The History of College Student Loans

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Every other week, it seems, we hear dire warnings about how much debt our college students are burdened with when they graduate.

Indeed, more than ½ of college students take out student loans, and the average student loan tab for a graduating senior is just over $25,000.  Coupled with a rough economy and a general lack of financial knowledge, recent college graduates are struggling financially like never before.

Yet, it hasn’t always been this way.

Many of us just grew up knowing that student loans have, and will be, available, but that hasn’t always been the case.

A Brief History of College Student Loans

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Have a Student Going Off to College? Teach Your Child about Student Loan Debt

If you have a soon to be graduating high school senior, she has hopefully been accepted to several schools and is in the processes of deciding which to accept.

Your high school students should be blissfully debt free right now, but as soon as she decides what school to attend, that may all change.

Far too many students decide what college to attend because they like the campus or the atmosphere or because they want to move far from home.

Ideally, before she even begins to apply to colleges, you, as the parent, should sit down with her and discuss finances.  This conversation should occur no later than before your child makes a decision as to what college to attend.

Most parents would like to pay for their child’s entire college education, but that is often not possible due to the current economy and rising tuition costs.

Chances are, if your child attends an expensive university or private college, she will have to take out student loans, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars worth of student loans.  The cold reality is that she may be paying these loans for the next 10 to 20 years, and she may have to delay important life events such as getting married, having a child and buying a home all because of her student loan debt level.

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

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The Argument For Healthy, Simple Eating

I enjoy reading financial blogs as well as deal blogs.

What I find is that while financial blogs tend to argue that raising your income through your job and creating a side income is the best way to get ahead financially, many deal blogs argue that saving money, in part by using coupons, is the best way to get ahead financially.

Extreme Couponing Isn’t All It Is Cracked Up to Be

Several years ago, I was impressed to see a blogger share how she bought groceries with a retail value of $53 for only $3.67, but the cynic in me has taken over, especially after I watched an episode or two of TLC’s Extreme Couponing and watched how stressed out and uptight the couponers could get about finding the right deal, not to mention the time they were investing.  I also looked closely at what they were buying—pop, chips, frozen meals, boxed food, and bags and bags of candy.

If you can get it for free, that doesn’t mean you should be eating it. Continue Reading

Should You Discuss Money In Front of Your Kids?

The economic downturn beginning in 2007 caused financial hardship for many families who had to cope with job loss, foreclosures, and bankruptcies. 

While not every family may have had such a difficult time financially, there are still other strains on family finances such as rising gas and grocery prices.

As a parent, should you talk about money with your spouse in front of the children?

Of course, this is a deeply personal issue, and many will have differing views.  However, there is a valid reason to talk about money issues in front of your kids.

Benefit of Talking about Finances in Front of Your Kids

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Should Every Student Pursue a Four Year College Education?

The availability of student loans has changed our financial and employment landscape. 

While attending college used to be something just a few did, “We now send 70 percent of high-school graduates to college, up from 40 percent in 1970,”according to Marty Nemko, a career counselor based in Oakland California (The Chronicle of Higher Education).

While 70 percent of high school graduates attend college, the number of students who graduate with a degree is smaller.  Even when a student does obtain an undergraduate degree, a job is not guaranteed.

“Among the members of the class of 2010, just 56% had held at least one job” (The New York Times) by the spring of 2011.

This naturally begs the question, should all high school graduates attend a college?  Should attending college be something we encourage our children to do?
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Understand Wedding Customs Before You Spend Your Money On Them

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The summer months represent the peak of wedding season in the United States.

Every year approximately 2 million Americans get married (CDC), and they spend an average of $27,800 on their wedding (The Knot).

While Americans routinely decide to create their own customs such as the recent craze of choreographing a dance for the wedding party at the reception, we also follow customs that have been handed down through generations.  However, a closer look at how these customs came to be may free you to not follow tradition and save yourself some money.

Many of today’s wedding customs are rooted in the fact that weddings used to be less about love and more about business.  Simply put, weddings were a business arrangement, and this can be seen through a variety of customs we still embrace.

Consider the following wedding customs:

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Think of Marriage as a Business Arrangement?

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Many people enter marriage blindly, underestimating how minor annoyances they experience while dating can grow exponentially during marriage. 

While couples may argue about a variety of issues ranging from in-laws to child rearing to household chores, research shows money fights can be the most toxic to a marriage.

Jeffrey Dew at Utah State University analyzed data collected from 2,800 couples and determined that those who fought about money weekly were “30% more likely to get divorced than couples who reported disagreeing about finances a few times a month.”  (The New York Times)

Many of us believe in the romantic ideal that love is enough to grow and sustain a loving marriage, but that is certainly not the case. 

While physical attraction is important, what is more important is your spouse’s ideals and convictions, and how closely they are in line with your own.  If you are a saver and you willingly enter marriage with a spender, be prepared for routine conflict, and perhaps divorce.

Jan Dahlin Geiger, a financial planner in Atlanta states, “‘Overspending is no different than being an alcoholic or drug addict’ in its effect on a relationship.  ‘What one person is doing could have a huge negative impact on the couple’s finances’” (USA Today).  Likewise, spenders may hide their purchases from you and incur debt you do not know about.

Of course, overspending is not the only financial problem couples might face. 
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