Should regular people have someone looking out for their best interests in the halls of government? We’d all probably agree that the answer is “Yes.” But what about having a government agency whose sole purpose is to police financial companies to make sure they are not taking advantage of consumers? Sounds like a pretty good idea, right?
It turns out we already have such a thing: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (aka the CFPB) which was created in 2010 in direct response to the financial crisis of 2008.
One of the best ways to give oomph to your budget is to take advantage of the potential behind what you already have. This can include selling your stuff, increasing home equity by improving on what you have, or even optimizing and marketing your current skills. It’s incredible what a fresh coat of paint (or some honed creativity) can get you!
Let’s start with the good news. Americans have reduced overall mortgage debt by $1.5 trillion since the financial crisis! Considering the high cost of housing, it’s an impressive drop from previous years.
Now, onto the not so great news – consumer debt (including mortgage loans and credit card debt) increased for the third consecutive month. That means that while debt has gone down since 2008, it seems to be on the upswing again now. If borrowers are able to purchases homes again, that may be a positive thing. But the credit card debt could be a reason for concern. While increased consumer confidence is a reflection of the improving economy, we can all hope that consumers don’t overextend themselves with credit.
There aren’t many people who associate taxes with having fun. But for those who are facing anxious thoughts that go beyond filling out the paperwork – for example, people who have financial hardships and can’t pay taxes they owe – tax time can feel like much more than just a nuisance. If you’re in a financially difficult position and worried about owing this season, now is the time to be proactive with the way that you approach your taxes!
Use the resources below to help you explore your options and manage your taxes:
Mortgage insurance exists to protect you, right? Not if you’re one of the thousands of mortgage borrowers who have paid into what’s called “force-placed insurance” and been charged with unfair premiums as a result. It’s a topic that’s taken the spotlight due to a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Chase, who has been a prominent enforcer of these force-placed policies. A recent ABC article shared some of the changes to come for these high cost insurance policies and what borrowers impacted by these policies can expect.
Buying a home with bad credit is possible, but it’ll be more expensive for someone with a bad credit history compared to someone with good credit. While you might be tempted into purchasing a home, you’ll need to be brutally honest with yourself about what you can and can’t afford. Here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about buying a home and your credit score isn’t sparkling.
Student loans have become an increasingly controversial topic in the news, what with the high delinquency rate and the repayment hurdles set by loan servicers. But they still remain one of the most viable options for those who want to pursue higher education but lack the funds to do so. In many cases, taking out a student loan creates opportunity for those with lower incomes and allows them to benefit from higher education.
But what if student loans aren’t being used for just educational expenses? The Wall Street Journal recently published a revealing article spotlighting what could be an alarming trend: borrowers taking out student loans with the sole purpose of paying for living expenses like bills or groceries. And it doesn’t appear to be just for the occasional pizza to fuel a borrower towards graduation – some of the loans are being taken out without intent to attain a degree.
Life is often full of surprises and with that uncertainty comes financial ups-and-downs as well. Emergencies can pop up and ruin your budget or make your savings account run dry. These hard times can be attributed to unemployment, a financial emergency, a big change in your personal life, like a job or a divorce.
And unfortunately, your bills still have to get paid. Because of this you could find yourself in a tough spot financially.
So what happens when you get down on your luck and can’t pay your bills? Use these quick steps to get your money back on track
One of the biggest student loan servicers in the U.S is multiplying into what will likely become two of the biggest student loan servicers. If Sallie Mae didn’t already scare you, it might now.
In May of 2013 Sallie Mae announced that it would be splitting into two companies but kept some of the details under wraps. Now, it’s released more information on the eventual split, including the name of the yet to be created company. Straight from the Sallie Mae press release, choosing the name was just “another step toward the successful completion of Sallie Mae’s plan to separate later this spring into two, publicly traded entities: a consumer banking business and the newly named loan management, servicing and asset recovery business.” So what will the new Sallie Mae offshoot be called? Navient.
Every month we check in with a group of individuals who are dedicated to paying off their debt and reaching financial freedom. They share their ups, downs, and in-betweens in our ongoing series, The Debt Destroyers. The added accountability is a great way to add motivation to a repayment plan and an inspiring way to see the positive impact of even small changes.
So how did the Debt Destroyers do over the month of February? Read on for their monthly update!