Has anyone else noticed an uptick in conversation about personal finance this month? As someone who’s worked in the financial industry for many years, I’m always pleasantly surprised when the rest of the world becomes more interested in the topics I deal with every day – things like investing, saving, and debt management.
April is National Financial Literacy Month. It’s a good time to reflect on how we might be able to manage our finances just a little bit better, revisit strategies and think about financial objectives. By May, we’ll be happily planning BBQs and vacations, so doing some spring-cleaning now could go a long way towards achieving our long-term goals.
We recently announced the newest members of the SoFi Entrepreneur Program, a group of promising SoFi members who are starting businesses while also paying off student loans. As they progress through the program, we’ve asked each member to share important lessons they’ve learned on their road to startup success.
This post comes from John Ciecholewski, CEO and Cofounder of Sunn, which is both an app and an LED light that mimics sunlight indoors in real-time to help keep your body clock be in rhythm with nature. Learn more at www.sunnlight.com.
In 2013, a Fortune 50 company invested millions of dollars into a not-so-small startup that crowdsources invention ideas and brings them to market. The investment was part of a broader strategy to broaden the bigger company’s “innovation funnel” and enter the smart home market.
At the time, my company, Sunn, was working on a smart light bulb, and it seemed as though our product would be a great candidate for this smart home initiative. But what we thought would be the perfect partnership ended up being anything but – starting with a negotiation process that cost our company precious time and effort.
Now that tax day has come and gone, the only thing left to do is figure out how to spend your refund.
The IRS reported that it had already processed about 50 million returns as of March 20th, with roughly 83% of returns resulting in refunds. The average amount at that point? Almost $3,000 per check.
If you’re one of the happy refundees, that money may be burning a hole in your bank account as we speak. Before you spend it on something you won’t remember by tax time next year, consider using it for something that can actually help your financial situation in the long run by paying down debt, saving or spending strategically.
With the average student loan debt burden on the rise, it’s little wonder that loans often hold people back from pursuing their entrepreneurial goals. At SoFi, we’ve heard these stories time and again – friends, classmates and SoFi members who dream of starting their own businesses, but who feel trapped in a traditional job because they need to make that loan payment each month.
Anecdotes like these are supported by the data: the startup rate is about half of what it was three decades ago. In addition to a smaller number of new businesses, people under 35 make up a smaller proportion of entrepreneurs. The burden of debt has certainly played no small part in these trends.
Refinancing student loans can be a great strategy for saving money when you’re done with school, but you can also take steps before even applying for loans that will pay off over the longterm.
However, getting accepted to an MBA program is challenging. So much so that by the time graduate students are admitted to a program, many of them want to secure the first funding options available without pausing to thoroughly assess all the options.
Under-thinking your education financing strategy can have negative consequences, according to Rice University Associate Director of Financial Aid Salomon Medina. “I usually ask students to treat their student loan planning like part of their coursework,” says Medina. “Take your time, pay attention to the details, weigh your options and make thoughtful decisions from day one – or you could be paying for mistakes later on down the road.
Treating graduate student loans like an afterthought isn’t the only potential pitfall for incoming MBA students. In his 4 years counseling prospects and students at Rice University’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business, Medina has seen more than a few mishaps that can cost borrowers both time and money. Here, he shares five important actions you can take to avoid the most common mistakes, and get the best graduate student loans available.