A Financial Education Event
     

Wanna Be on National TV With Me?


I love a challenge and am something of a risk taker. But I try to play it safe, too. Does that make sense? In other words, if I’m going to jump out of an airplane, I’m going to make sure the skydive center is certified, has a solid safety history and my instructor is experienced. In the happy pic, you can see where I’m in the sky with Jack Hammer, who had 3,000 jumps to his credit.

I’m also one to look at our present economic crisis as a challenge as well. I don’t recommend risky endeavors like speculative investments or get rich quick techniques. However, I do think it’s appropriate to take other “risks” to get out of debt–like downsizing a house, or going from a two car family to a one car family for a season. Even shopping at consignment stores or growing your own veggies can be an adventure to some.

Families are trying to recover from the mortgage and wall street meltdowns just in time to face the next big challenge–credit card debt. Stay posted to get the latest news on how to manage your credit card debt and here’s a special announcement for those who are right in the middle of this challenge. It’s an adventure you and I can take together!

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

Are you a young family struggling with consumer debt? If you are over $20K in credit card debt and need support, there is an opportunity to work with me as I help you negotiate with your lenders and work towards paying down your debt. A national television show may follow you every step of the way. Email us at assistant@elliekay.com if you are interested.

Just remember that no matter what the headlines read today, you can still take steps to face the challenge and succeed. But watch out for that first step, it’s a doozie!

Ellie Kay
America’s Family Financial Expert (R)
http://www.elliekay.com/

Ellie Kay on Nightline

Resolved to dig out of debt? It can be done but there’s a right way and a wrong way to approach the topic, which is true in a lot of areas of our life. For example, there’s a right way to hail a cab in New York City. I can jump out of an airplane, but can’t successfully stop a cab without lying down in front of it –and even then it probably wouldn’t STOP! But my biz colleague, Tara, can hail a cab by just walking out of a building! It’s truly miraculous, I’ve watched her hail cabs a half a dozen times and she just takes a few steps, raises her hand, gets the magic gleam in her eye and voila! A yellow cab appears!
Conquering consumer debt can be as daunting as trying to get one of those yellow things to stop but not if you know what you’re doing. So let’s look at the right way to get outta debt!

  1. Assess Your Debt — Order your credit report for free at http://www.annualcreditreport.com/ and add up all your consumer debt numbers (for both spouses if married.) Most consumers don’t know how much debt they have, like Lorinda on the recent Nightline special I was on earlier this week. Go to 1. Link to video only of segment: http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=6599750 2. Link to video embedded in four-page story on website (note this onetook some time to play–maybe it was my computer–which is why I am also offering the one above.)http://abcnews.go.com/Business/Economy/story?id=6594831&page=1
  2. APR Reduction — This is where the miracle of compounding interest happens and it can either work for you or against you. If you go to my tools section at http://www.elliekay.com/ you can find the minimum payment calculator and run your own numbers. Watch the Nightline section for the specific strategy involved in HOW to do it (hint: you should never threaten to close your account). It involves knowing how to talk to the person at the credit card company and being polite, prepared, and persistent! The average family with 10K in debt, paying the 2% minimum at an 18%APR can save $6K a year (in interest) by lowering their APR to 9% and paying a little more on the minimum (3%). It’s a “little” that saves a “lot!”
  3. All IN — OK, I’m not a poker player, which is where the term comes from, but being “all in” is when you put all your chips on the table and decide to play your hand–hoping it will work out. With consumer debt, it’s important to commit to getting out of debt and that ALL the money you save (on the tips that are shared throughout my book, Living Rich for Less and this blog) is going to go toward consumer debt. ALL the unexpected money that comes in (tax refunds, bonus checks, birthday dollars) will go toward paying the principle on those credit cards. To get started, take TEN MINUTES, and shop around for auto insurance. I’m amazed that 1/3 of consumers never compare auto insurance prices. Go to http://www.progressive.com/ to see quotes from multiple carriers and pick the one that is right for you. People I’ve worked with save hundreds by comparing prices. Then take those dollars saved and immediately write a check toward your debt!

I’ve given this consumer debt reduction advice to thousands of families through my writing, media appearances and at live events and there are thousands of those readers/viewers/audience participants who are now outta consumer debt.

I may not be able to hail a cab in NYC, but I do know how to help people find financial freedom.

Ellie Kay

America’s Family Financial Expert (R)

http://www.elliekay.com/

Credit Card Reform – Ellie on Neil Cavuto Today

The Senate passed a bill for credit card reform and this populist idea may end up costing the good credit managers more as they shoulder the burden of those with poor credit problems. In the next two years, government stress tests indicate that companies will chargeoff 82 billion in bad debts and that money is coming from somewhere. Today on Neil Cavuto, here is what I suggested:

What Consumers can expect:

  • Annual Fees – 50 million of you are paying no fees but I believe you’ll be charged in the future while existing annual fees are likely to rise
  • Higher APRS – beware that in many cases, using your card after the APR has been raised is the same thing as accepting the higher APR
  • Reduced limits – if your limit hasn’t changed yet, it probably will and if you are not aware of the limit change, this could result in an over-the-limit fee
  • Altered Grace Period – your new due date could be sooner than you thought and the result is a hefty late fee
  • Hidden Fees – When it comes to recovering 82 billion in chargeoffs and 20 billion in lost revenue from fees, credit card companies will get creative in what they’ll charge you for!

What Consumers can do about it:

  • Call in — When you receive notification of higher APRs, lowered limits or annual fees be prepared to call the credit card company and do what you can to try to get back what they have taken away from you. Read my blog on what to say and what not to say in my tagged consumer debt label.
  • Caution – Do NOT cancel your major bank card just because they’ve added an annual fee–this could hurt your credit score in a significant way! If you’ve had the card for 5 or more years and cancel it, then your longevity is affected in your credit scoring. So be strategic in what you cancel and when.
  • Control – Make sure you are in control, in terms of knowledge, of your card’s changes. If you receive any kind of notification about grace periods, credit limits or higher APRS, then read the fine print in order to understand what limitations are being placed on your card. If you don’t understand the fine print, then call the company and ask them when your new due date is, what your credit limit is, what your new APR will be and if using your card constitutes acceptance of the new APR. Also ask them if there have been any other changes to your credit card agreement (this is where you may discover some hidden fees.)
  • Creativity – With the reduction of reward perks and cash back savings, it may be time to look outside your own credit card for rewards on the items you purchase. For example, at the site Upromise.com you sign up free and get anywhere from 1% to 25% deposited into a 529 savings plan for items purchased. Also be sure to check bankrate.com in the future ( a few months from now) in order to compare what other credit card companies are offering in terms of rewards and perks. There may yet be something left for those of us with good credit!

Ellie Kay

America’s Family Financial Expert (R)

www.elliekay.com

Back To School, Baby! – ABC News “Good Money” Show

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Summers are great and kids run free, but by the end of the break, a lot of parents are more than ready to start that back-to-school shopping. Truth be told, I think my “babies” are as ready to get back in the academic groove as I am ready to send them back! (BTW, I still call my 6’5″ sons baby and get away with it). But getting ready can be hard on the old bank account if you are not strategic in how you shop. Here are some ideas that I shared on a new ABC News Now show called “Good Money”
1. Layer the Savings –When shopping online, look for sale items where you can also use a coupon or code to save even more on the price, shipping, or by getting free products. With the economy forcing parents to make hard decisions about what’s really a necessity, putting a little research into finding extra discounts can add up to big savings.

2. “Double Dipping” – To maximize limited back-to-school shopping dollars, look for items that have good value, but also look to shop at locations where you can have a percentage of that purchase deposited into your child’s college savings account. Sign up for www.upromise.com so that a percentage of your purchases will go into your child’s 529 plan.

3. Logistical Savings – If your college-bound baby is attending a school out of state, shop at online retailers that also have physical stores in the town where she/he is going to school. Often times, these retailers have online-to-store options where they will send the products to one of their local stores without charging a shipping fee. This option will allow parents and students to shop at their leisure online, take advantage of all the savings options, and have the convenience of going to a local store to pick up the items they ordered.

4. Link-in Friends and Family – Oftentimes, family and friends want to help contribute to a child’s education, but they don’t know how to help – especially in a recession. Grandparents or others can sign up for Upromise as well, for free to have a percentage of their purchases from hundreds of participating merchants deposited in a college savings account.

5. Family Spending Plan – Distinguish between “needs” and “wants” by making financial savings a family affair. Give children a spending plan that shows them how much money they can spend on back-to-school items. Inform children that what they do not spend, they can keep. This added motivation of learning ways to spend less and save more not only saves the family money, but trains children in money matters, making them more adept as young adults.

Wonderfully Yours!

Ellie Kay
America’s Family Financial Expert (R)

Ellie Answers Your Questions on ABC News – “Good Money” Show

I was recently in New York on the set of a fun new show called “Good Money” and I solicited questions from this blog to ask on the air. By now you know if the producer chose your question to read on the air and you also have a free copy of my new book, The Little Book of Big Savings (Waterbrook, 2009) on its way to your mailbox! If you didn’t win this time, don’t give up! We’ll post new ways to win a copy of my books in the future.

Here is a link of me answering your questions on ABC News Now – Good Money. Follow this live link to listen to my answers to the following award winning questions:

  • My husband and I want to get out of debt, but we each have a different idea as to how to go about achieving this. Any advice on how to get on the “same page”? Bren Jones – Vienna, WV
  • Deals4moms.org said… After all your experiences with counseling couples, can you say that your financial advice has helped to save marriages?If yes, what are the 3 top things that helped those couples?
  • Audrey asked…Here’s my question-if one spouse makes more than the other, how can the budget be equalized?
  • L A Hughes said… Dear Ellie Kay,I saw your advice to the married couple who found it difficult to communicate about spending on Nightline. My question concerns couples who are dating, engaged, etc : Do you have any suggestions or tips for how couples can learn discover, understand or achieve common ground about attitudes about money–before marriage–without sacrificing romance, or without seeming pushy?
  • How can you have some fun and adventure with your spouse when you really shouldn’t spend money to go out on a date night once a week because you have so many other bills to pay, and it gets boring just sitting home watching a movie and ordering a pizza or worse making your own dinner when it is supposed to be a break from the routine and not work. Kim from Manchester, Maryland.
  • OK, guys, we’ll do this again in the future and please remember I didn’t choose the questions to air, the producer did!

    Ellie Kay

    America’s Family Financial Expert (R)

    www.elliekay.com

    Win My New Book – Questions on College Credit Cards

    Once again, it’s time to give you a chance to win a copy of my new book, The Little Book of Big Savings . In case you missed the discussion about paying for college, then take a peek at ABC News Now for last week’s media appearance. It answers questions as to how we are putting all of our kids through school debt free.
    You’ll see from previous blogs that others have already won their free book and this week, I’m throwing in one of my other titles as well: Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees.

    I’ll be guesting on a national show on August 28th talking about: Credit card debt for college students: How to avoid getting buried in debt and finding ways to consistently pay if off even though they don’t have a steady income.

    Get creative and ask me your questions on this blog or by emailing them to assistant@elliekay.com . If the producer selects your question to have me answer on the air, I’ll send you both of my books as a way of saying “thank you.” We need to have your questions posted or submitted no later than Tues, Aug 25th at 6:00 PM (PST).

    Happy Savings,

    Ellie Kay
    America’s Family Financial Expert (R)
    http://www.elliekay.com/

    College Credit Card Debt — Ellie answers on ABC NEWS NOW

    As a mom of many (with three in college in 2009) and as “America’s Family Financial Expert,” I know a bit about college kids and credit card debt. Recent studies indicate that the average college student will graduate with $3,000 in consumer debt (in addition to $20K in student loans). This translates into BIG trouble for those starting out in life.

    For example, our son, Daniel, recently graduated from college and then got married right away. Because he did things right and worked very hard, he has no car loans, no consumer debt, no student loan debt and a GREAT degree from the University of Texas. But then he lost his part time job–the one he was hoping would turn into full time work even as he was applying elsewhere (hint: it’s not a great time to be a print journalist looking for work). But because he was debt free, he and his new wifey weathered the storm. Within three days, he had in 16 applications and within three weeks he was employed again–this time full time. If he had consumer debt, he would be in trouble.

    So how do you navigate your kids toward financial literacy while in college? And how does the new Credit Card ACT impact your student? Click onto the link to hear the answers I gave on ABC NEWS NOW, “Good Money” to these questions and YOUR questions:

    My question is why would you want to pay off a credit card while you’re in college, making very little if any income? Why not pay the small minimum payment due each month, and pay off the balance after graduation? You would have a much higher paying job with a new college degree, and could pay off the balance (hopefully) within the first six months to a year of employment.
    Teresa, Boise, ID

    Our oldest daughter is entering her junior year of college, and has so far avoided any credit card debt by very purposefully not having a credit card. She has said that she knows the temptation for impulsive spending would be too great, so she would rather not open that door. While I admire her self-awareness, I am concerned that she is not establishing a “good credit” rating for herself. Is my concern valid? If so, do you have any advice for helping her manage a credit card responsibly?
    Debra Devens, MA

    Our daughter is a freshman this year. She is carrying 19 units so having a job is very difficult. She is on the waiting list for a job on campus and no one seems interested in hiring only for the weekends. It’s hard for her to get and pay off a credit card with no job. Do you have any suggestions?
    Crystal RoughLancaster, CA

    Is it a good idea to set up a debit card for college students so they can only spend what’s in the check acct? Wouldn’t that limit the % on a regular charge card if over extended?
    Mitchell, West Bend, WI

    Should parents help their student get a card, give them a set dollar amount, then let the student use the card to buy things, with the parents paying the bill, to build up the student’s credit rating? Cherie Cheramie from Norton, OH
    When you are a college student and keeping a budget, trying to pay credit card debt, what should you do if you don’t have a stable income? Kelly, St. Louis Park, MN
    All these readers got FREE copies of “The Little Book of Big Savings” and “Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees.” CONGRATULATIONS!
    Ellie Kay
    America’s Family Financial Expert (R)

    Just Say “No” to All Credit Cards??

    Just Say No? Fact or Fiction? ABC NEWS NOW Special with Ellie Kay

    Revolving credit—largely made up of credit card debt—fell by nearly 20% in November, the largest drop on record, according to the Federal Reserve. Credit card usage is definitely slowing due to less borrowing by consumers as well as banks’ tighter lending standards. Through October, the number of new credit card accounts was down 46% from the same period in 2008, according to Equifax.
    The average consumer in America owns five credit cards but there has been a slow emergence of a “no-credit-card” lifestyle among former credit card holders. These “cash only” buyers are convinced their numbers will grow as consumers become increasingly disenchanted with credit card industry practices. Cash-only can be inconvenient, but these consumers say it is worth it. **********

    Q. Some of the consumers who have sworn off credit cards say that they are doing it in order to “get back to basics” and their “desire for a simpler lifestyle.” How do you think getting rid of credit cards can help them achieve their goals?

    Ellie: I’ve done research on and talked to those families who have downsized, sold their rental property, small businesses or material “stuff” and used that money to pay off most of their debts. They’ve made these radical lifestyle choices in order to go back to the “less is more” worldview in a quest for the simple life. One of these families has a blog, ManVsDebt.com and reading about their experiences is both inspiring and challenging. In fact, our own family has “been there and done that” to a certain extent, when we had a lot of consumer debt and opted to become a one car family for a season. I think that there is an advantage in that you have fewer bills, fewer arguments over money with your spouse and fewer headaches. There is a lot to be said for the simple life—and I’m not talking about Paris Hilton’s “Simple Life” but a more streamlined lifestyle that if free of the trappings of consumer debt.

    Q. According to a July 2009 survey by Auriema Consulting Group, 28% of consumers have shifted the way they pay for purchases in the past year with an increase in debit card usage coming at the expense of credit cards. In fact, 46% of consumers surveyed said they believed debit cards helped control their spending. Do you think the increased acceptance of debit cards makes the “cash life” easier to achieve?

    Ellie: A decade ago, consumers who didn’t want to use credit cards had two choices: they could carry around a lot of cash or write a check and hold up the grocery store line. I do think that with the increased use of debit cards, we have a situation where you can blend the discipline of paying cash with the convenience of using plastic. Most merchants, including online retailers, accept debit cards if they accept credit cards. Plus, there are other options such as paypal that help those consumers who want to use a debit card instead of a credit card. Since debit cards are broadly accepted I think that the decline in credit card usage is due primarily to a desire by people to get a better handle on credit card spending rather than a rejection of credit cards.

    Q. Abandoning credit cards seems to be a much more radical step than using them less. Furthermore, consumers who don’t own a credit card often have a hard time renting a car, among other inconveniences. What are some of the drawbacks of cutting up those cards?

    Ellie: Getting rid of all of your credit cards is a radical step that can have a significant impact on your ability to function in a card based society. Not only is it almost impossible to rent a car, but some hotels won’t book a room to travelers who want to pay with a debit card or cash. Those that accept debit cards may place a hold of several hundred dollars in the customer’s bank account, which could cause checks to bounce. Debit cards also provide fewer consumer protections than credit cards. If fraudulent charges show up on a credit card bill, the card holder can refuse to pay them. Federal law limits credit card holder’s liability to $50 of the fraudulent charges and most card issuers have zero liability policies for victims of identity theft. Whereas money stolen from a debt card is immediately removed from the card holders bank account, which means they must fight to get funds reimbursed. All of these drawbacks don’t even begin to discuss the consumer’s ability to develop good credit.

    Q. Many consumer experts say that responsible use of credit cards is one of the most effective ways to build a good credit record, how would a “cash or debit card only” approach impact the ability to develop a good FICO score?

    Ellie: Personally, I don’t agree with a cash only approach, especially for people in their early twenties who are trying to develop a good credit history in order to get a car loan, rent an apartment or secure lower cost auto insurance—all of these are dependent upon a good FICO score. Not to mention the fact that more and more employers are checking an applicant’s credit score before they consider employing them. The philosophy is: if you can’t manage your own money, why should I let you manage my company’s resources?
    I think it’s important to stress the responsible use of credit cards. We have several of our children who are now young adults and we coach them in securing a credit card in order to build a good score.

    Q. What are some of the guidelines you advocate among first time credit card users so that they can build a score without building consumer debt?

    Ellie: If possible, their first card should be secured at the same lending institution where they have a checking account and a savings account. It should have a low limit, such as $500, and be a major credit card rather than a department store card. Then they should follow three rules: First, they should make sure they try to pay off the balance each month and pay it on time. Second, they should never charge more than 30% of the available credit in order to keep the proportionality or utilization aspect of their credit scoring healthy. And finally, if they cannot pay off the full balance, then they should always pay more than the minimum balance due in order to have their score reflect that they are paying down a balance.

    Ellie Kay
    America’s Family Financial Expert (R)
    http://www.elliekay.com/

    When Free Credit Reports Aren’t Free

    When A “Free” Credit Report is not Free

    Ellie was on ABC News Now this past week talking about this critical topic. Since 2004, consumers have had the right to request a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three credit-reporting agencies. But almost from the beginning there’s been confusion about how to get a free credit report. There are thousands of people who respond to TV ads offering “free” credit reports or they order a credit report online only to later discover that they have signed up for a monthly credit-monitoring service that was definitely not free.
    **********

    Q. Let’s start with the obvious question, Ellie, when is a free credit report really free?


    Ellie: There’s basically one primary way to get a no-strings-attached free credit report and that is to go to AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. You can also write into Annual Credit Report Request Service at PO Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. While there are many look-a-likes sites, there is basically one government site and that is AnnualCreditReport.com .

    Q. What is the difference between a credit report and a credit score and are they both free?

    Ellie: A credit report is your credit history and that is free as outlined above. However, you are not entitled to a free credit score. The credit score is your FICO (Fair Isaac Credit Score) and it indicates your credit worthiness and will impact a variety of financial areas including what kind of Annual Percentage Rate you will pay for your mortgage loan.

    Q. How often can you get a free credit report and from what credit reporting agencies?

    Ellie: You are allowed one free report, per year, from each of the three major reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. You don’t have to get all of them at the same time. In fact, I recommend that you spread out each of the reports every four months. That way you can track, for free, whether there have been any major changes in your credit history on a regular basis.

    Q. Should I order a copy of my kids’ credit report to see if someone stole their ID?

    Ellie: Child identity theft is on the rise and it is important for you to order a copy of your child’s credit report at least once a year to make sure it has not been compromised. You should also go to Social Security Administration website and order a copy of your child’s social security earnings to make sure someone isn’t using their number in order to obtain work.

    Ellie Kay

    America’s Family Financial Expert (R)

    Prioritize Your Debt – What to do With Unpaid Bills

    Recently, on ABC NEWS, I talked about the fact that some parts of the country still have unemployment in the double digits while other employees are facing cutbacks in hours and salaries. More and more people are having a hard time paying their bills in these economically challenging times. If you only have a certain amount of money available and you know you won’t be able to pay all the bills, you need to know that not all bills are created equal. There are certain bills that have greater penalties than others. Today, I want to help you look at how to tackle those unpaid bills as well as grace periods and the variable consequences for not paying bills on time.
    **********
    Q. Are people still having a harder time paying their bills? I mean, we hear about new jobs being created and the recession is officially over. Why are some families susceptible to continued financial difficulty?

    ELLIE: Obviously, unemployment is a big issue as well as the fact that many workers have had to accept pay cuts or work fewer hours to keep their jobs. With these come a contagion effect in that if you are unemployed or you go part time, there’s additional costs involved such as purchasing health insurance. Even if these workers find new jobs, they still have the residual effect of having less income for many months. In other cases, some may have had homes foreclosed upon and it’s cost them a lot to get established in another place of residence, plus these individuals has tanked their credit ratings—which means that rental property will require a larger down payment. A poor credit score also means these renters have to pay more down to even get basic utilities hooked up to their rental property. All these expenses start to add up and eventually, families are finding that they don’t have enough to pay all the bills.

    Q. So if someone is between jobs or had some unexpected expenses such as medical bills, then what bill should they pay first?

    ELLIE: When it comes to paying the bills there are always consequences for not paying. However, it’s the severity of the consequences that people need to consider when they are rank ordering which bills they should pay first, second, and so forth. The rule of thumb is to look at how fast your creditors will be likely to move against you. Which brings us to the most important bill and first bill you should always pay—your mortgage. If you fail to pay, the bank can begin foreclosure in as little as three months. Plus, this is the most significant debt you have when it comes to influencing your credit score. And with a poor credit score, the bills will just stack up even more quickly as we know that those who have bad credit have to pay more for deposits, for auto insurance some times and a poor score can even influence whether you get a new job or a job promotion at your existing place of employment. So protect your score and your financial future by paying the mortgage first.

    Q. OK, so we understand that the mortgage is the most important bill, what would come second?

    ELLIE: The next most important bill to pay is your car loan. Not only because you need a car to go to and from work, but also because as the second most significant loan you have, it will also impact your credit score in a more significant way than a department store charge card or a utility bill will. As for the consequences of not paying, a lender can begin repossess your vehicle if you’re a day late, but in all actuality, most will wait about sixty days. If you are serving in the military in a combat zone, there’s a little more leeway for vehicle repossession, you should contact your base’s financial office if you’re in danger of repossession while on active duty. But for the rest of us, not paying this important bill will cripple your ability to remain gainfully employed as having a vehicle is essential in most cases.
    Q. So we’ve paid the mortgage and the car loan, now we pay credit cards, right?
    ELLIE: Yes, that’s right. As you know, credit cards payment are very important because if you don’t pay on time, you’ll get hit with late fees. But there are more consequences than just a late fee. You might be faced with a hike in your APR if you’re tardy and then it could spread to other cards as well. You might find your average APR going from 9% on your credit cards to 24% or more in just a month. After about six months of missed payments, credit card companies start to send your account to collections and then you have an entirely new set of headaches to contend with. Concentrate on paying bank cards first such as Visa, Mastercard and American Express. You can even go to www.bankrate.com and look for lower interest rate cards that offer a promotional for transferred balances which can help your overall liability on credit cards. A final option is to go to your local credit union to see about a consolidation loan.
    Q. Let’s say you have a little bit of money left, what’s one of the lower priority bills that you can tackle?


    ELLIE: The next bill to concentrate on just happened yesterday—taxes. While technically, there is no “grace period” you can ask about an installment plan. The IRS can eventually garnish your wages and seize property or bank accounts. The old saying, “death and taxes are inevitable” exists, it’s because you WILL have to pay that tax bill some day—whether you’re a celebrity dishing on talk shows and making 25 million dollars a picture or whether you dish up ice cream part time at Coldstone making $25 a day!

    Q. Thus far, we haven’t mentioned student loan debt, isn’t that an essential bill as well?

    ELLIE: Yes, it does seem kind of crazy that student loans haven’t made it into our priority list yet, but I think that it illustrates the fact of how quickly the money goes for more “essential” bills and how there’s often more month left at the end of the paycheck Lenders for student loans will wait about nine months before placing a federal loan in default. As of last July, graduates can opt for a loan program that bases payments on up to 15% of your annual gross income. If you have these kinds of bills, then you can go to www.IBRinfo.org for help in how to pay your student loans more efficiently.

    Ellie Kay
    America’s Family Financial Expert (R)
    www.elliekay.com

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