Hope for your financial life and beyond

Getting the Best Deal on a Personal Loan

It’s important to learn a few things about loans and the lending industry before taking out your first loan. Many people think that two loans that provide the same amount of money are completely identical. But this isn’t the case at all.

A lender might lead you to believe that if you can afford a monthly payment then you can afford a loan. In reality, this is only half of the story. You have to look at the big picture to understand if a loan is good for your situation. You may need to do some reading or get some outside advice.

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Why You Should and Shouldn’t Refinance Student Debt

If you have student debt, you may be wondering whether or not it is a good idea for you to refinance the loan. To be honest, it depends on your situation and several important factors. But make no mistake, you do have to pay them back. If you don’t, you risk defaulting on your loan, which could lead to other drastic consequences.

Not everyone will benefit from refinancing their student loans. So it is important that you take some time to think about it before you jump in feet first. Below, are some of the reasons why and why you should not refinance your student debt.

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How to Get Out of Debt and Win in Five Simple Steps

Are you up to your eyeballs in debt? Don’t see anyway out? If so, take heart. You are not alone. Millions of Americans live with this burden and never once think about how to get out of debt.

how to get out of debtYou shouldn’t ignore the mountain of debt piling up. It would be better if you paid close attention because excessive debt will cripple your wealth building process. It will mess up your savings, the kid’s college funding, and even your retirement investing. In many cases, it also ruins your relationships.

People choose to ignore the debt crisis in their lives for many reasons. Some aren’t self aware enough to see how debt is affecting their life. Others enjoy the perks that come from excessive spending and think debt is the only way to get what they really want. I’m sure in some cases, people see the mountain of debt is so overwhelmingly high. As a result, they don’t know where or how to begin climbing out of it.

Whatever your circumstance, what I am about to share can help. How to get out of debt involves five simple enough steps to understand. However, the steps themselves won’t be easy. A few will be challenging to implement. Your behavior will have to change if you are going to be successful.

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The Hidden College Debt Statistics You Never Hear About

The cost of college continues to expand with each passing year. With it, so does the amount of student loans being processed. It’s leading to an alarming amount of college debt that is hamstringing the life of graduates.

college debtBy now I’m sure you’ve heard the alarming student loan statistics. Americans now owe over $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. For the class of 2016, the average borrower will owe just over $37,000, a figure that is up 6% from last year.

But those are just your basic top line college debt statistics. They are the most visible numbers but they don’t tell the whole story. There are some hidden statistics (i.e. not usually reported) that highlight what this college debt is doing to students later in life. They show that virtually every decision in life can be impacted by college debt.

How College Debt Impacts Your Life

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How to Make Sure You Never Need a Car Loan

My wife and I have recently bought a new car. It was used but new to us. The best part about the whole deal was that we didn’t have to take out a car loan.

We paid cash.

car loanNow, we are both in our forties and well established financially. So you might think this purchase was a piece of cake. On the contrary, it wasn’t. It took us two years of preparation to be able to buy this vehicle. But it was worth the effort to avoid needing a car loan.

How did we do it? I’ll share that in a minute and show you the steps to take to never need a car loan again. But first, let’s look at the reasons why people feel the need to take out a car loan in the first place.

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Why It’s Worth Your Time to Learn About Credit

Credit is one of the most poorly understood financial structures in the life of the average American. Everybody knows that most people have credit scores. They also know that wise spending and paying off your credit bill make a score go up. That’s about where most people stop.

Instead of learning how it really works, people rely on their guts for day-to-day decision making. They hope that everything will turn out all right in the end. Unfortunately, debt and poor behaviors come together fast. People with little understanding and strategy get weighed down financially, often in ways that they don’t even notice.

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4 Ways to Fund That Extra Mortgage Payment

For most people making one monthly mortgage payment is challenging enough. Why in the world would you want to make an additional one? Seems like that extra mortgage payment would be pushing the monthly budget a bit too far.

extra mortgage paymentWell, if you can see the bigger picture, the money you put towards an extra mortgage payment now can have significant impact on your long-term financial health. The more you pay and the earlier you pay it will reduce the amount of interest you owe over the life of the loan. You could be looking at tens of thousands of dollars saved in the long run.

If you don’t believe me, run your own numbers on any online mortgage calculator. You’ll be amazed on how much you can save.

Making an extra mortgage payment each month (or even a partial payment) takes a strategy. More importantly, it takes extra money. That’s where the real problem lies. When you look at your monthly budget you may be left scratching your head wondering where that extra money is going to come from.

Back when my wife and I decided to pay off our mortgage early, we faced the same problem. Here are the ways we came up with to free up some money to make that extra mortgage payment.

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What to Do if You Fall Behind on Your Student Loan Repayment

So, the bills rolled in this month and you cannot afford to make your monthly payment on your student loans. You promise that you will catch them up next month, but then you can’t afford it again. Before long, you are trapped in a cycle of debt. No matter how hard you try you cannot get out.

Student Loan repaymentWhat do you do? Luckily there are some options if you fall behind on your student loan repayment. It’s important though that you take action immediately instead of waiting until your balances are seriously delinquent.

We all know that bills can be hard to pay, especially when you owe more than you make in a single month. The only way to save yourself is to explore some alternative options. This post will detail some of those choices when you fall behind on your student loan repayment plan.

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What Does the Bible Say About Debt? Wait Til You See

I end up turning to the Bible for a lot of questions in my life. After all, God has a lot more wisdom than I do, so why not tap into that knowledge? It seems that no matter what I’m dealing with I can find some answers within the pages of the Bible.

what does the bible say about debtA few years ago, I’m reviewing our finances and this question randomly pops into my head, What does the Bible say about debt?  The truth is it wasn’t a random thought at all. My wife and I were trying to get out of debt so the topic was weighing on our minds. I knew what I thought about debt but didn’t really know what God said. So I decided to give it a look.

What I found was a little surprising and served as a wake-up call. Not only that but at another level, it provided encouragement and hope. I realized there was a better path to take than the one I was on.

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The Hidden Step to Pay Off Debt You’ll Not Want to Miss

If you are looking to pay off debt, the first place you’ll probably look is at your monthly expenses. That’s what my wife and I did when we wanted to pay off our mortgage early. We wanted to squeeze some extra money out of our budget. To do that we needed to cut expenses.

pay off debtWe looked long and hard at our budget and made some adjustments. While we were paying off our mortgage we disconnected our cable TV, ate out less, spent very little on things around the house (like landscaping and home furnishings) and pretty much stopped going to movies just to name a few things. The extra money we saved by cutting our expenses and changing our lifestyle we put towards the mortgage.

For us that was enough to speed up the process. We were overspending in some areas in the worst way. Believe me when the sacrifice was worth it to not have any debt following us around.

But for many others simply cutting expenses in the budget will not be enough to pay off debt at the pace the want. The reason is that you can only cut expenses so far. You’ll still need money to pay for food, housing, utilities, transportation and clothing. All those things cost money and you can’t eliminate them entirely from your budget.

That leaves many who want to pay off debt frustrated. They’d like to pay off their debt faster but they just can’t. There is too little money to go around and nowhere else they can cut expenses.

What they are missing is that there is actually a two-step process to find the money to pay off debt. Cutting expenses is only half the equation.

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Should I Cosign? Here Is the Truth About What God Says

Hidden Nuggets Series #102: “Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge, one of those who is surety [ cosign ] for debts.” – Proverbs 22:26

If you’ve ever had a situation where a friend or family member asked you to cosign a loan you know it’s a tough spot to be in. On the one hand you want to help. But the idea of being responsible for someone’s debt has you a little squeamish.

cosignSay “No” and it seems like you don’t care.

Say “Yes” and you are opening yourself up to financial risk.

Maybe as you thought think about what to do, you should have considered asking this question: “What does God have to say about it? Would He want me to cosign for this loan?” It may never have occurred to you to seek advice from a higher power.

The truth is God talks a lot about money in the Bible. He even has advice about cosigning which really surprised me when I found it. For anyone, but especially people of faith, His advice is worth listening to.

God’s Advice on Whether to Cosign

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