Banks Ease Terms for Struggling Student Borrowers

Big banks are beginning to cut some slack to distressed student-loan borrowers. Wells Fargo announced a new program this week that will lower the interest rate on loans so payments will be more affordable based on a struggling borrower’s income. The bank will review borrowers’ financial situations to determine whether they qualify for short- or long-term loan modification. >> 8 Hidden College Expenses According to the Wall Street Journal, both borrowers and cosigners will have to show financial hardship to get a modification. Modifications …

I Heart Caregivers

As we enter National Family Caregivers Month, I think back to the time I spent as a caregiver to my mom.  For 12 years I was by her side, through diabetes, congestive heart failure, hospitalizations and more — all while juggling my job and raising my kids. It wasn’t always easy, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My experience is just one of the countless untold stories from family caregivers across the country. Today, more than 42 …

Creating Effective State-Sponsored Retirement Plans

By Gary Koenig, Vice President, Financial Security, and David John, Senior Policy Adviser, Financial Security State-sponsored retirement savings plans can help private-sector workers not covered by employer plans build financial security. How many workers? More than you might think. In 2013, about 55 million private-sector employees did not have access to a retirement plan at work, including more than 7 million in California, 2 million in Illinois, and about 1 million each in Indiana and Maryland. Research shows that middle …

Social Security Benefits to Rise 1.7% Next Year

Social Security benefits will rise by 1.7 percent starting in January, the Social Security Administration announced Wednesday. That’s a tad higher than this year’s 1.5 percent increase. It’s also the fourth straight year that the cost-of-living adjustment was below 2 percent for nearly 59 million retirees, disabled workers and their families. The adjustment amounts to about $22 a month for those who receive the average monthly benefit of $1,302. >> See AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins’ statement on the COLA “The …

Are Lenders Driving Student Loan Borrowers Into Default?

Borrowers struggling to repay private student loans say they have little choice but to default because lenders won’t revise payments to make them affordable, according to a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “We are hearing from consumers that they are driven into default because private student loan companies are not providing concrete loan modification options,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement. “Struggling private student loan borrowers are finding themselves out of luck and out of …

How to Be Really Rich With Less Money

Most people define their net worth in dollars. As a financial planner, I define net worth in time. Allow me to explain. When I ask people to tell me what money means to them, I hear words like freedom, security and independence. Money, and having enough of it, allows us to do whatever it is that makes us happy. Reframing wealth as time turns some millionaires into paupers, and it makes those with $250,000 in 401(k) savings into the very …