As families and friends across the country gather for Thanksgiving, many Americans are bringing an unwanted guest along with them: high interest rate credit card debt.
And while it probably won’t be a topic of conversation around the dinner table, it’s always there in the back of your mind – a reminder that you’re spending thousands of dollars on interest when you’d rather use that money to pay for holiday gifts or a ski vacation.
Fortunately, there is a better solution. Find out how refinancing credit card debt with a low interest rate personal loan can get that unwanted turkey off your back – so you can focus on the fun of Thanksgiving instead.
This week, many Americans are taking time to reflect on the things they’re grateful for. But for some people, the season of giving thanks actually represents something that they aren’t all that thankful for – student debt. November and December mark the end of many student loan grace periods, which means this is the time of year when recent grads have to start paying back student loans.
If you fall into this category, here’s something you can be thankful for: a smart student loan repayment strategy. Because make no mistake – paying back student loans does require a strategy, particularly for the average graduate, law or medical school grad shouldering six figures of student loan debt.
You might think it’s as simple as choosing a student loan repayment plan and writing that first check. But variables like your monthly payment amount, the interest rates on your loans and how long you take to pay everything off can all have a big impact on your bottom line. A smart strategy optimizes these factors for your specific situation, so that you don’t spend a penny more than you have to when paying back student loans.
You can’t do anything about your grace period ending, but you can take steps to put your repayment strategy on the right track. Here are a few ways to do just that:
When it comes to choosing an MBA program, cost is only one consideration. For years, business schools, pundits and publishers of MBA rankings have urged that you should also weigh factors such as average class size, required test scores and placement rate when choosing where to apply. This advice still rings true, but it fails to convey a harsh reality.
In fact, cost is an increasingly important consideration for any higher education decision – let alone when you’re staring down the barrel of a six-figure MBA program. Of course, I’m partially speaking from experience here, as I remember breaking into a cold sweat when I saw the price of the business schools I was considering. But if you need more than just anecdotal evidence, here are a few recent stats:
*Tuition prices are on the rise for top MBA programs
*Average MBA student loan debt is now estimated at $42,000 (and likely skews much higher based on what we’ve seen among thousands of SoFi’s MBA borrowers)
*Many MBA candidates are still paying off undergraduate student loans (now estimated at $35,000 on average), so they’re dealing with a double whammy of debt
None of this is to say that a business degree isn’t worth the cost, but if you’re getting an MBA primarily for the financial benefits (e.g., increased earning potential), these stats illustrate some pretty clear headwinds. Like any investment, the cost of an MBA factors into your net return, and results can vary widely by program choice. That’s why it’s critical to do a thorough cost-benefit analysis on any school you’re thinking of attending.
Fortunately, assessing an MBA’s return on education (ROEd) is easier than ever in today’s information age. In addition to traditional MBA rankings, there are a number of resources available to help you calculate a program’s potential ROEd and make an informed decision about where to invest your precious time and money.
If you’re thinking about getting an MBA to advance your career, you’ll first want to conduct due diligence to ensure the return on investment is what you need it to be. After all, the average cost for top MBA programs in 2013 was $111,418, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Cost isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker when the right program could mean a big boost in your salary after graduation. In the first installment of our Return on Education (ROEd) analysis of over 200,000 SoFi applicants earlier this year, we found that an MBA led to an increase in earnings between 34% and 89%, depending on undergraduate degree type. Unfortunately, not all MBA programs offer the same payoff, and it can be tough to tell up front which one is going to be worth your investment.
So how do you choose the right MBA program for you? Many people look to the various MBA rankings published by magazines and other publications each year in order to make their choice. However, the criteria these outlets use to develop their rankings might not be exactly what you need in order to make a decision.
Looking at MBA rankings is a good first step, but it’s also key to look beneath the rankings to understand how they decide the top business schools. In addition, you should be looking beyond the rankings for a few telling pieces of information.
Here are four ways to do just that:
Employers competing for talent in a hot job market have a new tool in their arsenal: student loan repayment support.
To the delight of many job hunters, a growing number of companies now offer some form of assistance with student loan debt alongside more traditional HR benefits like 401(k) plans and health insurance. And it makes sense – with the average debt for recent undergrads and graduates estimated at about $35,000 and $58,000, respectively, who has money left over to fund a 401(k)?
But what started as a way for cutting edge tech companies and big professional services firms to attract new, often young talent out of grad school has morphed into something with much broader appeal. At SoFi, we’ve seen a 300% increase over the past two years in employer adoption of student loan assistance benefits. Our 400+ partnerships include not only Fortune 500 companies and top 100 law and consulting firms, but also increasingly a number of smaller startups and more traditional companies.