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    Personal Finance Wiki: 5 Smart Ways to Improve Your Financial Health

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    personal finance wiki

    Life would have been so easy if there was a personal finance wiki or magic formula to control the money flow and decide on the savings!

    The most difficult part of any professional’s life is to manage personal savings and spending. Top savings does not happen overnight, it takes a lot of effort and years to save a considerable amount of savings!

    Nobody becomes a saving expert overnight. Consistent savings make it possible to build your savings with time.

    If you are the one who is constantly worried about how to save or worrying about basic personal finances, it time for you to adopt some saving methods to start you off down the right financial path.

    It is all about working out different way and combination for the perfect personal finance plan for you and then work accordingly on it.

    Read on to know our personal finance wiki about improving your personal finance!

    Emergency Savings Fund

    Personal finance wiki: basic financial planning

    Here is a list of basic financial planning tips to help you to improve your financial life.

    1. Write your financial goals

    When you know where you want to invest your money later in life, becoming a saving junkie becomes a little easier. When you know what you want to do in life you have already taken your first step towards saving. Your method of improving your personal finance changes according to the goal. Whether you want to travel the world, have a strong career-oriented life, start a family or retire early each of these goals has different plans for handling personal finances.

    Once you know what your goal is, your next step is to prioritize it. Just knowing what you want 5 or 10 years down the line does not mean you are done.

    If you have a number of financial goals, it is better to list them down and start prioritizing first. For example, if you want to purchase an apartment and travel the world, the priority should be on buying the house first and then traveling. With all the goals written down, you will be in a better position to save for retirement and plan accordingly.

    How to identify financial goals?

    • Identify long-term and short-term goals. Long-term goals are like buying a house, getting yourself out of a heavy debt or plans for early retirement.
    • Plan short-terms like making a monthly budget, or how to pay for credit cards.
    • Prioritize on immediate goals to fix a plan accordingly.

    If you need help to save more money, here are some saving options for you:

    Interested in finding easy ways to save? Then you should know about these money saving options!

    acornsVISIT ACORNS

    Get a free $5 bonus for signing up
    at Acorns

      • Invest your spare change automatically.
      • Join almost 4000000 people saving and investing every day.
      • Sign up in no time to save and invest more money
      • Money is invested in a portfolio based on income and goals
      • More Details >

    doshVISIT DOSH

    Get a free $5 bonus for signing up
    at Dosh

    • Get cash back on everyday purchases with the Dosh app.
    • No receipt scanning required!
    • One of the easiest and best ways to save money.
    • Best part? The app is totally free!
    truebill

    VISIT TRIM
    at Trim

      • Get Today For Personalized Recommendations To Automate Saving Money
      • Free Services Offered: Negotiate Cable Bills, Negotiate Bills, Cancel Subscriptions, Spend Tracking, & Get Refund For Price Drops
      • More Details >

    2. Curate a plan

    Next, in this personal finance wiki, we need to discuss having and creating a personal finance plan. You must know that having a wise financial plan means that it is constructed of a proper budget, eliminating debts and then saving efficiently. When you have some money freed up, you can then start investing for your long and short-term goals. If you don’t have much to invest, you can still get your feet wet with investing apps such as Fundrise.

    fundrise logo passive income

    VISIT FUNDRISE
    at Fundrise

    • You can now invest in large-scale real estate for as little as $500 with Fundrise.
    • High growth potential and simple to get started.
    • Invest and make an impact with as little as $500.
    • Start today

    The best is to beat your financial goals and finish one by one slowly.

    Things to keep in mind while making a financial plan:

    • Your budget is key to success. It is the tool that will give you the most control of your financial future. Your budget is the key to achieving the rest of your plan.
    • You should keep contributing to long-term goals like saving for retirement no matter what stage of your financial plan you’re in. We recommend using apps like Robinhood that offer high growth potential and are simple to get started.
    • Building an emergency fund is another key factor in financial success.

    3. Manage and stick to the budget

    Your budget is the biggest tool you can work with when thinking about a personal finance wiki. From your daily expenses to your long term goal-saving everything rely on the budget that is set. With the advancement of technology, you can use applications that monitor your budget for you and tell you where have you spent the most for a particular month and where you need to stop.

    One of the most popular apps is Qapital:

    qapitalVISIT QAPITAL
    at Qapital

    Apart from that, these apps are easy to use, you have to enter your monthly budget, and it can calculate your budget according to your savings and spending.

    You have to keep a check whether you are able to reach your financial milestones from the budget or you need to work out a new one. Accordingly, with every month that passes, you will be closer to a well-planned budget that has spending that allows you to save a substantial amount of money as well.

    4. Ask advice from experts

    One of the major drawbacks is people are afraid to ask. No matter what age you are in, everyone is bound to make errors and mistakes. Seeking advice from saving experts is a helpful thing.

    This is especially for people who are earning for the first time. They should always ask for good advice either from their parents or anyone who is into finances, about how to manage personal finance. Any cut on the extra expenses would share the risks first of any plan you are planning to pick to improve your finances.

    5. Cut extra expenses

    You certainly need to cut on the extra expenses, frequent shopping, watching a movie twice or just having an impulse shopping day can ruin your plan and affect your savings. Remember, money saved is money earned! You should always have some for the rainy days.

    So, this can be said, “Right planning can help you improve your personal finance.”

    Author Bio:

    Jasmin Ali – Consultant and Co-founder of SuggestInfo –  A leading professional courses and business software reviews provider worldwide.

    How to Budget in College in 7 Easy Steps

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    how to budget in college

    Learning how to budget in college shouldn’t be hard. Follow along, step-by-step, as we walk budgeting beginners through the process of budgeting.

    Do you ever look at your paycheck stub and wonder where all that money went?

    Making and maintaining a budget is an important step in managing your finances.

    Keeping careful track of your income and expenses can curb impulse spending and help you attain your financial goals.

    Best part? It’s not that hard! Let’s get started…

    Do you even need to “budget?”

    My friend, when I was in college the last thing I was thinking about was budgeting. I was more concerned about making new friends, attending social mixers, studying for exams, or ways to make money as a student.

    I soon realized that budgeting allows you to create a spending plan for your money (the little that college students have). This ensures that you have enough money for things that you need and that is important (rent, books, fun, partying, beers). Following a budget can also help you stay out of debt or work your way out of debt *cough* student loans *cough*.

    Got it?

    Define your financial goals

    It’s important to set up some smart financial goals (like saving money) especially while in college. This can help you build savvy financial skills that will stick with you in your later years. Some typical financial goals that college students should strive for are:

    • Make a budget and living by it
    • Pay off credit card debt
    • Save an emergency fund
    • Save for retirement
    • Live below your means
    • Develop skills to improve your income
    • Save for your children’s education
    • Save a down payment for a home

    Next, once you have your goals in mind you can build your budget in easy steps

    Your college budget in 7 easy steps

    1. Getting started

    The first step to making a budget is figuring out how much money you currently have as well as how much money you typically spend in a month (on food delivery, Netflix, etc). Obtain a copy of your last month’s bank statements, checking accounts, savings accounts, and credit card statements. Make sure the statement you are looking at has at least an entire month’s span for a typical month.

    2. Categorizing expenses

    Starting with your checking account, go through your statement and categorize the expenses withdrawn from your account. Do the same with all of your credit card statements as well as all other accounts that you normally deposit income or withdraw expenses from. Track your cash as well. If you don’t know exactly what your cash went to, track your cash withdrawals instead. After you’ve categorized your expenses, total each category.

    3. Making categories

    The next step is to divide your expenses into sections. These are the four recommended sections, and you may need to adjust the sections as appropriate.

    Fixed essentials
    These are expenses that are necessary and have the same monthly payment. Examples of fixed essentials are mortgages or rent, car loan payments, personal loan payments, and insurance payments.

    Variable essentials
    This category is for expenses that are necessary but that don’t always have the same amount monthly. Some examples include payments for gas, water, electricity, and groceries.

    Fixed non-essentials
    Items in this category are not necessary, but they have a fixed monthly expense. Examples are cable, subscription fees, and other membership fees.

    Variable non-essentials
    In this last category, items are not necessary with varying payments every month. These expenses tend to be most difficult to predict and include dining out, entertainment, and the incidentals.

    4. Totaling expenses and income

    Once you’ve added up all the expenses in your categories, you’ll know approximately how much you spend every month barring any financial emergencies. This number is your total expenses. You should also add up your sources of income to find your total income. This includes your paycheck and any other forms of support such as government support, alimony, and child support.

    5. Income vs. expenses

    Now it’s time to see how your income matches up with your expenses. Subtract your total expenses from your total income. If the difference is a positive number, you’re doing a good job!

    This means that you’re generally spending less than you make every month. If you have any debts, this may be a good time to start paying them back. Putting money into savings apps like Acorns or Qapital is also a great way to help plan for your future.

    If, however, the difference between your total expenses and your total income is a negative number, that means you’re typically spending more than you make in a typical month, and changes in your expenses may need to be made.

    Take a look at your expense categories, with the non-essential categories first. You may need to trim some expenses that are not necessary. In fact, you may even find that some expenses you thought were essential may be in fact non-essential. For example, expenses such as gas for your car may be cut down or made non-essential if you take up public transport.

    6. Creating an allowance

    Knowing what your income and expenses are will help determine what you can spend on the non-essentials. After determining how much is going to go into savings, create an allowance. Know what part of your income can go towards your non-essentials, and don’t spend more than you have budgeted.

    7. Maintaining your budget

    Now that you have a working budget, stick to it. Review your budget every month for the next three months to ensure that you haven’t forgotten to add expenses. Once your budget is on track, continue to review it every few months.

    Ensuring that you are spending only what you can afford will help avoid late fees, keep you out of debt, and make saving money and making beer money a reality. Creating and keeping a budget is an essential part of planning for your future.

    Start your own budget today now that you know how to make a budget with these 7 easy steps!

    SoFi Review: Student Loan Refinancing

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    sofi review

    Saving thousands of dollars on your student loan debt seems ideal, and that’s just what SoFi promises. Is it legit, though?

    SoFi is a modern finance company. They partner with members to offer great service and low rates for student loan refinancing, mortgages and personal loans.

    But if it the right student loan refinancing company for you?

    Let’s find out, together in our SoFi review.

    What is SoFi?

    SoFi or Social Finance, Inc. is an online personal finance company that provides student loan refinancing, mortgages and personal loans.

    Who is SoFi Best For?

    SoFi is quickly becoming one of the largest providers of student loan refinancing and consolidation. SoFi is good for refinancing or consolidating student loans or anyone that has good or excellent credit score.

    Visit SoFi to learn all of their options to see what they have for you.

    Services Offered

    Student Loan Refinance and Student Loan Consolidation

    SoFi Features

    Auto Payment, Career Support, Cosigner Option

    SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Rates

    Student Loan Refinance: 2.58% APR – 7.25% APR

    • Student Loan Refinance Variable Rates: 2.58% – 7.07%
    • Student Loan Refinance Fixed Rates: 3.25% – 7.25%

    The company currently has a variable rate of 2.58% – 7.07% and fixed rates between 3.25% – 7.25%.

    Rates are subject to change. You can get your student loan refinancing custom rate in 3 minutes or less by clicking here.

    SoFi Loan Length

    Loan Length: 5, 7, 10, 15, 20

    You can get a loan through them for a 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20-year term. Speak to one of their representatives to figure out the best loan length that works for you.

    SoFi Loan Amounts

    The company currently offers student loan refinancing and consolidation for loans between $5,000 and $300,000.

    SoFi Eligibility

    To qualify for this loan, you will need to have an excellent credit history and be able to prove that you have an adequate income to pay off the loan. Please talk to a representative to discuss other criteria that might apply to you and your application for refinancing your student loans.

    SoFi Pros:

    • SoFi strives to provide exceptional customer service and it shows
    • Unemployment protection up to 1 year
    • Can get the lowest rates without a cosigner

     

    SoFi Cons:

    • Must have a good or excellent credit score to get approved
    • If you already have a low-interest rate on your student loans, SoFi may not be able to save you money

     

    Is SoFi Safe?

    SoFi has an A+ rating on the BBB page. They also have 162 customer reviews with an average of 2/5 stars.

    More SoFi Info:

    BBB File Opened: 09/12/2012

    Years in Business: 7

    Business Started: 6/17/2011

    Business Incorporated: 6/17/2011 in CA

    Accredited Since: SoFi is not BBB accredited.

    Type of Entity: Corporation

    SoFi Headquarters: 1 Letterman Dr Bldg A STE 4700, San Francisco, CA 94129-1494

    SoFi Contact Information:

    Fax Numbers

    • N/A

    Phone Numbers

    • (888) 837-3328

    Why Should You Refinance Your Student Loan Debt?

    In case you’re wondering why someone would refinance student loan debt, here are the top reasons:

    1. It’s simple to check your rate and can save you a lot of money

    There are a lot of competing student loan companies and that’s good for you. That means you can get the best possible interest rate which can save you a lot of money. The average user saves $18,668 when refinancing. You can check your rate for all of the lenders on this page in under 3 minutes.

    2. If you have a high interest rate on your student loans

    Fortunately, for many graduates, refinancing can be a great opportunity to help with loan payments. If you have federal or private student loans with an interest rate over 4%, then refinancing them will save you a lot of money. Student loans with 6.8% interest rates mean that you’ll need to pay $586 a month in interest alone for every $100,000 you owe. You could also refinance your student loans to a longer term to help lower your monthly payments.

    3. If you don’t qualify for public student loan forgiveness

    Public student loan forgiveness (PSLF) was created in 2007 in order to encourage graduates to pursue full-time work in public sectors including nonprofits and government organizations. If you are working in one of these fields, and have been consistent with your payments, it’s best to weigh your options and see if refinancing or PSLF will save you more money over the life on your student loan.

    4. Have more questions?

    If you want to learn more about student loans before refinancing student loans with SoFi, here are some good student loan resources to consider:

    Ready to Get Your Rate at SoFi?
    sofi review

     

    (Or click here to learn more about SoFi →)

    Laurel Road Review: Is Laurel Road Safe and Legit?

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    laurel road review

    Laurel Road Review | Laurel Road promises they can save you thousands of dollars by refinancing your student loan debt. Is Laurel Road refinancing legit, though?

    Laurel Road claims to offer low rates, personalized service, and technology that makes refinancing your student loans seamless. Plus, their average customers saves $20,000+ on average over the life of their loans. But if it the right student loan refinancing company for you?

    Let’s find out, together in our Laurel Road Student Loan Refinancing review.

    If you wanted to refinance your student loans with Laurel Road, they are now offering a $400 refinancing bonus, so act fast.

    What is Laurel Road?

    Laurel Road Bank is a Connecticut state-chartered bank offering student loan refinancing, mortgages, personal loans, and both consumer and business deposit products. FDIC-insured and established in 2006, Laurel Road Bank has helped thousands of professionals with graduate and undergraduate degrees to refinance and consolidate over $3 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also maintains bank branches in Darien, Rowayton, and Southport, Connecticut.

    Laurel Road Bonus

    If you wanted to refinance your student loans with Laurel Road, they are now offering a
    $400 refinancing bonus, so act fast. Just fill out your 3-minute application to check your rate!

    Who is Laurel Road Best For?

    Laurel Road is best suited for those that would want to work with a trusted company that has been around for 14 years. They have a lot of options for students and other individuals that are looking for refinancing or consolidating student loans. The entire loan process can be done from the comfort of your own home. Laurel Road is a great option for those that have an average credit score and you’re looking for a lot of options in terms of student loans refinancing or consolidation.

    Visit Laurel Road to learn all of their options to see what they have for you.

    Laurel Road Services Offered

    Auto Payment, Career Support, Cosigner Option

    Laurel Road Features

    Refinance and Consolidation.
    As an innovator in the exciting world of Fintech, Laurel Road is focused on creating seamless, personalized experiences for its customers. From student loan refinancing to mortgages to personal loans, we offer online financing solutions with honest, competitive rates and clear terms that help simplify financial decision-making.
    They strive to be a trusted financial partner by supporting our customers at every financial milestone, with the technology and simplicity they expect from a digital innovator, and the transparency and security they deserve from a bank.

    Laurel Road Student Loan Refinancing Rates

    Student Loan Refinance: 2.80% APR – 7.02% APR

    • Student Loan Refinance Variable Rates: 2.80% – 5.90% APR
    • Student Loan Refinance Fixed Rates:  3.37% – 7.02% APR

    They have interest rates as low as 2.80% – 5.90% for variable APR and 3.37% – 7.02% for fixed APR.

    You can get your student loan refinancing custom rate in 3 minutes or less by clicking here.

    Laurel Road In-School Loans

    Private Student Loans: 3.83% APR – 8.91% APR

    • Private Student Loans Variable Rates: 3.83% – 6.81% (5 years)
    • Private Student Loans Fixed Rates:4.50% – 7.22% (5 years)

    You can get your private student loan custom rate in 3 minutes or less by clicking here.

    Laurel Road Loan Length

    Loan Length: 5, 7, 10, 15, 20

    You can get a loan through them for a 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20-year term. Speak to one of their representatives to figure out the best loan length that works for you.

    Laurel Road Loan Amounts

    The company currently offers loans between $5,000 and $100,000

    Laurel Road Eligibility

    To qualify for this loan, you will need to be able to prove that you have an adequate income to pay off the loan and an average credit score.

    Laurel Road Pros:

    • Unemployment protection up to 1 year
    • Offers a number of options to help you
    • Reduce APR by 0.25% when you sign up for automatic payments
    • No origination fee or prepayment penalty
    • Get a $400 bonus through this link.

     

    Laurel Road Cons:

    • Charges a late fee of $28 or 5% of the missed payment
    • Charges a $20 fee for a non-sufficient fund returned payment

     

    Laurel Road Referral Program

    Share Laurel Road and get $400 for every referral.

    You can earn up to $400 when you refer your friends and they refinance their student loan with us.

    They have an easy-to-use slider lets you determine how much you and your friend will earn.

    Refer a friend today – you don’t have to be a Laurel Road customer to participate!

    Click here to sign up for the referral program.

    Is Laurel Road Safe?

    Laurel Road has an A+ Rating on the BBB page. They also have 3 customer reviews with an average of 1/5 stars.

    More Laurel Road Info:

    BBB File Opened: 3/17/2015

    Years in Business: 14

    Business Started: 2004

    Business Incorporated: 2004 in DE

    Type of Entity: Corporation

    Laurel Road Headquarters: 1001 Post Rd, Darien, CT 06820-4553

    Laurel Road Contact Information:

    Laurel Road Phone Number

    • (855) 245-0989

    Why Should You Refinance Your Student Loan Debt?

    In case you’re wondering why someone would refinance student loan debt, here are the top reasons:

    1. It’s simple to check your rate and can save you a lot of money

    There are a lot of competing student loan companies and that’s good for you. That means you can get the best possible interest rate which can save you a lot of money. The average user saves $18,668 when refinancing. You can check your rate for all of the lenders on this page in under 3 minutes.

    2. If you have a high interest rate on your student loans

    Fortunately, for many graduates, refinancing can be a great opportunity to help with loan payments. If you have federal or private student loans with an interest rate over 4%, then refinancing them will save you a lot of money. Student loans with 6.8% interest rates mean that you’ll need to pay $586 a month in interest alone for every $100,000 you owe. You could also refinance your student loans to a longer term to help lower your monthly payments.

    3. If you don’t qualify for public student loan forgiveness

    Public student loan forgiveness (PSLF) was created in 2007 in order to encourage graduates to pursue full-time work in public sectors including nonprofits and government organizations. If you are working in one of these fields, and have been consistent with your payments, it’s best to weigh your options and see if refinancing or PSLF will save you more money over the life on your student loan.

    4. Have more questions?

    If you want to learn more about student loans before refinancing student loans with Laurel Road, here are some good student loan resources to consider:

    How to Survive and Thrive While on a College Budget

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    college budget

    Both millennials and Generation Z are the most highly educated generations that the United States has ever produced. Unfortunately, this pursuit of higher learning comes with a much higher price tag than previous generations had to contend with. The high cost of attending college and university leaves many students stretching to make ends meet.

    Even with assistance from family or hard-earned scholarships, many people don’t make it out of college debt-free. While some may be lucky enough to land a high-paying job directly out of college, many still struggle to keep up with loan payments, keeping their dreams of success out of reach. However, with proper planning and fiscal education, budgeting for college and beyond can be made less painful.

    Developing Financial Literacy

    ap student

    Many young students have to make the tough decision right out of high school whether or not to attend college or university. While trade schools remain a popular, more affordable option for getting into the workforce sooner, many students believe that a degree is essential to success. Because of this, a large portion of people entering college is forced to take out loans, whether they truly understand what they’re getting into or not.

    Millennials have continued to exhibit an astonishingly low level of financial literacy, taking on long-term debt while regularly overdrawing their checking accounts at the same time. Many young people consciously go further into debt by racking up spending on credit cards while they still have massive student loans hanging above their heads. This is often done to simply support a basic lifestyle or to quickly obtain big-ticket items like computers and televisions in the hopes that they will generate enough income down the road to pay them off without too many consequences.

    This consistent failing of financial literacy litmus tests doesn’t bode well for millennials, as these negative spending habits tend to stick with people no matter how much money they end up making in the long run. Millennials are by and large not a lazy sect of American society by any means, either. The rise of the “grind culture” among millennials is evidence of a clear desire to become successful. However, large, long-term debts often keep many from their goals, despite all their hard work.

    Create a Financial Plan and Stick to It

    The best way to avoid having to work endless side hustles well into old age is to develop a solid financial plan. Paying off existing long-term debt like student loans should take priority when it comes to financial planning, as the interest on long-term debt puts the biggest damper on the ability to actually save money. Seeking employment through public service is a good idea, as it often offers up loan forgiveness, and it is always wise to avoid extending the grace period in which loans aren’t being paid off.

    If somebody doesn’t pay back their student loans, it can have lasting, harmful impacts on their financial health. While student loan delinquency can wreak havoc on someone’s credit score, its when people default on their student loans that things really start to get bad. Loans and all accrued interest may become immediately due; the debt may be referred to collections companies; and perhaps worst of all, a school might withhold academic records until the debt has been paid.

    Because of all of this, adopting an aggressive loan repayment plan as possible is recommended. A good exercise for people learning the ropes of financial literacy is to try doing a trial balance of their finances. A term often used in the accounting world, a trial balance involves tabulating all of your expenses, financial statements, and sources of income for a month. This will let you know if your income can support your lifestyle. Once an individual has developed a sensible budget that specifically addresses long-term debt, people can begin to save in earnest. A budget helps people to stop living from paycheck to paycheck, allowing them to save as much as possible for their retirement and, barring that, have enough money in their checking account to cover any emergencies.

    Make Healthy Spending Habitual

    how to make a budget

    It’s no wonder that the U.S. has a financial literacy and savings problem, a few states require any sort of financial education in high school. This results in unhealthy spending habits like living outside of one’s means in order to have experiences that are seemingly worth their investment. However, living outside of one’s means is not a tenable plan for financial success, and though the people attending music festivals throughout the year will certainly have memories that will last a lifetime, their bank accounts will be less prosperous.

    This unhealthy spending can lead to unnecessary financial stress, leaving people feeling overwhelmed. People who engage in unhealthy spending habits regularly might find themselves struggling to keep up with a credit card and student loan payments, and they often have virtually no money set aside in case of an emergency. Healthy spending habits are developed by learning how to actually have money and making sure that it can be held on to.

    Writing down down financial goals both short and long term is a fantastic way to add some structure to financial planning. Saving up for retirement can seem a bit nebulous, but attaching expectations and experiences to the idea of retirement can spur on improved financial health. Asking for help from professionals or taking financial planning courses through a college or even the local library can give people the leg up they need to become healthy spenders.

    Earnest Review: Student Loan Refinancing

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    earnest review

    Saving thousands of dollars on your student loan debt seems ideal, and that’s just what Earnest promises. Is it legit, though?

    Earnest is a technology-enabled fintech lender, headquartered in San Francisco that offers personal loans and student loan refinancing.

    But if it the right student loan refinancing company for you?

    Let’s find out, together in our Earnest review.

    Refinance your student loan with Earnest and earn a $200 bonus when you sign your loan!

    Get Your Rate

    Earnest Reviews

    Earnest promises they can lower your rate, then allow you to customize and manage your payments online. They offer flexible payments and private & federal loans are eligible with radical flexibility. Users save on average $30,939.

    Heard enough? Head over to Earnest and check your rate in 3 minutes to see how much you can save.

    Who is Earnest Best For?

    Earnest is best suited for those who are just coming out of school who have little to no credit history. They have a lot of options for students and other individuals that are looking for a small loan and they have very unique flexibility.

    For example, you can set your own monthly payments and change between fixed and variable rates without any fees. Earnest has lower than average rates in the industry (click to view comparison rates).

    Visit Earnest to learn all of their options to see what they have for you.

    Services Offered

    Student Loan Refinance and Student Loan Consolidation

    Earnest Features

    Auto Payment, Career Support, Cosigner Option

    1. Lower rates through better data

    They use data other lenders don’t—like your savings patterns, investments, and career trajectory—to give you the rate you deserve.

    2. Customization to your budget & timeline

    Precision Pricing saves money for student loan clients by using your budget to determine a unique rate and term—down to the month.

    3. Seamless from start to finish

    Apply online, then manage your account payment preferences with our intuitive dashboard.

    4. Expert in-house service

    They have an in-house Client Happiness team is available via call, text, or email for student loan clients.

    Refinance your student loan with Earnest and earn a $200 bonus when you sign your loan!

    Get Your Rate

    Earnest Student Loan Refinancing Rates

    Get one simple payment that fits your budget. Variable rates start at 2.47% APR with Auto Pay.

    You can get your student loan refinancing rate in 2 minutes by clicking here.

    Earnest Loan Length

    Loan Length: 5, 7, 10, 15, 20

    You can get a loan through them for a 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20-year term. Speak to one of their representatives to figure out the best loan length that works for you.

    Earnest Loan Amounts

    The company currently offers student loan refinancing and consolidation for loans over $5,000.

    Earnest Eligibility

    To qualify for this loan, you will need to have an excellent credit history and be able to prove that you have an adequate income to pay off the loan. Please talk to a representative to discuss other criteria that might apply to you and your application for refinancing your student loans.

    Earnest Pros:

    • Easy to get approved. Great for people just coming out of school who have little to no credit history
    • Offers unique flexibility, people can set their own monthly payments and change between fixed and variable rates without any fees
    • Earnest has lower than average rates in the industry

     

    Earnest Cons:

    • The company is limited in its locations
    • Applicants must be employed or have a written job offer in order to be eligible for student loan refinancing
    • Earnest was only established in 2013

     

    Why Should You Refinance Your Student Loan Debt ?

    In case you’re wondering why someone would refinance student loan debt, here are the top reasons:

    1. It’s simple to check your rate and can save you a lot of money

    There are a lot of competing student loan companies and that’s good for you. That means you can get the best possible interest rate which can save you a lot of money. The average user saves $18,668 when refinancing. You can check your rate for all of the lenders on this page in under 3 minutes.

    2. If you have a high interest rate on your student loans

    Fortunately, for many graduates, refinancing can be a great opportunity to help with loan payments. If you have federal or private student loans with an interest rate over 4%, then refinancing them will save you a lot of money. Student loans with 6.8% interest rates mean that you’ll need to pay $586 a month in interest alone for every $100,000 you owe. You could also refinance your student loans to a longer term to help lower your monthly payments.

    3. If you don’t qualify for public student loan forgiveness

    Public student loan forgiveness (PSLF) was created in 2007 in order to encourage graduates to pursue full-time work in public sectors including nonprofits and government organizations. If you are working in one of these fields, and have been consistent with your payments, it’s best to weigh your options and see if refinancing or PSLF will save you more money over the life on your student loan.

    4. Have more questions?

    If you want to learn more about student loans before refinancing student loans with Earnest, here are some good student loan resources to consider:

    Ready to Get Your Rate?

    Refinance your student loan with Earnest and earn a $200 bonus when you sign your loan!

    Get Your Rate

     

    (Or click here to learn more about Earnest →)

    Want To Retire Early? Try This Early Retirement Strategy

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    early retirement strategy

    Early retirement strategy: Millennials who want to engage in early retirement planning should start early and start investing in their 20’s. Learn how!

    Millennial investors who engage in early retirement planning and take advantage of a 401k plan in their twenties give themselves a great opportunity to retire at a younger age and with a large sum of money. Early retirement planning for millennial investing is one of the wisest decisions you can do in your 20s.

    The biggest impact on the size of your retirement nest egg is time. A majority of people generally do not start getting serious about early retirement planning until their thirties or forties. While savings rate and investment selection are primary aspects of saving for retirement, the most important factor is time because of the power of compounding interest.

    For millennial investors fortunate enough to engage in early retirement planning by starting a 401k plan in their twenties, the combination of savings rate, investment selection and time can add up to millions saved by retirement age. With those key aspects of retirement success in mind, here are crucial steps for any millennial managing a 401k and who are trying to save early for retirement.

    How To Retire Early

    Stuck wondering how to retire early with early retirement strategies? Stop searching Google for:

    • early retirement calculator
    • how to retire early at 55
    • can i retire early
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    You can use the following steps and tips below to help you hone an early retirement strategy that works.

    1. Figure Out Your Essential Savings Rate

    When completing the 401k enrollment forms, there are two primary decisions to make: The first is how much you want to save each pay period, which is called a “deferral,” and the second is how you want to invest that money.

    So let’s cover that first decision: How much is a good amount of money to save or invest in a 401(k) plan? There is not a number that will work for each individual person, but the short answer is to SAVE as much as you are able too (without hurting other areas of your finances.)

    One key factor in how much you want to contribute, or deferral percentage, it is regularly encouraged to contribute to the plan at least up to the point where you can gain the maximum match to which you are entitled.

    In most cases, gaining the match can be as straightforward as contributing a certain percentage all year. For example, if the employer matches 50% of an employee’s contributions up to 6% of the employee’s salary, then an employee who regularly contributes 6% of her $100,000 salary all year will gain a $3,000 match on her $6,000 of contributions.

    Also, keep in mind that it’s easier to adjust your deferral percentage to a lower amount than it is to adjust higher. Therefore, start as high as possible. For example, try starting at 10%, and if that’s too high you can adjust it lower.

    2. Calculate Your Amount of Risk

    Once you’ve decided how much to contribute to your 401k retirement fund, you’ll need to make the best investment selections for you (or sign up for programs that help like the Motley Fool Stock Advisor Program). You may have already heard that it is wise to invest aggressively in your early saving years and then gradually shift to a more conservative mix of investments as you get closer to retirement age. While this is generally true, the best investments for retirement also depend upon how much risk you can tolerate.

    Put differently, there are two basic risk measurements for young investors to consider before choosing investments:

    1. Risk Capacity: This is a measure of how much risk you can afford to take. When you’re in your twenties, you can afford to take more risk, because you presumably don’t need to touch your retirement nest egg for 20, 30 or even 40 years. So when your investments decline in value during market corrections, there’s no real threat to your financial security because you don’t need your 401k or IRA savings for many years.
    2. Risk Tolerance: This is a measure of how much risk you are comfortable taking. So, even though it is true that younger investors can afford to take more risk, you don’t want to lose sleep at night worrying about falling stock prices and potentially jeopardize your investment objectives by selling your 401k mutual funds in a down market.

    After you have assessed your risk tolerance, you can choose the best 401k investments for you. If you’re still not sure how to invest, you might try a moderate allocation of roughly two-thirds stock mutual funds and one-third bond mutual funds.

    Above all, be sure to diversify your investments by allocating your 401k money to several different funds. Somewhere between three and five funds should do the trick.

    3. Do Not Underestimate the Time Value of Money

    Time makes the biggest impact on retirement savings because of compounding interest, which is essentially interest (or dividends and gains) that go to buy more shares of investments, such as stocks and mutual funds, which will then grow and earn more interest, as the process repeats itself.

    Consider this example of two different investors:
    • Investor No. 1 starts contributing $5,000 per year in a 401k at age 25 and continues with the same savings rate for 10 years. She stops saving but allows her portfolio to continue growing another 30 years, to age 65. Her total savings amount is $50,000. Assuming a 7% rate of return, Investor No. 1 ends up with $585,000.
    • Investor No. 2 starts saving $5,000 at age 35 and continues the same savings rate until age 65. That’s a total of $150,000 savings for him. Assuming the same 7% rate of return, Investor No. 2 ends up with about $508,000.

    Therefore, thanks to the power of compound interest, Investor No. 1 ended up with a much bigger nest egg, even though she only saved for 10 years, whereas Investor No. 2 was never able to catch up, even after 30 years of saving, because he started later. Early retirement planning does make a difference.

    As you continue saving in your 401k plan and continue early retirement planning, the basic maintenance requirements are only to periodically rebalance the portfolio and increase your 401k deferral percentage whenever you get a pay raise. Rebalancing effectively returns the mutual fund balances to their original target allocations. Once per year is sufficient frequency for rebalancing.

    4. Optimize Your Retirement Account

    You should know about blooom if you have a 401k. Blooom will analyze your 401k for free and in under 5 minutes blooom can do all of the below:

    • Show you how well you are invested
    • Pick the best funds available in your 401k and give you exact percentages of what to invest where
    • Show you exact percentages on how many stocks vs. bonds to have
    • Show how much you are paying in investment fees and how to potentially pay less (average bloom client cuts their fees in half)
    • You can learn more in this blooom review.
    For someone who doesn’t know how well their 401k is invested or would benefit from professionals analyzing it, it’s pretty powerful. You can make thousands of dollars easily over the long term just by getting a free 401k analysis here. More people should be doing this.

    Want to Retire Early? It’s Possible!

    As of the second quarter of 2018, Millennials — which Fidelity defined as those ages 21 to 37 — with 401(k)s had an average balance of $25,500 and were contributing 7.3% of their paychecks. Fidelity also found that employers were matching, on average, 4.1%, which put the total top savings rate for millennials with 401(k)s at 11.3 percent.

    How do you stack up?

    To summarize, there are only three real mistakes you can make with a 401k plan:

    • Not contributing or starting early retirement planning today.
    • Putting all of your money in just one fund. (Putting all your eggs in one basket)
    • Not looking into companies like blooom that will professionally analyze your 401k. You can make thousands of dollars easily over the long term just by getting a free 401k analysis here.

    So contribute as much as your finances can withstand and diversify your portfolio and start early retirement planning today!

    The Best College Scholarships for 2020

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    list of scholarships for college students

    The following resources can help you find other sources of financial aid. It’s an exhaustive list of scholarships for college students in 2020.

    Our office has prepared a list of outside scholarships offered through a variety of foundations/agencies that we hope will also be of assistance.  Some of our current readers have received funding through the scholarships listed.

    Got a scholarship? Want to be on our list of scholarships for college students? Send us a note: [email protected]

    This is by no means an all-inclusive list.  You can find many more scholarship opportunities by using a scholarship search website, such as:

    [ez-toc]

    Top-Rated Scholarships

    These scholarships all offer $10,000 or more.

    Rose Scholars Program

    Scholarship program open to high school sophomore, junior + senior students who are civically minded and have an instinct to lead.

    • Amount: $200,000
    • Deadline: September 30, 2018

    Cameron Impact Scholarship

    Scholarships for students with high academic achievement who have a stated goal of public service and/or demonstrated active participation in community service.

    • Amount: Up to $50,000 per year (intended to cover tuition, fees, course related expenses, books, supplies and equipment)
    • Deadline: September 15

    James W. McLamore WHOPPER Scholarship Program

    Scholarships for students who demonstrate an active leadership role in community service, athletics, etc.

    • Amount: Up to $50,000
    • Deadline: December 15

    Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation

    Scholarships based on students’ capacity to lead, succeed in school, and make an impact on their schools and communities.

    • Amount: $20,000
    • Deadline: October 31

    Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student Competition

    Scholarships focused on academic strength, demonstrated community leadership, and financial need.

    • Amount: Up to $50,000
    • Deadline: November 15

    The Gates Scholarship

    Scholarship for exceptional, Pell-eligible, minority, high school seniors. Awarded to 300 top student leaders with the intent of promoting their academic excellence through college graduation, and providing them the opportunity to reach their full potential.

    • Amount: Funding for the student’s full cost of attendance (including fees, books, housing and meals) for all 4 years of college.
    • Deadline: September 18

    The Dream.us Scholarship Program

    For highly motivated DREAMers who want to get a college education. Must have significant financial need, academic promise, as well as determination and perseverance. Must attend a partner college.

    • Amount: Can cover up to 100% of tuition fees and books at partner colleges
    • Deadline: March 8, 2020

    Davidson Fellowship

    Scholarships for students with a project in the STEM or humanities fields that have the potential to make a positive contribution to society.

    • Amount: Up to $50,000
    • Deadline: February 8, 2020

    Live Mas Scholarship

    Scholarships open to all students, ages 16-24, currently enrolled or enrolling in an accredited post-high school program. To apply, create and submit a video (two minutes or less in length) that tells the story of your life’s passion.

    • Amount: Up to $25,000
    • Deadline: May 2020

    Ron Brown Scholar Program

    The Ron Brown Scholar Program (RBSP) honors the legacy of Ronald H. Brown through a selective scholarship program that advances higher education for community-minded and intellectually gifted African Americans.

    • Amount: $10,000
    • Deadline: January 9, 2020

    Dell Scholars

    Scholarships for students who have overcome significant obstacles to pursue their education. The Dell Scholars program offers personalized, multifaceted support to our Scholars that extends beyond the financial support of $20,000, a laptop, and textbook credits. Dell offers students and their families services and solutions to address individual and systemic issues that can create major barriers to student success.

    • Amount: $20,000, a laptop and textbook credits
    • Deadline: December 1

    ScholarshipPoints $10,000 Scholarship

    A free quarterly drawing for college scholarship money. To become eligible, become a ScholarshipPoints member and log in.

    • Amount: $10,000
    • Deadline: September 18

    Voice of America Scholarship

    Applicants must write or record an essay on an annual patriotic theme.

    • Amount: Up to $30,000
    • Deadline: October 31

    AXA Achievement Scholarship

    Demonstrate long-term achievement outside the classroom like a project at school, in their community, etc.

    • Amount: Up to $25,000
    • Deadline: December 15

    The Collegiate Inventors Competition

    A national competition that recognizes and rewards innovations, discoveries, and research by college and university students and their faculty advisors. Students frequently come from science, engineering, mathematics, and technology studies, but creative invention can emerge from any course of study.

    • Amount: $100,000
    • Deadline: June 14, 2020

    CIA Undergraduate Scholarship Program

    Full-time students can spend their summer breaks working with the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, D.C., doing meaningful work related to their major. Requires 3.0 GPA, 1000 SAT/21 ACT, and sufficient financial need.

    • Amount: Salary up to $38,701 and tuition assistance up to $18,000
    • Deadline: Early 2020

    Last-Minute Scholarships

    Students can apply to these even in August (or later!) for the coming academic year.

    Candere Scholarship

    Scholarships available to full-time traditional undergraduate students who are active members in their college community.

    • Amount: $350
    • Deadline: December 30th, 2018

    Scholarships That Don’t Require You to Demonstrate Financial Need

    Carson Scholars Fund

    College scholarships for students in grades 4 through 11 who excel academically and are dedicated to serving their communities. Interested students must be nominated by their school to be able to compete for a Carson Scholarship.

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Deadline: December 20

    “Inspire Our Future” scholarship

    Scholarships for students studying to become a teacher, or pursuing a career in direct student education.

    • Amount: $500
    • Deadline: April 1, 2020

    KSF Scholarship Competition

    Participate in scholarship quizzes that test your knowledge of various academic subjects. You will be scored based on a combination of time and accuracy. Students with the highest scores at the end of each competition win.

    • Amount: $2,500
    • Deadline: Varies

    Richard and Elizabeth Dean Scholarship

    Scholarships based on academic merit, with an initial minimum GPA of 4.0 and renewal conditional upon maintenance of a 3.25 GPA.

    • Amount: $5,000 renewable each year for a total of $20,000
    • Deadline: February 10, 2020

    DAR Scholarships for Political Science, History, Government and Economics

    Scholarships for students interested in studying political science, history or economics.

    • Amount: Up to $5,000
    • Deadline: February 15

    Spirit of Anne Frank Scholarship

    Write an essay describing contributions you have made to your community and how their goals are inspired by Anne Frank with a focus on commitment to social justice.

    • Amount: Up to $10,000
    • Deadline: March 17

    American Bullion Scholarship

    Submit a 500 – to 1000 – word essay that answers the following question: “What are the benefits of diversifying a retirement account with gold and bitcoin?”

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Deadline: October 31

    Scholars Helping Collars Scholarship

    Submit a 500 – to 1000 – word essay describing the impact you have made in the life of a rescue animal or animal welfare cause in general. You must also submit two to three photos of your volunteer efforts

    • Amount: $1000
    • Deadline: February 28, 2020

    Blades of Green Scholarship Fund

    For students pursuing education in environmental studies or related fields. Submit a 350 to 500 word letter of intent describing your career path, passion for your intended field and what inspired your pursuit of your field in order to be considered for this award.

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Deadline: March 15, 2020

    College Scholarship

    Have a minimum 2.8 GPA and submit a 500-700 word essay to qualify for this award. The essay should detail how you are driven to innovate, how you plan to influence progress on any level in any space or how you have already affected positive change with creative thinking.

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Deadline: December 1

    ScooterInside Scholarship

    Submit an essay of between 700 and 1500 words that discusses the importance of social media marketing and how search engine optimization can help local business get more clients in order to be considered for this award.

    • Amount: $1,200
    • Deadline: October 30

    Scholarships for STEM Students

    (ISC)² Undergraduate Cybersecurity Scholarship

    Scholarships pursuing or planning to pursue a degree with a focus on cybersecurity or information assurance. Must be a high school senior or undergraduate student.

    • Amount: $5,000
    • Deadline: March 1

    George and Vicki Muellner Scholarship for Aerospace Engineering

    Scholarships for college students who are AIAA members and studying to enter the aeronautics industry.

    • Amount: $5,000
    • Deadline: January 31

    Women Techmakers Scholars Program

    Scholarships for women currently enrolled in or accepted to a bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD program in computer science, computer engineering, or a related field.

    • Amount: $10,000
    • Deadline: Spring 2020

    Thermo Fisher Scientific Antibody Scholarship

    Scholarship available to undergraduate and graduate students with a 3.0 or better GPA majoring in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, or a related life science.

    • Amount: Up to $10,000
    • Deadline: May 31, 2020

    AfterCollege STEM Inclusion Scholarship

    Scholarship for students in a STEM major from an ethnic group underrepresented in their field of study.

    • Amount: $500
    • Deadline: September 30

    AAAS Minority Science Writers Internship

    Program places minority students interested in journalism as a career and who want to learn about science writing at Science Magazine for 10 weeks over the summer. Interns experience what it’s like to cover the scientific and technological issues that shape our global community.

    • Amount: Varies
    • Deadline: February 1, 2020

    Elizabeth J. Davis Scholarship

    Scholarships for students studying nursing (RN or LPN), physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, or medical social work

    • Amount: $3,000
    • Deadline: February 15, 2020

    Environmental Studies/Natural Science Scholarship Program

    Scholarships for Environmental Studies/Natural Science college students. Write a brief essay on a provided topic to apply.

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Deadline: March 31, 2020

    EPP Undergraduate Scholarship Program

    Program targets students who have completed their sophomore year, attending minority serving institutions (MSIs), and have recently declared, or about to declare a major in atmospheric, oceanic, or environmental disciplines that support these sciences.

    • Amount: $45,000
    • Deadline: January 31

    HENAAC Scholars Program

    Scholarships for Hispanic/Latinx students who demonstrate leadership within their community and who are pursuing or intend to pursue a degree in STEM.

    • Amount: $10,000
    • Deadline: April 30, 2020

    Scholarships for Women

    (ISC)² Women in Information Security Scholarship

    Scholarships for women pursuing or planning to pursue a degree with a focus on cybersecurity or information assurance. Must be a high school senior or undergraduate student to apply.

    • Amount: $40,000
    • Deadline: April 15, 2020

    Beyoncé Formation Scholarship

    Scholarship for the 2017-18 academic year to encourage and support young women who are bold, creative, confident, and unafraid to think outside the box. For students attending Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Parsons School of Design, and Spelman College.

    • Amount: Up to cost of tuition
    • Deadline: May 12

    Adobe Research Women in Technology Scholarship

    The Adobe Research Women-in-Technology Scholarship recognizes outstanding undergraduate and masters female students anywhere in the world who are studying computer science.

    • Amount: $10,000
    • Deadline: September 28

    Women in Public Finance Scholarship

    Scholarships for women who have an interest in public finance.

    • Amount: $3,000
    • Deadline: August 15

    Women in Aviation Scholarships

    Scholarships for members of the Women in Aviation association who have a passion for aviation.

    • Amount: Up to $5,000
    • Deadline: November 16

    All Women In Media Scholarships

    Scholarships for current women college students who write or make a short video profiling an influential or inspirational woman in their community.

    • Amount: $2,500
    • Deadline: May 1

    Advancement of Women in Sports and Entertainment Scholarship

    Scholarships for women pursuing a degree in Communication Studies, Marketing, Public Relations, Media Studies or Journalism.

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Deadline: June 14

    BHW Scholarship

    Scholarships for women who are pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in STEM.

    • Amount: $3,000
    • Deadline: April 15

    Distinguished Young Women Scholarship

    Scholarship for female students who have participated in a Distinguished Young Women program.

    • Amount: Varies
    • Deadline: Continuous

    1000 Dreams Scholarship Fund

    Educational assistance for currently enrolled high school or college-aged women throughout the United States. Can be used for a variety of expenses other than college tuition, such as books, programs related to creative or artistic pursuits, bills, etc.

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Deadline: November 2018

    Scholarships for Members of Ethnic Groups

    Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship

    Financial assistance for Asian American college seniors and graduate students who have exhibited exemplary leadership, vision, and passion that is blazing a trail for others to follow and changing lives in the Asian American community.

    • Amount: $1,500
    • Deadline: May 7, 2020

    Blacks at Microsoft Scholarships

    Scholarships for students of African descent who have a passion for technology and plan to pursue a degree in engineering, computer science, or select business programs.

    • Amount: $5,000 (renewable)
    • Deadline: April 15, 2020

    HSF Scholarship

    Scholarships for students of Hispanic heritage.

    • Amount: Up to $5,000
    • Deadline: April 6

    CBC Spouses Education Scholarship

    Scholarship for African-American students with leadership ability and a desire to participate in community service.

    • Amount: Up to $8,200
    • Deadline: May 1

    Adelante! Fund Scholarships

    Multiple scholarships to inspire Latino students to graduate and lead, along with internships and leadership training.

    • Amount: Up to $3,000
    • Deadline: June 5

    UNFC Scholars Program

    Scholarships and academic support for a total of 500 talented African American high school students who aspire to earn STEM degrees and to pursue careers in STEM fields.

    • Amount: Up to $25,000 (spread over up to 5 years of college)
    • Deadline: January 1, 2020

    AMS Minority Scholarships

    Scholarship funding to minority students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the sciences, especially Hispanic, Native American, and Black/African American students. Two-year scholarship ($3,000 freshmen + sophomore year).

    • Amount: $6,000
    • Deadline: February 2, 2020

    Brown and Caldwell Minority Scholarship Program

    Scholarships for minority students with a declared major in civil, chemical or environmental engineering or one of the environmental sciences (e.g. biology, geology, hydro-geology, ecology).

    • Amount: $5,000
    • Deadline: April 15, 2020

    Carrington-Philbert Scholarship

    A one-time scholarship for entering African American U.S. college freshmen. Applicants may be attending a community college or 4-year college.

    • Amount: $2,500
    • Deadline: September 30

    Chips Quinn Scholars Program

    Program offers training and financial support intended to open doors to news and information careers and bring greater diversity to the newsrooms of the U.S.

    College juniors, seniors, graduate students and recent graduates with majors in journalism or career goals in journalism are eligible to apply.

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Deadline: October 1, 2018

    Scholarships for LGBT Students

    Out to Innovate Scholarships

    Scholarships for LGBTQ students interested in pursuing a STEM career.

    • Amount: $5,000
    • Deadline: June 2

    League Foundation LGBTQ Scholarships

    Scholarships for graduating seniors with special consideration given to those with activities and leadership roles relating to LGBTQ communities.

    • Amount: Up to $2,500
    • Deadline: April 15, 2020

    Out to Protect Scholarship

    Scholarships for LGBT students who are currently enrolled in a basic law enforcement training program.

    • Amount: Up to $1,000
    • Deadline: December 2018

    Pedro Zamora Public Policy Fellowship

    Scholarship for students and young professionals seeking experience in HIV-related public policy and government affairs.

    • Amount: $4,000 ($1,000/month stipend paid over the four-month fellowship)
    • Deadline: June 29, 2020

    Gay Asian Pacific Alliance Foundation Scholarship

    Financial assistance to students who express activism in the Asian and Pacific Islander LGBT communities.

    • Amount: Up to $5,000
    • Deadline: June 30, 2020

    American Atheists Gay/Lesbian College Scholarship

    Scholarships for LGBT students who combine activism for gay rights with activism for the rights of atheists

    • Amount: $500
    • Deadline: February 1

    The Make It Safe Project Writing Scholarship

    Funds scholarships for writers of stories/poems containing queer and trans characters (under 2,000 words). Winners receives $500 and publication. All queer and trans youth ages 13-18 residing in the United States are eligible to submit.

    • Amount: $500
    • Deadline: Spring 2020

    Bill Caspare Memorial Fund Diversity Scholarship

    Scholarships for LGBTQ students interested in careers in new media, digital advertising, or data science. Also open to African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic, and Native American students.

    • Amount: Up to $10,000
    • Deadline: July 14

    Victor Agnoni Visual Arts Foundation – VAVAF

    This scholarship is open for LGBTQ high school seniors entering college with a qualifying visual arts portfolio. Recipient will receive a $1,500 award. Applicant need not major in arts in college.

    • Amount: $1,500
    • Deadline: Fall 2020

    Michael Moody Fitness Scholarship

    A college scholarship of $1,500 awarded to a high school senior, undergraduate, or graduate student who has demonstrated outstanding achievement, participation and leadership in school activities and work experience, and interest in pursuing a career in the health and fitness related fields.

    • Amount: $1,500
    • Deadline: July 15, 2020

    My First Blush LGBTQ Leadership Scholarship

    The LGBTQ Leadership Scholarship by My First Blush is a $1,000 to $1,500 grant available to LGBTQIA honors students who have taken action to support or advance the rights of the LGBTQ community.

    • Amount: $1,500
    • Deadline: June 30, 2020

    Scholarships That Don’t Require an Essay

    US Bank Scholarship

    Students enter for a chance to win a $20,000 scholarship.

    • Amount: $20,000
    • Deadline: October 27

    “No Essay” Scholarship

    Create an account with Niche for a chance to win a $2,000 scholarship.

    • Amount: $2,000
    • Deadline: May 31

    CARiD Scholarship

    Submit a photo inspired by any aspect of the automotive industry to qualify for this award. Submissions could be of your first car, custom modifications you’ve made, something that makes your vehicle unique, the coolest vehicle you’ve ever seen, etc.

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Deadline: October 31

    Liaison’s Data-Inspired Future Scholarship

    Submit a 30 to 60 second video that discusses, explains or demonstrates an important aspect of data in today’s or tomorrow’s society and also includes one interesting fact about yourself in order to be considered for this award.

    • Amount: $5,000
    • Deadline: October 31

    eCommerce Entrepreneur Scholarship

    Applicants must submit a short video of less than three minutes that covers why you are passionate about being an entrepreneur, why you are drawn specifically to internet business. In addition to the scholarship award amount, winners will receive training in running an internet business.

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Deadline: December 1

    $5,000 VIP Voice Scholarship

    Complete surveys for an opportunity to win a monthly $5,000 scholarship. The more surveys you complete, the better your odds of winning.

    • Amount: $5,000
    • Deadline: Continuous

    National AG Day Essay OR video Contest

    Create a video addressing this year’s topic “Agriculture: Food for Life” to be considered for a $1,000 scholarship.

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Deadline: January 31, 2020

    Project Yellow Light/Hunter Garner Video Scholarship

    Create a short video motivating and discouraging students from distracted/texting and driving.

    • Amount: $5,000
    • Deadline: April 1, 2020

    Social Entrepreneur Award

    Create a proposal that addresses one of the listed “critical issues” to receive $10,000 in seed grant funding!

    • Amount: $10,000
    • Deadline: March 1, 2020

    Youth Free Expression Film Contest

    NCAC’s Youth Free Expression Film Contest invites filmmakers under 19 years old to submit a four-minute film on a specific topic.

    Each film must be accompanied by an artist’s statement discussing the elements that speak to these or other reflective questions about the limits of protest.

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Deadline: May 15, 2020

    Scholarships for Students Who Have Overcome Adversity

    Life Lessons Scholarship Program

    Recognizing the character and perseverance that so many young people show in the face of such adversity, Life Happens sponsors the annual Life Lessons Scholarship Program for college students and college-bound high school seniors. Qualified entrants who submit essays or videos about how the death of a parent impacted their lives are eligible for scholarship money.

    • Amount: $20,000
    • Deadline: March 1, 2020

    Scholarship America Dream Award

    the Dream Award is Scholarship America’s unique renewable scholarship program for financially needy students who have overcome barriers and successfully started their college education.

    • Amount: $15,000
    • Deadline: December 15

    Lighthouse Guild

    For college-bound students and graduate students who are legally blind.

    • Amount: Up to $10,000
    • Deadline: March 31

    American Foundation for the Blind

    Recipients must be legally blind and may have an interest in engineering, computer science, rehabilitation, music, and literature.

    • Amount: Up to $3,500
    • Deadline: April 1

    State Farm Good Neighbor Scholarship

    Financial assistance to students who plan to attend college, technical, or vocational school, but may not be able to meet the expenses of a higher education without aid; often for those who do not qualify for other scholarships.

    • Amount: $2,500 renewable for one year for a total of $5,000
    • Deadline: January 1

    Anne Ford and Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarships

    Scholarship recognizing outstanding high school students with learning and attention issues.

    • Amount: Up to $2,500 a year over four years
    • Deadline: Continuous

    Cogburn Adversity Scholarship

    Scholarship for student who submits the winning essay or video demonstrating how he or she has overcome great personal adversity.

    • Amount: $5,000
    • Deadline: June 1

    Jackie Spellman Scholarship

    Scholarships for people who have been affected by leukemia or lymphoma.

    • Amount: Up to $2,000
    • Deadline: April 15

    National Law Enforcement and Firefighters General Scholarship

    Scholarship for dependent children of a law enforcement or firefighter killed or disabled in the line of duty.

    • Amount: Up to $5,000
    • Deadline: July 1

    Horatio Alger National Career & Technical Scholarship Program

    For students who exhibit a strong commitment to complete a career or technical program, critical financial need, and perseverance in overcoming adversity.

    • Amount: Up to $2,500
    • Deadline: Rolling

    The Fabriele Disability Awareness Scholarship

    Essay contest for students with disabilities or who have a family member with a disability.

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Deadline: May 31

    Scholarships for Students with Community Service Experience

    Emmy Scholarship Programs

    Scholarships awarded to students pursuing a career in any aspect of the television industry, who have made a positive impact through community service.

    • Amount: $10,000
    • Deadline: February 28

    National Honor Society Scholarship

    Scholarships for NHS members making a difference in their schools and communities through leadership, service, and character.

    • Amount: $25,000
    • Deadline: December 14

    Seth Okin Good Deeds Scholarship

    Scholarship recognizing students doing meaningful community service.

    • Amount: $500
    • Deadline: September 30

    American Red Cross Jane Delano Scholarship

    Scholarships for students interested in a career in nursing who have contributed volunteer service to the Red Cross.

    • Amount: $3,000
    • Deadline: May 10

    Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes

    Scholarships for public-spirited young people doing humanitarian work.

    • Amount: $10,000
    • Deadline: April 15

    Youth Forward Scholarship

    Scholarships for students who write an essay describing their commitment to volunteering.

    • Amount: $1,500
    • Deadline: August 1

    Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship

    Scholarship for young volunteers who have dedicated 100+ hours to serving veterans.

    • Amount: Up to $20,000
    • Deadline: February 29

    Insureon Small Business Scholarship

    Scholarship available to entering freshmen impacted by their experience working for a small business, or running their own business. To apply, submit a 500 – to 750 – word essay describing your favorite small business and why it is important to you. Preference given to students with community leadership experience.

    • Amount: $2,500
    • Deadline: October 19

    Matt Fong Asian Americans in Public Finance Scholarship

    Scholarships for students pursuing finance/accounting degrees who have demonstrated community service/leadership experience.

    • Amount: $5,000
    • Deadline: April 9, 2020

    Scholarships for Artsy Kids

     

    YoungArts Scholarship

    Scholarships for student artists in film, design, music, dance, photography, visual arts, theater, and writing.

    • Amount: Up to $10,000 and a master class in your artistic discipline
    • Deadline: October 13

    Gabriel Prize Competition

    Students pursuing a career in architecture submit illustrations of personal work to the competition. Winners receive a three-month trip to France to study classical architecture and the landscape.

    • Amount: $20,000
    • Deadline: June 1, 2020

    Houzz Scholarship Program

    Scholarships for students enrolled in architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture programs at the undergraduate or graduate level.

    • Amount: $2,500
    • Deadline: June 30, 2020

    Randy Pausch Scholarship

    Applicants to the Randy Pausch Scholarship must intend to pursue a career in any aspect of game development including: art, animation, programming, engineering, game direction, game design, sound design, and music composition.

    • Amount: $2,500
    • Deadline: June 30, 2020

    Kodak Student Scholarship Program

    Submit a completed film that communicates a story or theme in some fashion. Submissions can be no longer than 30 minutes.

    • Amount: $5,000 scholarship tuition award + $5,000 KODAK motion picture grant
    • Deadline: May 18, 2020

    John F. and Anna Lee Stacey Scholarship Fund

    Scholarships for students who practice classical/traditional art in the mediums of painting, drawing from figure, landscape, and composition.

    • Amount: $5,000
    • Deadline: February 1, 2020

    Mister Rogers Memorial Scholarship

    Two scholarships to graduating seniors (must be continuing directly to graduate school) and graduate students (Masters or Ph.D) to support and encourage them to pursue a career in children’s media and further the values and principles of Fred Rogers’ work.

    • Amount: $5,000
    • Deadline: January 31, 2020

    MIT Inspire Contest

    Annual humanities/arts contest in which participating high school students, as individuals or teams of two will submit research reports in one of 13 fields, such as history, economics, or philosophy.

    • Amount: $10,000
    • Deadline: November 30

    Mary Doctor Performing Arts Scholarship Fund

    For students pursuing a degree in a discipline related to the performing arts (e.g., music, dance, theater, etc.)

    • Amount: $10,000 (renewable)
    • Deadline: April 5, 2020

    Krylon Clear Choice Art Scholarship

    Scholarship for students planning to major in visual arts. To apply, submit a portfolio of three to six works of art/images on CD.

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Deadline: May 31

    Military Family Scholarships

    ThanksUSA Scholarship Program

    Scholarships for dependents and spouses of military personnel.

    • Amount: $3,000
    • Deadline: May 15

    Army Engineer Memorial Awards

    Open to any graduating high school senior who is a citizen of the United States and whose sponsor, parent, or legal guardian is a U.S. Army Engineer (active duty, retired or deceased), National Guard U.S. Army Engineer, Reserve U. S. Army Engineer, or current Department of the Army employee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), as well as a current member of the Army Engineer Spouses Club.

    • Amount: $2,000
    • Deadline: March 15, 2020

    Scholarships for Military Children Program

    Scholarships for children of an active duty, reserve/guard, or retired military commissary customers.

    • Amount: $2,000
    • Deadline: Early 2020

    Samsung American Legion Scholarship

    Scholarship support for high school juniors who are members of the American Legion and are direct descendants of wartime U.S military veterans who served on active duty.

    • Amount: Up to $10,000
    • Deadline: April 20

    Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund

    Must be a dependent of a military service member who has been disabled, killed in action, or is a prisoner of war.

    • Amount: Varies based on need; average award will be a “significant portion of the student’s tuition”
    • Deadline: July 31

    The Military Commanders’ Scholarship Fund

    Must be a dependent of activity duty, reserve/guard, or retired service members.

    • Amount: $5,000
    • Deadline: November 2018

    70th Infantry Division Association Scholarship

    Scholarship for the relatives and spouses of those who have served, or are currently serving, under the colors of the 70th Infantry Division.

    • Amount: $500
    • Deadline: August 30

    Army ROTC Green to Gold Scholarship Program

    For students with leadership potential within the Army ROTC program. Awards may be for two, three, or four years. Recipients will receive tuition or room and board support, additional money for textbooks, supplies, and equipment, and a monthly stipend for up to 10 months each school year

    • Amount: Tuition support + stipend (varies)
    • Deadline: Rolling

    Kathern F. Gruber Scholarship

    Awards for Spouses, dependent children, and grandchildren of blinded veterans are eligible for the annual Kathern F. Gruber Scholarship to assist them with their higher education tuition.

    • Amount: $2,000
    • Deadline: April 21, 2020

    Military Child of the Year Award

    The Military Child of the Year Award recognizes outstanding military children who demonstrate resiliency, leadership, and achievement in their communities.

    • Amount: $10,000
    • Deadline: December 5

    Study Abroad Scholarships

    Christianson Grant

    Grants awarded to young Americans who have arranged their own service projects abroad. Proposed programs must be at least six months in length and emphasize a work component.

    • Amount: Up to $10,000
    • Deadline: March 15, July 15, October 15

    NESP David Boren Scholarships

    Scholarships for students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to the U.S., including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.

    • Amount: Up to $20,000
    • Deadline: February 9

    Gilman International Scholarship Program

    Scholarship for low-income students who are interested in studying or interning abroad.

    • Amount: Up to $5,000
    • Deadline: April 15, 2020

    IES Abroad Diversity Scholarships

    Diversity Scholarships support and encourage students from a wide range of institutions and under-represented populations on an IES Abroad study abroad program.

    Under-represented students include students from under-represented racial and ethnic groups, first generation to college students, students from low income families and students with a history of overcoming adversity.

    • Amount: $5,000
    • Deadline: Year-round

    Diversity Abroad Study Abroad Overseas Ambassador Scholarship

    Available to minority undergraduate students who have been accepted to study abroad.

    • Amount: $500
    • Deadline: June 1

    John S. Linakis Scholarship

    Scholarships for students with financial need who are interested in social justice. Must complete an essay that details how studying abroad will influence your commitment to social change.

    • Amount: Full scholarship to an AIFS program
    • Deadline: Spring 2020

    Fulbright U.S. Student Program

    Includes a wide range of study/research programs available for graduating college seniors.

    • Amount: Varies
    • Deadline: October 11

    IES Abroad Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Scholarships

    Study abroad program scholarships open to students who are currently attending an HBCU, a historically black college or university.

    • Amount: $2,000
    • Deadline: Beginning of each semester/year depending on SA program

    AIFS HACU Scholarship

    Scholarships for outstanding Latino students attending HACU schools to study abroad.

    • Amount: 50% of AIFS program fee
    • Deadline: April 15, October 1, March 1

    Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE)

    Summer internships in Germany for Canadian and US undergraduate students in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences and engineering. RISE fellows work directly with doctoral students in research groups at top German universities and institutions and can expect to gain serious hands-on research experience.

    • Amount: Program and housing fees + Stipend (varies)
      Deadline: 
      January 15, 2020

    Scholarships with Religious Affiliations

    Stanford and D’Orlando Legal and Art Scholarships

    Scholarships for Unitarian Universalists interested in studying art or law.

    • Amount: Varies
    • Deadline: February 15

    Aziz Jamaluddin Scholarship

    Scholarships for Muslim students pursuing degrees in journalism or political science.

    • Amount: $4,000
    • Deadline: March 15

    Dr. Abdulmunim A. Shakir Scholarship

    Scholarships for Muslim freshman college students pursuing a degree in any field of study.

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Deadline: March 15

    American Jewish Historical Society Scholarships

    Scholarships and grants for undergraduate and graduate students interested writing about or researching topics related to Jewish history, the Jewish experience, etc.

    • Amount: Up to $6,000
    • Deadline: April 20

    National Catholic Colleges Scholarship

    Scholarship for students attending a National Catholic College Association member institution.

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Deadline: March 1

    “Your RoadMap” $2,000 Christian College Scholarship

    Fill out a registration form that sends your personal information to a list of Christian colleges; scholarship winner will be selected from a drawing of registrants.

    • Amount: $2,000
    • Deadline: June 30

    Young Christian Leaders Scholarship

    For students possessing a profound measure of character, commitment to service, and financial need.

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Deadline: The 15th of every month

    Young Life Scholarship

    Scholarships available to full-time traditional undergraduate students who are active members in Young Life are eligible for a scholarship for their first year (transfer students not eligible).

    • Amount: $4,000
    • Deadline: Fall 2018

    How to Build an Emergency Savings Fund & Stop Being Broke

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    Emergency Savings Fund

    Having a 6-month emergency savings fund is harder for some generations.

    According to a new survey from Bankrate, 66 million Americans do not have emergency savings.

    To sum it up:

    • One-third of Americans ages 36-51 years old (Gen X) have savings.
    • Only 27% of other Americans of all ages have anything saved up.

    It’s no secret that it is very important to have an emergency savings account of 6 months of liquid cash so that in the event of an emergency such as losing your job, medical bills, or auto maintenance you will be covered.

    But an astonishing only 28% of all Americans, according to the new survey, have put aside any savings into this emergency fund of 6 months of expenses.

    The silver lining if there is one?

    That percentage has risen by 6% from one year ago.

    Furthermore, nearly half of Americans older than 71 years old have enough savings for six months of living expenses.

    Millennials (ages 18 through 34) have the same saving habits as Gen Xers, with two-thirds reporting at least some savings.

    The one-third without savings should check out ways to save by eliminating debt and alternative money making methods. It may be difficult more millennials are save when they are in low-paying jobs and have crippling student loans. However, it is not your salary that makes you rich, it is your spending habits.

    According to the study, half of the Americans with annual incomes of 75K or more have emergency savings fund, while more than half of Americans with incomes of less than 30k have nothing saved.

    While top savings for an emergency savings fund competes with saving for retirement, paying off loans, rent, car payments, and all the expenses you incur every month: it still is possible. 

    Emergency Savings Fund

    How You Can Start Saving Money

    But you know what? Over time building better saving habits gets easier and you can start saving money without even thinking about it.

    Start small.

    Take a look at your budget and all your bills and see how much you have left over every month.

    Take a portion of that and put it into a separate savings account where you won’t be able to spend it. Don’t even think about it anymore. Treat that money as if it was already gone. That puts you one step closer to financial freedom.

    The best part? Setting a monthly savings goal becomes very addicting very quickly. You will work hard to meet your target and if you don’t, you will be disappointed.

    You can also look into using saving apps like Truebill or Acorns. If you’re currently a student then you should consider using top student sites that can help you sort your finances and studies.

    Do this for yourself if you already don’t.

    And if you are a saver, then always focus on increasing your goal.

    You will thank your future self.

    Make early retirement and paying off your mortgage a goal and always dream of it.

    If you work at it, you will get there.

    Silver Lining

    The overall picture appears to be improving, however. June marks the 25th consecutive month that Americans’ financial security has improved, with men reporting more security for the 28th straight month.

    Women have reported increasing financial security in 16 of 28 months including eight of the past 12.

    Sites such as SavingExpert provide guidance and financial clarity for those who need it.

    It is no longer the day and age where you need a financial adviser, with the internet you can gather the help you need.

    If you have any financial questions feel free to leave a comment below. I am always happy to help and utilize my experience in the field of money to help out fellow young adults and millennials.

    Taking Out Student Loans? Do It Right With These 7 Tips

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    taking out student loans

    Your education is extremely important but getting that education can also be extremely expensive. Many people take out student loans in order to pay for the education they want. There are a few tips to follow in order to make sure you get the most out of your student loan without overpaying or harming your financial future. Take a look!

    1. Look For Scholarships

    Before you start applying for loans to cover your education, take a look at what scholarships or grants you may qualify for. There are many websites where you can look for scholarships and your school will also have their own scholarships. Scholarships and grants do not need to be repaid which means you will receive the money you need to fund your education without any debt. Apply to as many as you can in order to get ‘free money’.

    2. Federal vs Private

    Applying for a federal loan is something you should do right away when you consider paying for school. Federal loans have several benefits when compared to personal loans. For example, federal loans have fixed interest rates, offer deferment periods and do not require a cosigner. In addition, filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form can guide you toward other federal grants and loans you may qualify for. Always look at federal loans first when taking out student loans.

    3. Private Student Loans

    When you have maxed out the number of federal loans you can take out, you may still need to turn to cash loans. Each lender will offer you a different rate which could be based on your credit history, your future income projections and how many loans you have already taken out. Shop around and find a lender that can give you the best rate on private student loans.

    4. Payment Terms

    While most federal student loans begin repayment schedules once you have graduated, a private student loan may not operate in the same way. If you are applying for a private student loan, look at when you need to start paying the loan back. Some may ask you to begin payments immediately while others could start repayment several months after you graduate. Be sure you can abide by the loan terms and will be able to make payments on time as designated by your loan.

    5. Find a Discount

    While you may have been accepted into the school of your dreams, you may want to consider a more economical community college. Local colleges often offer courses that cost much less for state residence and you can take these inexpensive classes to get credits you need. Take a few summer classes at a community college then transfer those credits to your dream school. You will save money and still be able to go to the school you want to.

    6. Plan Your Classes

    If you have already decided on a major, you will know exactly what classes you need to take in order to graduate with your degree. Plan your classes all the way through graduation in order to budget for the next few years. You may be able to take discounted summer classes that could save money or take heavier class loads in order to graduate early (some schools charge annual flat rate tuition no matter how many classes you take). Make your budget then assess how much of a loan you will need.

    7. Save Money When You Can

    Cutting your day to day costs can help you greatly while you are paying for your education. Try to live at home or with a roommate in order to save on rent. Sell your textbooks after you complete a course. Utilize the tax benefits of being in school when you file your annual taxes. And, of course, try not to fail a class requiring you to pay for it again.

    Student loans are very common and chances are, you may need one now or down the road. Be prepared and use your loan in a responsible and smart way. Now, get back to studying for those classes!