Few African Americans Take Advantage of Retirement Planning Products

Recent research shows that most African Americans/blacks age 50-plus use financial products, such as checking accounts and savings accounts. But only 1 in 10 use retirement planning products, such as a 401(k) plan or individual retirement account (IRA). Millions of Americans haven’t saved any money for their golden years, and millions of others haven’t saved nearly enough. According to the Federal Reserve, the median balance of retirement accounts totals less than $60,000, and many African Americans/blacks have saved even less. >> AARP …

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 …

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 …

‘Staggering’ Amounts of Federal Funds Improperly Distributed

By Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) – Tax credits for families that don’t qualify. Medicare payments for treatments that might not be necessary. Unemployment benefits for people who are secretly working. Federal agencies reported making $100 billion in payments last year to people who may not have been entitled to receive them. Congressional investigators say the figure could be even higher. “The amounts here are absolutely staggering,” said Rep. John Mica, R-Fla. “It’s over $100 billion each of the last …

Skipping Out on Student Loans? Check Your Wallet

So what can Uncle Sam do if you don’t repay your federal student loans?   Report you to credit reporting companies. Garnish your wages. Keep your tax refunds and Social Security payments until the debt is paid off.   That’s right, all of the above.  Only most people aren’t aware of it. Economists and researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York asked this of more than 1,000 consumers – only to discover that less than one-third of them correctly answered that the …

Defaults Rise in Parent PLUS Loans

Parents who’ve taken out federal student loans to help pay for their children’s college education are increasingly finding themselves in serious financial trouble. Default rates on Parent PLUS loans have tripled in the last few years, according to federal data released this month. Some 5.1 percent of loans that originated in the 2010 fiscal year were in default three years later, according to U.S. Department of Education data released last week. Default rates were highest, at 13.3 percent, for Parent …