Category Archives: Financial Advice

Tips on Auto Finance

If you must finance your next vehicle, here are some tips.

You will want to find the lowest interest rate possible. This research can easily be done online faster than making the phone calls to different banks.

Auto dealers can provide financing for you, this way you can do all of the paperwork in one place. Keep in mind they receive a commission for this, so it may help in your negotiation process.

There are different finance programs for different credit categories.

Put as much money down on the vehicle as possible. This will help keep your payment low. Also keep in mind, if the vehicle happens to be in an accident and is not repairable, the lower your balance the more likely to have the loan paid in full by your insurance company.

If you have bad credit or no credit at all, you will want to shop around to maximize your options. A special finance company may be willing to finance the vehicle for you if you have at least 10% down. If you do not have a very large down payment, you may need to seek out financing at a buy here pay here auto dealership. Ask and make sure they report to the credit bureau. If so, this will help you re-establish or establish credit. If you must go this route, it is a good idea to purchase gap insurance.

Keep in mind automobiles depreciate. So as time goes by you want the value of your vehicle to be more than the balance on your auto loan. Any extra payment you can make toward your balance will help the principal decrease.

If you miss a payment on your vehicle you will end up paying more interest in the long run, because interest is accrued daily. Therefore, you will not have your loan paid in full by the end of the term. Most finance companies also charge a late fee if you go beyond a grace period of usually 10 to 15 days. If you must pay late, pay within the grace period.

To calculate your daily interest, take your loan balance, multiply by your interest rate and divide by 365 days. For example, if your loan balance is $10,000 and your interest rate is 10 percent, you would multiply 10,000 x .10 = 1000. Then divide 1000 by 365 days, which is $2.74. This gives you a much better idea of how much of your payment is going to interest and how much interest you will be paying over the term of an auto loan. So any additional payment you can make toward principal really helps.

Financial Advice for College Students or Recent Graduates

With today’s increasing cost of tuition, housing and food for the average college student, funding the college experience can be challenging. If you’re like most college students, you’ll be turning to financial aid, personal loans and even credit cards to keep up. However, four years of building up those debts can mean years – even decades – of credit issues after graduation.

Saving money before and during college is one of the best strategies for protecting your credit and staying one step ahead of the financial game. Here are some tips on saving money, finding resources for funding and dealing with finances after you graduate:

Tips for Saving Money Before and During College

Most college students don’t even begin to think about saving money during college – until they deplete their savings account completely. Staying ahead of your finances may involve creating a budget and really taking a close look at your expenses. Keeping tabs on your expenses each week can help you manage your money so you don’t become just another ‘broke college student’ as you move through your educational career. After you narrow down your real ‘needs’ versus ‘wants’ you can create a workable plan by:

-Cooking at home vs. eating out

-Carpooling to save on gas

-Sharing a vehicle with a roommate or friend

-Living with roommates to save on rent

-Limiting social activities to the weekends

-Shopping at thrift stores and discount shopping outlets for clothing and accessories

Saving money from a part-time job during high school is one of the easiest ways to build up some financial strength for those college years, and you can set these funds aside in a money market or other high-interest investment account to earn as you go.

Still, even the most frugal budget can leave you short of funds when it comes to paying for books and that upcoming semester. If that’s the case, you’ll need to secure other sources of funding such as scholarships, grants and possibly a part-time job.

Other Sources of Funding for College Students

If you want to avoid interest-bearing student loans and personal loans to get you through college, there are additional resources available. Some of the best ways to fly through college without damaging your finances include:

-Securing local and national scholarships

-Working on the weekends or around your class schedule

-Applying for grants and work-study programs where you earn both college credit and a (modest) wage

-Having your employer sponsor you (if you work full time)

Dealing with Finances After Graduation

Making the shift from the college lifestyle to the ‘real world’ can be tough, and very few college students head to the working world completely debt free. Student loans and credit card debt often accompany that degree in hand, and you will be paying off these debts for years to come. Still, there are ways to take control of your finances as soon as you take off the cap and gown.

You can:

-Set up an investment savings account and make monthly deposits.

-Keep up with a monthly budget

-Live with a roommate to save on rent costs

-Take a second job to pay down student loan debt faster

Managing your finances during or after college requires a diligent commitment to stay ahead. It’s easy to fall into the trap of credit cards and overspending when you’re busy studying and socializing, but creating a budget and maximizing your resources can help you enjoy the college experience without the financial burden.