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Career (Blog or Resources)

How to Ask Your Employer to Help Pay Student Debt

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These days, employers offer all kinds of benefits to keep employees, from kombucha on tap and innovative new office spaces to ping pong tables and video game rooms. The list of benefits seems to grow all the time.

 

When you think about it, though, how much do you really need that kombucha on tap? Instead, what many graduates need is help with their ever-mounting student loans. In combination with other methods of dealing with student loan debt, employers can play a valuable role in ensuring their employees’ financial stability.

 

Employers are beginning to recognize this trend, as well. That’s why some have begun to offer help to employees with student loan debt. While an uncommon practice at the moment, some companies now offer options to help employees pay back their student loans.

 

The practice is rapidly becoming more popular, and if you’re lucky, your employer may already offer a student debt relief program. Here are several ways employers are already helping to reduce their employees’ student loan debt.

 

Financial Education

Employers have begun to understand that their own financial success is tied to the financial success of their employees. As a result, some employers have begun to offer financial education opportunities.

 

These opportunities come in many forms, including workshops, webinars and even counseling. While many employees already have a firm grasp on financial concepts, these programs can still be incredibly beneficial to those weighed down by student debt as they often cover lesser-known tactics and reinforce familiar strategies.

 

Student Loan Repayment Signing Bonuses

Another method of helping employees with student debt is the signing bonus. For example, some companies offer $1,000 towards student loans for new hires. This $1000 can drastically reduce the amount graduates pay in interest over the life of their student loans and is an effective way for companies to hire and keep dedicated, hardworking employees.

 

Employer Repayment

The most exciting benefit employers are beginning to adopt is direct assistance with student loans. Now, in addition to savvy fiscal advice, some companies are backing up their support with dollars and cents.

 

A few companies now offer yearly bonuses to help pay back student loans. One of the most generous of these companies is Nvidia. Employees earn $6,000 a year towards their student loans up to a $30,000 maximum. Several companies offer comparable or lower amounts. Regardless of the repayment amounts, this innovative strategy provides a new way to fight back against student debt.

 

A variation of this policy is occasionally used, as well. In this variation, employees who don’t take their PTO can trade their PTO days for student loan assistance. With many in the United States not taking their PTO days anyway, this is a compelling option for student loan borrowers.

 

Contributions to 401(k) Plans

It may seem strange for 401(k) contributions to go hand-in-hand with paying off student debt. You might even expect to have to choose between them.

 

If you’re employed by Abbott Laboratories, though, you don’t have to choose. Employees who contribute at least 2% of their pay toward student loans are eligible for the full 5% employer matching in their 401(k), even if they do not otherwise contribute to their 401(k). Abbott Laboratories is the first company to offer this incentive to help employees to pay off student debt, and hopefully many companies will follow in their footsteps.

 

Sadly, these types of programs are not as commonly offered as they should be, but that isn’t necessarily bad news for you.

 

If student loan assistance programs are something that you would like to see at your company, then make an appointment to speak with either your boss or to human resources. In this day ¬¬¬¬¬and age, the competition for the best employees is fierce, and employers are always looking for ways to keep employees happy. In some cases, it may even be cheaper than a raise.

 

It’s also worth mentioning your interest in such programs while negotiating your salary and benefits package for a new job. They may include it as an additional benefit.

 

If your employer already provides these benefits, that’s fantastic! You’re already one step closer to being unburdened by student debt. If you’re curious about how to finish the job and free yourself from student debt completely, one great way to do that is Student Loan Refinancing. You can learn more here.

 


 

Notice About Third Party Websites: 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.

Tips for Adjusting Back to Office Life

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After months of remote work, workplaces are finally opening up again. To some this is exciting. At last, one can interact with their coworkers and work in a more traditional environment. Some might feel the opposite. Regardless, the switch back to the office environment will take some adjustments in your daily routine. To help you make that switch seamlessly, we’ve made this list of 6 tips that will ensure that you have no issues on your way back into the office.

 

Prepare Mentally

After all the time of just being able to roll out of bed and get to work, it may seem like a drag to get ready each day to go back to the workplace. You should prepare yourself mentally to not only wake up earlier and get dressed for work but also prepare for the many things that come along with being in the office. It’s important to note studies show that communication is vitally important to productivity, and despite the boom in work from home technology, nothing beats face to face communication, even if it’s from six feet apart. A conversation through a screen just isn’t the same. So if you’re dreading returning to work, focus instead on the benefit of returning – a better teamwork experience.

 

Stick To What Routines You Can

Without a doubt, the switch back to office work will dramatically change your routine. As such, it is even more important to stick to the things that you can. Studies show that routines are essential to sound mental health. If you have a cup of tea at 10:30 every morning, continuing to do that will bring a sense of much-needed consistency to your routine. Similarly, if you have begun to start your day with a half-hour of industry news, continue doing that. Even the smallest pieces of your routine play large roles in keeping you feeling stable and will help you in the transition back to office life.

 

Plan Out Your House Work

It’s easy to forget the days where you couldn’t just crush a load of laundry or do the dishes in between conference calls, but those days are back. It’s going to be harder to get all those household chores done. In order to get back on the metaphorical chore wagon, it may be worth setting up a plan to help you get what you need to be done around your home. Not only will it keep your home clean, but it could have health benefits

 

Remember Your Commute

It’s easy to forget how your workdays used to be. That commute now seems so far in the past. Unfortunately, it and all the other elements of the workday are back. Commutes can add significantly to your day.  The average American commutes for 26.1 minutes one way. Over a five day work week, this is about four hours that you’ll be losing. As such, it is important to take into account the effect the commute will have on your day. Likely you will have to get up a little earlier than before, and it may be worthwhile to map out your commute before your return to the office. Your after-work time is also cut due to the commute, so post-work activities will subsequently have to be shortened. But don’t despair – a commute is a perfect time to learn something new with your favorite podcast or an audiobook.

 

Stay Safe

Sadly, the COVID-19 epidemic is not over, and even though you’ve returned to work, it is still important to ensure not only your safety but the safety of your colleagues and customers. Your workplace has likely sent out a list of guidelines and instructions to help keep the workplace safe – follow these as closely as you can, as they are in place to help you. Many will require you to wear a mask. While masks are undoubtedly uncomfortable, they are an important piece in the COVID-19 prevention guidelines. Also, remember to wash your hands and use hand sanitizer. They may seem like small things, but they make the difference.

 

Enjoy Yourself

After months in relative isolation, you’ll now be returning to the workplace. Now is the time to bask in the human contact you’ve so missed. Interact with your colleagues. Enjoy leaving the house. This is in many ways a return to the much-missed normalcy. Make the best of it. 

 

While the return back to work certainly won’t be easy, eventually you will become used to it as you were before. It is an essential part of returning to normalcy. But it isn’t the only path to choose – more and more companies seem to be allowing their companies to work from home following the pandemic. If you’re curious about the future of working from home, check out this article.

 


 

Notice About Third Party Websites: 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.

Tips for 2020 Graduates Entering the Job Market

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While your last semester may have been online, you’ve graduated nonetheless, and you’re finally ready to head out into the world and face the job market. After graduating amidst a global pandemic, you may feel a bit uncertain about your job prospects coming out of college. The fact is you’re entering the job market at a somewhat inopportune time – job openings on Glassdoor have dropped 20.5% after all, and articles are published weekly on the status of the 2020 graduate. However, there’s no need to panic. We’re here to tell you that you’re more prepared than you think, and there are still jobs out there for you. But just in case you feel uncertain, we’ve compiled 5 tips to help you seamlessly enter the job market.

 

Be Practical

It’s no secret that the economy is on somewhat shaky footing, making it a little more difficult than usual to get that perfect job. Obviously, that perfect job is the ideal, but now is the time to be practical and expand your job search. Look in areas that you may not have considered before or in fields other than your major. These may be lower-paying than you’d hope for, but the work experience is still valuable, and stepping out of your comfort zone won’t go unnoticed when pursuing future opportunities. Search on job sites like Indeed for entry-level jobs and work from there. Your college also likely has a career center that can help you find employment. Reach out to them to see what help they can offer. Many colleges have partnered with platforms like Handshake that serve to link students with employers.

 

Acquire Skills

If you want to hold out for a job in your chosen field, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Now is the perfect time to acquire skills that your employers will find valuable and that will benefit you in the long run. You might take this time to practice job interviews to improve your interview skills. The more interviews you do, the more comfortable you will be during them. As such, never turn one down, even if you aren’t interested. It’s still worth gaining the experience. As for skills that will make you more appealing to prospective employers, sites like Linkedin Learning can help you brush up on things you know or help you pick up new skills. Online classes can also serve as a way to pass the time while acquiring new skills. While building new skills doesn’t bring in immediate income, these skills will serve to make you more valuable to a prospective employer and could improve your income in the future.

 

Polish What Employers Will See

Employers see a wide variety of things when looking at a prospective candidate. The resume is perhaps one of the most important. Now is the time to perfect your resume. Add in any relevant work experience you may have forgotten to add. Do some research on what employers are looking for on a resume. This should be an ongoing process. Your resume should be constantly evolving as you acquire new skills and experiences. Likewise, this is the perfect time to get your social media profiles polished. Many employers use social media as a vetting tool for prospective employees. Remove any material that could hinder you from being hired, and, in particular, get your Linkedin profile as professional and complete as possible. Employers love Linkedin, and as more and more of the hiring process is moved online, it has become an invaluable tool for them to look at prospective hires. Thus, it is important for your Linkedin to be filled out and representative of you and your workplace skills

 

Expand Your Circle

As important as your skills, networking is essential is you are in the job market. Particularly in these uncertain times, an effective network can mean the difference between being employed and not. Reach out to people in your field via Linkedin or other social media outlets. Ask questions and demonstrate your interest. You may be able to get an interview with them. Even if a job doesn’t come of it, your demonstrated interest will place you in the back of their minds as well as provide you with valuable interview experience. Similarly, interacting with people within your prospective field on any of your social media platforms is beneficial to you. Employers want to see that you are engaged within the wider community of the field. Also, be sure to attend virtual industry meetups and conventions. The importance of becoming involved cannot be understated.

 

Persevere

It’s important to treat your job search as a job because, for a time, it is your job. Stay at it, and constantly be reaching out to prospective employers. It can be hard to stay motivated in the job search, but remember that this is necessary. Plan out your job search and keep track of the contacts you make. They could be useful later on. Make sure to take breaks when necessary. Like any job, the job search is tiring and can lead to burnout, so make sure that you rest between sending out those surges of applications. Eventually, you will make it.

 

Congratulations on graduating. Now for your next challenge. It would be a lie to claim this as a great time to enter the job market, and it is certainly an unfortunate time for you to graduate. The job search will be difficult, but by working hard and following these five tips, you could certainly still succeed. You can do it. If you’re looking for more post-graduation tips, we’ve got you covered. Check out this article on saving money after graduation.

 


 

Notice About Third Party Websites: 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.

Will Working From Home Become the New Norm?

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For a long time, there has been a stigma around working from home. Worries over efficiency, teamwork, and distractions all made working from home seem to be a detriment to any good business. Instead, it was only reserved for those with a history of responsibility. But the Coronavirus has changed all that, forcing many individuals to work from home, and the experience has undoubtedly changed the way we think about working from home. Several companies, Twitter prominently among them, have decided to allow their workers to work from home permanently if they so desire.

 

With changes in work structure as such becoming more common, the question is, will the switch to working from home be a widely accepted change, traveling further than just the Silicon Valley companies?

 

The Great Work-From-Home-Experiment

According to a 2016 Gallup survey, 43% of employees worked from home in some capacity, but this was generally once or twice a month. The Coronavirus crisis has changed those numbers dramatically. Gallup data from April shows 63% of employees have been working from home in the last seven days. But the switch to remote work has not been seamless. Concerns about efficiency and technical issues abound. Platforms like Zoom have been chastised for their lack of security, and the quick switch has resulted in some drops in efficiency.

 

Despite these concerns, the remote work business has boomed, much of it due to an incredible supply of powerful work-from-home tools. Tools like Slack® and SmartSheet® have made the transition much easier, and as a result, have seen an avalanche of new and recurring users. Microsoft® reported that the number of calls through their Microsoft Teams® had increased 1,000 percent, a number too staggering to signal a stop. They also claim that the percentage of users turning their cameras on has increased dramatically. Both of these statistics show a growing comfort with using virtual meetings. While some of the awkwardness of talking through a computer screen remains, these are undoubtedly the first steps to normalizing remote work and video conferencing.

 

The Effects

The worries about the effectiveness of remote work have long prevented it from entering the public sphere in a major way. It is a difficult question about how to manage accountability, and common wisdom would claim that working from home makes it easier than ever to slack off. After all, the person who was once leaning over your shoulder or popping by your workspace is now gone. There is nothing to prevent you from browsing Facebook for an hour. However, studies have proven that working from home is largely effective and good for the morale of employees. A recent study of 3,500 remote workers found that the majority prefer working remotely, with 98% claiming they were willing to recommend working remotely to others. One of the largest boosts to morale that working from home provides is freedom from the commute. Researchers have found that adding 20 minutes to a commute can make you as miserable as getting a 19% pay cut.

 

But the question remains of whether or not one can truly be productive working from home. Many studies say yes, but still, some conventional wisdom says the opposite. Less interaction with coworkers, less pressure from a supervisor, among other benefits associated with being in the same place a business is a team effort after all. If people are separated, how is it possible that they can be anywhere near as effective as people who are face to face and working hand in hand?

 

The Disrupters

True to their names, many of the companies that have begun to allow employees to work from home full-time are Silicon Valley companies, and they seem to disagree with conventional wisdom. At the beginning of May, Twitter stated that they would allow any employees who wanted to work remotely to do so. Facebook has made a similar statement, allowing their employees to work through the end of the year remotely. However, they have an interesting catch. Depending on where their employees live, their pay will be affected. Someone living in North Dakota will be making less than someone living in San Francisco. This accounts for the different costs of living in the two areas. This highlights one of the many benefits to employers of remote work – the option to pay based on location. Not everyone needs a $100,000 salary for a one-bedroom apartment.

 

Speaking of expensive buildings, another benefit of remote work is that employers are able to cut down on their office space. Office space in big cities like New York or San Francisco is colossally expensive. In New York, office space costs about $6.16 per square foot, totaling about $14,000 for each employee a year. Knowing this makes it easy to see why it is tempting for employers to take their employees online. Even more traditional businesses like Morgan Stanley have decided to take advantage of the boom in work from home technology. Who can resist saving the amounts of money that a reduction in office space can provide in expensive cities? These companies are setting trends for the work of the future, and it is likely that some other companies will follow in their footsteps. After all, it makes hiring the best employees easier by offering them more freedom, and other companies will have to compete with that freedom in other ways if they do not offer remote work.

 

Here to Stay: Probably

The Coronavirus pandemic has made the benefits of remote work clearer than ever, despite the concerns of lost productivity. Some benefits, such as the need for less office space and the recruiting benefits are simply too hard to ignore, and with the rise of dozens of new productivity tools, working from home has never been easier.

 

If you are looking for a new work from home job, check out our list of 8 legitimate work from home jobs.

 


 

Notice About Third Party Websites: 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.

Do Recession-Proof Jobs Exist?

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It’s probably safe to say that you have heard the economy is in a recession or headed towards one due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Hearing about a recession may cause you concern about your job security, but you’re not alone. In these uncertain times, it can feel like no job is truly safe. But, in fact, recession-proof jobs do exist. If you are in college and exploring career paths or if you’re looking to change jobs, keep reading to find out about careers that may lessen your worries during a recession. And if you find yourself currently in a position that may be affected by a recession, there are some actions you can take to make your job a little more recession-proof.   

 

What Is a Recession?

A recession is defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research as a significant decline in economic activity lasting more than a few months. The decline in economic activity is seen in things such as income, employment statistics, and retail sales. Unemployment can increase during a recession because companies are earning less money due to less demand and are unable to pay employees. However, there are some jobs that are considered recession-proof, meaning you are less likely to lose certain jobs during a recession.    

 

Recession-Proof Jobs

If you are trying to decide what career path is right for you and want to find one that is more likely to survive a recession, take a closer look at jobs such as these below. Here are some of the best jobs during a recession:

  • Healthcare Industry – Most jobs in the healthcare industry are safe during a recession because people will always need medical attention regardless of how the economy is faring. In addition, these jobs can be done in many different settings that allow for more opportunities, such as hospitals and doctor offices. The jobs most in demand are registered nurses, physical therapists, and pharmacists. The only healthcare jobs that may see some decline in a recession are those involved with elective procedures, since people may put those off until more prosperous times.  
  • Teachers and professors – Children will always need education and teachers will always be needed. Whether elementary, middle or high school, teacher positions will need to be filled. Becoming a professor is also a solid career path, although it will require an advanced degree. 
  • Law Enforcement – This can include officers, detectives, and crime scene technicians. These jobs are usually protected from layoffs because the need for public safety is not dependent on the economy. 
  • Public utility services – The jobs in this sector are in electric companies, trash services, recycling, and water services. These services are considered essential and will continue in a down economy.
  • Funeral director – A funeral director is involved in planning all aspects of a funeral. While it may sound morbid, death is inevitable and, therefore, this is an industry that will not suffer as much economic impact as others.  
  • Firefighters – Similar to law enforcement, firefighters are an essential part of maintaining public safety. Fire inspectors and fire investigators are similar to this job.
  • Judicial workers – In a recession, the court system will still be needed. Whether civil or criminal cases, jobs in the judicial system will continue. This can include judges, clerks, bailiffs, bail bond agencies, prosecutors and public defenders. 

 

Recession-Proof Your Current Job

Unfortunately, some sectors of employment are more susceptible to job losses during a recession, such as jobs in the construction field, travel industry, auto sales, and retail sector. If you are in a job that is not considered recession-proof here are some ways to increase your chance of not receiving a layoff notice. 

 

One important thing we’d like to note: If you have been laid off, it’s extremely likely that it had nothing to do with your talent or likeability. Unfortunately, sometimes companies have to make difficult decisions to layoff people that they normally wouldn’t. These are just merely suggestions for ways you can rock at your job:

  • Learn new skills – Learning new programs and strategies in your field may help you move up the ranks in your company and show initiative to your bosses. This can translate to being a more valuable contributor to your employer, and thus, more likely to survive a layoff. 
  • Be a team player – A likable co-worker who helps contribute to projects would be an asset to the company rather than someone who just does the minimum required for their position. Become a team player by taking on more responsibilities even if they don’t fit within your position. 
  • Have a positive attitude – When managers have to decide who they have to lay-off they will be more likely to retain the employee who has a positive attitude about their job rather than an employee with a pessimistic outlook who makes the workplace a negative environment. 
  • Network – Build relationships with colleagues in your field. This will help if a layoff is inevitable at your company and you find yourself looking for a new job.

 

If you are in a job you love but it’s not considered recession-proof, the best thing you can do is take control of your finances. Two things that will make the biggest impact are: creating an emergency fund and reducing your finances. Start saving for an emergency fund and aim to build at least 3-6 months of living expenses. If you are trying to reduce your expenses, one simple option that could save you hundreds of dollars a month is student loan refinancing. Check out the student loan refinancing calculator to see if this may be a good option for you.*

 

A recession is out of your control, however, preparing for it in advance can save you a lot of worries. Whether you choose a new career path, try to recession-proof your current job, or just bulk up your savings, all of these are great options for preparing yourself for a less stressful future.

 


 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: 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.

8 Legitimate Work-From-Home Jobs

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With the recent happenings surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are either working from home or staying at home for a greater portion of our time due to stay-at-home orders or to practice social distancing. Unfortunately, some of us may be out of a job altogether. Spending this unusual amount of time at home may have you starting to wonder whether you’d like to actually work from home full-time or part-time. 

 

By Caroline Farhat

 

Working from home comes with some great benefits, but it may not be for everyone. We’ve outlined some of the benefits and things you should know before making the leap. Sold on getting a work-from-home job? Keep reading to find out how you can snag one that you’ll love.

 

Is Working from Home Right for You?

Before you start looking at work-from-home jobs, you need to decide if skipping office life and working from home is right for you. You may like working from home if:

  1. You are self-motivated – When you are working from home it’s up to you to get the work done in a timely manner. Sure, you may have the occasional video conference meeting or phone call, but in general, there is nobody looking over your shoulder to check that you are completing the work. 
  2. You can stay focused – Of course, office life comes with distractions. We all know that one coworker that turns a 5-minute coffee break into a 20 minute one. But at home, there may be even more time-sucking distractions. Pets, household chores, and your Netflix account may be some of the distractions you would have to contend with and overcome to stay focused on work.  
  3. Working alone doesn’t bother you – Just as co-workers can serve as a distraction, they can also be built-in friendships. Would the camaraderie be something you miss or do you work better alone? If working alone sounds a bit lonely, working from home may not be the right fit for you.  
  4. You are organized – Working from home requires you to stay on top of deadlines and work tasks in a non-traditional office environment. If you prefer being managed closely on a day-to-day basis, working from home may have a learning curve.

 

The Benefits of Working from Home

  1. No commute – The average American spends a little over four hours per week commuting to work. In many major cities across the country, that number is much higher. Still, even four hours is a sizable chunk of time and can be better spent on yourself or with your family. 
  2. Office attire is more relaxed – Although it may help your productivity to change out of your pajamas, your attire can likely be more relaxed than if you were in an office. If you have video conferencing calls, just be sure to dress appropriately. 
  3. Save money – By working from home, you may be less tempted to go out for lunch or stop for daily morning coffee. Depending on how often you go out, that could mean over $200 in savings each month. Plus, you will also save on your commuting costs, whether that is gas or public transportation.

 

Legitimate Work-From-Home Jobs

Ready to start your work-from-home job hunt? Here are some of the best work-from-home jobs to consider:

 

1. Website or App Tester

Although this job may not provide a full-time income, it’s a great way to earn extra money on the side. For these types of jobs, you will be testing a website or application and providing feedback on it. For example, you might be required to complete certain tasks on the site. One company that has these types of jobs is UserTesting

 

2. Virtual Call Centers

With call center jobs, you may be considered an employee or contractor depending on the company. Most will require certain equipment, like a dedicated phone line and minimum internet speed. A call center job will require you to interact with customers by phone or possibly online chat to help fix problems they may have or answer questions. Some companies that often have openings for virtual call center jobs are: Alorica@Home and Liveops.  

 

3. Freelance Writing

As the title suggests, freelance writing is a contract position where you will be writing for all sorts of different mediums, from blogs to magazines. If you like writing, freelance work can be a great job for you and has unlimited income potential. A great resource to find freelance writing opportunities is FreelanceWriting

 

4. Teach English Online

Have a knack for teaching kids? If you have a patient and upbeat personality, you may enjoy teaching English online. Some companies do not require teaching experience but do require a college degree. The major ones to apply to are: VIPKID and Qkids.  

 

5. Amazon

The retail giant has a vast array of remote jobs from Human Resources to Software Development. Some positions require you to live in certain cities, so read the requirements closely. Check out the listings to see if any would be a good fit. 

 

6. Data Entry

These types of jobs can be good for beginners, although the pay is not high. Data entry can include transcribing audio files or entering data into a system. One site with different opportunities is Clickworker.   

 

7. Insurance

The industry has a number of remote jobs that would make great careers, including sales and underwriting. Two major health companies offering work from home positions include Humana and Aetna.  

 

8. Virtual Assistant

Are you organized, a team player and like assisting others? Being a virtual assistant may be a great fit for you. A VA can help bloggers with their sites or help companies in an assistant role. A great place to look for VA work is on Boldly. With Boldly, you are considered an employee of theirs and do work for companies looking for assistants.  

 

If you aren’t sure what industry you would be interested in working for there are some resources that provide legitimate work from home job listings. Check out KellyServices or Indeed to see all the work from home positions.  

 

Tip: Remember there are work-from-home job scams. Be aware of any “jobs” that require you to buy anything or that sound too good to be true. 

 

If you are dealing with student loan debt but don’t think working from home is right for you, there are other ways you can tackle your student debt. Student loan refinancing is one great option because it can help you save money on your monthly payment, as well as the overall loan amount. Curious how much you can save? Use our student loan refinancing calculator to find out how student loan refinancing can help in your unique situation.*

 


 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. 

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: 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.

How to Appropriately Ask for a Raise

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So you’ve been taking on more responsibility at work, your boss says you’re a real asset to the company, but your salary hasn’t changed in a few years. If this describes your current work situation, it might be time to ask for a raise. 

 

By Caroline Farhat

 

According to PayScale’s “Raise Anatomy” report, only 37% of workers have asked for a raise. Of those that did ask, 70% received some sort of increase in compensation. Those are pretty good odds so if you’re excelling at your job, you should ask! The average raise in 2019 was 3%, according to the 2020 Compensation Best Practices Report. This means that if you are earning $40,000, your raise would increase your income by $1,200 per year. The amount of a raise depends on the sector of work, location, and demand for the position. Typically, jobs in the private sector usually receive higher raises than jobs in the government. As a best practice, you should usually wait to request a raise after you have worked for the company for at least one year. Additionally, in most cases, you should not ask for a raise more than once a year. 

 

If you feel it is time to ask for a raise, here are some tips on how to appropriately request one.

 

Prepare for a Meeting 

When you are ready to ask for a raise, request a meeting with your boss and let them know you’d like to discuss your salary. 

 

1. Plan your request at the right time

When you want to ask for a raise, pay attention to the timing of the meeting with your boss.

 

An appropriate time for a meeting would be:

  • After you successfully completed a big project that brought value to your company
  • During a performance review meeting when you have exceeded expectations. Performance review meetings are a typical time when companies award raises. Being prepared to ask for a raise during this time could allow you to negotiate for more than the planned raise. 

 

Times to avoid a meeting:

  • During a busy season of work when your boss will not be able to focus on your request 
  • When you are behind on your work. If you are not able to perform your current workload, it will be hard to justify a raise to your boss.

 

2. Prepare talking points

Go into the meeting prepared to advocate for yourself. Although you don’t have to memorize a speech, it’s good to be prepared with the following information: 

  • Specific examples of accomplishments you have achieved at work recently. This could be anything from securing a big client to implementing an idea that brings in extra revenue for your company. 
  • How you have exceeded expectations for your position. 
  • Additional responsibilities you have undertaken. If you have taken on more responsibilities by taking initiative, be sure to highlight those. 
  • The value you will continue to bring to the company in the future and examples of how this will be accomplished. 

 

3. Do your research

It’s important to know that the salary you are requesting is realistic for your position and your location. A great resource is Glassdoor. You can compare salaries for your sector or receive a personalized salary estimate based on your market and position.

 

4. Practice, practice, practice

Asking for a raise can be a nerve-wracking conversation. By preparing and practicing before your meeting, you can walk in confidently and armed with data to back up your request. In addition to practicing your talking points, you will want to be ready for any questions or negotiations that may arise. While it’s good to have a specific salary in mind, you should also be open to other numbers or benefits that your boss may offer. For example, the company may offer you work from home or extra vacation time in place of a salary increase.

 

In the Meeting 

You’ve requested a timely meeting, prepared extensively, and now it’s go-time. Once you’re in the meeting here’s what you should focus on:

 

1. Your Demeanor

Pay attention to your tone and body language when speaking. You want to appear confident in yourself and your abilities. Show a positive attitude about the value you bring to the company, but do not appear arrogant. If you get questioned about why you deserve a raise, keep your cool and answer with the talking points you prepared. 

 

2. Communicate Your Accomplishments

Instead of just rattling off a laundry list of accomplishments, focus on a few incredible examples and, if possible, bring proof of your work. Here are a few ideas of what you can present in the meeting:

  • Two-three examples of big projects you accomplished 
  • Work you did that was beyond the scope of your job
  • Specific examples of when you took the lead and were successful
  • Examples of work brought that brought monetary value to the company
  • Ideas for your future at the company. Companies value loyal workers so be sure to point out how you have demonstrated loyalty and your desire to remain with the company.   

 

3. Explain Why You’ve Earned It

Be sure to avoid talking about why you need the extra money and instead focus on how you have earned a raise. For example, if you are in sales, instead of saying you need the money because of increased living costs, say you have earned this raise because you are the most successful sales associate, have brought in $100,000 in revenue, and receive great reviews. 

 

4. Bring a Specific Number

It’s best to have a specific number you are requesting, according to a study by Columbia Business School, instead of a range. For example, you want to request $55,000 as opposed to saying $52,000 to $57,000. Provide the reasoning for how you arrived at that number and, if applicable, give examples of how it is in line for the type of work you do.  

 

Bottom Line

If you have been in your role for over a year and are killing it at your job, you should seriously consider asking for a raise. But before you do so, preparation is absolutely critical. Follow the steps above and you’ll be in a great place to have this discussion with your boss. Good luck!

 


 

Notice About Third Party Websites: 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.

10 Cities With Best Job Markets

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Once you graduate and start looking for a job, you may realize that your hometown isn’t the best place for your career. You may think about relocating to a new state to get the right job, but it’s a huge decision.

 

By Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina is a freelance writer based in Orlando, Florida. Her work has been featured in publications like The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and more. She is focused on helping people pay down their debt and boost their income.

 

Where you live can have a big impact on your income and quality of life. Depending on your field, some cities can be better for your career than others.

 

To help you narrow down your search, we looked at Indeed’s Best Cities survey to identify the top 10 cities for job seekers.

 

10 Cities with Booming Job Markets

In its survey, Indeed looked for cities with low rates of unemployment, a prevalence of highly-rated companies, high average salaries, and low competition for jobs. With that research in mind, these are the 10 cities it identified with the best job markets:

 

 

10. Salt Lake City, UT

Utah’s economy is one of the fastest-growing in the country, and that’s largely due to Salt Lake City’s rapid development. While the U.S. economy grew as a whole by about 3%, Utah’s economy grew by over 4%.

 

Salt Lake City has become a hub of technology, with many tech and bioengineering companies relocating their operations to the area. Compared to other areas like San Francisco, Salt Lake City’s real estate market is relatively inexpensive, making it attractive to both companies and workers.

 

The unemployment rate is 3.1%. On average, workers in Salt Lake City earn $66,000 per year, which is significantly higher than the national mean wage for all occupations.

 

Related >> Best Cities for Young Professionals

 

9. Washington, D.C.

Known for its politicians and lawmakers, the Washington D.C. area is also the strongest economy in the entire United States. It’s home to over 400 international associations and 1,000 international companies, including 15 Fortune 500 companies, making it a prime spot for job seekers.

 

Total non-farm employment for the area grew by 52,300 jobs — or 1.6% — over the course of a year. That number outpaces the national employment growth rate.

 

The average salary in Washington D.C. is $75,000 per year — $24,000 more than the national mean wage.

 

 

8. Oklahoma City, OK

The economy in Oklahoma City is rapidly changing. In the past, industries like mining and manufacturing were the leading employers in the area. Now, transportation, construction, and leisure and hospitality have taken over and dominate the job market.

 

The unemployment rate is lower than the national average, and overall job growth is at 2.5% with 15,900 jobs added.

 

In Oklahoma City, the average salary is $58,000. While that’s lower than the salaries of some cities on this list, Oklahoma City has a much lower cost of living, so your income will go further.

 

 

7. Milwaukee, WI

Like Oklahoma City, Milwaukee’s economy has seen significant changes in recent years. Industries like mining and manufacturing declined, while leisure and hospitality is a booming field.

 

In the area, job growth increased by 1.6%, and unemployment reached 3.2%, which is slightly below the national average. According to PayScale, the average salary is $63,000. However, Milwaukee has a lower cost of living than other cities, so your income is even more valuable.

 

 

6. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

The Minneapolis-St. Paul area has lower-than-average unemployment and is seeing significant growth in a number of industries. The biggest industries include trade, transportation, and utilities, education and health services, and professional and business services.

 

The average salary in Minneapolis is $69,000, far higher than the national mean wage for all occupations.

 

 

5. Nashville, TN

The city known for its culture and music is also one of the fastest-growing economies in the country. It has more than 1.9 million residents and over 40,000 businesses in it. The biggest job opportunities are for workers in the service industry, including restaurants, hotels, and skilled construction workers.

 

The unemployment rate in the city is just 2.7%, which is far lower than the national average. The biggest employers are the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nissa North America, and HCA Healthcare, Inc. However, Amazon recently announced that it would build a center in Nashville, bringing 5,000 jobs to the area. This development would dramatically change the city’s employment landscape.

 

The average salary in Nashville is $61,000, but the city has a lower-than-average cost of living, making your salary worth even more.

 

 

4. Birmingham, AL

Birmingham boasts an extremely low unemployment rate at just 2.2%. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of total non-farm jobs grew by 1.9% in 2019.

 

Healthcare and banking are two of the biggest industries in the city, with major employers like the University of Alabama at Birmingham, BellSouth, and the Baptist Health System hiring workers.

 

The average salary for Birmingham workers is $59,000. While that’s relatively low for a city on this list, Birmingham’s cost of living is much lower than other cities, making the salary more valuable.

 

 

3. Boston, MA

Workers in historic Boston can command high salaries. The average salary for workers is $76,000.

 

The city also has unprecedented job growth. According to a GlassDoor report, Boston’s job listings grew by 8.4%, the highest in the country. The biggest employers are primarily in three industries: health care and social assistance, finance and insurance, and educational services. The largest employers are Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Boston University.

 

Boston also has an extremely low unemployment rate. At just 2.1%, it’s significantly lower than the national average.

 

 

2. San Francisco, CA

San Francisco is a hotly-desired area for job seekers. With an incredibly low unemployment rate — it’s just 1.8% — and big-name employers calling the area home, it’s easy to see the appeal.

 

The job growth rate is 2.4%, outpacing the national average. The biggest employers in the area are Advent Software, California Pacific Medical Center, and Charles Schwab.

 

The average salary in San Francisco is a whopping $95,000. However, the high income is tempered by the fact that San Francisco has a higher-than-average cost of living, cutting into how far your salary can go.

 

 

1. San Jose, CA

At $99,000, San Jose has the highest average income of any city on this list. Like San Francisco, its cost of living is higher than normal, but that salary is still impressive.

 

San Jose’s unemployment rate is just 2.2%, and non-farm jobs have grown by 2.9%. The area is home to hundreds of technology and research firms, including big names like Apple, Lockheed Martin, and the Stanford School of Medicine.

 

Maximizing Your Income

Deciding to relocate can have a big impact on your income and, consequently, your student loan repayment. If you do move to another state for a great job and secure a pay increase, you’re a prime candidate for student loan refinancing and you can get a low interest rate on your loan. You can get a no-obligation quote from ELFI without affecting your credit score.*

 

 


 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: 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.

How to Use a Pay Raise Responsibly

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By Tracey Suhr

 

Getting called into the boss’ office for the first time can feel a little reminiscent of getting called into the principal’s office. You immediately start sweating and wondering what you did wrong. But just like the principal’s office, it’s not always bad news. In fact, sometimes it’s the best news of all: you just got a raise. Congrats! Take yourself out for a celebratory dinner and maybe even splurge on brunch this weekend. But come Monday morning, it’s time to get down to business and determine how to use your raise. 

 

You could just enjoy the extra cash coming into your checking account, yes. But, that little financial angel on your shoulder might also nag you about being smarter with that money. Unfortunately, most high school and college classes don’t teach us how to be responsible with our money. We learn all sorts of questionably-practical information like the Pythagorean Theorem but not how to file taxes or how to use a raise responsibly. 

 

To cover that gap in information, we’re here with three actually practical suggestions to use that raise in a way both your principal and your boss would be proud of. 

 

3 Practical Tips to Use a Raise Responsibly

 

1. Boost Your Retirement Savings

If your employer has a 401(k) plan, you should already be allocating 3–5% of each paycheck toward a retirement account, especially if your employer offers a 401(k) match. This means they’ll contribute as much to your savings as you do, up to a certain amount. Many employers match contributions up to 6% of your salary, and this is, literally, free money. If you contribute 3% of your $50,000 salary, that’s $1,500 a year from you and $1,500 a year from your employer for retirement savings. 

 

When you get a raise, you should adjust your paycheck to dedicate a portion or the full amount of that raise to your 401(k) contributions. This is an easy way to save more without much thought or effort needed. If you do this right away, you don’t get used to the extra money, and you just continue living and paying bills as you did before the raise. 

 

If you’re young, this type of contribution can be especially rewarding because of a concept called compounding interest. This means the interest on your investment earns interest, not just the principal (or original) balance. If you invest $1,500 with a 10% interest rate, your balance would be $3,890 in 10 years. With a simple interest rate that only builds on the initial investment amount, your 10-year balance would be only $3,000. 

 

2. Pay Off Debts

Another savvy way to use your raise is to allocate a portion or the full amount to your debts. This can be credit card debt, student loan debt, or even repaying a personal loan from mom and dad. But debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Certain debts like student loans carry low interest rates so when you consider how to use your raise, consider that other accounts or investments with higher interest rates might make or save you more in the long run. For example, if your student loan has an interest rate of just 8%, it makes more sense to pay off a credit card with a 24.5% interest rate or invest in a stock with a 10% return rate. 

 

>> Related: Should I Save or Pay Down Student Loan Debt?

 

3. Allocate the Rest to An Emergency Fund

We alluded to this before, but you don’t have to put all your extra cash in one place. If you get a 5% raise, you can direct 4% toward your student loans and put even 1% in an emergency fund. You should build the emergency fund until you have at least six months of your salary in the account to help you cover bills and general living expenses in case you find yourself suddenly out of work. If six months seems unattainable, aim for at least one or two months to give you four to eight weeks to find work. This emergency fund can also come in handy if unexpected medical bills or car repairs pop up. 

 

If you haven’t been lucky enough to get a raise from your employer, or if you’re looking to boost your savings even more, you can give yourself a raise by refinancing student loans. 

 

If you meet the eligibility requirements, student loan refinancing through companies like ELFI can get you a lower interest rate*, which means you could pay less each month and, subsequently, less over the life of the loan. Use the difference between your previous and current monthly payments as a raise. Then allocate that money to your retirement funds and toward paying off debts. ELFI customers reported saving an average of $272 every month and should see an average of $13,940 in total savings after refinancing student loans with Education Loan Finance.1 That’s a 7.4% raise, which is far above the predicted average 2020 cost-of-living raise of 1.6%. You can refinance both private and federal student loans. 

 

Deciding how to use a raise responsibility is a big decision. Hopefully, with these tips, you can find ways to use those funds in a way that will give you even more play money in the future. The average raise is 4.6%, and with a little knowledge and discipline, you can turn 4.6% into thousands of dollars if you make the right choices on how to use a raise responsibly.

 


 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

 

1Average savings calculations are based on information provided by SouthEast Bank/ Education Loan Finance customers who refinanced their student loans between 2/7/2020 and 2/21/2020. While these amounts represent reported average amounts saved, actual amounts saved will vary depending upon a number of factors.

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: 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.

Minternship: A New Trend for Middle-Aged Adults

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By Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina is a freelance writer based in Orlando, Florida. Her work has been featured in publications like The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and more. She is focused on helping people pay down their debt and boost their income.

 

In decades past, you would enter an industry and then spend your entire working career in the same field, often with the same employer. However, today’s economy is quite different. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people have 12 different jobs over the length of their careers, on average. Not only that, but they also may switch fields during the course of their lives. 

 

In a 2019 Indeed survey, 49 percent of U.S. workers reported a dramatic career change. For example, they may have switched from marketing to engineering, or from teaching to finance. 

 

If you’re feeling burned out in your current field, switching to a new career can help reenergize you. And while switching careers can be challenging, completing a “minternship” — an internship you complete after already starting your career — can help bridge the gap. 

 

What is a Minternship?

In August of 2019, BBC reported on the growing trend of minternships. Many millennial workers, frustrated in their current jobs, are using internships to relaunch their careers or completely switch their professional plans. 

 

You can complete a minternship when you’re already advanced in your career, often when you’re in your 30s, 40s, or 50s. At this age, an internship can help you gain experience and test out a new field. And, it can provide essential networking opportunities so you can land a full-time job once you’re done. 

 

During a minternship, you get hands-on experience in your selected field. You’ll work alongside professionals and learn the ins and outs of the business, completing projects and building your portfolio. Depending on the opportunity, minternships can be part-time or full-time commitments. 

 

Where to Find a Minternship

If a minternship is appealing to you, there are several different ways to find an internship that matches your interests: 

 

  1. Consider returning to school: In some fields, you may need to return to school to complete a certificate program, get an MBA degree, or earn a master’s degree to get a job. Many schools require students to complete internships, and will even help connect you with companies that are hiring. 
  2. Search job boards: Some companies post their internships on job boards like Indeed, Monster, and Internships.com. You can search by location, company, or field to find an opportunity that suits your needs. 
  3. Connect with your network: If you’re switching careers, consider reaching out to your network on LinkedIn or via email to share your goals and ask for help. 
  4. Ask your employer: Some companies — especially large ones — will help facilitate employees’ transitions to a new department. They may provide student loan repayment assistance for employees who go back to school, or they may offer on-the-job training programs. Talk to your human resources department to discuss your options. 

 

How to Prepare for a Minternship

While a minternship can be a great way to gain necessary experience, it may require you to make some lifestyle changes. To take on a minternship and leave your full-time job, you will likely need to adjust to a pay cut. To prepare for that and minimize its impact, follow these steps: 

  1. Explore financial aid: If you’re returning to school and completing a minternship, make sure you apply for financial aid, including grants, scholarships, federal student loans, and private student loans*. You may qualify for aid and loans to cover your living expenses so you can focus on your education and budding career. 
  2. Create a budget: Make a budget detailing how much money you’ll have coming in while you’re interning and how much you’ll spend each month. Account for regular expenses like rent or mortgage payments, utilities, groceries, and transportation. 
  3. Cut expenses: Once your budget is complete, look for areas where you can cut back. Perhaps you can add a roommate while you’re an intern, or you can use public transportation. 
  4. Find additional income sources: As an intern, you may need to be creative about how you earn money. While paid internships are possible, unpaid internships are common in certain fields. If that’s the case, consider launching a side hustle or freelancing or consulting in your old field to earn income. Or, you can take on a part-time job. 
  5. Refinance student loans: To reduce your student loan payments while you’re interning, you can refinance your student loans*. If you extend your repayment term, you could dramatically lower your monthly payments. You may pay more over time in interest thanks to the longer loan term, but it can be worth it to free up more money in your budget each month. 

 

Changing Careers

If your current job no longer excites or challenges you, it may be time for a change. Completing a minternship gives you an opportunity to learn new skills so you can successfully switch fields. While it will take some sacrifices and time to do, finishing a minternship can prepare you for a successful career change. 

 

Do you need to borrow money to pay for school, or do you want to refinance your existing debt to lower your payments? 

 

ELFI offers private student loans and student loan refinancing loans with competitive interest rates. There are no application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties. And, it offers a variety of repayment options and loan terms to suit your needs. You can use ELFI’s Student Loan Refinancing Calculator* to get a rate quote without affecting your credit score.

 


 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: 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.