What to Consider When Choosing Private Student Loans

What to Consider When Choosing Private Student Loans

Know what to look for in student lenders - before fall.

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It's June, so student loan season is around the corner. Most of the time, you can't choose a student loan until you have your final bill from the university or college. As a result, June is a great time to research so that you have the right loan provider ready to go when the bill arrives.

Compare Interest Rates

Different providers offer different interest rate ranges. Make sure to look carefully not just at the minimums but the maximum as well.

Pay attention to whether the loans are fixed interest or variable. By reviewing a variety of providers, you'll be able to focus on those who offer the best rates. It's even better if you can get prequalified. A prequalification allows you to answer a few questions and the bank will do a soft credit check, which doesn't impact your credit. With this information, you can get a much more accurate idea of what interest rate you'll receive.

As you compare rates, don't overlook fees. An origination fee can make a lower-interest loan more expensive because of the percentage you lose when the loan is disbursed.

Interest rates are a major determiner of the best student loans, but it's not the only one. There's more to look for as well.

Consider Repayment Terms

Do you have to start paying a private student loan back immediately, or do you have options? Can you just pay interest while in school, or choose a fixed lower payment? Or do you need a full deferment until graduation?

Different lenders will have different repayment options. You should also look at how long you have to pay. Do you have choices in how long you take? Being able to choose between 5, 10, and 15 years can make a big difference in how much you spend and how much your monthly payments are.

Also, find out what provisions there are if you run into financial hardship. Can you defer payments, take a break, or take advantage of other options? If you can't find the answer on the website, call the customer service line for more information.

Look at Other Considerations

Interest and repayment are the two "big boys" when it comes to comparing lenders. But other factors matter as well.

For instance, if you need a cosigner for a loan, one of your primary concerns should be when and if the cosigner can be released. This is a big deal for those who might be helping you with your loan!

Another factor is what the lender does to be active and responsible in the community. Commonbond Loans has a social component to their business – for every loan issued, the company commits to fund the education of a child in need.

You may also find specific discounts that apply to you, or cashback offers, or other special conditions. Be sure these are considered along with everything else!

Take Your Time and Compare Carefully

Private student loans will impact your life for years to come. It pays to take time to carefully compare all of the terms and conditions before school starts.

By the time the bill comes, you can know exactly which lender to reach out to for funding!

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Growing Up Catholic And How It Shaped Me

"I like being able to believe there is more to life than our time on Earth."

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Ever since I can remember, I have attended church every Sunday morning. Not always at the same church, but always at the same time with all the same people. I've never known anything different.

Both of my parents are Catholic and so are their parents and so on and so forth. I attended religious education classes my whole childhood and when I was 15, I chose to get confirmed which basically says you are choosing to continue your faith.

As a kid, I didn't really understand why we went to church every Sunday and there were some Sundays where I just didn't want to get out of bed to go. When I'm on the verge of not going to mass I tell myself that it is just 1 hour of my time, 1 hour each week and that is all I have to give. Everyone has 1 hour to spare.

Now that I am older, I'm grateful my parents have introduced me to the Catholic Church. I like having something to believe in and being able to have faith. I'm a huge optimist in my daily life and a big part of that is because I trust God's plan for me, whatever happens is with his best intentions for me. I like being able to believe there is more to life than our time on Earth.

It seems that the word "Catholic" has a negative connotation nowadays and that makes me extremely sad. No one should be judged or profiled based on their religion.

Being Catholic to me means always striving to better myself and bring myself closer to God. Being Catholic might mean something else to another person and that's what is great about religion and faith, they affect everyone differently and it is up to you to decide what to do with these 2 things.

At the end of the day, I am grateful for being brought up in the Catholic family I was because it gave me my morals and made me the person I am today, whom I am proud of.

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How to Fail in Business – When You’re Really Trying

You can try so hard - and mess it all up. Learn how not to!

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I've been working my business full-time for almost four years. Despite my hard work, my business very nearly failed.

I made a lot of mistakes that lead to this. I want to share those with you, so that you can learn from what I did – and have better success than my business has had.

Wait Too Long to Make the Leap

I was in a very comfortable, stable, and BORING day job. I had dead-ended in my career years before I finally had the courage to leave.

68% of employees in corporate jobs are disengaged. I was one of those folks. I had my business as a side-hustle, and it provided additional income. But I waited three years before I took my business full time!

Why?

Honestly, I let fear and security win the day – until I was truly desperate and HAD to leave. And unfortunately, that led to my second mistake.

Leave Your Job Without Savings

So, while I was comfortable, I wasn't building my income. I let myself get lazy – even though I had a business on the side. It was very difficult to prospect at night when all I wanted to was veg.

Plus, at the same time I was running my side-hustle, I was dating and eventually marrying my husband. That took a lot of energy, and I was more interested in spending time with him than in building my uncertain business.

As a result, when I finally reached my absolute limit and finally gave my two-week notice, I didn't have a cushion saved up. I had a retirement account – and I used it entirely the first year of my business.

Not recommended.

Fall For All the Marketing

I'll tell you the honest truth. It's really hard to resist the temptation to spend like crazy when you have your own business.

I had excellent credit. (HAD.) As a result, I was approved for a strong credit limit on my business credit card. And I took full advantage!

A lot of this had to do with the fact that I fell for a LOT of marketing messages. You know all the folks that say, "I built my business 1000% in one month using these five strategies?"

They're lying!

If I had realized that MUCH earlier, that alone could have helped my business stay a lot more healthy.

Here's the dirty truth – they grew their business 1000% by preying on the uncertainty of beginning business owners like you. They'll give you some generic strategies in their course – assuming you even finish it. But your results will not be theirs, because you're not following the REAL business model.

I also liked the feeling of traveling to business conferences. And those conference hotels are NOT cheap. I whipped out the credit card, oblivious. Oh – and business conferences are one more giant sales pitch. Don't fall for it.

Finding Your Footing

I made all of these mistakes, and my business is still alive. It's very rough and my family is in a deep hole. At this point I only qualify for the types of credit cards Bonsai Finance recommends for folks with bad credit. But I'm still kicking!

A lot of what I did to right the ship was to get back to my core service – freelance writing – and stop chasing every other "success story" out there. I started ignoring the marketing messages. I stopped believing the "I can show you a way to easy money," lies.

If you've found yourself struggling in your business, you may be making these mistakes. Hopefully this article has given you some clarity so you can see the way out!

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