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Giving Education A Helping Hand

Student loans have always been one of the biggest enemies of students as they assess their financial situations. Worse yet is that for many families, the parents take on the brunt of the force that comes from these massive student loans. Education is fantastic; this much has been pounded into our heads every since we were in elementary school, but what we weren’t taught was how expensive it is. Many students are finding out that they have no way to pay off their student loans and having to take deferment on their loans. In some situations, this is really the only option, but it should be highly avoided at all costs.

With that said, there is a smart way to go about student loan deferment, but there’s also a not-smart way to go about it; I highly suggest taking the smart way. Applying for loan forgiveness is a great way to lessen the brunt of the payments, but this really only happens if you find yourself unemployed. Refinancing your student loans is another option. This is when you renegotiate your payment plans with the school so it can fit better for you. More times than not this to minimize your payments and stretch them out over a long period of time; this is very common in low-income households. However, the total amount of interest you will end up paying will increase by doing this rather than just dealing with the slightly larger payments. No matter what decision you go with, I highly suggest getting some advice.

The message that “college is expensive” has been shouted throughout the whole education system, luckily, the government has listened. The government wants to make it known how expensive college is well before anyone enrolls anywhere. Furthermore, financial aid is being increased through American Opportunity Tax Credit which provides up to $2,500 per student to go towards tuition and other expenses. You must not forget that tuition is only one part of the expense of college. There are bundles of fees around every corner as well as course materials (like books) that can be be expensive.

College is after all completely optional and there are many occupations and fields where employees are employed right outside of high school. But if you want to pursue a degree, then you better be ready to pay for it. Even though a degree can potentially land you a very solid jump doing something that you love, it won’t be worth anything if you can’t finish school because you can’t pay tuition or the student loans that follow. If this is you then deferring your student loan payments could be the only option for you.

cost-savings

What Will It Take To Live The Good Life?

I’m sure the word “retirement” sounds like something that is far in the distance and doesn’t bother you at all. However, for many, retirement sneaks up on them a lot faster than they expect. Don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s too early to save for retirement because it isn’t. Just wait until you find out how much money you could have when you finally decide to retire as long as you start saving now. Like they say, “the early bird catches the worm”.

Ideally you should start saving for retirement as early as your 20s. You have probably started working and picking up more hours (depending if you’re a full-time student or not) and are getting consistent paychecks. Putting small percentages of this away towards a retirement fund it easily one of the smartest decisions you can make. It may not seem like a great decision at the time; you’re take money away and putting it somewhere that isn’t very liquid (easy to access) for a time in your life that is way down the road. Don’t worry, you will understand when you retire.

Take a look at how much money you can potentially make if you start saving early. Let’s say you start saving at age 25 and put just a few thousand dollars a year, $3,000. This is only $250 a month which can easily be the amount of money one spends at restaurants for a month (it’s a simple sacrifice). You put this money into a tax-deferred retirement account like a 401k. You do this until you’re 35 and then you stop completely. Yes, you quit putting any money into your 401k and get to reap the full benefits of your paychecks. By the time you are 65 (an ideal age for retirement) you will have nearly half a million dollars! That’s right. A simple $30,000 investment over the span of 10 years just turned into $472,000. Now, imagine if you kept investing all the way up to 65. That’s rough, but you can also start even earlier. By saving right at 20 (it doesn’t have to be $250 a month, it can be less) and saving all the way to 35, you can plan on getting up well over half a million dollars. That’s a lot of dough that seemingly came out of nowhere. This is why saving early is so important.

business

Do You Really Need An Accountant?

If you’re like the majority of people I know then you probably don’t want anything to with math and number crunching. If you’re like this then you are definitely someone who should hire a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) for either your business (if you own one) and/or your taxes. Doing your own taxes definitely has its fair share of advantages, but hiring a CPA can give you access to other resources that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to.

CPAs, as far as I know, have a very good reputation. They’re personable, sociable, but ultimately they want the best for you and your financial situation. But this is all part of being a CPA; they’re paid to do this. As an accountant, you’re expected to know your way around financial situations, be able to consult, and give advice to your client. Many businesses hire accountants as most business owners have other things to worry about other than crunching numbers, record keeping, and staying up to do date with “boring stuff” like that. From my experience, you can only really gain from hiring an accountant. I’ve heard stories of many business owners who think they have the time and smarts to create budget plans, analyze revenue, expenses, profit margins, etc. They were wrong as they got their numbers wrong and ended up having to pay lots of money. Even though hiring an outsider may not sound like a cheap investment, you will understand that it is when you figure ways that your business can save money.

The same works for taxes. Doing your taxes yourself can save you money as you won’t have to hire anybody, but you run the risk of getting your numbers wrong; not to mention the time it takes to sit down and go through everything. Now, there are some people that do their own taxes and they wouldn’t change it for anything. These people get a strong understanding of the tax code, save money, and actually save time (as long as the taxes are simplified). However, hiring a CPA gives you access to expert advice, ways to save money, and (if your taxes are more complex) can save you a lot of time. It really all depends on what type of person you are. If you don’t trust anyone touching/seeing your financial situation, then you would be better doing it yourself. However, if you’re all about getting the most experienced eyes looking at your taxes, then you should definitely hire a CPA.