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How to Protect Your Credit and Online Data From Fraud—A Year After The Equifax Breach

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How America’s Student Debt Crisis Affects The Country’s Largest Corporations

With the rise of millennials and Generation Z grads, the workforce is rapidly changing. Young, educated professionals bring a lot to employers for sure—like energy, enthusiasm, and a thirst for innovation. But these days, they also come with some financial baggage: high levels of student loan debt. That debt can be crippling and distracting, and on top of that, it’s also an obstruction to both short- and long-term financial goals.

It’s no secret that organizations directly feel the impact of the hardship. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) 2016 Employee Financial Wellness Report, 28% of 1,600 full-time U.S. employees surveyed admit that personal finances cause them to be distracted at work—up from 20% in 2015. Among those workers, 46% spend three or more hours a week, while at work, dealing with or thinking about their financial situations, compared to 37% in the previous year. Yet few HR teams are taking steps to address the problem effectively and help their employees—and their company’s ROI.

In this first part of our new series on employee wellness, recruitment, and engagement, we at SoFi want to provide actionable insights on how to better understand the financial burden of student loan debt that these employees face, and what to do to help ease the pressure through financial assistance, education, training, and support.

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Member spotlight on JJ Owen, Director of Development for the Movember Foundation

Mental Health, Finances and Moustaches: SoFi Member JJ Owen, Director of Development for the Movember Foundation Connects the Dots on Men’s Health Issues

For SoFi’s latest member spotlight, we sit down with JJ Owen, Director of Development for the Movember Foundation, to discuss mental health, finances and, of course, moustaches. We learn about JJ’s college days playing baseball, getting his MBA and how refinancing student loans became his first major financial decision, enabling him to take better control of the present to plan for his family’s future. 

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Student loan benefits for employee wellness

Workplace Stress Busters: How Employee Wellness Programs Are Supposed to Work

For SoFi’s millennial members, Twenty One Pilots’ hit “Stressed Out” is more than a good song—it’s an anthem. And this lyric says it all: “Out of student loans and treehouse homes, we all would take the latter.”

How could it not? Roughly 70% of 2016 college graduates borrowed to get their degrees, leaving them with a whopping $37,172 in student loan debt, up from about $35,000 in 2015.

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Love and Loans: How Couples Can Pay Down Student Debt and Build a Joint Financial Future

Couples in committed relationships share a lot of things, from values and goals to favorite takeout places to Netflix and Spotify accounts. But many couples share something else: student loan debt. It’s not at all unusual—nearly 70% of people holding a Bachelor’s degree leave school with college debt—but it can be trying and cause concern.

If you and your partner are in that group, you might have already discovered how student loan debt can affect your financial lives. And if you’re like 54% of people surveyed, you might even have had second thoughts about taking on the debt of the person you love.

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How to Choose Between Variable And Fixed Rate Student Loans

Got student loans? We’ve got you covered with our Student Loan Smarts blog series. Our expert tips and hacks may help you save money, pay off loans sooner, and reduce stress over student loan debt. Read the other posts in the series here—and get all the info you need to make intelligent student loan decisions.

So, you’ve settled on student loan refinancing. You’ve filled out the application, have gotten approved (congrats!), and now you’re faced with a couple of loan options—including the choice between a fixed vs. variable rate student loan. Even if you’re already familiar with both, factors like changing interest rates and your own financial situation have bearing on which type of loan is right for you.

What do you need to know before making a decision? Here’s the scoop on how these two options differ.

Fixed-rate student loans:
Generally have a higher interest rate than variable rate student loans
Are not affected by interest rate changes
Charge the same interest rate over the life of the loan

Variable-rate (or floating-rate) student loans:
Generally have a lower initial rate than fixed rate loans
Are affected by interest rate changes, so your loan’s rate can go up or down on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis

How to Choose
Your final decision depends on your situation.

If you plan to pay off your loan relatively quickly (lucky you), a variable rate student loan may help you save you money. However, be aware that the longer it takes you to pay off the loan, the more opportunity there is for interest rates to rise. You can mitigate your risk by choosing a lender that caps its variable rates.

Related: How To Evaluate a Variable Rate Loan

If you don’t plan to pay off your student loan quickly, if your future income level is uncertain, or if you’re simply uncomfortable taking on extra risk, consider a fixed rate student loan. In today’s low interest rate environment, fixed rates can be competitive. If you have a high interest rate grad school loan, for example, you could get a lower fixed rate by refinancing.

Whether you choose a fixed rate or variable rate student loan, the main thing to remember is that the rate you got when you first took out your loan doesn’t have to be the rate you’re stuck with for life. Knowing your refinancing options can help put your mind at ease—and hopefully save you some money, to boot.

Editor’s Note: This is an updated version of a post we originally published in September 2013. We welcome new comments and questions below.

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