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2018-11-28
Stop the Trend Spending™

From hoverboards and iPods to boy bands, trends will come, and they will undoubtedly go. Anyone who has experienced and come through the other side of a trend can look back and laugh, but we aren’t sure about their wallets. At Education Loan Finance, we refer to spending on the latest “it” items as “trend spending™”. Always following the latest trends can wreak havoc on your personal finances.  We are not saying don't do anything trendy and live under a rock. What we are saying is that rewarding yourself for making good decisions is important, but evaluate that choice carefully. Let’s take a look at the latest trend spending™ taking place, how much money is actually being spent and how it could add up over time.  

Vaping

We’ve all been there, walking or driving along when you see the occasional cloud of vape on the sidewalk. If you’re lucky, that cloud of vape isn’t directly in front of you while you’re walking and you’re able to dodge that second-hand vape cloud. In addition to the envied clouds vaping creates, the flavors can range from cereal flavors to candy flavors.  Just like the flavors, the mods come in a variety of sizes too, from huge mod kits that make tons of vapor to tiny USB chargeable vapes like the JUUL®.   Vaping has become one of the biggest trends in the U.S. The more vapor you can produce the “cooler” you are according to the vaping community. According to a CDC report released in October 2018, JUUL Labs® account for nearly one in three e-cigarette sales, nationally. While vaping might be the latest trend, remember that its long-term health effects are still unknown. Couple the possible health effects with the cost and you might just convince yourself to stop.   JUUL® Starter Kit - $45 Four pack of pods $16. Let’s assume those are purchased twice a month, so that is 24 x $16 = $384 Total Cost of Vaping for a Year= $429    Assuming that you bought a JUUL® unit to do your vaping and you bought a new pack of pods every two weeks or twice a month, you’d be spending $429.00 a year. Over the course of four years, that’s about $2,000! We didn’t even include any sales tax in this equation, but many states are rolling out taxes on vaping products.  

Subscriptions

Subscriptions used to be associated with Highlights® magazine or catalogs your Grandma would receive in the mail, but the 21st century has revitalized the subscription. Now, subscriptions can get us movies, vitamins, clothes, music, even dating sites and all are currently available at our fingertips. The subscription box industry, in particular, is experiencing rapid growth. Since 2014, the subscription box industry has increased by 890% according to a 2018 report by Hitwise. Subscriptions, though convenient, can really end up costing you in the long run.   The danger is that once your card is on file, it’s so easy to forget about the service. Here’s a list of the most popular monthly subscription services of 2018. Let’s say, you signed up for the FabFitFun® subscription box for a year. Now, this box is sent only four times a year based on the season. The box comes with full-sized premium products. In addition to the box you receive, you get access to the FabFitFunTV which shares workouts, access to exclusive member sales, and you have access to the entire community online.  Now, that box is $50.00 per season or $200 a year.  

Fancy “Dranks”

It’s hard for a month to pass without seeing some crazy coffee creation from your local Starbucks®. Recently, the Witch’s Brew Frappuccino outshined the previous favorite, Unicorn Frappuccino and became an Instagram® trend.  Drink trends can really spiral out of control and quickly. If you actively participate in social media by checking your Instagram® or Facebook® every once in a while, you can’t help but notice them. In some weird way, all these Frappuccino drinks and IPAs flooding your news feed put pressure on you to join in and go purchase one of these beverages.
 
This pressure to join in on the cool coffee trend can come down on your wallet like a hammer. The average cost for a latte at Starbucks® as of 2018 was $5.75 for a Grande, and that doesn’t include any fancy cake pops! If you bought yourself a latte, once a week for a year, what are you really spending? 52 weeks a year x 5.75 = $299.00 a Year! You’re paying about $300 on lattes a year. Think of how far that money could go towards your student loan debt.  

Health Food

The latest trend in the food and beverage industry is likely to come from your favorite online health influencer. It’s also likely that drink ends in a vowel like Kombucha, Matcha, or bubble tea. These drinks have been around for decades, but lately, they are skyrocketing due to a new health movement. Kombucha and other fermented drink sales were up 35.6% in 2017 according to FoodNavigator-USA. This fancy probiotic drink can really end up costing you at $3.75 per bottle. If you’re looking to drink it once a day, it adds up to $1,368 a year in total cost on Kombucha. We aren’t saying to deprive yourself of the latest health trends, but we’re suggesting to think wisely before deciding to purchase it. Really understand how that small amount of money can add up to a lump sum that can easily be applied to debts. Maybe even try making your own Kombucha, there are tons of websites and directions available online.   Bubble Tea or as some may know it as pearl milk tea, boba juice, or just boba, has been in the US for years, but it’s recently gaining major trend status in 2018. There have been multiple chains arising that specialize in Bubble Tea. You may know these chains as Kung Fu Tea® or Boba Guys®.  Bubble Tea could make a great date or even a trendy place to stop with friends. It offers a nice alternative to the usual coffee or beer we’ve all grown accustomed to. We wouldn’t recommend making Bubble Tea a daily habit or even a weekly habit because like Kombucha the small amount spent could really end up adding up.  The average cost for a Bubble Tea is $3.50, and if you choose to go every day for a year, it equates to about $1,277. That is some serious money that can be used to get out of debt or start investing in retirement fund money.  

Quick Food

Food is important because it keeps us alive, but that doesn’t mean we need to spend all of our income on it. Simple changes to your everyday life like packing lunch for work could really help you save in the long run. Eating out can be expensive, time-consuming, and even dissatisfying. Before you pick up your cell and place an online order, let's take a look at these stats. According to the 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey, Millennials ages 26-34, spent $3,416 annually on food away from home.   Imagine for lunch every day at work you bought a burrito from Chipotle®. Just a burrito is about $8.00. Now, our cost has no fancy drinks because we learned our lesson on trend spending™ on sparkling water when the office has free and classic H2O available. We’ll assume that you work five days a week and it’s typically Monday through Friday. We aren’t going to account for vacations or days off in our math. Let’s see what your yearly cost for lunch is…   $8 Burrito Cost x 5 days in a work week = $40 a week spent $40 x 52 work weeks per Year = $2,080 spent a year   Though it’s so easy to get sucked into the trend of going out to lunch and grabbing something easy, please be cautious. Apps like UberEats®, GrubHub®, and Seamless® may seem convenient, but they can cause unnecessary costs.  Try to cut back on eating out or ordering in food. We know, easier said than done. Especially, when it comes to working all day and having to make yourself dinner when you get home.  Add to it cleaning up any dishes you may have used, and it just gets overwhelming. This doesn’t have to be an all or nothing situation though, try packing your own lunch weekly. If that seems like a lot maybe only purchase lunch on Fridays. These small life changes could have an impact on your finances, and they are just creating good spending habits as you move further on into adulthood. Just remember that the amount of money spent on food could pay off student loans, or be added to the down payment on a house.  

Give & Take

Whether you are trying to get out of debt or save up money to achieve a financial goal, there is always a little give and take. You deserve to enjoy yourself and treat yourself every once in a while with the latest trend, but don’t get so caught up in the trend spend™ craze that you lose any sense of the amount you’re spending.  Trends may be great - I mean, after all, they did become a trend, but you need to stay focused. If you are finding it difficult to stay focused on your financial goal, try making a compromise of the situation. It will always help to remind you that it’s just that, a trend. Trends will come, and they will go, but your finances will be with you forever. Be the financially responsible you that we know you can be!  

Avoid These 7 Money Mistakes

    NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.
Couple Met on a Dating App
2018-11-13
Student Loan Refinancing & Your Dating App

When understanding student loans or any part of the finance industry for that matter, you’ll notice similarities. One significant similarity is that all requested borrowers of a loan will have their information reviewed by an underwriter. It sounds complicated, but in reality, the guidelines of a loan underwriter’s job are relatively simple. In fact, you could say that the entire application process works like that of a dating app and the underwriter is the Tinder® that will get you there.  

Swipe Left-

On a dating app, you’re not going to swipe right on everybody. Well, we hope that you have some standards for yourself! Similarly, when applying to refinance student loans, you’ll find different criteria or standards for companies. In a dating app, it’s usually pretty superficial first. The same can be said for student loan refinancing data. You see, student loan refinance lenders will have mandatory requirements like minimum student debt, minimum credit score, and others like institution attended.   The guidelines are pretty straightforward at this point to determine if you could be a good fit for the lender. If you are not, at this time a good fit for a lender, keep trying! Work on that credit score, assuming it’s something that can be fixed. If someone swipes left, that’s okay. It’s better to determine it now, than have it not work out later after you’ve invested significant time, energy, and emotion.  

Swipe Right-

Dating and financial stability are relatively comparable. Both take a long time to build and can be destroyed with one simple mistake. To gain back stability, it could take years, but that shouldn’t stop you from living your life and doing what’s best for yourself. Though it can be daunting, there are times when you’ll hit it off! If you “matched” with the lender you’ll move on to your application process or the case of a dating app slide on into the DMs.  

Getting That “Match”

Congrats, you’ve now moved on to the next level! You’ve received your notification and will start getting to really know one another. In the case of a lending institution, it can be a bit more formal. You’ll likely be submitting required documents at the time of your application. These documents differ based on the lender. Documents that are typically requested include, W-2, pay stubs, and government-issued ID.  

The Date

Once you’ve worked your way through the application form or direct messages, it’s time for the date. Yes, the date! Here’s where your underwriter really comes into play.  An underwriter is someone that is hired by a financial institution to evaluate requested borrowers. An underwriter reviews the information that a requested borrower submits and determines if they are a good fit. Consider the underwriter your dating app, it allows you to get to know someone and learn more about them.   In some cases, an underwriter may feel that they do not have adequate information and may request that additional information be provided. This can be common in the case of adding a cosigner, being recently employed, or other circumstances. Don’t be thrown off if additional information is requested. Just like when you’re messaging, and your match throws you a curve ball. If you see it through both things could work out well for you.  

Long Term

If your date worked out well for you, it’s likely you may want to go on another one. Fortunate for you, when it comes to student loan refinancing you can always continue to refinance your student loans through other vendors to get the best interest rate available. Once you’ve completed the application process and worked with an underwriter if needed, you’ll either receive an acceptance or a notification with details as to why your loan was not approved. When you’re dating well, there could be many possibilities. One of those possibilities could include getting ghosted. Regardless, we hope that it’s the beginning of a long and happy relationship for you both!  

10 Facts About Student Loans That Will Save You Money

Intern making a good impression in front of coworkers
2018-11-12
How to Turn Your Internship into a Full-Time Career

Congratulations! You’ve got an internship and you want to get the best return on the time invested there - you want a job. Get your career started, make some real money and start paying off those student loans. By simply having an internship you’ve increased your chances because companies often hire the interns they like. What separates the interns they hire from the ones they don’t? We’ve got a few tips here to help you keep your foot in the door.  

Be more than present.

  There’s a balance between knowing when to speak up and when not to, but for the most part, it’s better to speak than to not. Be part of the conversation in meetings. Ask questions and throw out your opinion when appropriate. There’s nothing more unattractive to a potential employer than an intern that does little more than take oxygen out of the room.  

Figure out where you can help.

  Try and be a part of the team. Sometimes a company has a well-established intern program. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes employees are too busy to find things for you to do. The best thing to do is find out how you can contribute. When you notice someone is overwhelmed, see how you can help. Having made someone's day easier and more productive can really help set you apart when management decides what if any interns are hired.  

Get to know people.

  Interns can often fly under the radar at a workplace. You should make a concerted effort to get to know people and what they do. If at the end of your time, most people around the office don’t even know your name, that’s going to really lessen your chances of getting an offer. That’s why it’s important to try to make an impression outside of the couple of people you normally come into contact with.  

If you’re fetching coffee - do it well.

  Sometimes being an intern can mean doing somewhat menial tasks like getting lunch or coffee, setting up for meetings, or running errands. Whatever the task, do them well. Often employers will have interns do these things to see how competent and enthusiastic they are. If you do it well, you’ll probably get more important tasks. Conversely, if you are only getting coffee and that’s all they ever want you for, it might not be the best place to work.  

Put the phone down.

  Be active and engaged at the internship. Don’t pull out your phone to go through social streams or answer emails. Even if you see other people in a meeting do it. It’s a bad habit that many of us have, and if you want them to know you care about what is going on you’ll avoid it.  

Ask Questions

  As an intern, it can be tough to stand out. By asking questions to your supervisor or while in a meeting it’ll help to make you stand out. In addition, you’ll learn more about the industry or topic being discussed. Don’t be afraid to ask a question if you need clarity.  

Think for yourself.

  Employers want to see that you can solve problems. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions. But at least try and figure things out beforehand. Sometimes a good Google search can do a lot. Whatever you do, don’t avoid the task because you couldn’t figure out how to do it.  

Don’t just punch the clock.

  If you really want to show people you want to be there, don’t head for the door at the first possible minute every day. Come in early and stay late from time to time. Show people you’re not just there because you have to be, but because you want to be.  

Make sure it’s the right fit.

  Don’t just take a job to take a job. It probably won’t be good for the company or your career. An internship is a great way for you to learn about a business or industry. It’s also a way for a company to evaluate you, but you should also be doing an evaluation. By the end of your time there if it doesn’t feel right, look for something else. Your internship experience may help you get a job someplace better suited to you.  

Set Goals for Yourself

  Being an intern, there really aren’t any expectations as to what you can do. Be sure to do your best and set personal goals for yourself. Goal setting will help to keep you busy even when there may not be work provided to you. Setting personal goals is a great habit to start and will help you as you further your career.   Regardless of the industry, your internship may be in - be sure to work hard. Hard work pays off as the old saying states. Hard work is just one part of everything that we’ve touched on here, but all of these habits are needed. The younger you can start these habits the better off you will be moving forward. If your internship doesn’t turn into a full-time job opportunity don’t be too disappointed and use it as a stepping stone. If you didn’t like your internship and you were offered a job, be sure to think it over. You don’t want to be working at a job you aren’t happy with. Good luck with your continued professional journey!    

Resume Tips from Hiring Managers

   
Woman working at home
2018-11-07
5 Benefits Millennials Look For in Employers

Millennial employees are known for changing jobs faster than other generations, so it’s no wonder Millennial turnover costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually. But instead of writing off this segment of employees, many companies are looking at what drives people in this generation to join a company, and how can you keep the younger allstars once they’re on your team? Many Millennials have college degrees with varied backgrounds and experiences, they’re loyal to causes they care about and connected in their communities. Keeping top talent is a key business driver for success, but there are some things you might not know that Millennials are looking for in employers.  

Opportunity for Advancement

Millennials don’t want to get into one position and stay there forever. After seeing their loyal parents ousted from companies during the recession, young employees know not to settle and let skills stagnate. They might even leave for other opportunities, but you can attract and retain the best of them by offering development opportunities and continuing education. Millennials want to know that they can grow with the company and they won’t get stuck in one position. As a matter of fact, 59% of Millennials say this is extremely important to them.  

The State of Student Loan Debt in America Today 

 

Support

Nothing is more frustrating than working in a space or with a team that doesn’t support you. Millennials want to be somewhere that they feel supported. Whether that’s the right computer for their job, a sit-to-stand desk, ergonomic work chair, or regular check-ins from leadership, support is crucial.  

Work-Life Balance

Most would say it is not considered admirable to work a 60-hour workweek or to skip using your vacation time, because you’re that valuable. Millennial employees have no interest in being the first to the office and the last to leave because a work-life balance has become a mantra for this generation. Keep in mind these young workers had parents who were not as available for family time, and they are choosing instead to spend more time with their families or to disconnect from work to recharge their batteries. Since everyone is reachable through digital tools 24/7 getting away from the office and finding other ways to put work-life balance in harmony is crucial to avoiding burnout and keeping the best talent.  

Recognition and Feedback

Some people balk at the Millennials for having gotten participation trophies as kids, but the result is this generation likes to be recognized for good work and need more feedback to feel secure. Whereas a typical Baby Boomer might be happy assuming things are fine if they aren’t getting criticism, a Millennial would likely want regular status updates from their boss. They usually want to be doing things that are meaningful and helping the team progress, so things like a weekly meeting or quick one-on-one session to talk about goals can really go a long way to helping your top Millennial talent stay engaged. Plus, giving your Millennial employees props for their good work can be more effective than other types of perks or bonuses. 68% of Millennials said they’d prefer being personally called out for their efforts.  

Meaningful Perks

It’s a common misconception that all you need to attract and retain Millennials are things like pizza parties and bean bag chairs. In reality, they want more meaningful perks than this. Time off means more to them than raises because they’re driven to see the world and connect with other cultures. Options like bonuses that go straight to their student loans or more competitive benefits packages can be the difference between staying at your company or jumping ship for a competitor.  

Learn More About ELFI for Business

2018-11-04
8 Ways to Earn Quick Cash in Your 20’s

Life is expensive, especially when you are first figuring it out. Whether we want to admit it or not, we’ve all had that moment where we have found ourselves strapped for cash.  To combat these instances, here is a list of 8 ways you can earn cash fast and help you make it to your next paycheck.

Take out the Trash

Get rid of things you no longer use! Consider it your winter cleaning. All those old video games you have lying around or those old jackets and dresses.  You may not get retail price, but it’s easier than ever to sell your old things on the web. Sites like ThredUp® will ship you a bag to put all your old clothes in and then they will give you money for what they sell and give away the remainder.  Have old furniture, instruments, baby carriers, even video games try using LetGo®, an app that you can use locally. Be sure that if you meet up to proceed with the online transaction, you do so in a safe place. Many police stations offer parking spaces for this purpose specifically – safety first! Selling things that have been hanging around your home is an effortless way to make extra cash. Save that additional money for your “fun” account or put it towards your student loan bills. Not only is selling your things a great way to make extra cash, but it’s a great way to make more space in your home. Once you start seeing your things sold you’ll be surprised at the difference a few bucks and some space can do.

DIY Babes

If you are crafty and think you may make something worth selling, try selling your creations on sites like Etsy®, eBay®, or Zazzle®. Be sure that before you make a large investment you can do it and you aren’t stretching outside your means to do so. It can be an easy way to make money from the comfort of your own couch. Crafting can be a great money maker around the holiday too. There are typically many craft fairs locally during the holidays where you can take your creations offline and sell them at vendor events and craft fairs. If you want to look more into selling your creations at craft fairs, be aware there is usually an upfront fee for a table. Do your math and if the upfront table cost is more than what you think you’ll sell, don’t do it. To keep your finances organized you may even want to consider opening up a separate account to keep your new found hobby/job finances separate. This additional account will allow you to easily track your expenses and income on your creations to determine if this is something you want to continue long term!

Work It

While maybe less appealing, picking up an extra shift at work or working overtime is a sure fire way to earn some extra bucks. Overtime isn’t always available, but if you work somewhere that you can indeed get overtime- try too. Overtime can be tiring but once you get your paycheck you’ll feel that it was worth it. If you’re in the medical professions summer can often present multiple opportunities. Many other workers will go on vacation and will need their shifts covered.

Tell a Friend!

Many businesses have come to understand the value of references that come from friends. Any mainstream business targeted to younger audiences is going to offer a referral program. Typically, these programs consist of getting a customized link to share on your social media accounts and with friends. If your friend signs up and becomes a customer you both will receive money, credit, or something similar. At Education Loan Finance we are no fools and offer our own referral program. We feel that there is no better compliment than our customers sharing their experience and referring us to their friends and loved ones. We offer a $400 referral bonus* to anyone who successfully refers individuals to refinance their student loans. What are you waiting for?

Answer Some Questions

How about that? A gig where you can get paid for giving your opinion. All you have to do to be a market research participant is give your opinion on various products and services to the companies that make them, and then you get paid for it. Sites like FocusGroup and MediaBarnResearch Services are great places to start. Before you sign up be sure that you understand how your payment will be dispersed. Some sites utilize a point system and with a certain number of points, you can get a gift card. Typically using these types of programs aren’t a stable way to make a lot of money but it’s good around the holiday and summer to make a few extra dollars for that “Fun” account we love to talk about.

Watch a Baby or Some Pets

Offering to watch over your neighbor’s house while they go on vacation, using websites like Care.com to land babysitting jobs, or offering your services as a dog walker can be great ways to make money. There are so many simple apps out there to get some additional cash using gigs like babysitting, pet sitting, and house sitting. Once you work with someone and they are comfortable with you they’ll be likely to use your services again. If you’re using an app you can accept or reject jobs depending on your schedule. You can also use the app to find local gigs around where you are, and you usually will get paid immediately after the job is done. Some of these apps do run background checks and some do require a small fee for sign up, so be aware what you are signing up for before doing so.

Donate blood/plasma

If you can stomach the needle and don’t get queasy too easily, this may be the option for you. You can make between $20-$50 donating blood depending on your blood type.  Donating plasma is a little more intrusive, but you can donate up to twice a week and earn around $40-$60 for every donation.  There are websites where you can locate the nearest blood plasma donation center near you. In order to do any donation whether blood or plasma you’ll need to be healthy and pass a screening exam. If you do not pass a screening exam you will not be eligible to make any donations. If you aren’t sure that donating plasma or blood is the right choice for you, check out the videos online to understand what the process entails.

Teach/Consult

Is your career in a subject that you can easily help to educate children on? Maybe you want to educate adults or become an Adjunct Professor. These are great ways to make additional funds. This type of work isn’t for those with little time on their hands. Teaching or tutoring is time-consuming and will take some weeknights and maybe most of your Saturdays.  Before signing up be aware of the time sacrifice that will come along with it. If you go the route of tutoring students, you should consider charging by the hour. Depending on how often and how many students you tutor, you could make upwards of $100 a week. If the idea of being back in a classroom makes you want to run and scream consider consulting. You can help a small business out on the weekends or maybe work remotely part-time. Before signing up for part-time, you’ll want to be sure that your full-time employer is okay with it and doesn’t see it as a conflict of interest for you. If you get the green light go for it. Regardless of how you decide you want to make extra money, be sure that you have time available. As professionals, we can all understand what is expected of us and you’ll need to decide if that sacrifice is worth what the money being earned is. If you determine that it is, go get it!  

10 Facts About Student Loan Debt That Will Save You Money

  *TERMS AND CONDITIONS Subject to credit approval. Program requirements apply. Limit one $400 cash bonus per referral. Offer available to those who are above the age of majority in their state of legal residence who refers new customers who refinance their education loans with Education Loan Finance. The new customer will receive a $100 principal reduction on the new loan within 6-8 weeks of loan disbursement. The referring party will be mailed a $400 cash bonus check within 6-8 weeks after both the loan has been disbursed and the referring party has provided ELFI with a completed IRS form W-9. Taxes are the sole responsibility of each recipient. A new customer is defined as an individual without an existing Education Loan Finance loan account and who has not held an Education Loan Finance loan account within the past 24 months. Additional terms and conditions apply. Click www.elfi.com/referral-program for more info. NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.
2018-11-02
Our Simplest Guide To Student Loan Refinancing: Part lll

This is the third part of our Simplest Guide to Refinancing. If you’re interested in student loan refinancing and want to know everything there is to know—in simple terms—about refinancing, check out part 1 and part 2. We’ve talked about the benefits of refinancing and process to refinance your student loans, so let’s take a look at what prospective lenders will be reviewing when looking to refinance your student loan debt.  

Refinancing After Claiming Bankruptcy

  Bankruptcy is a challenge when it comes to refinancing. Many people may find it challenging to refinance student loans after a bankruptcy for some time. It could even take as long as ten years for a bankruptcy to clear from your credit report entirely. Bankruptcy doesn’t clear student loan debt unless an exception is made, therefore it’s best to look into refinancing before a bankruptcy. If it’s too late for that as an option, that’s okay it may just be harder to qualify for student loan refinancing after bankruptcy. Check with lenders to see what they can offer.  

Debt-to-Income Ratio

  Debt-to-income ratio or DTI is the amount of money you owe versus the amount of money you make. This equation gives lenders an idea of what you should be able to afford as far as payments and additional debt amounts.   What’s a good DTI? Some sources note 36% or less as the acceptable debt-to-income ratio. It varies based on a lender’s underwriting criteria, but having less debt and more income will qualify you as lower risk for lending. You’ll be considered a lower risk because you have a more disposable income to dedicate to your debts.  

Credit Score and History

  Traditionally a “good” credit score is about 680 or higher. Most lenders won’t qualify you for refinancing if your credit score is below 660, but that’s not always the case. If you have a low credit score don’t hesitate to refinance, but be aware that the better your credit score the better rates you’ll receive from lenders.  If you didn’t know, your credit score is impacted by your credit history. So what is your credit history? Well, it’s exactly that, a history of your credit.  Credit history keeps track of how long you’ve had credit and if you’re a responsible lender. Obviously the longer you’ve had credit history the better, but we can’t all have credit as children - unless your parents added you as an authorized user to a credit card when you were born. Even if you don’t have perfect credit and a long credit history, it’s worth checking to see if refinancing might be right for you.  

Employment

There are a few things to consider regarding employment as you refinance your student loan debt. Lenders will likely look at your income from your job, the length of time you’ve worked there, and job history. If you have a job offer or promotion, you can get a job offer letter to submit that might help the lender understand your employment situation. People with long job history (and one with few gaps), higher income, and good earning potential are less risky for lenders. If you don’t hit all of these criteria, you might still be able to refinance. Without using a cosigner it’s in your best interest as a borrower to be employed to qualify for student loan refinancing.    

Questions to Ask During the Refinancing Process

Housing market and student loan debt
2018-10-31
Home Sales Drop Could It Be Due to Student Debt Crisis?

An eager young couple working together to afford their first home, a young family moving back in with the in-laws, or a recent college grad moving back home after school. These are the stories that have become oh so common in the United States. As the student loan debt crisis in America continues to grow, the homeownership rate has fallen specifically in younger generations. Student loan debt has increased to $1.5 Trillion in 2018 according to the Federal Reserve Bank.  The sales for homes continues to decline hitting its’ lowest number since 2015 according to a study by National Association of Realtors. According to the survey, more than seven in ten student loan borrowers believe that student loan debt has impacted their ability to purchase a home or take a vacation.   Many adult children have had to move home and put off their own dreams to pay down education costs like student loan debt. The daydream of one day buying their first home is becoming just that, a dream. Due to the immense amount of debt acquired during college, it just doesn’t seem possible for people to own their own homes. Let’s take a look at factors affecting borrowers and how they are dealing with housing due to student loan debt.  

The Feds

Is it possible that student loan borrowers have been placed in tough financial situations in part because of the Federal government’s model for the loans they provided during the 90s and 2000s? The Federal Government provided Stafford and Perkins loans to everyone at the same rate regardless of credit history. If you took out a loan with a private borrower, that lender would evaluate your ability to pay that loan back and would provide you with an amount they saw as acceptable. When providing loans to everybody regardless of credit history, the risk to the borrower is increased. Private institutions operate under guidelines and regulations that require they have “some skin in the game” to prevent risky lending.   Many borrowers see public service and not-for-profit jobs as a promising opportunity. Borrowers accept jobs in the public and nonprofit sector hoping to have their Federal student loans forgiven, not realizing the stringent requirement for eligibility to the Public Loan Forgiveness Program.  A recent report released on Septembers 19, 2018 by the Federal Student Aid a Department of the U.S. showed that 99% of borrowers have been rejected for the program. News of the rejection has borrowers feeling helpless with a lack of financial literacy.  

Transparency

Only one in five borrowers understood all the costs including tuition, fees, and housing according to the NAR survey. Borrowers were using loans for tuitions costs and did not fully understand the amount in which they were borrowing. The lack of responsibility on the borrower can be on part due to the lack of financial understanding and education. Financial literacy continues to become a recurring theme throughout the student loan debt crisis. Many borrowers lack the financial know-how for the most efficient ways to pay down student loan debt. The financial knowledge needed to handle debt, and the rising cost of college tuition has not worked to the advantage of student loan debt borrowers. According to the survey, 32% of student loan borrowers had defaulted or entered into forbearance on their student loan debt.  

Financial Literacy

Forbearance, deferment, Income-Based Repayment, and student loan grace period are commonly used when paying down student loan debt. What most borrowers don’t know is that unless you have a specific type of federal student loan debt, interest is accruing during this time period. The interest that accrues on your loan during these repayment periods can really end up costing you in the long run. In addition to the lack of knowledge on how to handle the debt, borrowers are unaware of opportunities like student loan refinancing.  

Paying Down Debt & Housing

Now that we understand a bit more about how student loan debt has gotten to where it is now let’s see how borrowers are dealing with the debt and what their housing situations look like.  

Moving Back Home

We all know at least one or maybe two young people who have moved back in with a family member after graduating from college. It has become fairly common for college graduates to move back home due to the vast amount of debt and “empty nest” syndrome parents often face. What can differ between households is whether the graduate pay rent to the family or friend in which they have moved in with.  

Renting

According to the National Center for Education Statistics student loan debt has grown from 5% to 30% of all household debt. Since 2008 the cost of college has risen. This increase in debt has caused an increase in renting. Equifax surveyed millennial renters asking why they didn’t buy a home and 55.7% of respondents listed “student loan debt/not enough money saved” as their reason for renting.  If a student loan debt holder can afford a mortgage payment typically they cannot save for the down payment that is required.   Potential homebuyers are having trouble finding homes they can afford according to CNBC. Due to this difficulty, many people are finding themselves renting for longer periods than they would have hoped. National apartment occupancy sits at 95% as of 2017.  

The Housing Market

As mortgage rates continue to increase so too, does the cost of homes. Both these factors continue to cause a drop in the sales. For example, sales of single-family homes, co-ops, and condominiums have dropped 3.4% from the prior month. Houses have become unaffordable and those with student loan debt cannot find the additional savings for the down payment needed. This drop in home sales could have a strong effect on the market.  

Looking Forward

 

Employer Benefit Programs

First-time homebuyers should not feel discouraged as there are still many options available. Employers have been stepping up to help employees who are carrying student loan debt by offering benefit student loan debt assistance programs. These programs help borrowers receive resources that they need to pay down debt faster. In addition, the programs give employers the ability to share contributions towards the student loan debt of their employees.  

Student Loan Refinancing

Borrowers with above 650 credit score and steady income may qualify to refinance their student loan debt. Refinancing student loan debt would allow borrowers to select their repayment terms and could offer a lower interest rate. A lower interest rate on student loans could save thousands over the life of the loan.  

Education

Secondary institutions and lenders need to better educate borrowers on terms and best practices on paying down debt.  The more resources that can be provided to borrowers the better off that borrower is. In addition, borrowers should not count on qualifying for the Public Student Loan Forgiveness program. Financial literacy also should be addressed to students at young ages. The more we can educate our youth of responsible lending the better off the United States economy can be.  

Learn More About the State of Student Loan Debt in America Today

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Students Getting Resume Tips
2018-10-29
Résumé Tips From Hiring Managers

You need a new job or you need your first “real” job to start paying off those student loans. For most people that means you need a résumé. If you really want to get noticed, or simply not get rejected, you need a good résumé. We talked to hiring and talent acquisition managers, C-suite executives and other really smart people to bring you the best advice. We want to help you get that dream job.  

Number one

  This may sound cliché, but everyone told us proofing is the best thing you can do. Go over it with a fine-tooth comb and have others look at it, too. A grammar, spelling or formatting error on your résumé shows you don’t pay attention to detail. In addition to not paying attention to detail it could give the impression that you simply don’t care. Nothing is a bigger turnoff to a potential employer.  

Objectives - out

  If someone is looking at your résumé, they know you are looking for a job. You don’t need to tell them in an objective statement. Instead, start with a short summary statement. The summary statement could discuss why you’re the best candidate for this job. The summary should be supported by your previous work experience. Below is an example from Columbia University Center for Career Education:   Example-  Publishing executive with multi-faceted background encompassing international licensing and brand management. Developed specialties in editorial planning, global marketing strategy, and design. Managed multiple projects simultaneously and eciently by overseeing the daily operations of 17 magazine titles worldwide. Proven ability to develop strong relationships across cultures and to provide decisive team leadership in a fast-paced environment.”    

Tinder® Experience a Plus

  Putting together a résumé can be a lot like putting together a dating profile. It’s a delicate balance of putting your best traits forward without overselling yourself. Getting too cute or creative can come off as cheesy or desperate. Never lie or misrepresent your role or accomplishments. Lying or misrepresentation might get you a date, but it won’t make for a successful relationship.    
  • Show the numbers. “Don’t just tell me you worked on something, tell me you improved something by 20%,” one person told us. Be specific and measurable if possible.
  • Do the math; your current job may not track the results you want to include. It’s okay to do the math yourself to help tell your story. Just make sure it’s accurate.
  • Problem, action, result. Bullet points should follow this format if possible. Be specific about what you did, not what your job is/was. (see example in next bullet)
  • Avoid passive job functions like, "Oversaw workforce of 8 employees dedicated to customer service." Instead go with something like "Mentored, trained and managed daily activities for 8 customer service representatives resulting in an 15% improvement in average likelihood to recommend score among customers."
  • Skip the basics. Oh, you’re proficient at MS Office? Everyone is, and even if you’re not it’s fairly expected. Include more specialized software or instances where you might be highly proficient. Like data modeling in excel for example. That’s okay.
  • Only include personal interests or hobbies if they are relevant to the position.
  • Don’t include social handles (other than LinkedIn®) if they aren’t relevant to the position.
   

Keywords and customization

 
  • Always customize language in your résumé to fit the job description you're applying for. If they use specific jargon, work it into your résumé because that's what they'll be looking for.
  • Don’t overdo it with keywords. A lot of bigger companies use keyword scanning software, so it’s important to include them, but they’re also used to spot the overuse of these words as well.
  • Make sure you’re speaking their language. It’s okay to translate titles. If you have a non-traditional job title like “customer success advocate” consider replacing that for industry standard language like “account manager” or whatever is appropriate.
 

Contact Info

  We got conflicting advice on what to do with contact information. Some people told us you might want to leave off details like your city if you don’t live in that city because some employers might prefer a local candidate. Conversely, you might want to include it if you are local. Some say that phone number and email are important, while others say the trend is moving toward just including your LinkedIn® address. We like this last option because it can leave room for more important things, but we recognize this may be highly situational.    

Design and formatting

  Don’t make dumb mistakes that get your résumé thrown off the pile. A good design in the résumé world is not typically cutting edge. Yes, if it’s too plain it may get overlooked. The best résumés are usually form over function. The main purpose is to make it easy to read. People don’t typically spend a lot of time with a résumé, so if they have to work to read it, it will get tossed aside. It should look good on screen and on paper.
  • Use a template. You can search for templates or you can use résumé building sites like uptowork.com. Certain industries may prefer certain styles. Do your research.
  • Keep it simple. Choose one simple easy to read font. Never something goofy like Comic Sans. Yes, more than one person told us they got a résumé with Comic Sans.
  • In general, it’s best not to go overboard with colors, symbols or lines.
  • Stick to one page. Especially early in your career. Don’t overstuff it with irrelevant information. Save some for the interview.
  • Make sure you’re using the proper tense. Past for old jobs and achievements. Present for current.
  • Don’t include a picture. Unless you’re a model or your picture is relevant for some reason.
  • Save it as a PDF file. Word files don’t always translate well. Especially if there’s a lot of special formatting. A PDF will be more consistent between computers.
  • Make your filename [First Name/Last Name.résumé] (ie. John Smith.résumé.pdf) not Jonrésumé2019.pdf.
   

The résumé is only part of the equation.

  The best résumé is only valuable when people see it. A lot of candidates are hired through referrals, relationship, and persistence. Work as hard or harder on getting your résumé in the right hands as you do on your actual résumé. Also, here’s a few more tips away from the résumé.
  • Make sure you put as much thought into your LinkedIn® profile as you do your résumé. Make sure there are no mistakes and it reflects on you the same way your résumé does. One executive told us this is equally, if not more important than a résumé, especially for networking. They said, an email has a good chance of going unnoticed, but a message on LinkedIn® almost never does.
  • Social Scrub. Take a serious look at your social channels, even if they are not listed. Employers often take a look when they get serious about a candidate. Many told us they have had social media tip the scales the wrong way for a prospective employee. Take down posts you think might be offensive or give the wrong impression.
 

You’re hired now what?!

  Great, but don’t forget your résumé. Most of us don’t stay in the same job forever. Your next job often doesn’t come around when you expect it, so keep your résumé fresh. It’s a good idea to write down your accomplishments when they happen so when you need it, you’re ready.  

3 Steps for Negotiating a Salary

  NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source - The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.
2018-10-26
Why Do Banks Want to Refinance Your Student Loan Debt

Millennials have been accused of killing everything from napkins to mail, but we still get a lot of mail! Mixed in among the pizza coupons and carpet cleaning flyers (who has carpet anymore?), you’ll usually find banks advertising for refinancing or consolidation services. What is that? If you’ve ever puzzled at the adverts or banners popping up asking you to refinance your student loan debt, we can shed some light on the subject. Why do banks want to refinance your student loan? Here are five reasons!  

Business for the Bank

Banks make money off of the upfront costs of refinancing. You usually have fees associated with the process of refinancing, from administrative fees to application fees and so on. This pays the bank to employ people who work on your accounts. Basically, it pays the bills! So they make money from customers new or old setting up new accounts or new loans. It’s simple: refinancing pays the bank to provide a service that, in turn, helps them keep the lights on.  

They Want You to Stick Around

It’s an attractive deal for some borrowers to reduce their monthly payments. Some people will happily jump on a good deal to refinance for longer terms to get lower payments because that puts more of your monthly income back in your pocket. Sure, this keeps you as a customer longer, but it’s beneficial to the bank to have you as a customer for a longer term even if you’re paying less each month. And if you’re happy and making payments no problem, they’re very happy.  

You’re a Good Borrower (On Paper!)

If you’ve got a good credit score and income, you look good on paper. A bank will want you to stay with them or change to them instead of shopping around where they may be one of countless competitors vying for your business. Banks know that web-savvy searchers like yourself can hop on the ol’ internets and get quotes for new financial products in a matter of minutes. If you look good on paper and have all the markers of a responsible borrower, they want to offer services to you that keep you as a customer. It’s worth their advertising dollars to attract and retain good loaners  

They’re Making Your Debt Easy to Sell

Banks regularly sell debt to other institutions. If you have a mortgage or student loan for several years, you may have seen this at least once already. You get a notice in the mail saying something is changing with your servicers because your debt has been acquired by another company. It’s beneficial for both financial institutions and it doesn’t mean that you did or didn’t do anything in particular—you might be one of many people your bank has targeted as a current customer whose debt would be easier to sell if it were refinanced.   Those are the main reasons that you might be seeing advertising for your bank or any other bank trying to get you to refinance your loans. If you start thinking about refinancing your student loans, check out the help we can offer navigating the process.

Check Out Our Simplest Guide to Student Loan Refinancing