payment on the car, there aren’t any more monthly payments – you just have to pay for gas, maintenance fees, and insurance. Unlike a lease, if you get tired of your car and decide to buy a new one, you can sell it and use the money you make towards the down payment on a new one. While interest rates will depend on your credit score, you do not have to have perfect credit to get a loan on a car.

There are, of course, drawbacks to financing a car.

 

  • Banks require a down payment on the purchase of a car- usually between 10% and 20% of the value of the car.
  • Cars depreciate rapidly
 In the short run, buying a car is also more expensive than leasing. The overall cost of the car is more expensive as well as the interest you pay each month on the car loan.

 

Cost Example:

Car Cost– $30,000

Down Payment– $5,000

Trade In Value– $10,000

Loan Term Length- 48 months or 4 years

Sales Tax- 9%

Interest Rate– 6%

Monthly Payment- $416

Sum of Money  Spent (by end of loan)- $34,953*

How to Choose

When deciding whether to lease or finance a car, here are some things to consider: Do you frequently drive long distances? Do you enjoy driving a different car every few years? Do you always want to make a payment? There is no right or wrong answer to the leasing vs. buying question. The answer to the question lies in your personal wants and needs. If you do not drive frequently and always want the newest and the best, lease a car. If you want to be able to customize and own your own car, consider purchasing a used car. Explore different buying and leasing options until you decide what is best for your own budget and lifestyle.

7 Money Mistakes Young Professional Make 

 

*This is an estimate and doesn’t include any additional fee such as wear and tear or over mileage. Estimates and totals are according to the cars.com/car-loan-calculator

7 Money Mistakes For Young Professionals To Avoid

As a financially aware young adult, you know that not all millennials are working part-time and living in mom and dad’s basement. There are many young professionals today who work hard to bring home the bacon (or tofurkey). A bigger salary doesn’t mean that you’re automatically great at managing money. Adulting is hard, and the answers for how to manage money aren’t always clear. You’re probably going to make some mistakes, but that’s why we’re here to lend a hand!

We’ve already covered these 5 financial mistakes to avoid in your 20s. To help you up your adulting game, here are 7 more money mistakes young professionals commonly make. Also included are how you can avoid making them.

  1. Investing without a plan
  2. Spending over your means
  3. Ignoring your credit report and score
  4. Spending too much on housing
  5. Going into debt for the wrong reasons
  6. Avoiding money conversations with a significant other
  7. Letting fear stop you from checking out your options

Investing without a plan

Investing is easier than ever! Websites allow you to manage your investments with ease, and there are even some great apps that can help in the investing arena. You can invest just a few dollars at a time and watch your few dollars turn into a few dollars more. The problem a lot of young professionals make is investing without a plan. Some people focus only on stocks that have dividends while others try to pick the next big thing. Some people buy an app or pay for a subscription that sounds like it’s investing your money, yet the details are fuzzy. If you’re going to start investing, have a plan. Talk to someone who knows the industry and can walk you through what makes sense for your budget, age, and goals.

Spending over your means

What does it mean to live within your means? Well, in a nice little nutshell it means not spending more than you make. And in an even better nutshell, it means making good decisions for how much to spend on various aspects of your life, while also allocating money to go to your bills, savings, emergencies, retirement, and so on. It might not be a problem to occasionally splurge on brunch or craft whiskey, but if you are eating lunch out every day or spending more than 25% of your income on housing, you might be in trouble. When you spend over your means, you dip into savings or use credit to get you through to the next check or next month, and it’s a big ol’ recipe for disaster. It’s an easy trap to fall into as a young professional because you might start making more money and just assume you’re entitled to eat out or get a better place, but don’t make those upgrades without looking at all of your finances first.

Ignoring your credit report and score

No one has ever claimed that they super love getting their credit report and checking the document for errors or red flags, but ignoring your credit report and not knowing your credit score can really come back to bite you. With how comfortable many of us are sharing our household information—and with the increasing sophistication of hackers—identity theft is all too common.

Put a reminder on your calendar to check your report each quarter, which you can do for free through the main credit bureaus once per year. Just have a glass of wine and read through to make sure that there’s nothing anomalous on there. If there is, figure out the discrepancy and make sure your report is clean. As far as your credit score, this pesky little number comes in very handy when it’s time to get a loan or buy a house. Lots of places let you check or track your number, so there’s no reason not to know. If it’s no good, fix it now! You can do it with a little time, smarts, and persistence. Don’t wait until you’re trying to apply for a loan and then realize that you should have been on top of your credit all this time.

Spending too much on housing

With the outrageous rents in many of America’s top cities, and because the suburbs are a snoozefest, it’s tempting to increase your housing budget even if you can’t really afford it. Being house-poor (or apartment-poor!) is a big mistake. The reason most experts will tell you to only spend about 25% of your income on housing is because that’s a constant line on your budget. You can’t negotiate it down. You can’t skip a month. So if you have a major expense one month or your income changes or you just decide you need to save more, you’ll be up a creek with a big rent or mortgage payment. Know what you can reasonably afford and look into other options like roommates if you can’t get the place you want on your solo income.

Going into debt for the wrong reasons

It may seem like a great idea to borrow money for a trip or rack up some hefty bills for a wedding—#YOLO, right!?—but don’t go into debt for the wrong reasons. Considering the average American wedding is over $35,000, just keeping up with your peers might put you up to your eyeballs in debt, but you’re smarter than that. If you really want the trip of a lifetime, look for inspiration from blogs with the best tips on cheap dream destinations or how to find the best hostels or work while you travel. There are thousands of ways to save money on a wedding if you’re willing to compromise and use your network to put together a great community event. The problem is when you start thinking you deserve something and will get it no matter the cost. That cost might be starting off next year with more debt than you can afford, and no one deserves that.

Avoiding the conversation with a significant other

Thankfully, 73% of millennials in relationships talk about money with their significant other at least once per week. That still leaves a surprising number of couples who rarely talk about money, or don’t have a plan for how they want to manage finances or build credit. Couples, especially young professionals who have many earning years ahead, need to talk about their financial goals, budgets, and spending. In fact, couples who talk about these things rate their relationships as better and happier than their peers. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with some tips on how to talk about finances with your significant other.

Letting fear stop you from checking out your options

Don’t put off financial changes because you’re afraid. Know what options are available to you, and use those trusted sources of information to learn how to improve your situation.

 

What’s the Best Way to Repay Student Loans? 

THE OFFLINE SOCIAL NETWORK – Should You Join a Local Professionals Group?

Yes. That was a bit quick and presumptuous, but purposefully so. You’re busy. Too busy, maybe, to join professional groups, locally. You’re busy planning for your future, working to improve your present, and living as large as possible. Great.

Why then did we say “yes?” Because those are the exact goals a local professionals group can help you accomplish. Perhaps even with a bit of style. We’ll break it down for you.

PEERS:
Where are you in life? Not physically, but professionally, mentally, and even emotionally? You can learn a lot from those who’ve walked in your shoes already and you can be motivated by those who are going through life with you at the same speed. Like minded professionals working together and creating a community, that’s where these groups excel and are among the biggest benefits.

Breaking past the limitations of the internet, past the trends of “follows” and “connections,” you have the stated purpose of getting to know members of the group as actual people, not just faces or icons. It’s right there in the description — NETWORK, which is both a noun and a verb here. Go to a meeting and start a conversation. That will quickly turn into a connection, a recommendation, and eventually an opportunity. Turns out, 60 to 80 % of jobs are found through personal connections. That’s called having big “social capital,” which is a real term used to describe people in the know with people who know.

And who knows, you might even find a new set of friends. A recent study found that 58% of local professionals polled already belong to a group. Among those who don’t belong to one, 77% are currently looking to join.

PLATFORM:
Local professional groups are the perfect playground for exercising your leadership skills and strengthening talents you hope to flaunt in the workplace someday. For instance, working with new connections on a charity project will not only build you up but showcase your abilities to other people who will be in similar industries and can spread the good word about you, for you. It could lead to freelance or even a new job.

PERKS:
On top of the benefits highlighted above, many local professional groups have distinguished membership incentives such as professional coaching, exclusive deals specific to your business, travel discounts, and even healthcare.

Just remember, the more you put into the community, the more you get out.

Every community is different, but most major cities should have a division of the Young Professionals Organization or a Chamber of Commerce you can look into. Another option is to explore specific interest groups. Do you love the industry you work in, like to work on community events, help people less fortunate, play with animals? Regardless of what you enjoy spending your time on, take the time to search online to see what’s out there.

So:

Are you too busy to join a local professionals group? Yes.

Should you still join a local professionals group? Yes.

Whereas right now you have so little time you don’t know how you’re going to make it; down the road you’ll have more friends, connections, and opportunities than you’ll know what to do with. The strength you’ll get in numbers will carry you so much further than the weight you could carry on your own.

 

3 Steps for Negotiating a Salary

 

Reference Links:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246691 

https://www.alexslemonade.org/blog/2017/04/beyond-linkedin-10-reasons-join-young-professionals-group

The Solution to Millennial Employment Turnover

The Millennial Generation or those born from 1981 – 1996i seem to be the biggest target for social commentary. Millennials have been blamed for the decrease in napkin sales, the increase in renting versus buying, and have numerous stereotypes like the generation without social skills. If it isn’t clear, Millennials have certainly become the generation every other group loves to hate.

 

If the lack of social skills weren’t enough, here is another reason people are finding it hard to approve of the millennial generation – the lack of loyalty to employers. Currently, 60% of millennials are open to a different job.i The loyalty that previous generations had to their employer is lost among the Millennial Generation. There doesn’t seem to be any lost and found box where companies can go to find that lost loyalty, either. Could it be the lack of raises or is it something missing from your human resource offerings?

 

The average college graduate leaves school with $37,172 in student loan debtii. That college debt is more than any previous generation. When your workers are carrying more debt, they are more conscious of what they are getting paid. Student loan debt can be like a fire for some borrowers, as they need to eliminate the debt as soon as possible before incurring additional damage.

 

Allow us to put this employee need in perspective for you. Three in five young workers say a higher priority for them is paying off their student loans, not retirementiii. What a compelling insight into what young workers are focused on. This provides a perfect illustration of why your traditional Human Resource benefits like a 401K may no longer be enough to keep a young workforce motivated.

 

Before we continue, let’s clear something up, the problem of student loan debt doesn’t only affect younger workers. Though younger Millennial workers are highly affected, one in five adults, ages 30 to 44, have student loan debt according to PEW researchiv. So what can you do as an employer to address the concern of student loan debt and keep your employee motivated?

 

We would recommend adding student loan education and assistance to your suite of HR benefits. It’s a no-brainer to add an HR benefit that doesn’t cost your company anything. Yes, you, as an employer would pay nothing to offer this to your employees. Education Loan Finance offers a program where a link can be placed directly into your HR portal. It’s almost effortless to partner with a company and offer this benefit!

 

Want to blow your employees out of the water? Consider offering to contribute to your employee’s loans. You’ll never have problems with employees leaving, at least while they have student loan debt anyways. There are multiple different methods available to offer student loan contribution to your employees. You could offer a type of sign on bonus payment to be applied directly to the principal of the loan. These types of bonuses are great for the holiday season, sign-on bonuses, or reward for a job well-done. A second popular method of contribution is a monthly payment. Below is a chart we’ve put together to illustrate how employer contributions can have a huge impact on student loan debt. Take a look for yourself and see how an employee with student loan debt could be easily motivated based on this simple and free HR benefit.

 

Total Employee
Loan Debt
Loan Lifetime Interest Rate Annual Employer Bonus Total Employee Savings
$37,000 10 years 6% $1,000 $10,269
$200,000 7 years 6% $1,000 $5,843
$200,000 10 years 6% $1,000 $11,102

 

If you aren’t sure if student loan repayment assistance is right for your company that’s okay, but keep that in mind any time you receive a two-week notice from an employee. There are multiple plans available to help your employees navigate their way through student loan debt repayment.

Common offerings an employee can gain by working with a company may include employer contributions, student loan refinancing, and educational tools. So how does an employer add this to their employee offerings? It’s simple, by partnering with student loan refinance companies like Education Loan Refinance; you have the opportunity to make student loan debt assistance benefits a reality for your employees. Now, there is no guarantee that offering benefits to employees will keep them from leaving. Aside from benefits, there are billions of reasons people leave jobs. For younger generations like the always loved Millennials taking on more and more debt each year, this is a MUST. To be considered groundbreaking and modern, your company will need to be offering student debt assistance.

 

Learn How ELFI for Business Can Help You 


i   http://www.elfi.com/elfiforbusiness/
ii  http://news.gallup.com/businessjournal/191459/millennials-job-hopping-generation.aspx
iii  https://www.creditdonkey.com/average-student-loan-payment.html
iv  https://d9jmqzwnxk1s1.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/14141823/asa_young_worker_and_student_debt_survey_report-1.pdf 
v http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/08/24/5-facts-about-student-loans/