Is Your Financial Bubble About to Pop?

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The word “bubble” is pretty popular in the world of finance. If you were to turn on the news right now, you’d probably hear at least one of the following terms: stock market bubble, housing bubble, tech bubble, student loan bubble… As important as it is to understand the meaning of each of these and the effects they could have on your financial well-being, there’s one bubble that might just be more important: your financial bubble.

Unless you work in a field that directly impacts any of these bubbles or the economy in general, then the best thing you can do to mitigate the financial risk of any of them popping is to protect your own. It’s worth repeating: the most control the majority of us have is to make sure our own finances are prepared to handle the aftershock of a financial downturn when it happens.

So how can you test the health of your financial bubble? It’s not as easy as it sounds. Many of us think we’re smooth sailing one day when suddenly life throws a curveball and everything grinds to a halt. Below, I’ll talk about how to truly understand the state of your finances and create solutions to ensure that they’re as secure as can be.

How to Be At Peace with Your Financial Situation

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In its simplest form, money is the most widely accepted form of currency that we have – paper and metal that we exchange for goods and services.

If only it were that simple.

The truth is, we don’t just see money as a neutral object that gets us what we need. In money – or lack of money – we see our inadequacies, our fears, our desires unfulfilled. It’s our way of dividing the haves from the have nots and creating a benchmark for success.

So when our financial picture isn’t what we want or what we want to portray to the world, that itch of dissatisfaction starts to grow. From there frustration can fester and infect the way we see ourselves, our lives, and the world around us.

Resources for changing your financial situation are everywhere if you’re willing to look. But in order to enact positive and long lasting change, acceptance of your current financial standing must come first.

Why? Because you can’t create positive change from a negative mindset and hating your current situation is certainly a negative mindset.

How to Manually Add an Account to ReadyForZero

blog_announcing_manual_entry-full-productIt’s an exciting day here at ReadyForZero! After months of hard work, we’re excited to announce that we’re launching the long-awaited manual entry tool. It wasn’t an easy feat, but with the amount of requests we’ve received for this feature we knew we had to make it work. And now it’s finally here!

As the person who answers all of your customer support emails, I couldn’t be happier about this launch. Based on my conversations with many of you, I knew how important this tool would be. (We’ve received thousands of requests for this feature!) But I also knew that creating it would require our engineering team to reconfigure much of the website. Not exactly the easiest thing to ask of a small and busy engineering team…

Now that it’s here, I’d love to tell you more about it: how it works, why it’s useful, and what it could mean for your experience with ReadyForZero.

Hospitals Investing in the Health Of Your Finances

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It’s no secret that medical debt is a growing problem that threatens to collapse the finances of many Americans each year. Now it’s looking like the problem is just as threatening to hospitals unable to collect on medical care given. So how do you solve the problem of patients unable to pay for costly medical care and hospitals in financial trouble due to uncollected funds? Preventative care – for the health of your finances.

How This Young Professional is Paying Off $100,000 of Student Loan Debt

Michael HeadshotTotal Debt Paid Off: $25,000
Months using ReadyForZero: 19
Accounts paid off: 1 of 6

“I think it’s such a cool mission. I think it’s such a cool thing because it’s such a dark cloud for so many people. And you guys have set up such a great platform for people to really have control. You’re giving the control back to the people. It doesn’t have to feel like you against corporate America. It’s you and ReadyForZero – and you can do it.”

We’re always excited to feature real stories about real people who are making their journey to get out of debt. Today we’re profiling Michael, a ReadyForZero user who is currently tackling $100,000 of student loan debt.

Michael’s story is one of the most impressive we’ve seen yet. All across the country, young college graduates are facing the reality of five-figure (or even six-figure) student loan balances. At a time when unemployment and underemployment remain big problems for young people, Michael’s story can give us hope that it is possible to bounce back from severe financial challenges and defeat our debt.

Are There Any Credit Card Rewards for Paying Off Student Loans?

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*This is a guest post by Jason Steele*

Credit cards are synonymous with incurring debt, not paying it off. And that’s no coincidence. It’s too easy for credit card users to get into serious debt when their credit card balance accumulates over time. As an unsecured debt that is never tax deductible, the costs of credit card interest payments can be staggering.

This is a post for people with student loans who may be able to use credit card rewards to help pay off their loans while using the cards for basic expenses and paying them off in full every month. However, for people who have a hard time avoiding the temptation of over-using the credit card, it doesn’t make sense to aim for credit card rewards of any kind — you’ll simply wind up with more debt.

One Incredibly Easy Step to Spur Financial Success

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C’mon now… a single remedy to your financial success? A title like that makes a pretty big claim. Too big. Which is exactly the problem with many articles out there promising the fix for financial woes. But this post isn’t about the total fix for your finances. It’s about one change you can make to help you reach your goals. Financial success is about the big picture, but it’s also about the everyday choices and details that make up the broad view. And this step… this one you can do today.

The One Step

So what’s this one incredibly easy step to spur financial success? It’s simple. Really simple. Ready for it?

Unsubscribe from any email subscriptions cluttering your inbox.

That’s it.

Not exactly earth shattering but that’s the point! Small and subtle actions are the basis for great change over time. And while slight, a quick action like unsubscribing from unwanted emails is the perfect example of how a small, positive step can trigger larger positive changes in your financial life. You have to start somewhere to create a positive change, so why not make it easy?

Topics We’re Talking About: Money and Happiness

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I’ll start out with the usual call for a happy, happy Friday, but this week it’s even more pertinent. That’s because the topic on the agenda for this week’s topic is… happiness! Of course, we threw in a little money talk and rounded up articles specifically addressing the connection (or lack thereof) between money and happiness.

There’s the old adage that money doesn’t buy happiness. But then, of course, there’s the research that says that maybe it does – up to a certain point. Ultimately, happiness is a compilation of all sorts of stuff, combined to result in overall contentment with your current position in life (along with plenty of smiles). Yes, money sometimes plays into it – but it doesn’t have to. Here are some great reads that take a look at just where money falls into the combo:

Where is Your Tax Return Going This Year?

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Tax time is a funny time of year. I often spend the weeks leading up to April 15th dreading the task ahead. The day I have my taxes done, the dread turns into fear – will I owe anything? Am I about to go broke in five minutes? Then, if I find out I’m actually getting a return, trepidation turns into excitement: what am I going to do with my newfound chunk of change??

This emotional tug of war I play every year is admittedly an unhealthy approach to both taxes and personal finance in general. Being in control of your money means being prepared for the unexpected and even having ideas in mind if you come into a windfall. However, I don’t think I’m alone in this approach. In fact, recent articles in NPR and USA Today highlight the problem with our relationship with our tax returns specifically.

4 Student Loan Mistakes that Make Interest Rates Soar

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This guest post comes from our friends over at SoFi, an innovative marketplace that connects alumni borrowers and investors for refinancing private and federal student loans.[1]

If you’ve borrowed student loans to invest in your education, you know that paying interest on those loans is simply part of the deal. But while “interest” can seem like an abstract notion when you first take out loans, over time it becomes a force to be reckoned with – particularly for the many MBA, law, and med school grads with six figures worth of education debt to repay.

For example, a borrower with $100,000 in student loan principal at a 6.8% weighted average interest rate and a 10-year term will pay about $38,000 in interest over the life of the loan. And that’s if they make every payment on time.

Paying interest on student loans may be unavoidable, but there are a few common mistakes that cause some borrowers to pay more interest than they need to. Read on to find out how to prevent these blunders from affecting your bottom line.