6 other college costs (and opportunities) to consider when the financial aid letter arrives
(BPT) – The last year of high school is a whirl of activity, and it’s no different when it comes to the final leg of college selection. Once the acceptance notifications arrive, it will soon be time to sit down with a different stack of mail: financial aid letters and other college costs to consider.
As you undoubtedly know, the cost of college is no small investment. In the 2017-18 academic year, the average tuition and fees for four-year public colleges is $25,620, while for private colleges, the costs are $33,520, and public two-year colleges cost $3,570, according to the College Board.
At the same time, the College Board reports that more than 70 percent of students receive grants to help pay for college. Hopefully, those financial letters contain some good news.
For most families, analyzing the letters is a process of uncovering the college that can offer the best education at the best value for your student. One way to get there is to parse the details of the letter itself so you understand the net cost of your student’s education. Still, it’s critical View full post…
(BPT) – From millennials who have been grinding away in the workplace for a few years to Gen Xers looking to move out of their cube, many have been intrigued by the possibility of becoming a freelance entrepreneur.
It means the freedom to set your own hours, to work closely with clients, to be your own boss and have greater control over your career.
According to Forbes, there are 53 million freelancers in America today, and by 2020, it’s estimated that half of the workforce will be doing freelance work, whether full time, as a part-time gig or as their side hustle.
Unlike a traditional job, where you generally don’t need to bring more than a packed lunch to work, a freelance entrepreneur requires a few essential tricks and tools to succeed. Whether you’re looking to start out or refresh your personal brand, homeworking View full post…
(BPT) – If you love the idea of being a landlord and don’t mind being on duty around the clock, buying investment property may be the wealth-building option for you.
Property values have enjoyed a steady increase over the decades. That’s why real estate has earned its reputation as a sound investment that builds wealth and credit.
Most people, however, don’t have the quantity of cash on hand to purchase a house or apartment building outright. Still, if becoming a landlord means taking out a 30-year mortgage, the monthly payments from the tenants should be enough to service the loan and build equity for you, while leaving some cash flow so you can maintain the property.
If buying investment property sounds like a step you’d like to take, here are some credit considerations every investor needs to know.
1. Be mindful of the inquiry stage
Once you decide to purchase an investment property, it’s important to do everything you can to make sure your credit score stays as high as possible until the loan is approved and signed. Your goal is to land the best possible interest rate because View full post…
5 Ways to Manage Your Money Better & Take Charge of Your Finances
Do you put off making changes to better manage your money? If you have financial fears, does the prospect of financial planning seem next to impossible? If so, you’re not alone. Almost one half of Americans find this scary, and it doesn’t have to be.
There’s no need to postpone a much-needed review of your financial situation any longer. Getting your finances back on track and knowing where your hard-earned money is going, is not that difficult. Over 80% of Americans say that they would like to be in better control of their finances.
For that reason, we offer a simple checklist of five options that you can review to fit your specific personal circumstances. By following them, you will be well on your way to being in control of your money.
First and foremost, get rid of credit card debt. Many individuals are carrying several credit cards with high balances with high fees and very high interest rates. Many are only able to pay the minimum payments required, and in doing so, will be paying on those cards into old age.
Our first recommendation is to create a workable budget and stick to it. Debt retirement should be budgeted, and any extra money needs to be applied to your debt. If that doesn’t appeal to you, then obtain a debt consolidation loan to repay every credit card in full. Going forward, stop using your cards and don’t create any more debt.
Review all of your service providers. Look at all of your monthly expenses and see if its possible to lower them by switching to a competitor. This applies to auto insurance and your cable and Internet provider.
You’ll be surprised to see just how high a cable and Internet provider can get their bill up by those impossible to refuse offers you get from them. There are ways to cut that bill practically in half without much difficulty. As you try to manage your money better, this is one area to pay particular attention.
If you’re into apps, there are some that personal finance apps that allow you to track all expenses and even to save. We also suggest that you get a good budgeting software program to setup a budget and get your finances back on track.
Be prepared for tax season. There have been some major changes to the tax law and you need to review your various benefits to see if you still qualify for them. In the past, you were able to use your home equity line of credit interest as a deduction, no matter what the purpose of the loan was.
That no longer is true, and a deduction for this interest can be done only if the loan was used to improve the property or to acquire a residence. In addition, there no longer is a personal exemption deduction. File your return early, and if you get a refund, use it to retire debt.
Take advantage of retirement contributions. If your employer offers a 401(k), try to maximize your contribution. Often times, the employer will make a matching contribution, and this will help your retirement fund to grow even more.
It’s to your advantage to begin retirement contributions as early in life as possible in order that they will have a long time to grow. Continue to explore options that will have your retirement account well-funded.
Keep your APY high. There are many types of savings options that are better than a local bank savings account. The APY, or your annual percentage yield, can be much higher with some online savings institutions. Check them out carefully and see where you can benefit the most.
Don’t postpone this very important financial review. If you want to manage your money better, see where you need to make changes. By taking advantage of the five options in this article, you can be on your way in becoming debt free and taking control of your money.
Some Important Small Business Tips for an Annual Checkup
There are many challenges that an entrepreneur faces daily, and one of the major ones is improving cash flow. Practically every small business owner looks for ways to cut expenses and to collect money that is owed to them. Working capital is needed no matter if it happens to be in a slow period or a time of expansion. Here are a few small business tips for your annual checkup.
Getting all of your financial records together for your accountant to file your annual business tax return takes some time, but it will give you the information needed for a review. This is a good time to take stock of your business operations for the past year. You have what you need to make sure that it is operating as efficiently as it can.
Your accountant can be a big help in pointing out areas that need to be reviewed. If certain expenses appear to be out of line, he can steer you in that direction to see why. In conjunction with the preparation of the business tax returns, we offer the following small business tips that may help you increase your cash flow for the new year.
Review your business plan – You do have one, don’t you? Many View full post…
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