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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money
Paying for College

The Student Loan Chronicles: The Average Amount of Debt

The Student Loan Chronicles: What is the average amount people owe? Back in May, I started the Student Loan Chronicles blog series. Last month I covered "What is it?" trying to define what is a student loan, and how does it work. This month we w...

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The Student Loan Chronicles: What is it?

Last month I wrote a post about starting the student loan chronicles . For those of us paying back student loans, this is usually what it feels like . You get paid, then your loan is due a few days later, and you feel like all of your money is gone! By knowi...

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Don't risk a lot to save a little. Or said a different way, stupid ways you can waste your money!

"Don't risk a lot to save a little." That simple phrase has stuck with me through many years since I learned it while studying for my Certified Financial Planner designation. It was one of three basic principles of risk management. (I've forgotten the other two.) The idea is, don't try to save a nickel when that decision might end up costing you $10. Over the years, I have often thought...

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The Student Loan Chronicles

Student Loans. As a financial educator and millennial, I am one of the hundreds of thousands of individuals who have student loan debt. Most of the debt was my choice, but the ramifications of my choice never fully hit me until I had to start paying them back. Over the next few months, I'm going to take a peek behind the curtain of student loans. I'm going to interview friends who were...

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Shopping for insurance

My Insurance Shopping Adventure

Last summer, Sasha gave tips for shopping for car insurance . I have had shopping for insurance on my To Do list for months, maybe years. Her post encouraged me to actually do it. Since I'm trying to get my financial house in order , now seemed like a good time to tackle this task. I learned a several things fro...

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FAFSA Update - What You Need to Know

Are you planning to attend college between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, or do you know someone who is? The FAFSA is available earlier this year! The FAFSA online form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) went live on October 1st. Completing the FAFSA is necessary to apply for federal student a...

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Insurance Check

Insurance Check - Shopping for Car Insurance

When was the last time you shopped around for car insurance? If you're like most Americans, you don't. According to a June 2015 survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International and commissioned by insuranceQuotes.com , 66 percent of policyholders never or rarely check to...

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Student Loan Repayment… You have options!

Yesterday my colleagues and I completed our third webinar about student loan repayment in the last three years. I thought it be helpful to include some of the important tips we covered during our webinar. Especially for those who have young adults who are going off to college soon, are in college or are currently in repayment. If you'd like to watch the entir...

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A Timely Conversation: Revisiting College Budgets

It seems like only yesterday that we were saying goodbye as our students left for college, and now the semester is quickly winding up. As the students return home for the holidays, now is a good time to revisit financial plans. Spending plans (budgets) are working documents. After using a plan for awhile, it's important to evaluate and adjust it. This is true for everyone but especially for ne...

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Cut the Cost of Student Loans

Recently a friend asked me, "Could she pay back her student loan more quickly and avoid some of the interest charges?" This is a great question! The answer is yes; most federal and private loans allow people to pre-pay their loans without penalty. Illinois students who borrow money for their undergraduate degrees average $28,984 in student loans upon graduation, according to the Project...

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Plan Well Retire Well Wins National Award

I'd like to take a minute to toot our own horn. The writing team behind the Plan Well Retire Well blog just won two awards for Internet Education Communications from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) at their annual conference held November 2-5, 2015 in White Sulfur Springs WV. We received first-place in the Central regi...

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Dear Young Friend: “Cheap Insurance” for the Things You Worry About

Dear Young Friend, If you're twenty-something, what do you worry about? Karen ___________________   That's the question I posed on my Facebook page when I was working on last month's post, How to Think about Risk and Insurance , as part of my...

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Sasha Learns  How to Buy a House - the Players

Sasha Learns: How to Buy a House - The Players

When you buy a home for the first time or even your 100 th , there is a group of people you need to work with to get the home purchase accomplished. In a previous post we talked a lot about Finding a Realtor , but today we'll be more focused on the other players who help make your dream a reality. Who...

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Dear Young Friend: How to Think about Risk and Insurance

Dear Young Friend, We haven't talked much about insurance and risk. Before we wrap up our conversations, I wanted to share some thoughts on this. Karen ________________   Here's a question for all my twenty-something friends: What do you worry about? What kinds of things should...

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Found Money

Have you ever noticed that as soon as you have a good chunk of money saved, things happen that cause you to spend it? I started this day excited. I checked my banking accounts to find that my income tax refund check had been deposited overnight.  While I advocate that people not use the federal government as a savings account and to adjust withholding to get more money in each paycheck. This ye...

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An Extra Chance to Avoid the Tax Penalty: Purchase Health Insurance NOW for 2015

The Affordable Care Act requires that United State citizens have health insurance. However, for some, this information is coming as a surprise when they files taxes this year AND they're surprised by the penalty they need to pay too. If you're one of the ones who first learned of this when you were preparing your taxes, then there's a special enrollment period just for you! You can stil...

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Having Trouble Repaying Your Student Loan? Ask CFPB for Help!

A recent report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) indicates some of the business practices of large student loan lenders may be making it particularly difficult for borrowers to repay their loans. In the last year, the CFPB handled approximately 5,300 private student loan complaints. The largest category of complaints were related to the lack of repayment options and flexibilit...

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College Education: Is it Worth It?

People invest a lot of amount of time, energy and money to earn a college degree. The financial cost of attending college is much larger today than it was a generation ago. It's reasonable to ask, "Is it still worth it to get a college degree?" Recent reports from Pew Research Center's Social and Demographic Trends project explores this question, and the results are quite intriguing. (B...

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Student Loan Repayment: 5 Key Things to Know

Congratulations to all new college graduates! Your accomplishment is significant and wonderful! Once you've had a chance to celebrate your accomplishment, the next step is to figure out how you plan to repay your student loans. Even if you can't repay now, you need to take steps so that you don't unknowingly default on a loan. Here are some key things to know: Credit His...

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Health Savings Accounts: Ten Things to Do and Not Do

My husband is contributing to a Health Savings Account (HSA), so of course I wanted to learn all the in's and out's of this relatively new animal. If this is new to you, check out the benefits and who qualifies in last month's post . If you take a few moments to learn the rules, you can reap significant benefits for y...

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Health Savings Accounts: What's Not to Love?

If you like avoiding taxes, you'll want to learn about Health Saving Accounts. Odds are, someone in your family has a high deductible health plan (HDHP). That makes them eligible to have a health savings account, commonly called an HSA. High deductible health plans have become more common as employers look for ways to reduce the cost of health insurance. And many of the bronze level pla...

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Have You Read Your Home Insurance Policy Lately?

We go along living in our homes, tidying up, shoveling snow, and don't often think about losing our homes from a disaster like a tornado or fire. Then a disaster hits nearby and it makes us think. One thing it makes me think about is whether or not my home insurance policy meets my needs. While we can't protect ourselves from all loses, home insurance can help replace personal property...

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Moving towards Financial Independence

Do you have a young adult living in your home or are you a young adult living at home? If so, join the crowd! According to recent Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data, "In 2012, 36% of the nation's young adults ages 18 to 31–the so-c...

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Saving For College: Graduating With the Least Amount of Debt

Today we are featuring a guest post by Katie Bryan , from America Saves. By June most recent high school graduates know what college they are going to, but many of them may still not know how they are going to pay for it. We've heard the stats that the aver...

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Tuition and Fees Deduction Keeps Going, and Going, and Going . . . at least until the end of 2013

This deduction has driven me crazy over the years. When the Higher Education Expense Deduction (aka Tuition and Fees Deduction) was introduced in 2002, it was supposed to be temporary and expire at the end of 2005. It has now been extended a total of 4 times, two of which were retroactive after it had already expired. The deduction is now scheduled to expire at the end of 2013. Who knows what w...

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