How to Get Your Finances Back on Track After College Saturday, Jun 25 2022 

By Jacob Maslow – Branded Content

College can be a wonderful, enlightening experience for many, but it’s also a challenging time. The days you spend at college will often be harsh on your bank account. Even if you had some savings to take with you, there’s a good chance you’re going to be finishing your education with limited cash, and a little debt to think about. The good news is you don’t have to start your adventure into a new world with endless stress about your finances. The following advice will help you to get your finances back on track, so you’re ready to make the most out of the career you’ve chosen. 

Figure Out Your Debt Strategy

One of the biggest steps in making sure your finances stay balanced after college, is to build a plan for getting rid of debt. Only a handful of people finish their degree without anything to pay back to a loan provider. This means you’re going to need to figure out how you’re going to handle the expense of paying for your education. The good news is there are multiple options out there. Focus on paying off high-interest loans and credit cards first. Then, whenever you have an opportunity, take the time to look at your loans and see expenses you can minimize. Refinancing existing student loans into new loans after a couple of years can sometimes save you significant cash. 

Keep Costs Low to Begin With

Even if you have a great job lined up after college, it’s usually a good idea to keep costs low initially. This will help you to collect additional cash you can use to pay off your debts. It also means you’ll have more money to put aside into your savings and emergency funds. Some students might consider moving back home with their parents, so they can focus all of their earnings into saving up for a deposit on a home or a new car. Trimming the fat on your spending can help college students establish credit by keeping the debt-to-income ratio positive. You can also look at living in a shared apartment or finding other ways to cut down on living expenses. Make sure you have a budget on-hand to guide you. This will stop you from spending more than you can reasonably afford. 

Work on Your Earning Potential

Finally, as a college graduate, you’ll already have significantly more earning potential than some other job applicants in your field. However, it’s important to continue working on this as you go. Start by choosing a good graduate job which opens the doors to extra opportunities in the future. A great role will have a clear path to progression laid out ahead of you. It’s also worth looking into opportunities to make extra cash on the side. You might be able to do some freelance work outside of your regular hours to upgrade your income. The more money you earn while you still have some extra time, the more cash you can put into your savings. Remember, don’t be afraid to upgrade your earning opportunities even further as you go, by taking additional courses and lessons to expand your skillsets.

Photo Courtesy // Jacob Maslow //

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How college students establish credit Thursday, Mar 31 2022 

By Jacob Maslow — Branded Content

If you’re in college and dread the thought of establishing credit once you graduate, there’s good news. Millions of students begin building a financial history early in their academic careers. By the time they receive their diplomas, they’re well on the way to having a decent credit rating. The fact is that there are numerous practical strategies for non-working students to create financial footprints on credit bureau databases. 

In addition to working part-time during school sessions and full-time in intermittent summers, consider taking out a small personal loan, opening savings and checking accounts, consulting a financial counselor, and applying for one or more secured cards. There are all sorts of approaches you can take to address the issue of lacking a financial history. The sooner you begin, the faster your data will show up in official records. After that, you’ll need to pay bills on time and use credit responsibly to maintain an excellent rating. Then, down the line, when you want to get invested in the stock market, buy a home, or invest in real estate, you will have the healthy financial history to do so. Here’s how to get started.

Get a Part-Time Job

Having a regular income is one way to establish credit. Keep documentation, like tax returns and paystubs, to document annual income totals when applying for loans. In addition, having a job qualifies you to borrow money from private lenders and card issuers. Even a part-time job at a fast-food restaurant is enough to make you creditworthy.

Take Out a Personal Loan

Taking out a small personal loan is an effective way to begin your journey toward building an excellent credit rating. Applying for such loans online is a fast process. You can usually find out in a few minutes whether you qualify. Be accurate when filling out the basic information on the app. For college students, loan proceeds can serve several purposes, including unexpected travel expenses, buying new clothing for a series of formal job interviews, and more. Some lenders will ask you why you are borrowing. Always be clear about what you intend to use the money for.

Speak With a Financial Counselor

Spend time with a professional financial counselor to go over your budget, current credit rating (if you have one), and the best tactics for getting on the radar of the major bureaus. They’ll often advise you to apply for secured cards, open bank accounts, and apply for personal loans.

Open Two Bank Accounts

Don’t live a cash life or rely on cryptocurrency to supply your need for spending money. Instead, open a checking and savings account at a major bank in your name. Use the account’s debit card to make everyday purchases and make regular deposits into the savings account. There’s nothing wrong with buying things with crypto, but at the current time, alt-coins do not report to the three bureaus.

Apply for a Secured Card

Apply for one of the many secured cards available online. Compare offers and avoid cards with high annual fees. Several are ideal for college students. First, verify that the one you choose reports to all three bureaus. Then, use it at least once per month, being sure to pay the balance zero before the due date.

Photo Courtesy // Jacob Maslow 

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What Are the Different Types of Life Insurance? Thursday, Nov 4 2021 

By Jacob Maslow–Branded Content

Life insurance is there to protect your family should anything unexpected happen. However, choosing life insurance can be a confusing process as there are so many different policies available, each with various benefits and conditions. To make the process easier, we have explained some of the policies available. 

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is exactly as the name implies: your policy is for a set amount of time, usually between 10 and 30 years. It has no cash value but will give your beneficiaries a cash payout if you die. Most of these policies have premiums, so you pay the same amount each month. However, you will have to obtain a new one when the policy expires, likely at a higher expense as rates are based on age and will increase as you get older. 

Whole Life Insurance

This is the simplest form of life insurance and provides coverage for your entire life. A part of your premiums is placed in a cash value account that will gradually increase over time. Initially, this form of policy will not be worth much, however as it grows into more significant amounts, you will be able to borrow against it. You also have the option of selling your policy for a lump sum of money that can help you in retirement. You can take a look at a guide online that tells you everything you need to know about selling your policy. 

Universal Life Insurance

A form of permanent insurance that offers the same benefits as whole life insurance. However, the significant difference is that the premiums you pay are flexible. You can raise or lower the amount you are paying into your account. You must be aware that if you pay less, you may have to pay more later on to keep your coverage. This policy is most useful when you take into account changing lifestyle circumstances where you may need to adjust your spending or give yourself and your family better coverage. 

Final Expense Insurance

This policy will pay for the expenses of burial and a funeral. The policy is permanent as long as you keep paying the premiums. However, there is no other cash payout on death. This may be useful for older people who are concerned about the costs when they die. If you are younger and are looking for a policy that will support your beneficiaries, this will not be a good choice. The payments you make are modest, but the circumstances it covers are also minimal. 

Group Life Insurance

This is a form of life insurance that you buy as a group. They are often used by companies to cover their employees. These plans include affordable premiums as companies are buying insurance in bulk and so they obtain discounts from insurers. It can also be useful in helping those with health issues obtain insurance. You should find out if the policy is portable so that if you change jobs, you can take the policy with you.

Photo Courtesy of Jacob Maslow//Cosmic Press

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Is College Still Worth It? Friday, Oct 22 2021 

By Jacob Maslow–Branded Content

There’s no doubt that the world has changed drastically in the past couple of years. We’ve changed how we socialize, how we shop, and how we work. But what about school? In an age where the future seems hazy, it can be hard to know whether college is still worth the effort. The answer? Yes, it is. Getting a college degree gives you the tools to navigate an uncertain world — plus so much more. Here are the top five reasons to go to school.

Still Financially Possible

These days, there are more ways than ever before to afford college tuition. One of the better options is to have your parents take out a Private Parent Loan. With this option, your parents will work with a private lender to settle on an amount that can help cover your tuition. This can ease the financial burden while you focus on your studies. Keep in mind that you must be enrolled in school full time. Private lenders also have greater flexibility compared to governmental lenders, so you and your parents both can rest assured that you will have many, many repayment options down the line.

Gives You Unprecedented Opportunities

While some may see going to school now as scary, right now is one of the most rewarding times to get a college education. Researchers worldwide are studying new trends and insights as they occur, and you can learn straight from the source. Gaining this insight can change how you see the world, too. In addition, these insights can further help you during job interviews and training.

Best Way to Learn New Skills

As the world changes, so do the skills needed for new jobs. Many people will be at a disadvantage by not having the education that you will. Learning the right skills will give you a competitive advantage when you apply to work and can lead to a job with a better salary. And you can go for an advanced degree in the future to increase your earnings further.

Provides You with Security

While the world may look like it’s getting better, there’s always the possibility that things could get worse. The world could see another wave of job losses that can affect graduates and non-graduates alike. But, since you’ll have a college degree, you’re armed with a better chance of securing another job. You can also adapt the skills you learn to online jobs and not just physical jobs.

It’s Fun

Yes, college does look different compared to just a few years back. But the college environment is still fun and exciting. As many campuses resume normal operations, so do get-togethers, events, and club outings. You can revisit fun things you thought you were too old to do and experience them in a new light. It’s a better time than ever to meet new people and bond over your shared experience. You can continue to gain new perspectives and grow as an individual. In the end, that’s one of the most rewarding aspects of the college experience.

Photo Courtesy of Jacob Maslow//Cosmic Press

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Five Interesting Ways to Get Involved in the Stock Market Monday, Sep 13 2021 

By Jacob Maslow–Branded Content

Are you shopping around for a way to get involved in the stock market? Fortunately, in the era of online investing, there are multiple ways to put your money to work in the securities exchanges, aside from traditional approaches like buying and holding blue chip stocks. Today’s market savvy investors know how to pool their resources, follow social trends, leverage the power of low-cost issues, earn profits from day trading, minimize risk by owning index funds, and reaping the rewards of owning shares that pay regular dividends. For anyone who finds the traditional strategies boring and limited, the following approaches offer a fresh way of earning a potential profit on investments of any size.

Social Investing

Numerous brokerage sites allow account holders to follow a guru, or selected member who has years of experience in a particular niche, like consumer goods or the financial sector. New members can simply follow the leader, whose purchases and sales are listed on the site so whoever wishes can replicate their actions.

Penny Stocks

There is no set-in-stone definition of what a penny stock is, but most agree that any shares priced below the $5 level qualify for the title. One of the best things about penny stocks is that you can purchase multiple shares for a modest amount of money. Plus, you can review a penny stock trading guide that teaches the basics for beginners who want to start out with accurate information. 

Another key benefit of this asset class is that many of the low-cost shares have plenty of room to grow. Of course, there are no guarantees that any corporation, large or small, will be a long-term success. But unlike blue chips and other high-priced issues, penny shares sometimes rise in price considerably. You need not be a mathematician to see the difference between an investment the costs $5 and rises to $50, compared to one that costs $200 and rises to $225. Penny stocks represent a potentially large upside and a relatively small downside in most cases.

Day Trading

If you’re the type who doesn’t like to hold positions overnight, and enjoy the fast-paced action of doing several transactions per day, day trading might be your best choice. People who day trade go to cash before the end of each session and typically specialize in just one or two companies’ stocks. Deals move at lightning speed and you’re never left wondering, at day’s end, whether you notched a profit or a loss.

Index Funds

If you prefer to play the entire market all at once, or even an entire sector of it, index funds offer the opportunity to take part in the general movement of the whole securities market or the segment that interests you. For instance, you can buy shares of various funds that track the Dow or S&P, or buy into indices that include only financial institution, or only manufacturing company issues.

Dividends-Only Shares

Some build portfolios that consist exclusively of dividend paying stocks, which means they receive payouts on a regular basis. There are aristocrat companies that have long histories of paying dividends every quarter. For many years, there have been people who only purchase these kinds of stocks.

Photo Courtesy of Jacob Maslow//Cosmic Press

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University of Louisville should offer students free tuition in vaccination prize drawing Monday, Aug 30 2021 

By Catherine Brown–

University of Louisville’s Division of Student Affairs recently announced that vaccinated students have the opportunity to win prizes by enrolling in a contest.

The contest, which will take place in a series of rounds over the fall semester, gives students the chance to win a number of prizes for being vaccinated. Prizes range from a U of L T-shirt or a throw blanket to more expensive items such as daily free Starbucks for 1 year and 4 Blue parking passes for the rest of the fall semester.

But how can we really get students involved? Free tuition for students.

After all, U of L made more than enough money after furloughing staff and raising fees last year that they can afford to put forth free tuition for several students.

According to U of L’s annual budget report for the 2020-21 academic year, U of L operated with a revenue of ~$1.2 billion. In the 2022 fiscal year, U of L plans to operate with a budget of ~$1.3 billion.

Part of this revenue came from raising student tuition, which the university increased by 2% in the 2020-21 academic year at the undergraduate level (with further tuition increases for graduate and professional programs). U of L also raised housing rates by ~2-5% in most complexes, with the most significant change being a 20% increase in Billy Minardi Hall’s 1 bed, 1 bath unit.

In the 2021-22 academic year, housing rates will remain the same as they were the previous year, save for the new housing complex –Belknap Residence Hall– replacing Threlkeld Hall. But with an influx of students on campus this semester, housing can more than make up any revenue lost due to the pandemic in the 2020-21 academic year.

 At approximately $22 million, Student Affairs operates on a budget that is nowhere near the size of the university as a whole.

This is why the university can certainly afford to open up its pockets to allow students the opportunity to win free tuition for a semester should students choose to get vaccinated.

After all, the university has not yet decided to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for students, faculty, or staff. As of an email sent out on August 20, 54% of U of L students are fully vaccinated.

Student Body President Ugonna Okorie said that the SGA is helping Student Affairs come up with ideas for prizes.

“I’m excited to see what prizes will be offered in the future and I think any prizes that [relieves] students from financial pressure would be extremely beneficial, especially with the ongoing pandemic,” said Okorie.

Let’s hope one such prize includes free tuition for students.

 

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President Bendapudi shares highlights from 2021-22 budget Wednesday, Jun 30 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi shared some high points from the recently approved 2021-22 budget on June 29. The budget was approved at the June 24 Board of Trustees meeting and projects an operating budget of $1.3 billion.

“Despite dealing with a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic that changed our university and our world in many ways, I am pleased that our trustees and our administration remain committed to advancing programming and enhancements that will benefit our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends,” Bendapudi said in the email announcement.

For students, the budget includes a tuition increase of $104 per semester, which Bendapudi says will be covered by funding from the CARES Act. Each returning student will receive a minimum grant of $400 per semester through this funding and high need students could receive up to $1,500 per semester.

Housing, dining, and parking prices will not increase for students this year and the university will provide laptops for 700 first-year students with high financial needs.

Faculty and staff will receive a 1% base salary increase beginning August 1 with the possibility for another increase in January 2022. The university will also restore contributions to retirement plans to where they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Employee retirement benefits, reduced as part of cost-reduction efforts in 2020, will be fully restored on July 1 to an automatic university contribution of 7.5% for eligible employees, with an additional 2.5% match for employee contributions,” Bendapudi said.

There will be no parking increase, health insurance cost increase or change in employment tuition remission for faculty and staff.

Bendapudi concluded the email by showing appreciation towards the Office of Finance and Administration for their work handling the financial repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. She also gave her thanks to the entire U of L community.

“I appreciate the hard work of our Office of Finance and Administration and the many faculty, staff and administrators who took great care of their unit finances during the past year. Together, we are making decisions that will promote the long-term health of our university,” Bendapudi said.

“Most importantly, I want to thank each and every one of you for your commitment to the University of Louisville. You are the reason we exist. And you are the reason we will thrive now and in the future.”

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal

 

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Pros and Cons of Attending College for Free Wednesday, Jun 23 2021 

By Jacob Maslow–Branded Content

At one time or another, everyone thinks about going to college. While the choice of education is entirely up to you, there is one thing that will always be a deciding factor, which is the cost. Despite there being many ways to pay for college, it can strain on your finances. Paying out of pocket can leave a huge dent in your bank account while loans can affect your overall credit score if not paid on time. This leads to a question many people have asked: should college be free? Here are the pros and cons of getting a college education for free.

Pro: It Allows Everyone to Get an Education

In a perfect world, everyone is able to pay for the education they deserve. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. There are a lot of people who are unable to go to college because they can’t afford it. What’s worse is that they might not be approved for a loan either. Since a college education is necessary for most jobs these days, you would think everyone would be provided with tuition-free schooling. That way, people would be able to live well while boosting the economy.

Pro: Student Debt Would Be Completely Eliminated

One of the most common forms of debt is undoubtedly student loan debt. Regardless of the level of degree a student earns, they usually walk away with some amount of student debt. In fact, taking out a student loan from a private lender is how most people afford the high cost of college. Student debt can put a lot of strain on you both mentally and financially, so making college free would alleviate a lot of this unnecessary stress. Being able to attend for free would probably increase the attendance rate as well.

Con: Many People Wouldn’t Understand How to Properly Finance

Let’s be honest, going to college for free does sound like a dream come true. However, it may not be as great an idea as you think. College is a place where you go to learn and sharpen your basic life skills. One of these includes managing your finances properly. Although the debt can be a hindrance, it also teaches us how critical budgeting and saving is. Without this crucial skill, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see people spend their money and then struggle to make monthly house or car payments.

Con: The Value of College Would Decrease

It’s kind of shocking to know how many people underestimate the value of college. Going to a university for free might decrease the overall value of a college degree, including a Ph.D. It’s the idea of getting a good job that ultimately motivates us to keep working hard and mastering the skills of our chosen program. Honestly, what people truly want is to have the cost of college reduced, not entirely free. If people were allowed to college any time they wanted with no risk or reason, they might not see the benefit of earning their degree.

Photo Courtesy of Jacob Maslow // Cosmic Press

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