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Social Security Retirement For You, Your Spouse and Your Kids

Social Security Retirement Information

Social security retirement benefits for you, your spouse and kids

Social Security retirement seems a long way off for many of us while others find themselves counting the days before the first check arrives. It doesn’t matter what your time horizon is, what is important is that you remain current with the laws. If you have a parent or grandparent nearing retirement, share this article with them. Use this budget planner to manage while you decide.

Before you bother to get social security facts, understand the facts change yearly. Because of this, many retirees do not file for social security benefits in a timely manner. Some retirees file for social security retirement too soon, and others too late. The main culprit is simply, lack of knowledge, of the current social security laws. Knowing when to file and take payments is crucial. If you take payments too soon, you could lose a lot of money if you live long.

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A recent new law states; if you are 66-66 years old, you can collect full social security benefits and also hold a job. Full retirement age depends on the year you were born (see This is important since many seniors are fully capable of working at age 66, and have the desire. Also, many seniors need the income to supplement their social security benefits if they are too low for the cost of living.

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You have a choice when it comes to accepting your social security retirement benefits.  The longer you wait to take your monthly benefits, the more money you will get per month.  You have three options for taking your social security benefits: Option 1 – you can start your benefits at 62 and (I will use this dollar amount for illustration purposes only) say it will be $1,191. Option 2 — if you wait until age 66 (full retirement age) that same benefit for life would be $1,579. Option 3 — If you wait to take that same social security retirement at 70 you will get $2,085. an almost $1000 more per month over option 1. Once you take your option, it will not change, in other words, you cannot change your mind at a later date and get more money. To help in your decision, calculate the amount of money you will loose in payments for the years you do not take payments.

The amount you decide to take is permanent so if you wait, you will permanently get $2,085.00 per month, but if you take your payment at 62, you will permanently get only $1,191.00. , almost $1,000.00 less per month. The permanent amount can not be changed.  For family survivors benefits from a dead spouse with minor children, the money can be taken as soon as a spouse dies and the children are under age for social security survivor benefits.

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This is only one of many examples of a social security retirement payout. The payout is dependent on the income you generate and therefore pay in taxes when you work, the more you make during your lifetime, the higher your benefits will be. There are some women who never work outside the home, their husband divorces them, she does not secure divorced retirement benefits and ends up with almost nothing in social security or medicare benefits as a divorced woman.

If she is married for a minimum number of required years and secures retirement benefits in her divorce agreement, she could still get benefits from an x-husband who is married to someone else.

There are some women who never work outside the home, their husband divorces them, she does not secure divorced retirement benefits and ends up with almost nothing in social security or medicare benefits as a divorced woman. If she is married for a minimum number of required years and secures retirement benefits in her divorce agreement, she could still get benefits from an x-husband who is married to someone else.

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  • FICA (social security tax)  is taken from your paycheck when you are an employee. It is the social security tax used to pay your portion of the social security retirement fund.
  • When you are self-employed, you pay FICA in your quarterly or year-end social security retirement taxes.
  • You can and should get a yearly copy of your social security payment history from social security . This will verify that you were properly credited with past social security taxes. This is especially important if you are self-employed, and do not file yearly taxes, by the federal tax deadline. If you wait until after the federal tax deadline to pay your taxes, you will have to manually notify the Internal Revenue Service that you paid your fair share of Social Security taxes via FICA.
  • Remain informed of the social security benefits you can receive at a particular retirement age.
  • Accepting your social security benefits just a few years earlier than full retirement age may mean a significant, permanent reduction, in lifetime benefit payments.
  • The government recommends you use social security retirement benefits as a supplement to your retirement, not as a primary retirement source. Unfortunately, many of you have not taken this advice and will need to work during retirement to have enough money to live.


You can fund an IRA(individual retirement account), RothIRA or 403B retirement account. You can open an account at any investment bank or local bank and pay into your personal individual retirement account on a monthly basis. A small amount goes a long way over the years. Have the money automatically deducted from your paycheck or checking account and you will not miss it.  Understand how to choose and set up an Individual Retirement Account here. Some of you may have a pension that will work with your social security benefits, in that case, social security will calculate the amount you can get from social security.


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  • Let’s Discuss Your Personal Budget Plan For Now and Retirement
  • Know the facts when it comes to your social security estimation of benefits
  • You can estimate your future retirement benefits at
  • You can apply for retirement, spouse’s, Medicare, or disability benefits at
  • And once you receive benefits, manage benefits at
  • Apply for benefits for your underage kids if a spouse dies, it is called survivors  benefits for a spouse or underage child
    at  social security survivors benefits.

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Singer Prince’ Interview on Personal Finance With Tavis Smiley Was Insightful

Prince interview with Tavis Smiley

Singer Prince Interview With Tavis Smiley

Singer Prince, Tavis Smiley, Personal Finance

Singer Prince and Tavis Smiley on Personal Finance and Business


Singer Prince did an interview with Tavis Smiley. It re-aired a few weeks ago. I was very impressed with his small business acumen, his love of family. He spoke lovingly of his sister  and all the fun they had when they were fun.

Prince spoke about the problems he had with his business partners. It took years to get control of his catalog of songs. and be paid properly.  His complaint was how the business model works against the performer and in favor of the major record labels. But, being the businessman he was he insisted on getting paid what he was due. He persisted with lawsuits and publicity campaigns until finally he won control. I was impressed with his language and his business skills.

He was alert, intelligent, and resourceful financial genius. He had personal finance skills I have not seen in a performer for a long time. I was very impressed with his conversation with Tavis Smiley.



Beyonce When Life Gives Lemons Make Lemonade

Lemonade recipes for Beyonce

Lemonade Recipes for Beyonce

When life gives Beyonce lemons, she can make lemonade.

Lemonade Recipes

First of all Beyonce and all you ladies. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Regular Lemonade Recipe

Lemons (To Taste)

Water (As needed)

Sugar (As sweet as you like)

Other Various Lemonade Recipes

Add Strawberries for Strawberry Lemonade

Add Blueberries for Blueberry Lemonade

Add Cherries for Cherry Lemonade

Teaching Kids About Money Enhances Their Future

Teaching Your Kids About Money

Teaching your kids about money

Many adults find themselves constantly deep in debt even as they climb the economic latter of success. They seem to acquire a lot of “material things,” but their financial situation never seems to improve, and for many it worsens as their income rises. Where does money horror start, it starts with you; not teaching kids about money, your kids and those around you.

The reason for this is because many adults transfer poor budgeting and spending skills from childhood to their adult life. Like most other skills, budgeting and spending habits start early in life. The earlier you start to teach your kids about budgeting, and train them to “spend money wisely,” the better their spending habits will be in the future.

Listed below, are a simple set of budgeting and spending rules you can review periodically with your kids:

Live on less than you earn. Point out to your child they don’t need everything they want. Showing self-restraint in spending will help them build strong character. It will also help them to develop strong and good spending habits for life.  Explain that some people run out of money in their lifetime, and what bankruptcy is — but, if they develop good spending habits; that does not have to happen to them.

Understanding how to be frugal with money  will prevent them from running out of money and developing a habit of living on credit or developing credit problems.

Start to save early.

The earlier you start, the less you have to save per month to reach your goals. Use our monthly deposit savings calculator to demonstrate two different savings scenarios. Try two different scenarios, one where you save $50 per month for 20 years, and one where you save $200 a month for 10 years, use 6% as your interest rate. You will be surprised by the outcome. You can think of many of scenarios to put in place with your kids.

Create a well thought out spending plan and a budget.

The more you plan in advance, the less your chances of major spending errors now and in the future. Teach your child there is such a thing as a budget and spending plan. Entertain the idea of having multiple jars as piggy banks. One for a bike, one a computer game, one for a new computer, one for a new skateboard. Then add the idea that you may do a match of funds saved by your child, so they learn the idea of teamwork with parents.  Chores will suddenly become easier as they will have goals for their savings.

Establish long-term and short-term goals for your money.

This will enable your child to establish an account for both, and save accordingly. Your child should know that they cannot reach a goal, if they haven’t established a goal, and worked toward it in advance.

Know the difference between a “want”and a “need.”

You can explain to your child that this will prevent them from purchasing what they want, and then not having enough money to cover their needs. Instruct them to make a list of wants versus needs. Then cross off the things they don’t really need, and in the wants column cross off the things they may not really want, the things that are not useful, or will  not last or will become boring quickly.  You can think of many reasons to cross things off the list, allow your child to think deeply about these issues.

Now they have to learn the importance of protecting the things they have.

Explain the different types of insurances and when each is appropriate. Explain to your child the consequences if they pull out of the driveway in an uninsured car, (whether it is theirs or it belongs to someone else), and it wrecks with another car. Some parents think this is obvious to the average teenager, but you would be surprised.

The Live Rich Save Money! Easy Budget Planner will prepare you and your kids for financial growth

Read the ebook together on saving money: Live Rich Save Money! 68 Ways to Save Now and Forever

Use my financial calculators to calculate a whole host of financial scenarios.

Be Aware of IRS Tax Scams and Tax Fraud by Criminals

Be Aware of IRS Tax Scams and Tax Fraud by Criminals

IRS Tax Scams and Tax Fraud

Tax season has begun, which means tax ID theft and fraud should be on everyone’s radar.

Tax Scams and Identity Theft

According to the  Internal Revenue Service’s website, IRS tax scams and tax fraud are expected to be worse than ever in 2016. Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. You may be unaware that this has happened until you e-file your return and discover that a return already has been filed under your SSN. The IRS may also send you a letter stating they have identified a suspicious return.

The IRS Does Not Make Phone Calls

Taxpayers are also being targeted through aggressive and threatening phone calls made by criminals impersonating IRS agents, or even through email schemes designed to deceive taxpayers. Scammers may try to threaten court action or even arrest as a scare tactic.

The IRS Does Not Do Emails or Text Messages

As a reminder, the IRS does not use unsolicited email or text messages to discuss personal tax issues. The IRS will also never demand payment without giving the taxpayer an opportunity to appeal or question the amount owed, require you to use a specific payment method, ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone, or threaten to contact law enforcement to have you arrested.

Always shred your personal and financial documents when discarding them and always know your tax preparer to ensure your information is protected.

If you suspect an IRS tax scams or tax fraud:

  • Call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040. You can confirm your tax obligations with an official IRS agent
  • Report a suspicious incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) by calling 1-800-366-4484 or sending an email to:
  • Always check the status of your refund after filing

Visit for more information.

Related Link 1 : Make Tax-Filing Easier
Related Link 2: Tax Saving Ideas

Your Debt Free Date

set your debt free date, get out of debt
Set Your Debt Free Date

Recent studies show 70% of Americans are in debt. Some are in excessive debt  while others are not. Some are comfortable with excessive debt, while others could never live with it. Why is excessive debt a “bad thing?” The problems are not only financial, excessive debt can cause terrible emotional stress and double or triple your original balance, due to interest. Therefore, it is necessary to set your debt free date now.

First, let’s start with the emotional stress. Having to think about excessive debts, for most people, causes excessive stress. Many of you will agree with that, from past experiences. Getting rid of debt-related stress makes you feel better, and feeling better leads to healthier living. For some of you, when debt is released, it is like getting a bolder off your back.

Another equally serious problem with debt is that it runs on auto-pilot, placing an individual in even more debt. How so, you say? There are two reasons, one is that most of us don’t pay attention to the interest included in our monthly payments, and the other is, many people don’t know, interest is compounded monthly. The fact interest charged is compounded monthly, means we pay more for our credit than most of us realize.

The longer the period of amortization of a loan, the longer it will take to pay off.

To alleviate excessive interest charges the remedy is to, get out of debt. How can you accomplish this without stress? For starters, it will definitely take very serious planning. Pull out your credit card bills. First, look at your monthly payment, then look at the portion that goes to interest only, make an additional monthly payment and designate it to “principle only”. This will help to widdle down your balance significantly.

Look at this example (these are approximate values, and this is a hypothetical situation):

Say you owe $10,000 on a credit card. Your interest rate is 15%. Use our Minimum Payment Credit Card Calculator to find out what additional payment you will have to pay in order to pay off your $10,000 credit card balance in 1 year, 2 years, 3 years and 4? Remember, you must stop using your credit card, (unless for dire emergencies), in order to pay it off. This goes for other bills as well.

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Accelerated Debt Payoff Calculator |  Retirement Calculators  |  Mortgage Payoff  | Irregular Payments Budget Calculator

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5 Facts To Know That Will Make Your Tax-Filing Easier This Year

tax-filing easier this year

Make Tax Filing Easier

Tax season is here. With that, we know every year brings confusion, sometimes delays, and new laws. There are some things everyone should know that may make their tax filing easier.

1. Tax Professionals Get Swamped as The Tax Season Draws Closer to The Deadline

The earlier you get your taxes to a tax professional the faster you can file or receive a refund. If you have a very simple return you can go directly to free-file at the IRS website. It is best to file on time and avoid penalties.  If you are self-employed late filing can affect your social security recording.

2. Tax-Filing Methods are Constantly Changing

There are many ways to file your taxes, more complicated forms require a certified public accountant to less complicated forms, where you can use an enrolled agent. A simple form can be free-filed as mentioned above at the IRS website.

3. The IRS Has Put New Tools in Place to Help Prevent Identity Theft

The IRS has made it a lot harder for criminals to steal identities and file returns under names that are not theirs. They have placed many layers of protection in place to make it harder. With that said, it is always smart to file your taxes early to avoid  getting hit by identity theft criminals.


Figure out what to do with your tax refund by using this handy, Easy Budget Planner


4. Theft Preventing Safety Precautions Could Make the Process Longer

Because the IRS has added layers of protection to protect taxpayers from fraud, it will,  unfortunately take longer to process these layers. It is better to wait a little longer, than to be a victim. Undoing a tax fraud process takes much longer than an initial protection takes.

5. IRS Customer Service Levels Might be Low Again, Due to a Decrease in Agents.

Because congress has made many cuts to the IRS budget, there are less agents to help with your problems. The better option, no matter what, is to first visit the IRS website and search 2016 questions and answers, the next best is to read articles pertaining to your problem that outline laws, the next best is to download actual IRS publications that pertain to your problem. For instance: If you are “selling a business”, search IRS publication on selling a business, the same is true for “selling a home”. There are literally thousands of publications that lay out all of the laws and  other facts
you need to make correct decisions. If you will have a tax professional do your return read the articles or publications before you visit with your tax professional.

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Theft Through Email Scams Are Getting More Sophisticated

Email Scams

Theft through email scams

Here are a few email scams you should be aware of going into the new year, think before you click on that email link. There are many ways to avoid clicking on email scams or links in email scams. The email scammers are going to great lengths to appear normal. There has been a lot of information about email scams and hackers harvesting information from your computer, but computer users continue to be victims of the email scammers.

1. Automatic Email Harvesting Scams:
If you have a website with your email address on it, someone with email harvesting software can scan the web and pick up your email address. Instead of using, use myemail(at) on your webpage, this will avoid automatic email harvesting software.

If you click on an email with a subject line that appears to be malicious computer code, it could include code that is unloaded onto your computer when you click on the email. If there are a lot of characters in the email, it is sure to include hacker code. When the code is unloaded on your computer, it allows the hacker to consume your email list from your computer.

When you open a bad email, you will be instructed to open a link in the email, to buy something, give personal information, or with a message to view something interesting. The link is usually malicious computer code. They usually appear to be a legitimate company.

If you click on a malicious link in the email, most of those links include code that will unload your entire email address book, along with your personal email address, onto the scammers computer database. With that information , they will send out millions of spam emails with your email address in the “from” line and your friends email address in the “to” line. Those emails will instruct your friends to open a link in the email
that is actually malicious code. The links unload something called a “bot” onto your computer, and allows them to control your email address book.

It will appear that the email is coming from a friend to you, but the message line is usually not meaningful, or the email will ask you to click on a link in the open email that will unload a “bot” or coded program to access your computer and computer email address book. Your anti-virus does not usually delete these email bots in due time.

The only way to avoid giving your email address and your email address book to strangers is to avoid opening trick emails.

2. Responding To Trick Emails:
Understand trick emails to protect your computer and your personal information, including your passwords.

Fake emails that respond to a product you are selling online, an ad you placed, for anything ranging from a job to selling a computer, will ask you to click the link in the email for more information, and the “bot”, is usually code to install a keystroke tracker. The keystroke tracker, records your pass codes on their computer. This is how online banking accounts are stolen. Large companies have had millions stolen by hackers, when just one employee clicked on a link in an email with a keystroke tracker installed. Employees must be educated, as well as personal computer users.

3. To Avoid Email Tricks and Downloading Malicious Code
Run an anti-virus update and full scan before you use online banking account.

4. Clicking on Links to Unsolicited Emails Sent to You
This sounds super easy to avoid. But, the email scammers have gotten very sophisticated. They will email you several emails that appear to be from companies. These companies we use all the time, so folks don’t get suspicious. The problem is when the emails look like an amateur put them up, and they have links that encourage you to click them. Clicking on these links will download a “hidden bot” or script also known as code that takes personal information off of your computer. Many times it disables your computer from working all together. This is serious, but if you are vigilant you can avoid being a victim of this scam. If you didn’t order anything from said company, you know it is a spoof of that company, so you don’t need to open the email. If you think you ordered something and can’t remember go directly to your account page on that website or paypal to check to see if you ordered something. But, absolutely NEVER click on a link in a suspicious email.

5. Do not open emails with [no subject], in the subject line

Do not open emails with email addresses you know are in your email address book or belongs to a friend, but that friend no longer uses that email address. This email came from a bot, downloaded from your friends computer to the email scammer.

Emails with any type of perverted information in the subject line; these are designed usually for men or those who are extremely “curious”. The information will tell the user to click on the link to get more perverted information, but the link is a malicious bot, to steal information off the users computer.

Emails that come from companies that you don’t do business with, they hope you will open the email and click on a bad link to be curious about why they are contacting you.

Emails that claim to be your bank or some other place you do business with—do not open–call the business instead, with a phone number you already have. These are called fishing emails. They are crooks, fishing for information from unsuspecting computer users. They usually send out emails appearing to come from hundreds of different banks, hoping they will land your bank name on your computer. Don’t fall for the trick.

When you place your email address on your website, place it as (at) instead of @.

6. Understanding Limitations To Anti-Virus Software:

Anti-virus software has limited use, be aware that it does not work when you answer a fishing email and/or click on a bad link to automatically download a malicious bot to your computer. The bot normally downloads information to your computer before the anti-virus picks it up. Get an anti-virus and a malware removal program.

Anti-virus usually works to keep viruses, worms, and bots off your computer hard drive, but you must be vigilant.

Update your antivirus and malware software a few times a day, and run a full scan, at least once a day. Don’t leave your computer off for extended periods, that is, weeks at a time. If your computer is not in use, turn it on at least once a week, update your anti-virus software, and run a full scan. If your computer is left off for too long, the hard drive can become overwhelmed with viruses, worms, and bots—and therefore the computer may not function in any capacity.

Become friends with your delete button. After you have taken a close look at each of your emails, and you are not positively sure it is from a trusted source, delete it right away.

7. This is a 2018 update to email harvesting and malicious bots. Your phone has also become a target.

Your phone has also become a target for home and business abuse. Many unscrupulous types use spoof cards to mimic a legitimate company on your caller ID. The ID can have both the name of the company and their number which has been spoofed by a spoof card used before the call is made to disguise the real caller’s information. You can get a hint that the caller ID is fake if;  1. The caller ask for a financial donation to a legitimate source,  2. The caller ask for banking information, or 3. A computer answers the phone when you pick it up. It helps to be suspicious of every single email and call. Do not give out credit card information, or any other confidential information when someone calls you. 4. Telephone calls are outrageous, always different scams asking for money for a created fraud — tell seniors – DO NOT ANSWER, they use fake phone numbers to match real businesses. Understand more about protecting yourself, in my new eBook,  67 Powerful Ways to Save Money, Now and Forever. The book is even more powerful with the companion “Budget Planner” you can instantly download.

67 Powerful Ways to Save Money

Going to College With Student Loans Can Make You Poor; Avoid it

Going to College With Student Loans

Going to college with student loans


In the past 30 years as the priorities of states have shifted away from a public college education to for-profit government contract companies, the cost of college has skyrocketed and an increasingly huge number of students are being forced into student loans. College costs have soared far in excess of inflation. Thirty years ago a middle class family could easily send their child to a state funded college if they lived at home, and for some even living on campus was an affordable option. But, with today’s cost, the choice of which college to attend should be a well-researched and lengthy decision process, with cost your number one consideration. Because college cost are so high, students and parents who do not research college cost and financial aide well, find students going to college for 6 years( for a 4 year degree), or dropping out due to unmanageable cost. In-depth research and planning early in the students’ high school years can avoid these tragic problems. Get crucial information about college and student loans here.

The College Boards Research
According to the College Board, tuition and fees have increased from an average of $600 per year in 1976, to $6000 per year in 2007, for public colleges. The tuition increases are $2500 per year in 1976 to $22,000 per year in 2007 for private colleges. These numbers do not include room and board, books, lab fees, registration fees, car expenses, plane tickets, computers, clothes, bus tickets, or other hidden cost that colleges do not list.

The Real Cost of College
The total cost of college including room and board, tuition and fees, books, lab fees, registration fees, and bare necessities could easily range from $120,000 for a public college to $300,000 for a private college. This range could leave a middle class student with student loans (after Pell grants, Work Study, Summer Jobs, and Parents contribution), as much as $40,000 for a public school, to $150,000 in school loans for private schools. Many private schools have large yearly increases in tuition every single year, this must be factored in as you add up your total expected cost. If you do not qualify for government assisted subsidized loans, you may have to take out unsubsidized student loans that charge interest on loans while you are in school.

The College Acceptance Letters
College acceptance letters and financial aid information will soon be available. The average college tuition alone is $17,000 today. Most financial aide packages do not cover all of your cost, even for the poorest student. You are usually expected to come up with as much as 20-30% of the cost, after your financial aide award. Some students don’t find this out until they have traveled across the country to go to college and find themselves without enough money. Most financial aide packages don’t cover books; registration fees, lab fees, car expenses, computers, plane tickets, and other necessary items.

Do Your Research
Do your research when it comes to college cost and available financial aide. Most schools have a maximum amount of financial aide they will give to each student. For instance, if you are an out of state student, who attends a state school, your financial aide will be based on the cost for an in-state student. Therefore, you will have large gap that you will have to fill in, in order to pay all cost, no matter what you financial status. Know all of your colleges costs, this is difficult information to find, especially with private schools. Many schools hide some cost to keep students coming. Navigate the colleges’ website for cost; and also call the colleges’ registrations office, financial aide office, and housing office, and if possible talk to past alumni. It will literally take every single one of these inquiries to find out the true college cost. Most private schools will be off limits to middle income and low income students, unless they receive a full scholarship with many guarantees. Learn to Save Money here.

Keep Student Loan Amounts Low
Choose a college where you can keep loan amounts very low. There is no guarantee a graduate will be employed before school loan payments become due, or that they won’t become sick or disabled at some time during their loan repayment period. Know the difference between private loans and federal loans. Federal loans come with more safety nets. Private lenders such as Sallie Mae charges students when their loans are in deferral. With federal loans, if you are unemployed or suffering an economic hardship, you will not be charged to defer your loans. A rule of thumb is that your total loans should not exceed your expected beginning salary. For example, if you plan to go into teaching, a beginning teacher can expect to make about $21,000 a year, so your loans for 4 years should be capped below $21,000. Since many students change their major many times during college, and no one actually knows when they will be hired, or what their salary will be, it is wise to keep total college loans as low as
humanely possible.

How the Current Administration is Helping
President Obama has made it easier to navigate the oftentimes complicated maze of college and financial aide. He has required colleges to be more open about their cost, and the financial aide available. In the past many colleges hid some of their cost to prevent parents and students from making an informed decision, as I mentioned before.

President Obama made changes in Pell Grants so the amount awarded per student is greater, and the number of students who qualify per income is greater.

Effective January 2012, if you’re someone who has different kinds of loans’ guaranteed and direct-you’ll be able to roll them both into one direct loan and bring down your interest rate. You’ll only have to write one check a month, and you’ll see a discount. This switch saves money for taxpayers across the board and it helps pay for the second step President Obama announced in October 2011.

As a part of 2010’s student loan reform, borrowers’ loan payments could be no higher than 10 percent of their disposable income. This is a big deal-but it wasn’t going to go into effect until 2014. The President announced that he’s speeding up this program so it will affect students in 2012-two years early. This will have huge consequences for people struggling to make their student loan payments.

Federal Financial Aide Website
To get financial aide for college you can obtain a pin, and start your application process at the Federal Financial Aide Website. When all of your information is in, (check the site regularly), they will send a financial aide award letter to the colleges you submitted. Make sure you place every single college you are interested in on your FAFSA application. You will choose only one college at the end, and FAFSA will forward your information there. Read the FAFSA website carefully so you are well-informed before you start.


Top 5 Things To Consider When Choosing A College or University

Top 5 Things to Consider When Choosing a College or University

Choosing a College

The top colleges and universities recommended by major publications; most American students can’t afford. There for you must consider several factors when choosing a college, to make the best choice possible.

Several national magazines publish the top colleges and universities in the U.S. yearly. All of the top colleges listed have one thing in common, extreme high cost. Because the cost are so high, most Americans cannot afford to attend these so-called “top colleges” unless they acquire an uncontrollable school loan debt or a full 4 year scholarship. My number one consideration for choosing a top college or university, and what should be your number one
consideration, is simply put, cost. Not considering cost, can cost you misery later in life, for years to come.

If a poor or middle-income student choose one of the “top colleges”, their school loan balance after graduation would be outrages. Because, even after amortizing it over 20 years, the monthly payment would not be possible with the vast majority of entry level jobs in the U.S. You read that right, I said 20 years. Many students find that they have to amortize their school loans over 20 years to get a somewhat manageable payment option. Many graduates have payments more like mortgages than school loan payments, but this does not have to be the case.

Furthermore, if one of these students choose to defer school loans for graduate school, their existing outrageous balance could easily double. Interest payments are charged to the balance of the account even if the loan is in deferral.

With this being the case, what should you consider first in choosing a college for yourself or your child?
step by step car buying tips for women

1. Cost

If the school does not have a reasonable and affordable cost for your income, don’t even think about attending, unless you can get a full scholarship. Keeping a full scholarship usually requires you maintain a B+ grade point average.

Why burden yourself or your child with debt you or they can’t repay? The burden would be so high their life would be miserable trying to make the monthly payment. Figuring out the cost of a college includes a detailed analysis of tuition(for in-state and out of state residents), room and board, books, registration fees, plane fair or auto expense to get to and from school 3 times a year. Add an extra 2% to that total to cover hidden cost. Some students who choose schools they cannot afford, graduate with a college degree only to find their credit score fizzles so low they are no longer a candidate for employment, as a result of non-payment of school loans.

Most financial aide packages include a combination of large school loans, small grants, work study, and parents or students contribution. The financial aide package usually includes only about 70-80% of total cost for the poorest students, unless you are lucky enough to get one of the rare full scholarships.

Choosing a college without the consideration of debt can cause you and your child a lifelong drama of financial misery and unbearable stress. Don’t burden yourself with unsustainable debt and a low credit score, to get a college education.

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2. Culture

Is the culture conducive to your upbringing? If not, can you assimilate into the culture? The culture includes kids from similar communities, things to do that you enjoy, your religious facilities to attend, and acclimating to severe weather you are not used too. Some straight A
students attend colleges that are so culturally different to their upbringing that they have a difficult time adjusting, hence, their grades suffer as a result.

3. Academic Standing

Is the school certified by the local, state and federal academic boards?

4. Major Fields

Does the school have a large variety of major fields, so you can choose a second or third choice if you discover you don’t like your first choice?

5. Type of School

Understand the different types of schools available. Is your school choice an in-state public college, a private college, or a for-profit college?

The best value for your education is an in-state public college. Public schools are subsidized by taxpayers dollars so children within the state can get a quality education at an affordable cost.

Private colleges and universities are usually owned by organizations and churches. For-profit colleges and universities are usually owned by corporations. Both of these choices can be outrageously expensive with a lot of hidden cost. Do your research well before you consider a college or university. Understand that most colleges have tuition increases each year, this must be figured into the ongoing yearly cost. Because school cost is being subsidized with school loans for many students, getting the lowest loan amount it imperative. Your income right out of college is not guaranteed, neither is a job. Because of this it is wise to focus on low or no school loan debt for college or trade school. The debt must be repaid, the lower your debt the better your chance of repaying your debt easily and on time.

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Lois Center-Shabazz 
Personal Finance Author | Blogger | Course Creator | Money Strategist