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Student Loan Refinancing Just Got Crazy Cheaper

Student loan refinancing rates have dropped even lower.

Here’s why and what you need to know.

Student Loan Refinancing: Rates Drop Even Further

Student loan refinance rates now have dropped to as low as 2.01%.

Why? The Federal Reserve cut interest rates, and lenders have reduced student loan refinancing rates to a near-term low. That’s great news for student loan borrowers who want to refinance student loans, get a lower interest rate and save money.

Here’s how to refinance your student loans.

Student Loan Refinancing: Should I Refinance Student Loans?

Today In: Money

Many people ask: Should I refinance student loans?

If you want to save money and pay off student loans faster, student loan refinance is an effective tool. When you refinance student loans, you exchange your current student loans for a new, single student loan with a lower interest rate.

Student loan refinancing has several advantages, including:

  • lower interest rate
  • single monthly payment
  • fixed or variable interest rate
  • flexible 5-20 year loan repayment term
  • one student loan servicer
  • pay off your student loans faster
  • save money

Student Loan Refinancing: How To Apply

If you want to know how to refinance student loans, it’s important to understand how to apply. The good news: the process is simple.

Step 1: Find the best interest rate

There are multiple trusted, online lenders that can refinance student loans with low interest rates and easy, online applications. Compare the best interest rates and loan terms. Most borrowers will refinance student loans with the lender who gives them the lowest interest rate. Most lenders allow you to check your preliminary interest rate online for free within two to three minutes without any impact to your credit score.

Step 2: Use a student loan refinancing calculator 

This free student loan refinance calculator shows you how much money you can save when you refinance student loans.

For example, let’s assume you have a $100,000 student loan at an 8% interest rate and 10-year repayment term. If you refinance that student loan with a 3.0% interest rate and 10-year repayment term, you would lower your monthly payment by $248 and save $29,720 in total payments. If you are a doctor, dentist or pharmacist with a large student loan balance, your savings may be even higher.

Step 3: Apply online

You can apply online for student loan refinancing. Most applications take 10-15 minutes to complete. You can also upload any supporting documents, which may include a copy of your driver’s license, transcripts, recent paystubs or job offer letter.

Student Loan Refinance: Key Questions

1. Do I qualify for student loan refinance?

While each lender has its own underwriting criteria, the best candidates for student loan refinancing typically have the following:

  • A credit score of 65o or higher
  • Current employment or a written job offer
  • Stable, recurring monthly income
  • A low debt-to-income ratio
  • No defaults on their student loans

What if you don’t satisfy these requirements? You should apply with a co-signer with strong credit and income. Your co-signer can help you get approved for student loan refinancing and help you receive a lower interest rate. Your co-signer will be equally financially responsible for the student loan. However, some lenders allow the co-signer to be released from any financial obligations after meeting certain requirements.

You can maximize your chances of getting approved to refinance student loans by applying to multiple lenders. Each lender makes a separate decision, so getting rejected from one lender does not negatively impact your chances with another lender.

2. Can you refinance Parent PLUS Loans?

Yes. Parent PLUS Loans carry relatively high interest rates, so refinancing Parent PLUS Loans is a smart way to lower your interest rate and save money.

3. What are the fees to refinance student loans?

There are no fees to refinance your student loans. If any lender tries to charge you a fee to refinance student loans, find another lender. There are also no prepayment penalties, so you can pay off student loans anytime with no charge.

4. Should I refinance my federal student loans?

You should not refinance federal student loans if:

  • you plan to pursue public service loan forgiveness or an income-driven repayment plan
  • you want access to deferral or forbearance options

You can still refinance your private student loans and leave your federal student loans outstanding. Most lenders today offer employment protection if you lose your job and want to pause your monthly payments.

5. When should I refinance student loans? How often can I refinance student loans?

When should you refinance student loans? The answer: you should refinance student loans whenever you qualify for a lower interest rate. If you can get a lower interest rate and save more money, then it may be a smart financial move.

How often can you refinance student loans? There are no fees to apply, no fees to refinance, and no limit to how often you can refinance student loans.

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Zack Friedman is the bestselling author of the highly-anticipated, blockbuster book, The Lemonade Life: How To Fuel Success, Create Happiness, and Conquer Anything. Zack is the founder and chief executive officer of Make Lemonade, a leading personal finance company that empowers you to live a better financial life. He is an in-demand speaker and has inspired millions through his powerful insights. Previously, he was chief financial officer of an international energy company, a hedge fund investor, and worked at Blackstone, Morgan Stanley, and the White House. Zack holds degrees from Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, and Johns Hopkins.

Source: Student Loan Refinancing Just Got Crazy Cheaper

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5.🔸Sofi ($100 Bonus): sofi.com/share/2345532 4.🔸Splash Financial ($300 Bonus for $30k refi or more): https://splash-financial.sjv.io/X5YXo 3.🔸Commonbond: http://bit.ly/CommonBondTF 2.🔸LendKey ($200 Bonus): https://mbsy.co/v9bGH 1.🔸Earnest: https://earnest.pxf.io/1KGY9 *Keep in mind that any bonus can change at any time* We go over the top 5 Student Loan Refinance Companies. As well as talk about a few important things to know before doing a student loan refinance. ●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●● 🔔SUBSCRIBE ➡ ​https://www.youtube.com/trufinancials…… ●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●● Disclaimer: I am not a CPA, attorney, or financial advisor and the information in these videos shall not be construed as tax, legal, or financial advice from a qualified perspective. If you need such advice, please contact a qualified CPA, attorney, or financial advisor. Some of the links are affiliate links. Which means if you click on some of the links I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps keep me making videos and providing value. Thank you for your support!

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Ever Thought Of A 100-Year Green Bond? French Railway Firm Is Pitching The World’s First

It seems green bonds, sometimes referred to as climate bonds, are becoming ever so popular by the day with issuance tipped to reach record levels in 2019. However a French railway firm has notched industry trend setting way up the charts by launching the world’s first 100-year green bond.

Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer Réseau (SNCF Réseau), France’s state-owned railway network management firm, which has already raised €2.8 billion ($3.10 billion) in green bonds in 2019 alone, confirmed Friday (August 23) that it has launched its 100-year product.

The near €100 million in book value raised would be used to finance green projects meeting its eligibility criteria for improvement, maintenance and “energy optimization” of railways. Some of the funds would also be allocated to sustainability components of new route and track extensions, the company said.

In total, SNCF Réseau has so far raised €5.4 billion in green bonds, nearly doubling the figure this year. Following the latest investment round in its green bond program, the French company now ranks seventh in the global green bond issuance market.

Green bonds are typically asset-linked and backed by the issuer’s balance sheet, earmarked to be used for climate and environmental projects. According to rating agency Moody’s, issuers brought $66.6 billion of green bonds to market globally the second quarter of 2019, propelling first-half issuance to a record $117 billion up 47% on an annualized basis compared to the first six months of 2018, and compared against the 11% year-over-year growth for the same six month periods of 2017 and 2018.

However, there has been criticism over the criteria for green bonds. On paper such bonds allow firms to raise finance for low carbon and climate-friendly projects thereby offering a promising solution to those looking to go green via climate initiatives.

But there have been instances of companies using the proceeds of green bond issuance to pay of other debts. Some issuers offer green bonds targeting specific projects, but often fail to outline a clear, long-term strategic environmental goal.

For its part, SNCF Réseau’s 100-year bond and previous issuance drives strictly comply with the European Commission’s green bond standard. The French railway network operator now takes over the title of the world’s longest maturing green bond from Energias de Portugal (EDP) and Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg (EnBW) whose bond had a maturity of 60 years.

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I am a UK-based oil & gas sector analyst and business news editor/writer with over 20 years of experience in the financial and trade press. I have worked on all major media platforms – print, newswire, web and broadcast. At various points in my career, I have been an OPEC, Bank of England and UK Office for National Statistics correspondent. Over the years, I have provided wide-ranging oil & gas sector commentary, including pricing, supply scenarios, E&P infrastructure, corporations’ financials and exploration data. I am a lively commentator on ‘crude’ matters for publications and broadcasting outlets including CNBC Europe, BBC Radio, Asian and Middle Eastern networks, via my own website, Forbes and various other publications. My oil market commentary has a partial supply-side bias based on a belief that the risk premium is often given gratuitous, somewhat convenient, prominence by cheeky souls who handle quite a few paper barrels but have probably never been to a tanker terminal or the receiving end of a pipeline. Yet having done both, I pragmatically accept paper barrels [or should we say ‘e-barrels’] are not going anywhere, anytime soon!

Source: Ever Thought Of A 100-Year Green Bond? French Railway Firm Is Pitching The World’s First

10 years ago, the World Bank Treasury issued the first green bond then laid out the first blueprint for sustainable fixed income investing, transforming development finance and sparking a sustainability revolution in the capital markets. Learn about the revolution.

Employers’ New Perk for Millennials: Extra Help Repaying Student Loan Debt

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Like millions of her peers, Nicole Read graduated with thousands of dollars of debt. Unlike most of them, she’s getting direct help from her employer to pay it back.

The 26-year-old’s job at event organizer Live Nation Entertainment in Beverly Hills, California, comes with a benefit that may be starting to catch on at U.S. companies: Contributions to her student loan bills. Offering such an incentive helps businesses lure prospective employees as they grapple with tight labor market conditions marked by a jobless rate near its lowest in almost five decades.

In Read’s case, it’s $100 a month. As a result, “I’m paying like $30 over my minimum payment every month, so it’s gotten me to pay off my interest a little quicker,” she said. “It just kind of gives me a bit of breathing room.”

Such plans are spreading. They were on offer to staff at about 8% of U.S. employers in 2019, more than double the 2015 level, according to an April survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.

Another study by business adviser Willis Towers Watson found that 32% of firms are considering introducing a similar benefit by 2021.

“If you have a young demographic, offering benefits like student loan repayment could be the way to go,” said Alex Alonso, chief knowledge officer for SHRM.

Pronounced competition for talent and the elevated debt burden for a generation of Americans making their way into the workforce are driving the change. Millennials make up more than half of Live Nation’s U.S. labor force.

The balance on outstanding student loans reached $1.6 trillion at the end of the first quarter, and more than a quarter of that is held by people younger than 30. The effects reverberate through their social and economic lives, making it harder to start a family, buy a home or purchase big-ticket items, research shows.

The federal government is considering giving companies a break for helping employees with their debt.

The Employer Participation in Repayment Act, introduced in the House and Senate in February, would provide tax relief to firms that do so. It has bipartisan sponsors, including Democratic presidential candidates Seth Moulton and Amy Klobuchar.

Other Democratic contenders, like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have proposed more sweeping fixes that include writing off loans.

’Win-Win’

“Helping employees get out of debt faster is a win-win, both for the employee and for our productivity,” said Katie Wandtke, director of human resources at Cybrary, a cyber-security firm based in College Park, Maryland.

It’s not just smaller shops adopting the benefit. Larger companies, including professional services powerhouse PricewaterhouseCoopers, are catching on too.

Live Nation began offering the benefit in early 2017 and has helped employees save over $4 million. More than 80 of the company’s workers have been able to completely pay off their loans, according to Live Nation.

The event organizer works with startup Tuition.io, which specializes in helping companies set up such programs and has clients including Estee Lauder Cos. and Staples Inc. There are other platforms in the market too, including Goodly, which works with Cybrary, and Gradifi, used by PwC since 2016.

Paying an extra $30 a month more than the minimum, like Read says she does with her employer’s help, makes a difference.

For example, for a 10-year loan of $50,000 at 5%, it would save close to $1,000 in interest payments over the life of the loan – allowing the borrower to clear the slate eight months early.

“Jobs in the entertainment industry like this one, they’re not high-paying jobs necessarily,” said Read. “So this kind of helps offset that wage difference and it’s really helpful for people like me.”

 

By Alex Tanzi and Shelly Hagan / AP

Source: https://time.com

These 76,000 People May Have Committed Student Loan Fraud

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

A new government watchdog report says that 76,200 people may be committing student loan fraud.

Here’s what you need to know.

Student Loan Repayment Fraud: New Report

A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found the following with borrowers enrolled in an income-driven student loan repayment plan:

  • 76,200 borrowers claimed they earned zero income and therefore could not “afford” to make a monthly student loan payment
  • As a result, these borrowers paid less money than they should have
  • These borrowers were enrolled in 95,100 income-driven repayment plans
  • This represents 11% of all income-driven repayment plans the GAO analyzed
  • These borrowers owed $4 billion of Direct Loans as of September 2017

According to the GAO, 34% of these income-driven repayment plans were held by borrowers who earned $45,000 per year, on average, with some earning as high as $100,000 per year. About 1% of the plans analyzed (40,900 plans) were for borrowers who claimed they had nine or more family members living in their household.

Why This Matters

Is it possible that some of these borrowers misunderstood the question or mistakenly entered the wrong information? Sure. Is it possible that student loan debt relief companies retained by borrowers may have completed the erroneous information on a borrower’s behalf? Yes. Are there other innocent reasons for these findings? Perhaps.

The report does not name specific borrowers nor determine the underlying reason behind the potentially false information. However, if borrowers erroneously claimed zero income to avoid paying their student loans, they are cheating the federal government, and ultimately taxpayers. Specifically, if a borrower doesn’t make a monthly student loan payment, the federal government doesn’t collect money each month. After 20 to 25 years, if the borrower then receives student loan forgiveness, taxpayers may pay a larger amount for student loan forgiveness.

An income-driven repayment plan enables you to repay your federal student loan based on the amount of income you earn, your family size and other factors. So, if you earn zero income and have a relatively larger family size, you may pay as low as $0 each month. After 20 or 25 years – depending if you have an undergraduate or graduate student loan, respectively – the remaining balance on your federal student loans could be forgiven. That’s potentially good news for you the borrower. The bad news is that you could owe income taxes on the amount forgiven. Ouch.

Education Department Response

“Misrepresenting income or family size is wrong, and we must have a system in place to ensure that dishonest people do not get away with it,” U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said. “We didn’t create that problem, but rest assured we will fix it.”

DeVos wants to increase measures to verify income and family size data, including with IRS data, for borrowers enrolled in income-driven repayment plans. DeVos also wants to refer suspected cases of fraud to the U.S. Department of Justice for prosecution.

“If Congress provides the Department with this authority, we could significantly reduce the risk of fraud and improper payments, save taxpayers money, and reduce the burden on borrowers when they annually recertify their income with the Department,” DeVos said.

Your Next Steps

When enrolling in income-driven repayment plans, ensure that you answer all information accurately. If you’re unsure what information to enter, contact the U.S. Department of Education or your student loan servicer.

There are four primary ways to manage and repay your student loans. Make sure you understand all your options:

This free student loan repayment quiz can help you determine which student loan repayment options, including student loan forgiveness, are best for you based on your individual circumstances.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

Zack Friedman is the author of the highly-anticipated, blockbuster book, The Lemonade Life: How To Fuel Success, Create Happiness, and Conquer Anything. Zack is the founder and chief executive officer of Make Lemonade, a leading personal finance company that empowers you to live a better financial life. He is an in-demand speaker and has inspired millions through his powerful insights. Previously, he was chief financial officer of an international energy company, a hedge fund investor, and worked at Blackstone, Morgan Stanley, and the White House. Zack holds degrees from Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, and Johns Hopkins.

Source: These 76,000 People May Have Committed Student Loan Fraud

Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Early – J.D. Roth

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My friend Amy recently wrote with an interesting dilemma. “Should I pay off my mortgage early?” she wonders. Amy has a high-paying job and has managed to save enough that she could be completely debt-free if she wanted to. And she kind of wants to! But is this the best choice? She’s aware that this is a nice problem to have — but it’s still a bit of a muddle. She’d like some guidance. Just so everyone is on the same page, here’s a quick look at the pros and cons to paying off your mortgage. There are advantages and disadvantages to both choices. Are certain advantages more important than others? You make the call……….

Read more: https://www.getrichslowly.org/pay-off-mortgage/

 

 

 

 

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Avoid These 10 Public Service Loan Forgiveness Mistakes – Zack Friedman

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It’s no secret that student loan forgiveness is a hot topic. When it comes to Public Service Loan Forgiveness, in particular, the requirements can be tricky.

That’s why it’s critical to ensure you know the details and are not headed down the wrong path.

Here are the 10 most common public service loan forgiveness mistakes to avoid at all costs.

1. Thinking Public Service Loan Forgiveness is automatic

Nope. Thinking that you work in “public service” and are performing a “public service” job won’t cut it.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is a federal program that forgives federal student loans for borrowers who are employed full-time (more than 30 hours per week) in an eligible federal, state or local public service job or 501(c)(3) non-profit job who make 120 eligible on-time payments.

Those “eligibility” requirements bring us to our second common mistake.

2. Not completing the Employment Certification Form

 The number one thing you can do to ensure you’re on track for public service loan forgiveness is to complete the Employment Certification Form.

The next question is: how often should I submit the employment certification form for public service loan forgiveness?

You should submit this form:

  • when you begin a job in public service
  • when you switch employers
  • annually

It’s important to submit this form annually to keep the U.S. Department of Education aware of your employment to ensure you’re on the right track.

3. Submitting an Employment Certification Form with errors

This sounds like a no-brainer, but your employment certification form could be rejected if there are errors.

Here are a few common mistakes:

  • information on one form that does not match previous forms
  • missing information such as an employer address
  • not completing all the required fields
  • correcting errors on the form, and then failing to place your initials next to the corrected errors

This all may sound bureaucratic, but better safe than sorry.

4. Not having your employment certification form signed by your employer

Your employment certification form must be signed by an authorized official at your employer.

Make sure it is that person who signs the form, not the person who sits next to you at work.

5. Not enrolling in an income-driven federal student loan repayment plan

To be eligible for public service loan forgiveness, you must be enrolled in an income-driven federal student loan repayment plan.

Remember, only federal student loans (not private student loans) are eligible for public service loan forgiveness). You also must make a majority of the 120 required payments while enrolled in a federal student loan repayment plan.

While the 10 Year Standard Repayment Plan qualifies for public service loan forgiveness, your federal student loans would be paid off after 10 years so there would be no more student loans to forgive.

How do you know which income-driven student loan repayment plan is best for you? Well, it depends on your specific financial situation.

This public service loan forgiveness calculator shows you which income-driven student loan repayment plan will maximize your student loan forgiveness.

6. Forgetting to consolidate your student loans, if necessary

Remember, only Direct student loans qualify for public service loan forgiveness.

So, if you have Perkins Loans, FFEL Loans or you borrowed student loans before 2011, you may need to consolidate these federal student loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan.

How do you know if you have Direct student loans?

You can check at Federal Student Aid. If you don’t see the word “Direct” next to your student loans, then you may need to consolidate those student loans.

How do you consolidate those student loans?

If you decide to consolidate those student loans, you can do so through StudentLoans.gov.

7. Not taking advantage of Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Were you denied public service loan forgiveness because you were enrolled in the wrong student loan repayment plan?

Congress has set aside an extra $350 million of public service loan forgiveness for this exact situation.

8. Failing to re-certify your income each year

As the name suggests, your income-driven student loan repayment plan is based on your income.

As your income may change each year, the federal government wants to ensure that you are still eligible for that income-driven student loan repayment plan.

Therefore, make sure to re-certify your income each year at studentloans.gov. At the same time, you can submit your annual Employer Certification Form.

9. Skipping student loan payments

While your 120 student loan payments under public service loan forgiveness do not have to be consecutive, you need to submit each payment within 15 days of the due date for that payment to count.

10. Thinking your job is what qualifies you for public service loan forgiveness, when it’s your employer that matters

Remember, it’s your employer that matters, not your role.

If you work with a non-profit, but are employed by a private company, this would not qualify for public service loan forgiveness.

Now that you’re in the know, hopefully the path toward public service loan forgiveness will be smoother.

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5 Secrets To Refinance Your Student Loans – Zack Friedman

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With interest rates rising, there’s no better time to refinance student loans.

Student loan refinancing enables to you combine your existing federal and private student loans into a new, single student loan with a lower interest rate. As a result, you can lower your monthly payment and save significantly on interest costs, which can help you pay off your student loans faster.

(You can see how much you can save through refinancing with this free student loan refinancing calculator).

Here are 5 secrets to get approved to refinance your student loans:

1. Have a strong credit score

Lenders want to refinance student loans for borrowers with a history of financial responsibility.

One way they measure financial responsibility is through your credit score (or its underlying components). To increase your credit score, make sure that you meet your financial obligations and have a history of on-time payments. Don’t skip any payments and minimize your total debt as well as your credit card utilization.

If you don’t have a strong credit score, the good news is you can apply with a qualified co-signer, which can increase your chances for approval.

Insider Tip: Aim for a credit score of 700 or higher. However, lenders will refinance student loans for borrowers with credit scores starting at about 680.

2. Have a strong income

In addition to a strong credit score, student loan lenders want to ensure that you have stable and recurring income to repay your student loans.

How do you know if you have enough income to get approved?

Review your monthly after-tax income. When you subtract your monthly student loan and other debt payments, does a sufficient amount of income remain for other essential living expenses?

Insider Tip: If you do not have sufficient income after making student loan payments, you can increase your chances for approval with a qualified co-signer who has a strong monthly income.

3. Have no or limited other debt

Student loan lenders will evaluate all your debt – not just your student loan debt.

If you have credit card debt, mortgage debt or auto debt, lenders will sum all your debt payments together to understand your total debt obligations each month. The lower your monthly debt payments relative to your income, the better.

Insider Tip: This free lump-sum extra payment calculator can show you how much money can save by paying off some of your debt with a one-time payment. Pay off some of your debt obligations before applying to refinance student loans.

4. Have a relatively small debt-to-income ratio

Student loan lenders are interested in the relationship between your monthly income and your monthly debt obligations, which is known as your debt-to-income ratio.

For example, if you have $10,000 of monthly income and $3,000 of monthly debt expenses, then your debt-to-income ratio is 30%.

Insider Tip: The lower your debt-to-income ratio, the better. You can improve your debt-to-income ratio by increasing income or decreasing debt (or both).

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5. Be employed

It’s best to be employed with 1-2 years of work experience to maximize your chances of being approved for student loan refinance.

However, if you have a written job offer when you apply to refinance student loans (even if you are in graduate school or residency, for example), you can still get approved for student loan refinancing.

If you are unemployed or do not have stable, recurring income, it will be difficult to be approved for student loan refinancing.

Insider Tip: If you are unemployed or underemployed, your best option is to apply with a qualified co-signer with a strong credit profile.

Here’s a bonus tip: Apply to refinance your student loans with multiple lenders at once, not just one. First, it will only count as a single credit inquiry, and second, you will also maximize your changes for approval.

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