student loans

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Making college costs easier to understand

Jun 5, 2012
With interest rates on some student loans about to double, the Obama administration joins with colleges to provide clearer guidance on the real price of school.
Posted In: college, financial aid, student loans

Why I wouldn't tap retirement savings to retire student loans

May 30, 2012
I returned to graduate school and accrued about $45,000 in federal student loans. The interest rate on these 10-year loans is 6 percent, with repayment beginning in 2013. I also have a 401(k) worth about $100,000 (roughly $60,000 of my contributions and $40,000 of employer contributions). I realize that an early 401(k) withdrawal would result in a 10 percent early-withdrawal penalty and that any withdrawal would be considered taxable income. This would effectively reduce the amount the 401(k) would need to earn in order to be the better investment. Still, it can't be much less than 6 percent, can it? Is there anything about my assumptions that are wrong, or is there anything I am overlooking? Derek, Chicago, IL
Posted In: student loans, retirement savings, debt

Yes, take advantage of a rollover IRA

May 24, 2012
My wife and I have taught in Alabama public schools for the past 2 years and have made (forced) contributions to the state retirement system in that time frame. Together, we've got around $8,000 invested in the state retirement system. Realizing the limited income prospects for career teachers, we both applied and were accepted to a top 25 law school on full-tuition scholarship. My question to you is this: For my retirement account, I have the option of either a) taking a lump-sum payment of the $8,000, minus 20 percent in federal income tax, or b) rolling it over into a 401(k), IRA, or similar long-term savings plan. Should I take the money and run, or should I start building a retirement nest egg while I'm financing the rest of my life with borrowed money? Alex, Montgomery, AL
Posted In: Graduate school, law school, retirement savings, rollover IRA, IRA, student loans

Cash flow liberated by refinancing

May 18, 2012
My wife and I recently refinanced our home. We paid off the home equity line and the existing mortgage, and now our monthly payments are $500 less than they were previously. What should we do with these savings? Thank you. Jeff, Amherst, MA
Posted In: Savings, refinancing, retirement savings, student loans

Student loan forgiveness: The devil is in the details

May 15, 2012
Did I hear you say on one of your previous programs that seniors who have been paying on student loans for 10 years or more can have the debts dismissed? Mine are a consolidation of federal loans and I haven't missed a payment in the past 10 years. Helen, Portland, OR
Posted In: federal student loans, student loans, public service jobs

Dealing with the student loan debt burden

May 14, 2012
I am extremely in debt with my student loans. At Age 25, I am wondering about the best way to resolve this debt. I currently have a part-time job and make less than $600 a month. How do I go about refinancing with such little tangible income? Jennifer, New York, NY
Posted In: student loans, . student loan repayment options

Letters: Creating a paper trail

May 11, 2012
Our weekly dive into the mail bag, and L.A. Times personal finance columnist David Lazarus helps a caller with a question about record-keeping.
Posted In: Personal Finance, listener mail, peter morici, paddy hirsch, david lazarus, student loans, credit scores, Credit Cards, marriage

Buy yourself some time with student loans

May 10, 2012
I am 26 years old and recently graduated from grad school. I have about $28,000 of loan debt, from both undergrad and grad school. My deferment is up next month, and without changing or consolidating anything, I will owe more than $500/month. I work for a non-profit and cannot make that high of a payment. I know I have some options for repayment and consolidation. I am trying to find a balance in which I am paying what I can afford each month, but not extending my loans so much that I am paying an absurd amount of interest. Elisa, Bozeman, MT
Posted In: student loans, federal student loans, student loan repayment plans

Cutting public health to pay for student loans

May 8, 2012
Republicans want to use money for preventive care to cover lower interest rates
Posted In: public health, student loans, health care reform law

The risks of buying with no money down

May 1, 2012
I recently was accepted to grad school, and my wife and I will be moving from Michigan to New Mexico. We are having a debate as to whether we should buy a home. After I finish my degree, I would like the freedom to leave New Mexico, if necessary, without having to worry about selling a home. My wife doesn't like the idea of paying rent and getting nothing back from it. Any and all advice would be much appreciated.
Posted In: home, homeownership, rent, student loans, Graduate school, mortgage

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