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Career (Blog or Resources)

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: The Income vs. Savings Approach to Building Wealth

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By Caroline Farhat

 

We all remember that infamous Australian millionaire who declared that millennials can’t afford to buy homes because they’re wasting all of their money buying avocado toast. Similarly, we’ve probably all lost count of the number of times we’ve heard that we need to cut back on our Starbucks® habit in order to be more financially successful. 

 

While buying avocado toast every morning might not be the wisest choice for your food budget, it’s most likely not going to hold you back from having a healthy bank account either. In fact, if you’re so busy pinching pennies on your daily cappuccino and not looking at how you can save and increase your earnings in bigger areas, you’re probably wasting both your time and money. 

 

Stop Skipping Your Cappuccino and Refinance Instead

 

1. How refinancing can save you money on your mortgage

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, housing is the largest expense for Americans, taking up about 33% of income and $20,091 per year. For homeowners, these figures include the cost of the mortgage, mortgage interest, property taxes and insurance, and expenses for maintenance and repairs. 

 

When you apply and pay for a mortgage, you get an interest rate based on your creditworthiness, the size of your down payment, loan term and type, and economic factors. For example, in 2000, the average mortgage rate was 8.05%. In 2018, the average mortgage rate was 4.54%. As you can see, market conditions can make a big difference in the interest rate you lock-in. The good news is that you have the ability to lower your mortgage rate through refinancing, well after you sign on the dotted line. 

 

Mortgage interest, and its effect on your monthly housing bill, can be easily forgotten — until you start crunching the numbers. Let’s walk through two scenarios — one in which you don’t refinance and one in which you do refinance.

 

Scenario 1: No refinancing

You buy a $300,000 home and put down 20% ($60,000). You get a mortgage for $240,000 with a 4.5% interest rate. Over the first year, you will have spent $10,720.79 on interest payments alone. Over the entire 30-year mortgage term, you will have spent $197,776.11 in total on interest payments. 

 

Now, let’s see what happens if you refinance your mortgage.

 

Scenario 2: Refinancing

You buy a $300,000 home and put down 20% ($60,000). While you started with a 4.5% interest rate, shifts in the economy have caused interest rates to drop and you’re now able to refinance to a 3.7% mortgage rate. By doing so, you will save over $12,000 over the life of the loan. To put this in perspective, you’d have to cut back on approximately 3,000 drinks at your favorite coffee joint to save that kind of money. 

 

If you currently have a mortgage, put your numbers into this refinance calculator and see just how much you could save. 

 

2. How to save by refinancing student loans

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that the average American spent $1,417 on education in 2018. If you’re currently reading this blog, you are likely dealing with a much larger number than that. If you have at least $5,000 in student loan debt, student loan refinancing could be extremely beneficial for you. 

 

Similar to mortgages, you can refinance student loans and potentially save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the loan. ELFI customers reported saving an average of $309 every month and an average of $20,936 in total savings1.

 

The first step to saving money on your student loans is to determine whether student loan refinancing* is the best option for you. In a small number of cases, refinancing is not the optimal option. But for most student loan debt holders, it is an excellent way to save money both in the short term and long term. Our student loan refinance calculator allows you to see what you could save in your particular situation. Let’s walk through an example.

 

Scenario 1: No refinancing

You have $60,000 in student loans with an interest rate of 6.8% and are on a standard repayment plan of 10 years. You pay $690 per month and never consider refinancing. In total, you will pay $82,857 for your initial loan of $60,000. Over $22,000 of that amount will be to interest payments alone.

 

Scenario 2: Refinance your student loans

You have $60,000 in student loan debt with an interest rate of 6.8% and a monthly payment of $690. You’re eager to optimize your finances and decide to refinance your student loans to a lower interest rate, saving up to $18,000 over the life of the loan. If you refinance into a shorter loan term (such as a 5 or 7-year term), you will save more on interest over the life of the loan. Alternately, you may consider stretching out your terms to lower your monthly payment. This will likely still save you money over the long term, but be sure to crunch the numbers before you make a final decision on your refinancing terms.

 

Side Hustle or Climb Your Way to Success

Saving on big-ticket items like your housing costs or student loan debt is just one approach to building wealth. After you have taken advantage of all the saving opportunities available to you, it’s time to turn your attention to increasing your earnings. Here are a few ways you can bolster your bank account:

  • Ask your current employer. If you’re gainfully employed and a top-performer, speak with your boss about the potential for a promotion, raise, or bonus. It’s best to come into these types of conversations with a concrete strategy and multiple examples of positive ways you have impacted the company. Glassdoor has a good guide on how to prepare for this conversation. 
  • Find a new job. Long gone are the days people spend decades at the same company. While “job hopping” may have had a negative connotation in the past, many career experts actually encourage people to switch jobs more frequently in order to get a larger salary and more advanced job title. According to this Fast Company article, “workers who stay with a company longer than two years are said to get paid 50% less.” Money, of course, isn’t everything. But if you’re feeling stagnant both in learning and money, it’s probably time to brush off your resume and start looking for a new position.
  •  Start a side hustle. It’s reported that more than 1 in 4 Americans currently have a side hustle. Beyond the monetary benefits of having a gig outside of your normal 9-to-5, side hustles are also a great way to hone or discover a new passion. Side Hustle Nation has an extensive list of ideas that you can start quickly. 

 

Bottom Line

It pays (literally) to keep your eye on the big stuff. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t ever watch your pennies. Smart spending habits still reign supreme. Just don’t sweat the small stuff so much that you miss out on potentially huge savings.

 


 

*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.

 

1Average savings calculations are based on information provided by SouthEast Bank/Education Loan Finance customers who refinanced their student loans between 8/16/2016 and 10/25/2018. While these amounts represent reported average amounts saved, actual amounts saved will vary depending upon several factors.

Yes, You Need a Side Hustle

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Side hustle. It’s a relatively new phrase, but a concept that’s older than you think. It’s simply a second job that helps people make ends meet or earn extra cash to supplement retirement plans, pay off student loan debt, save up to buy a car, etc. You might also hear these jobs referred to as gigs, which constitute the gig economy.

 

Why the Popularity?

If you wonder why you’re hearing so much about side hustles and the gig economy, it’s because these concepts have exploded in popularity. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 55 million people work in the gig economy, which is more than 35% of the country’s workforce. “Side hustlers,” as they’re called, take the form of teachers who write blogs for major companies, stay-at-home moms who moonlight as Uber® drivers, retirees who tutor school-age children, or even college students who design logos for local businesses.

 

But side hustles aren’t limited to these more typical archetypes. Even high-earning, highly skilled professions offer ample opportunities for “side hustling”. For example, the gig economy has increasingly penetrated the healthcare industry – doctors and nurses have the ability to work in temporary positions called “locum tenens” to fill staffing needs at healthcare facilities. These positions, often worked during shift downtimes, allow healthcare professionals to have more flexibility and control of their schedule while earning supplemental income. High-end software developers at major technology brands can also benefit from the gig economy, using sites like Upwork to maximize the return on their skills and to explore new projects.

 

A study on the Gig Economy & The Future of Retirement found that of people with a side hustle, 49% over the age of 55 are using it to save for retirement and 33% are using it to pay off student loan debt. Regardless of the reason, the answer to the question, “Do I need a side hustle?” is almost always, “Yes!” 

 

Check out the following scenario to see just how valuable a side hustle can be. The average student loan debt in America is around $37,000 with a loan term of 10 years and monthly payments of $380 a month. If you made an extra $100 a month ($1,200 a year), you could make three extra payments a year, helping you pay down your student loan debt up to two years early! If you want to see how much you can impact your loan with a side hustle, check out our student loan refinance calculator. 

 

Not only can you bring in extra income with a second gig, you can also diversify how you make that money. In other words, if you lose your full-time job, you will still have a way to pay bills.

 

Having a side gig is also a way for you to indulge hobbies or hone talents, giving more meaning to your work than perhaps your regular nine-to-five job. If you’re really good with computers, have a knack for photography, possess a knowledge of HVAC systems, or if you’re just really good at IKEA® assembly directions, you can pick up a side hustle by hawking your services on sites like Thumbtack®, Nextdoor®, TaskRabbit®, or Fiverr®.

 

The ideal hustle would allow you to “make money while you sleep.” It sounds hokey, but if you don’t have to trade working hours for money, you can reach your extra income goals to pay off student loan debt without sacrificing your full-time job, family, or social life to do so. These holy grail side hustles take the form of rental properties (that you pay someone else to manage), stock market investing, renting a room or parking space, publishing a book, creating an app, or other similar ideas that require little time to maintain.

 

One such example is with ELFI’s Referral Program. Simply sign up and create a personalized referral link to share with friends or family. When someone decides to refinance their student loans using your link, you’ll get a $400 referral bonus check and your friend will receive a $100 credit toward the principal balance of an approved Education Loan Finance loan1. There’s no limit on the number of people you can refer.

 

Downfalls of Side Hustles

While we started this blog by saying, “Yes, you need a side hustle,” there are several downfalls that you should be aware of. Sure, the hours for side gigs are flexible, but these jobs also don’t come with employer benefits. This means there is no safety net of unemployment claims should you not be able to find enough work. Also, if you don’t have a clear, effective contract and invoicing system set up, payment can get delayed or—even worse—lost in the shuffle. If you don’t work with honest people or established companies, both can run out of money or just simply disappear without paying money owed.

 

You also need strong personal motivation to work a side hustle. Like most jobs, side hustles rarely just fall profitably into your lap. You should realistically expect to spend a few hours a week promoting yourself and following up on leads. You need to be organized and disciplined to avoid double-booking yourself and to get the work done by agreed-upon deadlines.

 

You’ll also need to be diligent when it comes to taxes2. The money made from your side job will need to be reported on a 1040 Form at tax time. If you fail to report your earnings, you might find yourself subject to tax assessments or penalties. On the plus side of tax time with a side gig, you may be able to deduct certain expenses like car mileage related to your business, necessary equipment, or even subscriptions to business-related organizations.

 

When it comes to side hustles, there’s no need to quit your day job to earn extra cash. The benefits outweigh the downfalls, and a bonus gig can actually benefit your day job by giving you additional skills and insights or by helping you make connections with clients you wouldn’t otherwise meet. You can work as little or as much as you’d like on your own schedule to pay down debts or save for big expenses.

 

Curious about how much you need to earn with a side gig to pay down your student loan debt? First, see how much you could save by using our Student Loan Refinance Calculator*. Once you know what your monthly payment could be, you can set a realistic target for your extra income. The Student Loan Refinance Calculator will show you your current vs estimated monthly payment, as well as estimated monthly and lifetime savings.

 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

 


 

1Subject 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 refer 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 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.

 

2This blog has been prepared for informational purposes only, and does not constitute tax or financial advice. Please consult your tax advisor for guidance on your personal tax situation.

 

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 Navigating Career Fairs

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Career fairs present you with the opportunity to network with potential employers, learn about job opportunities in your prospective industries, get eyes on your resume, and even get some preliminary interview practice. While these opportunities are great, you won’t be able to take advantage of them without proper preparation. Here are some tips for making the most out of career fairs. 

 

Prepping for the Career Fair

Do your research

Before the fair, contact your college’s career center to see what companies will be present at the fair. Make a list of the companies or organizations that you’re interested in and conduct some online research about them. Understanding the company’s history and information about what they offer will help you better engage recruiters, and just might earn you an on the spot interview.

 

Prepare your resume

Proofread your resume, show it to friends and professionals you know, and even run it by someone in the career center. Follow our guide about resume tips for some help here. If you want to go above and beyond, make different resumes for different career paths that you’re interested in. 

 

Find appropriate attire

While most career fairs suggest business casual attire, make sure you’re prepared to dress to impress. Typically men should wear pressed pants with a shirt and tie, and women should wear pants or a skirt with a blouse. Wearing sneakers or a graphic tee probably isn’t a good idea. 

 

Practice your pitch

Get your “elevator pitch” ready for the career fair. This is basically just your way of introducing yourself, highlighting your skills, and presenting your interests to the recruiter or employer. Being able to express your skills and aspirations in a succinct manner will be sure to impress potential employers.

 

Create a list of questions

Come up with a few questions to ask the employers, so they will know you are interested in their company. These should be questions that you could not find the answers to during your research. Here are some sample questions:

  • What kinds of entry-level positions exist within your company?
  • What courses do you suggest in order to be a successful candidate?
  • What is the average length of stay in entry-level positions?
  • What new product lines/services have been announced recently?

 

At the Career Fair

Devise a game plan

Picking up a copy of the floor plan at the career fair and mapping out your main booths of focus will help make the process less overwhelming. Some lines may be longer than others, so plan your strategy to make the best use of your time. While you want to try to talk with every employer in your targeted group, remember to stay open to meeting other employers you may not have originally considered.

 

Be respectful

While you want to make the most of the career fair, you shouldn’t just move from booth to booth picking up free stuff and handing out your resume. This can be a major turn-off for recruiters because they want to talk with people interested in the company, not the giveaways.

 

Warm up

Start your rounds by going to a couple of booths that are not at the top of your list. This way you can get warmed up to interacting with the recruiters before meeting the employer in which you are really interested.

 

Show confidence

Remember to smile, make eye contact, and give firm handshakes when introducing yourself to recruiters. Being confident should come easy to you as long as you do your preparation homework before the fair. Remember your pitch and be ready to answer any questions about your resume. Don’t forget to ask the recruiters questions about their companies; it shows that you are interested.

 

Ask for business cards and contact information

For future correspondence, be sure to request the business card of each recruiter with whom you speak. Make notes on the back of the cards to help you remember what was discussed.

 

Close strong

When wrapping up with employers, you should always ask about the next step in the recruiting/application process. Be sure to shake hands and thank them for their time. Stress your interest by saying that you look forward to hearing from them within the near future.

 

Following the Career Fair

Review literature 

After the fair, go through all the information that you gathered from the recruiters. Look over your notes and think about your interactions with each employer, so you can decide which positions may be of interest to you.

 

Follow up

Be sure to send thank-you notes to the recruiters with whom you spoke. Include specific information so the recruiters will remember you. If the recruiters asked for more information, such as transcripts, another resume, writing sample, reference list, etc., be sure to get that information to them as soon as possible. 

 

For more tips and suggestions on navigating the career fair and to find out about career fairs in your area, visit your school’s Career Center.

 


 

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.

4 Ways to Prep For Your Post-College Life – Right Now

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College life can be a bubble. In many cases, you’re shielded from the real-world realities of full-time jobs, rent and student loan payments. But before you know it, graduation will pass and you’ll be thrown into the responsibilities of adulthood.

 

“You need to plan for the future, and the future is here,” says Barbara Thomas, executive vice president of Education Loan Finance (ELFI). “It’s not just when you graduate.”

 

But you also don’t have to sacrifice a memorable college experience to set yourself up for future success. Here’s how to estimate — and plan for — the cost of your post-grad life.

 

1. Make a list of future monthly expenses

Having a sense of how much life costs is helpful for choosing a major, researching jobs and negotiating your first salary. It’s okay to estimate for now. For example:

  • Rent: Nationally, a one-bedroom apartment typically costs about $1,000/month, but that could be higher or lower depending on where you live. Research typical rents for your area (or the place you want to move after college) to get a better sense of what to expect.
  • Student loan payments: You’d owe about $333/month on a $30,000 student loan balance, which is about what the average undergraduate owes at graduation. (This assumes a 10-year repayment schedule and a 6% interest rate). Use a student loan calculator* to see an estimate of how much your future monthly payment would be based on your loan amount, interest rate and repayment terms.
  • Food: If you live off-campus and buy your own groceries, your current food expenses are a good indicator of how much you’ll spend on food in the future. For this example, let’s say that’s $500/month.
  • Transportation: If you have a car, include your monthly payment, insurance costs and gas. If not, budget for public transportation and Uber/Lyft. Let’s say this costs $300/month.
  • Other bills: This includes utilities, internet and your cell phone bill. If you split costs with roommates and are still on the family phone plan, let’s say this sets you back $150/month.
  • Miscellaneous: Include other categories that apply to your life, like clothes, travel, and personal care items and services. Let’s say this all costs $250/month.

 

2. Add it all up, then account for taxes and savings

In this example, your total monthly expenses come to $2,533. But you’re not done yet — there’s a lot this number doesn’t include. For one thing, the government takes money out of each paycheck for taxes, Social Security and Medicare. You also need health insurance, the cost of which may get taken directly from your paycheck if your job offers it.

 

Those costs vary based on factors including the amount you earn, where you live and your job’s benefit package (use a paycheck calculator to estimate yours), but they could easily run you $1,000/month. This puts you at $3,533/month in this example, or about $42,000/year.

 

You’re still not quite done. You need to be saving for the future and for inevitable emergencies like car trouble or accidentally smashing your phone on the sidewalk. Experts recommend saving 20% of your paycheck, which is about $600/month in our example. (That may not be realistic at first, but it’s an excellent goal.) So, you really need to earn $4,133/month, or about $50,000/year.

 

3. Make adjustments to save money

You might be panicking a little right now, but these numbers are attainable. The average annual starting salary for the class of 2018 was about $51,000, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

 

Plus, there are ways to cut your monthly expenses to make some wiggle room in your budget. For instance, student loan refinancing* can potentially shave hundreds of dollars off your student loan payment by lowering your interest rate. To qualify, you’ll need good credit, which takes time to build. While you can’t refinance until you at least have a post-college job offer, you can start establishing credit now.

 

4. Get a credit card (but don’t carry a balance)

Student loan refinancing isn’t the only thing that demands good credit. Almost everything you’ll need or want to do after graduation — rent your own apartment, buy a car, travel on the cheap with credit card points — requires a strong financial track record. The easiest way to establish good credit is to get a credit card, use it and fully pay it off every month.

 

As a student, you’re limited in your credit card choices because you don’t have much of a credit history. Your options are:

  • Get a secured or student credit card. These cards require a deposit (secured cards) or that you have an income (student cards), but they’re designed to help you get started. Over time, you can add other cards with more perks, like cash-back and travel rewards.
  • Ask a parent to add you as an authorized user on their card. This gives you a copy of the card to use, but keeps the payment responsibility on them. Before going this route, double check that the card company will report the card activity to the credit bureaus (the companies that create credit reports) on your behalf. Otherwise, it won’t help your credit.

 

Having a credit card will only help you if you spend within your means and consistently pay off the balance on time. Otherwise, you’ll rack up interest charges and be stuck with debt you can’t afford.

 

By doing these four things, you’ll emerge from your college bubble ready to take on the “real” world.

 


 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

 

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.

Best Cities for Young Professionals

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You’ve got your degree and you’re ready to move on to the next phase of your life. But now you’re faced with a big question – where do you want to start your life after college? For many, this marks the beginning of your “real” adult life. It’s where you begin your professional journey. Some choose to go back to their hometowns, while others decide to move away and start new chapters. If you’re looking to move to a new place after college, you might want to check out some of the cities on this list from US News.

 

Minneapolis-St. Paul.

If you can bear the cold winters, The Twin Cities are a great option for young professionals. They have a metro population of about 3,488,436 people, and it’s still very affordable. According to US News, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to find a job in this area – the unemployment rate is only 3.3%, and the median annual salary is about $6,000 more than the national average.

 

Honolulu.

You may think packing up to move to Hawaii will always be nothing more than a dream, but US News begs to differ. Honolulu has a great reputation as a vacation destination, but it would also be an amazing place for a young professional to call home. The tourism industry is vibrant and full of opportunities, as well as health care and defense, thanks to the military bases on Oahu. They also tout an impressive unemployment rate of just 2.4%. Can you imagine waking up to a tropical Hawaiian breeze every day? We’re right there with you.

 

Nashville.

The country music capital of the USA has grown significantly over the past few years, and so have its job opportunities. In the Nashville metro area, the unemployment rate is only 3%. If you’re looking for a career in healthcare, you’ll likely find lots of opportunities here. Not to mention, there’s plenty to do in Nashville on the weekends, from taking a night out on Broadway Street to drifting the Harpeth River.

 

San Francisco.

Young professionals are drawn to San Francisco, even though it is one of the most expensive places in the country. However, the city is home to the second-strongest job market in the United States, so many make the higher cost of living work with their salaries. Plus, the experience of living in San Francisco might be worth a little more money, right? Experiencing the City by the Bay would be a dream for many young professionals, and with a ridiculously low unemployment rate of 1.8%, they might just land their dream job there.

 

Austin.

Texas’ capital city has felt an influx of millennials over the past decade, primarily due to the conducive environment for young professionals. Austin, Texas is a major tech hub with companies such as Apple, Amazon and AT&T holding offices there, making it a great place for young professionals in the tech space. If you want to spend part of your life in a major city, you’ll want to check this one out.

 

Portland.

One of the most sought-after metro residential areas, Portland is known for those who like to embrace their “weird” side (the city has been described as “stuck in the 90s”). You’ll find some major companies like Intel Corp., Nike, and more here, so you may encounter some pretty cool employment opportunities. The unemployment rate is a low 3.8%, so a job in Portland is definitely worth looking into. Experiencing a city like Portland could be great for a young professional looking for something different.

 

Colorado Springs.

US News picked Colorado Springs as the top city for young professionals, primarily due to the ease of living there. With high desirability outside of the Rockies and low costs of living, this city has grown over the past few years. However, its growth has been slow in comparison to other parts of the country, so housing costs are more than a quarter below the median annual income. You’ll have the potential to earn a salary around the national average, but save a little bit on your housing costs, all while enjoying the beauty Colorado Springs has to offer. In other words, it will be easy to get by and get on your feet in this exciting town, making it great for young professionals gaining a foothold in their careers.

 

Places We Like

Seattle.

With 23.1% of the population between 25-34, Seattle is clearly a hub for young professionals. Now the home of Amazon, Seattle is quickly becoming a tech-hub with plenty of opportunities. With a low unemployment rate of 2.4% and a high-end median income of over $86,000, the largest city in the Pacific Northwest attracts young people from all over the country.

 

Raleigh.

While it’s usually known for it’s two major universities near the metro area (Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill), Raleigh, North Carolina ranked 13th in best places to live in 2018 due to its affordability, strong median income and low unemployment rate of 3.6%, not to mention the exciting southern culture. Plenty of recent grads from the major universities and around the country make their homes here, with plenty of jobs in education and research.

 

Atlanta.

Looking for everything you could ask for in a southern city? Look no further than Atlanta. Homes here are $30,000 lower than the national median, and the city offers a high median income. Atlanta is a popular city among young people, from its trendy culture, hip-hop influence and worldwide connection (home of the largest U.S. airport). Also known as the city where the “players play,” it’s a great place for young professionals to start their careers with major U.S. companies.

 

Moving out and starting life in a new place is so thrilling, but deciding where you want to go can be tough. This list just touches the surface of some of the best places the United States has to live. If you want to see the full ranking or read more about the places on this list, check out US News’s original article here.

 


 

Note: Links to other websites are provided as a convenience only. A link does not imply SouthEast Bank’s sponsorship or approval of any other site. SouthEast Bank does not control the content of these sites.

Helping Your College Student Make Smart Career Decisions

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As a parent, you obviously want what’s best for your child. Whether you have opinions about what career path they should take or want to give them the freedom to choose on their own, it’s pretty hard not to wonder what occupation they will end up choosing or falling into. The truth is, deciding on a career is a process that takes time for many students. Sometimes letting them decide is the easiest route – but there’s nothing wrong with providing a little guidance along the way. Here are some tips to guide your child toward making smart career decisions.

 

Encourage Them to Research and Explore

Whether your child is set on a specific career path or is rather undecided, it’s important to encourage them to explore different career paths. If they are set on a specific career, you should provoke them to research the career – from understanding what the day to day job functions will consist of, to getting a grasp on the typically starting salary and potential earnings, doing the research will help them either solidify their decision or decide to explore new options. If they are unsure of what they want to do, then you should brainstorm ideas with them. Find out their likes and dislikes, provide them with resources, and perhaps point them toward the Kuder Career Planning System.

 

Encourage Open Communication

Your child needs to feel that they can come to you with career questions and ideas. You know your child better than anyone, from their likes and dislikes to their personality traits. Allowing them to bounce ideas off of you will be an effective way for them to nail down their career path and feel more sure of their decision. Be sure you don’t dismiss certain careers they are interested in due to bias. Likewise, don’t force them into a career path due to your personal opinions. Allow them to discuss the pros and cons with you objectively, and provide your honest opinion as to whether you think the career path will make them happy. If they are unsure about their career and don’t talk about it often, probe them with questions that will help them understand what type of environment they want to work in. Ask which classes they have enjoyed, which they have disliked, which issues they are passionate about, etc. Taking initiative to have conversations will be a positive influence in their career decision.

 

Encourage Networking

Students who take advantage of networking opportunities have a much easier time deciding on their career path than those who do not. Promote the importance of networking with professionals in a variety of fields to your child so that they can get a real-world perspective on their prospective career paths. This will also provide them the opportunity of potentially getting a foot in the door with an employer in the career path. By networking before they finish school, they will have a list of valuable contacts before even getting into the job market.

 

Encourage Them to Build Their Resume

At the end of the day, your child will need to build real-world experience to get an effective start to their career. Building experience that they can add to their resume is important whether they are undecided or have their career path planned out. Emphasizing the importance of job-shadowingvolunteering, and obtaining internships or part-time jobs will help your child build their resume and be ready for success in their career, all the while helping them solidify their career decision.

 

Being objective and allowing your child to choose their career path can be difficult, but if you follow the principles above and encourage your child to be proactive in choosing a career, they will be set to start on a good career path.

 


 

Note: Links to other websites are provided as a convenience only. A link does not imply SouthEast Bank’s sponsorship or approval of any other site. SouthEast Bank does not control the content of these sites.

Top-Earning Majors in the US

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Do you know what you want to do for the rest of your life? If you’re like many students, your answer will change as you progress through your college years. Will your career pay well out of the gate, or will it take some time to reach financial success? Some top-earning majors on this list start out with high-earning salaries, while others, such as a business analysis, start out on the lower scale before eventually offering a higher salary as experience grows.  

 

Sometimes your passion is profitable, but if it’s not, knowing what college major to pursue can be hard. This purpose of this blog isn’t to steer you toward a certain top-earning major, but rather to help you make an educated decision based on data. So without further ado, let’s take a look at what careers earn top-dollar in the US.

Highest Starting Salaries

If you’re looking to earn a high salary right out of college, engineering may be the major for you. U.S. News reported that according to PayScale data, these top-earning majors had the highest median starting salaries for workers with a bachelor’s degree:

  1. Electrical engineering. Median starting salary: $71,659

 

  1. Nuclear engineering. Median starting salary: $73,175

 

  1. Chemical engineering. Median starting salary: $73,627

 

  1. Computer engineering. Median starting salary: $74,026

 

  1. Petroleum engineering. Median starting salary: $96,544

PayScale’s Highest Paying Majors of 2019

Data from PayScale’s research confirms US News’s report on engineers’ earnings. Analyzing the overall top-earning majors and not just the highest starting salaries shows engineering jobs are still at the top of the list. The salaries below reflect the median salary for each group described.

  1. Aeronautics & Astronautics

      Salary with 0-5 years work experience + Bachelor’s degree: $73,100 

      Salary with 5-10 years work experience + Bachelor’s degree: $131,600

 

  1. Pharmacy

     Salary with 0-5 years work experience + Bachelor’s degree: $79,600

     Salary with 5-10 years work experience + Bachelor’s degree: $132,500

 

  1. Business Analysis

     Salary with 0-5 years work experience + Bachelor’s degree: $57,200

     Salary with 5-10 years work experience + Bachelor’s degree: $133,200

 

  1. Electrical Power Engineering

    Salary with 0-5 years work experience + Bachelor’s degree: $72,400

    Salary with 5-10 years work experience + Bachelor’s degree: $134,700

 

  1. Actuarial Mathematics

    Salary with 0-5 years work experience + Bachelor’s degree: $63,300

    Salary with 5-10 years work experience + Bachelor’s degree: $135,100

 

  1. Political Economy

     Salary with 0-5 years work experience + Bachelor’s degree: $57,600

     Salary with 5-10 years work experience + Bachelor’s degree: $136,200

 

  1. Operations Research

     Salary with 0-5 years work experience + Bachelor’s degree: $77,900

     Salary with 5-10 years work experience + Bachelor’s degree: $137,100

 

  1. Applied Economics and Management

     Salary with 0-5 years work experience + Bachelor’s degree: $58,900

     Salary with 5-10 years work experience + Bachelor’s degree: $140,000

 

  1. Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (EECS)

     Salary with 0-5 years work experience + Bachelor’s degree: $88,000

     Salary with 5-10 years work experience + Bachelor’s degree: $142,200

 

  1. Petroleum Engineering

    Salary with 0-5 years work experience + Bachelor’s degree: $94,500

    Salary with 5-10 years work experience + Bachelor’s degree: $176,900

 

You can see a full list of top-earning majors according to Payscale here.

 

Even if you’re not studying one of these top-earning majors, your degree will likely earn you more in the workforce. According to Forbes, the average college graduate will earn around $900,000 more than the average high school graduate throughout their lifetime. Over time, you’ll likely earn the money to pay back your student loans and earn financial independence. In the meantime, focus on your studies and know that in the end, it’ll all be worth it.

 

If you’re interested in a private student loan to help pay for college, our Personal Loan Advisors are available and would love to speak with you and answer any other questions you may have. Let’s connect.*

 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

 

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.

Facing Student Loan Debt? How The Right Job in School Can Land You the Right Job After School

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When it comes to landing your first job after graduation and getting a strong foothold on paying back student loan debt, nothing is more important than standing out in the workforce. This doesn’t mean you should equip yourself with a gimmicky resume or a flashy outfit for going on interviews. The way to impress a prospective employer is with experience and skills suited for the position — not only will this put you on track to paying back your student loan debt, but it will also set you up for long term financial success. When it comes to hunting for a job, college graduates can be put into three categories:

● Those who have waited until after graduation to look for a job.
● Those who have waited for a couple of months (while enjoying their last summer of freedom) before searching for a job.
● Those who have been planning their job search since well before their final exams.

The latter understand that in order to give themselves an edge in the job market, they needed to start early.

Gain Work Experience While in College

There is often a catch-22 that applies to looking for a job after college: many entry-level positions require some experience, but you can’t gain experience unless you have already worked in that field. Although there are exceptions, one of the hard facts is that most employers prefer to hire a college graduate who has some work experience to put on the table. So, your best bet is to find part-time work in your chosen field while you are still in school. It might not be easy, as trying to keep up with a full course load and working at the same time can be a challenge. But the reward may be your dream job after graduation.

● Best-case scenario: You find a part-time job related to your field and then use your experience to segue into a full-time position once you have your degree.
● Worst-case scenario: You can’t find a part-time job directly related to your field, but you have demonstrated your ability to hold a job and you have some work experience to put on your resume.

Five Ways to Find the Right Part-Time Work

1. The Federal Work Study Program

All federally accredited universities and colleges offer the Work Study Program. This program matches students with job opportunities which are located both on and off campus. Counselors do their best to pick positions closest to your field of study. These jobs are paid at the minimum wage rate or a little higher and are assigned at a maximum of thirty hours per week.

2. Freelancing

If you have certain skills, such as writing or graphic design, you can make some extra cash using freelance sites such as upwork.com and contentrunner.com. The beauty of this kind of work is that you can choose your own hours. There are many internet platforms that are searching for part-time talent – just be sure to research them carefully to avoid scams. Even if you find work that isn’t in the field you are aiming for after college, you will be demonstrating initiative to any prospective employer.

3. Volunteering

Volunteering usually means that you won’t get paid, which while admirable, won’t make a big dent in your student loan debt. But getting involved with community organizations, charities, animal shelters, etc. shows initiative, a sense of responsibility, and your ability to work with others. It is often easier to find an unpaid position in the field that you want to work in after college through volunteering or an internship. Simply, if you can afford to volunteer you’ll likely refine the personal and professional skills that will last a lifetime.

4. Internships

Finding internships in your chosen field is one of the best ways to land your dream job after college. Companies love internships because it’s an easy way for them to find talent with hardly any risk or expense on their part. Internships represent the lifeblood of college work experience because nothing beats a hands-on education. The best internship is one that will help you launch your entry-level career.

5. Career Services Department

Most colleges and universities have a Career Services Department whose main goal is to help students fine-tune their professional skills in hopes of landing a great job. From resume tips to mock interviews, they’re a wealth of knowledge. Every day they’re working with students just like you who have varying amounts of student loan debt and actively want to help you get rid of it!

● Why the Big Companies Aren’t Always the Best Choice: Many academic advisors recommend choosing internships in smaller businesses where they really need hands-on help so you won’t be stuck just making printer copies and coffee runs. Research a few local small to medium-sized companies in your field, and then contact their HR departments to ask whether they have programs for interns. Don’t forget to talk to your professors – they are probably aware of a few good companies that you can contact. As an added perk to employees, many companies are also adding competitive benefits, like tuition reimbursement, helping pay of student loan debt, or providing generous time off.

● When to Start Looking for an Internship – After your freshman year, begin to contact companies that interest you. A good resource is your college’s career-planning office. You may be fortunate enough to be enrolled in a college that offers grants to enable students to accept unpaid (or poorly paid) internships. Or you can consider combining a part-time unpaid internship in the field you want with other work that pays. Fortunately, some high-paying fields also pay their interns quite well, especially if those students are close to graduating.

The Bottom Line

Carefully planning your part-time jobs or internships while you are working toward your degree will give you the best chance of achieving your career goals. And the sooner you begin to earn money out of college, the sooner you can start to pay off your student loan debt. Talk to ELFI about our private student loan offerings by giving us a call today!

Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

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.

Adulting Tips: 8 Resume Keys to Help you Score that Next Job

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Whether you are in the process of heading off to college, or you are graduated and looking to continue your path to financial freedom through student loan refinancing – the work ethic you developed to get into and through school will be a major part of your continued success. But as you enter or progress through your career, the way you present yourself holds even more weight. It’s time to start thinking of your personal brand.

Your resume is a key component of how your personal brand comes across to employers. It’s your first opportunity to impress hiring managers and will determine whether you get that in-person interview. For these reasons, it’s essential that is promotes you in the best light possible. Follow these steps (and avoid these mistakes) to achieve the perfect resume.

 

1. Customize it.

Submitting a vague, boring resume is a sure way to get yours moved to the bottom of the stack, or out of the pile altogether. No matter where you are in your career path, whether looking for a part-time job in high school, an internship in college, or applying for a job after school, you should always take the time to customize your resume to the job you’re applying for (check out Huffington Post’s tips for customizing your resume). But remember, a little goes a long way here.

 

2. What does your email address say about you? 

Your prospective employer shouldn’t look at your resume and think “this person is cool.” In fact, you probably don’t even want them thinking twice about it. You should always avoid email addresses that use nicknames, profanity, or have humorous connotations. Use a simple email address that consists of variations of your first, middle, and last name. We love the tips on creating a professional email address from Hubspot.

 

3. Organize it.

You want the employer’s eyes to be drawn to the most important parts of your resume – so be sure to highlight them and make them prominent. If you’re fresh out of school with no work experience, highlight your academic accomplishments; if you didn’t have a great GPA in school but have good work experience, highlight the experience first. Know what your selling point is and prioritize it over your supporting facts.

 

4. Don’t be passive or lazy in your use of language.

Showing laziness in your resume? A recipe for unemployment. Be sure to explain your duties at each job, and don’t sell yourself short. Even if two jobs are similar in nature, be sure to express how the experiences were different because it will exemplify some versatility. Using statements like: “same as above” and “etc.” when writing your resume shows poor effort and undersells your experience. 

 

5. Choose the right font.

Be sophisticated, not flashy. Choose a standard font that will be readable by the hiring manager on their phone, laptop, tablet, or any operating system. Your resume may be scanned by automated applicant tracking software, so using a basic font is probably best. Some common examples of “resume-safe” fonts are:

  • Calibri
  • Arial
  • Garamond
  • Georgia
  • Helvetica

Check out some more tips on choosing font size and weight from Indeed.

 

6. Show that you are detail oriented. 

Typos and other errors are one of the most common blunders that would cause a hiring manager to discard a resume. Submitting a resume that has typos only confirms that your attention to detail is lacking. Don’t be that person. Just like your credit score can reflect your attention to detail in your personal finances as you seek out student loans or to refinance student loans, your resume is that short summary of your professional experience. Don’t let a typo drop your score with your future employer. 

 

7. Why you? 

Most importantly you want to make an impact on a hiring manager. You need to put emphasis on your accomplishments. Think of instances where you achieved success at previous jobs, on classroom projects, or during extracurricular activities. Your goal is to demonstrate measurable successes to the greatest extent possible. Maybe you were you able to help a previous employer increase revenue by 10%. Or you created marketing campaigns in your college courses that five actual companies were able to use and implement. Or you organized a fundraising event that raised funds for a charity in your community. For some inspiration, here’s JobScan’s list of examples of accomplishments you can put on your resume.

 

8. Algorithms are everywhere.

Many employers use electronic databases to store applicant resumes, and scanning tools are programmed to look for key terms in your resume. Using the right keywords may help you get noticed and earn an interview. Use the job posting or description to help you determine which keywords, such as specialized degrees, languages, skills, etc, to include on your resume.

We hope this Adulting Tip lets helps you score that next big career move. Education Loan Finance is here to help you along your financial journey from funding your college career to refinancing student loans – we want to empower your path to financial freedom.*

 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

 

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.

Measuring the Costs of Employee Turnover

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Best-selling business management author Jim Collins was asked during a 2001 interview if he had identified a good business response to the economic slowdown that had gripped the nation. His widely quoted answer is as relevant today as it was at the time:

 

“If I were running a company today, I would have one priority above all others: to acquire as many of the best people as I could [because] the single biggest constraint on the success of my organization is the ability to get and to hang on to enough of the right people.”

 

Nearly 20 years later and in a highly improved economic climate, Collins’ words still encapsulate the biggest challenge facing HR departments of corporate giants and small start-ups alike: finding and retaining quality team members. In an era of competitive recruitment and job-hopping staff, your company risks losing monetary and human capital each time a valued employee chooses to leave. Employee turnover impacts your bottom line and your company’s culture. To set wise employee retention policies, you first need to assess the costs of staff turnover accurately and measure the full impact of employee loss.

 

Direct Costs of Replacing Employees

A talented employee exiting your company costs you money. Estimates of how much employee turnover costs can vary by industry and employee salary. A study by Employee Benefit News estimates the direct cost to hire and train a replacement employee equal or exceed 33% of a worker’s annual salary ($15,000 for a worker earning a median salary of $45,000). Cost estimates are based on calculatable expenses like these:

  • HR exit interview & paperwork
  • Benefit payouts owed to the employee
  • Job advertising, new candidate screening & interviewing
  • Employee onboarding costs
  • On-the-job training & supervision

You can track the expenses of your company’s employee turnover using this online calculator, or create a spreadsheet to determine how actual costs add up to affect your bottom line.

 

Full Impact of Employee Loss

Josh Bersin, a human resource researcher, writing for LinkedIn, refers to employees as a business’s “appreciating assets.” Good employees grow in value as they learn systems, understand products and integrate into their teams. When one of these valuable employees leaves, the business loses more than just the cost of hiring and training a replacement. Bersin cites these additional factors contributing to the total cost of losing a productive employee:

  • Lost investment: A company typically spends 10 to 20% of an employee’s salary for training over two to three years.
  • Lost productivity: A new employee takes one to two years to reach the level of an exiting employee. Supervision by other team members also distracts those supervisors from their work—and lowers the team’s collective productivity.
  • Lost engagement: Other team members take note of employee turnover, ask “why?” and may disengage.
  • Less responsive, less effective customer service: New employees are less adept at solving customer problems satisfactorily.

 

According to Bersin, studies show the total cost of an employee’s loss may range from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5 to 2 times that employee’s annual salary.

 

Strategies to Slow Employee Turnover Rates

An effective exit interview helps you and your HR team pinpoint the drivers of your company’s employee turnover. You may find that hiring practices need to be refined or employee engagement should be enhanced. Changes to the break room space, such as fresh fruit or games, will allow your employees to relax and come back to work with fresh eyes and a better attitude. This will keep up the workplace morale, shaping your company culture to include perks appealing to younger workers and will lead to increased job satisfaction. Today’s employees are career-oriented and highly motivated. Keep them on your team with other opportunities such as:

 

  • Pathway for advancement within the company
  • Professional development & advanced education
  • Flex-time & work-from-anywhere options
  • Management support & recognition
  • Lifestyle rewards or amenities like catering & concierge services
  • Culture of shared values & volunteerism

 

Add Student Loan Benefits Through ELFI

Student loan repayment tops the financial-worries checklist of many recent graduates. Older team members question their ability to pay for educating their children. New, highly desirable HR benefits like student loan contributions and financial literacy education are emerging from these employee concerns—and ELFI for Business is leading the way for employers to incorporate them into hiring packages. You can connect with ELFI directly from your HR portal and access multiple ways to contribute to employees’ student loan debt. We offer new-hire onboarding booklets, educational newsletters and onsite consultations filled with information for you and your employees. Reach out to us at 1.844.601.ELFI to add cutting-edge benefits to your HR employee package!

 

Learn More About ELFI for Business

 

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 web sites 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.