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These 17 Companies Will Help You Repay Your Student Loan

Student loans can dampen the ability of new grads to get on their feet financially, causing stress at home and at work. According to Student Loan Hero, the graduating class of 2016 had an average student loan balance of $37,172 — up six percent from the year before.

While it’s daunting to see that number rise, the good news is that, in an effort to recruit and retain the best hires, a growing number of employers have started programs to help employees pay back those hefty student loans. Here are a few of those companies helping workers get out of debt.

1. Chegg

In April 2015, tutoring and study services company Chegg announced its college loan reduction plan for full-time employees in partnership with Tuition.IO, a company that provides a web-based platform for tracking and managing student loan payments. This benefit has an annual cap of $1,000 (less taxes), but has no cap on the total amount an employee can receive.

2. ChowNow

ChowNow has found this perk so useful in hiring talent that the company decided to double it from when it first started offering it to employees. The Los Angeles-based online food ordering company has an employer-paid student loan assistance program that matches up to $1,000 a year of employee payments.

3. CommonBond

Since December 2016, this lending marketplace platform has been granting $100 per month to its employees to pay down student loans. While CommonBond limits the perk at $1,200 per year, the company continues helping its employees until they fully pay off their student loans. Employees also have the option to refinance their student loans with CommonBond. On average, student borrowers save over $14,000 when refinancing through CommonBond, according to the company.

4. Credit Suisse

The financial services company doesn’t offer a lump sum benefit to its employees, but instead provides a 0.25 percent discount on interest rates to workers that refinance their student loans with online lender SoFi.

5. Connelly Partners

Boston-based ad agency Connelly Partners works with Gradifi to offer a student loan repayment plan that improves the longer the employee stays with the company. Like a 401(k) plan, the agency matches up to $100 per month of its employees’ debt payments. Employees who stick around for at least six months receive a $1,000 student loan payment bonus. Those who work for the company for five years…

Pay off Student Loan Debt by Going Back to School

student loan debt
student loan debt

If you are currently struggling with student loans, you’re not alone. According to Forbes, 44.2 million Americans struggle with student loan debt. For many people, the financial burden of debt infringes upon their quality of life. Thus it is important to pay off loans as soon as possible.

One of the best ways to escape student loan debt is to pursue a degree that will get the highest return on your investment. If you have already graduated college with a bachelor’s degree, you may find that you’re not able to make enough to pay off your debt. Returning to school for a higher-level degree might be just what you need to increase your income enough to pay off your loans faster and easier.

Graduate Degrees Garner Higher Income

One of the biggest advantages of going back to school and obtaining a master’s degree is that doing so will boost your starting salary. This substantial increase in income will enable you to pay off your student loans, as well as get into the career of your dreams.

According to a 2015 study lead by Georgetown University, students who graduate with a master’s degree earn around $17,000 more per year than those who graduate with a bachelor’s degree. As such, students with a graduate degree are able to enter the workforce and earn a higher wage from the start. This significant advantage enables them to pay off their loans quicker.

Of course, this benefit varies across different fields of study. For example, a degree in architectural engineering will tend to net you more income in the job market than a degree in, say, social work. Nevertheless, the Georgetown study found that there was a demonstrable increase in income for graduate degrees over bachelor’s degrees, regardless of the chosen major.

Defer Your Student Loans

If you choose to go back to school, you can temporarily defer your student loans so you don’t have…

8 Valuable Rights You Might Lose When You Refinance Student Loans

Fannie Mae, the nation’s largest buyer and guarantor of mortgage loans, made news recently when it announced it would sweeten the deal for folks who want to refinance their mortgage to pay off student loan debt. Fannie Mae works with 1,800 lenders nationwide, so their rule change affects many homeowners. At the same time, newer financial companies that target millennials have been pushing student loan refinances as a way to save money and simplify life.

Fannie Mae’s change will make it more affordable for graduates — or parents — to use home equity to pay off student loans by waiving the usual extra charge for taking out cash when you refinance a home. With mortgage interest rates still at historic lows, this could indeed be an opportunity for young adults with high-rate student loans to reduce their monthly payments. But proceed with caution.

If you have a private student loan, you probably have nothing to lose by converting it into a mortgage, personal loan, or other consolidation loan. But if you have a federal loan, you should be more cautious about making changes. You may not realize you’d be losing these protections and options when you give up your federal student loan.

1. Deferment

If you lose your job or are unable to find a job after graduation, you may qualify for a deferment, which halts your loan payments until you’re in a better position to pay. With certain federal loans, the government will even pay the interest during deferment.

How a Goodwill Letter Can Save Your Credit Score

Financial mistakes can cause hefty damage to your credit score. If you pay your credit card bill more than 30 days late, for example, your score can tumble by 100 points. If you have a foreclosure on your home, your score can fall by 150 points or more, depending on how long ago your lender filed for foreclosure. (See also: 5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment)

These mistakes stay on your three credit reports — one each maintained by Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — for seven to 10 years.

There may be some hope of removing those financial mistakes sooner, however. Consumers have had some success requesting that banks, lenders, and other creditors remove their late or missed payments from their credit reports early by writing what is known as a goodwill letter — letters sent to creditors outlining the reasons for their missed payments, explaining why they’ll never miss a payment again, and requesting that these creditors remove the financial mistake from their credit reports.

These letters offer no guarantee of success. Some creditors will simply respond that they are legally required to report the financial mistake for the set period of time. Others won’t respond at all.

But if there’s even a slim chance that a goodwill letter will work, why not try it?

When goodwill letters do the most good

The most common financial mistake that ends up on credit reports — and the one that goodwill letters have the best chance of erasing — are late payments. It’s important to realize, though, that late payments are only officially late for credit purposes when they are more than 30 days past due.

Missed payments stay on your credit reports for seven years. How much these payments lower your FICO score varies depending on how high your score was to begin with and several other factors. But…

We Do the Math: Save for Retirement or Pay Off Credit Card Debt?

Should you save for retirement or pay off credit card debt? If you’re carrying a card balance, you may be wrestling with whether to put all your resources into attacking the debt, or start building your retirement nest egg while you slowly pay off debt.

Which one will give you a better net worth? There’s no simple answer. For some people the situation may warrant clearing credit card debt first; for others, it’s better to start investing right away. To figure out which scenario is better in a given situation, we’ll need to do some math. Don’t worry, we’ll show you how to do it in a few easy steps.

Step 1: Gather important numbers about your debt and your retirement plan

First, look through your credit card statements and accompanying information to pull up the following numbers:

  • Credit card debt. You’ll find this on the front of your credit card statement.
  • Credit card interest rate, or APR (Annual Percentage Rate). You’ll find this further down on your statement, in a section labeled “Interest Charged” or something similar.
  • Minimum payment. You’ll find this in your card’s terms and conditions, under a discussion about how minimum payments are calculated. It will probably be a percentage, but there may also be a flat sum.

Next, consider any retirement plan you are enrolled in or have available. What is the average annual return? You can identify past returns by reviewing your retirement account statements. For example, your 401(k) plan account may list your annual return. Note that past returns don’t guarantee or predict future returns, but we’ll use the average annual return as a proxy for future returns in this case, knowing that if our portfolio takes a long-term downward turn, our calculations will change.

Finally, how much extra do you have in your monthly budget that you could put toward credit card payments, retirement investments, or both?

Follow along as we consider a hypothetical debt situation and retirement opportunity. Let’s say there’s $500 in our monthly budget, which equals $6,000 annually ($500 x 12 months = $6,000) to put toward debt or retirement.

Currently, the balance on our credit card is $5,000. Our APR is 22%. Our minimum monthly payment is 3% of our outstanding balance or $25, whichever is greater.

Our employer offers a 401(k) plan. For the sake of keeping this illustration simple, we’ll say our employer doesn’t match employee contributions and we choose to make taxable contributions with a Roth designated account within the 401(k).

In reality, you might choose instead to make tax-deductible contributions to a traditional retirement account. With a Roth 401(k) there are no immediate tax benefits, which makes our calculations simpler and therefore better suited for this purpose.

We’ll say the default investment in our 401(k) is a target-date mutual fund with an average annual return of 6.3% since its inception. We know that future performance is unpredictable. But to run the numbers for the retirement vs. debt decision, we’ll apply an annual return of 6% to our retirement account.

We’ll look at the retirement account and credit card balance after five years to compare the two choices: 1) making minimum payments on our card balance so we can start investing right away, or 2) putting all our extra money toward our credit card debt before we consider retirement investing.

In both scenarios, we’ll assume that we won’t make additional charges on our credit card. In addition, we’ll contribute to our retirement account when we have money available to invest.

Step 2: Calculate net worth if you prioritize retirement savings over paying off credit card debt quickly

In this scenario, we’ll see what happens if we only make minimum payments on our credit card so that we can get started investing for retirement right away. Your credit card statement should state very clearly how long it will take to pay off your balance if you make minimum payments.

You can also find an online calculator to help you with these calculations. Here’s the information we’ll enter for our example (you can put in your own numbers from your real-life situation):

  • Current credit card balance: $5,000
  • Annual percentage rate: 22%
  • Proposed additional monthly payment: $0

Who Pays When Loved Ones Leave Debt Behind?

Losing a loved one — a parent, spouse, or sibling — is difficult enough. But what if your loved one left mortgage, auto loan, or credit card debt behind? Will you now be responsible for paying those bills?

In most cases, no. Creditors can’t force you to cover the unpaid debts of loved ones who have died. But the money that your loved ones owed might cut into or even eliminate any inheritance that was meant for you or other survivors.

What usually happens

When people die, the money they owe creditors — everyone from their mortgage lender, to their auto loan providers, to their credit card companies — is collected from their estate. The estate in this case is defined as the money and assets owned solely by the deceased.

This might mean that the house your parents owned has to be sold to pay off any mortgage debt they owed. Their car might have to be sold to pay off credit card or other debts.

Whatever is left after these debts are paid off remains in the estate of the deceased. If your parents wanted to leave money behind for their children and grandchildren, the amount they wanted to bestow will be reduced by however much they owed creditors at the time of their death.

It can get more complicated

Of course, that’s the most basic course of action. In reality, money matters can get more complicated after the death of a loved one.

This is especially true when you lose a spouse. In most states, you won’t be responsible for any debt that your spouse left behind when he or she died, as long as the debt was accrued in your spouse’s name alone. If both you and your spouse share a credit card or a mortgage, then you will be responsible for making payments on that debt after your spouse dies.

If you live in what is known…

Telegram Messenger gets bot payments and video messages

Telegram Messenger today announced a series of new features, most notably the ability to make orders and purchases through a bot, and share one-minute long video messages.

“Currently, most of the payments are handled by Stripe, but Telegram Bot Payments are a platform for payment providers all over the world,” read a Telegram blog post. “When accepting a payment from a user, the bot developer can choose between all available payment providers, selecting the one already…

Android Pay is coming to Brazil, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, and Canada

Google is expanding its Android Pay mobile payment service to more markets, saying that soon it’ll be available in Brazil, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, and Canada. The company also promised that a streamlined mobile checkout experience would be coming soon for PayPal users, building on top of Google’s existing partnerships with Visa and Mastercard.

Reports surfaced this week that Android Pay would be available in more cities. Previously, only those in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Singapore, Poland, New Zealand, Ireland, and a few others.

Android Pay launched two years ago as a competitor to Apple Pay and Samsung Pay,…

Google gives developers more monetization options with Payment API, redesigned AdMob, and Play store ads

While Google’s Marketing Next conference is next week, the company had some developer-specific ads news to share at its I/O 2017 developer conference. The company highlighted three improvements for developers: the Google Payment API, a redesigned AdMob, and

Google has expanded its payment solutions with the Google Payment API, which lets merchants and developers offer their users to pay with credit and debit cards saved to their Google Account. Payment options include a credit or a debit card previously saved via Android Pay, a payment card used to transact on the Play Store, or a form of payment stored via Chrome. They can use these saved payment options in third-party apps and mobile sites, as well as in Google Assistant.

For users, the API means faster checkout as they are more likely to be able to have a saved card when they see the option to pay with Google on supported apps or sites. For developers, the API means faster checkout, more conversions, increased sales, and fewer abandoned carts.

Google has completely redesigned AdMob, which has paid over $3.5 billion in ads revenue to developers across 1 million apps on Android and iOS. Rebuilt from the ground up, AdMob has embraced Google’s Material Design on desktop and mobile. For example, it’s now easier to pick an app, check out its key metrics, and…