Last updated 3 months ago
The effects of a recovering economy have left many college-educated people unemployed, accepting jobs they are overqualified for, and burdened with large amounts of student debt. It is estimated that there is $1 trillion in outstanding student loan debt in the United States, and the average student loan balance is over $24,000. Which begs the question from prospective students: Is college worth it, especially if I need to use student loans?
The answer is YES. Now more than ever, a four-year college degree is still very valuable. According to research in 2012, people with a bachelor’s degree or higher made $45,500, while high school graduates only made $28,800. And that disparity has only grown since. Not to mention the unemployment rates and the share of those living in poverty are lower as well. Assuming 35 working years before retirement and the statistics from 2012 remain the same, college graduates easily earn over half a million dollars more in their lifetime! You can see now how impactful a college degree can be.
Sure, that piece of paper stating you’re a pro at cramming a semester’s worth of information on the night before a final does not guarantee that you will land a high-paying job when you graduate. But it’s a tool that is still very helpful today, and in some cases necessary, to achieve your goals.
The question then becomes: How do you pay for college? Before you incur any student loans make sure to exhaust all of the following options:
Financial aid – Apply using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Grants – Check with your high school guidance counselor for help finding “free” money you are eligible for.
Scholarships – Many foundations and non-profit organizations have funds to aid students in obtaining a college education. As with grants, a high-school guidance counselor can help steer you in the right direction.
Tuition reimbursement – Did you know some jobs may reimburse your tuition, registration fees, and even books as part of your employment benefits? Don’t forget to check with your manager or Human Resources department.
If there's still a gap in the college funding you need, shop around and compare private student loans as you would any other major purchase. Here is a short list of things to look at:
Loan terms, such as rates, length of the loan and repayment schedule.
Monthly payments and total cost. After all, you need to make sure you can afford the student loan(s).
Customer service. It’s likely you will have a question at some point, so you want to make sure you can get help from your lender when you need it. A simple Google search and available reviews can help you determine if the lender is student-friendly.
Making the decision to go to college, where to go, and how to pay for it can be daunting. Make that process a little less scary with a Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union Student Loan. We are here to help you make smart financial choices and fund your college dream. Getting started is easy, simply apply online today!
Last updated 4 months ago
Passport? Check. Bathing suit? Check. Sun block? Check. Credit Card?
With schools out and warm weather here, vacation season is in full swing! Whether you’re traveling abroad or staying stateside, opt for carrying a credit card instead of cash. It will help you relax and enjoy your vacation more knowing should your wallet get stolen you are protected against unauthorized purchases on your credit card. Most credit cards offer zero-liability, which means you pay nothing if your credit card is used fraudulently. If your credit card does not offer zero liability you are protected by federal law. Specifically, the Fair Credit Billing Act offers you protection against fraudulent purchases and you will not be liable for more than $50. Don’t lose sleep over the process of disputing fraudulent purchases, it’s actually quite simple.
Now imagine if your wallet full of cash had been stolen?! It would be a different story and your vacation could be ruined.
Another great thing is that most credit card companies offer real-time fraud monitoring. They will monitor for unusual activity on your credit card, charges may be put on hold, and you will be notified as soon as possible to confirm the purchases on your account. That’s why it’s important to tell your credit card company about your travel plans, especially if you’re traveling abroad. They could mistake your legitimate vacation purchases for a thief’s shopping spree and shut down your card if unable to contact you.
We know there’s a good chance you will need cash while on vacation. But you can limit the damage from a stolen wallet if you carry only the cash you need for the day and plan to make most purchases with a credit card. Don’t have a credit card? At Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union we help you make smart financial choices. Check out our low-rate, zero-liability VISA® Platinum Credit Card, and take us on vacation with you!
For more ways to protect your money while on vacation click here.
Last updated 6 months ago
The most common use for your credit score is to help lenders determine your creditworthiness when deciding to approve you for credit, such as a credit card, auto loan, or mortgage. Your credit score is determined by different factors in your borrowing activities, so it’s a pretty good indicator of how likely you are to repay debt. A higher score means you are less of a risk and will increase the chances that you get approved and receive favorable rates/terms when you apply for credit.
Did you know lenders are not the only ones checking your credit score?
A low credit score could impede you from renting an apartment, receiving cell phone service or utilities, getting lower insurance premiums, and in some cases getting hired for a job. You can begin to see how a credit score impacts much more than your financial life.
The good news is that you can improve your credit score!
Keep in mind that raising your credit score is a bit like losing weight: it takes time and there is no quick-fix. In fact, quick-fix efforts can backfire. The best advice is to manage credit responsibly over time. Check out these tips below to help you get started:
· Pay your bills on time.
Delinquent payments and collections can have a major negative impact on your credit score.
· If you have missed payments, get current and stay current.
The longer you pay your bills on time, the better your credit score.
· Keep balances low on credit cards and other “revolving credit”.
High outstanding debt can affect a credit score.
· Don't close unused credit cards as a short-term strategy to raise your score.
· Re-establish your credit history if you have had problems.
Opening new accounts responsibly and paying them off on time will raise your credit score in the long term.
· Note that it's OK to request and check your own credit report.
This won't affect your score. Reviewing your reports ensures that the information on all of your credit reports is correct and up to date, and may even help you catch signs of identity theft early. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company. To order your reports go to www.annualcreditreport.com.
·Apply for and open new credit accounts only as needed.
Don't open accounts just to have a better credit mix or to increase your available credit - it probably won't raise your credit score and could actually backfire by lowering it.
· Have credit cards - but manage them responsibly.
In general, having credit cards and installment loans (and making timely payments) will raise your credit score. Someone with no credit cards, for example, tends to be higher risk than someone who has managed credit cards responsibly.
At Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union our goal is help members make better financial choices and become MoneyStrong. Have no credit or a low credit score? Our VISA® Credit Card options can help you build and rebuild credit and get you on the path towards financial success. For more information, email eMemberServices@jdcu.com, call (978) 452-5001, or visit a branch near you.
Last updated 10 months ago
Saving is an important part of managing your finances. People who “pay themselves first” by saving are making a smart decision. They know their future is worth more than having the latest cell phone or spending one night at a concert. By setting money aside each week into a savings plan, you are setting yourself up for a brighter future and are prepared for life events and unexpected financial emergencies.
Another great thing about saving is that the money doesn’t just sit there. It actually works for you by collecting interest and adding to your savings without you having to do a thing. As that money increases from interest and additional deposits, you’ll be able to invest in other savings products that earn you even more money. This gives you the financial power to create the future you want.
So, if you haven’t put any money away for the future yet, today is a great day to get started.
Last updated 1 year ago
Looking to buy your first home? Buying a house, especially for the first time, can be both an exciting and a scary process. It’s important to make sure that you are prepared before you sign on the dotted line.
It makes sense to attend a homebuyer seminar where you can pick up tips on searching for a home, financing the purchase, and even maintaining your soon-to-be home. You may even pick up a few discounts on appraisals, home improvement products, and closing costs!
So, if you are interested in buying your first home, this is a great way to get started.