Student Loan Repayment Scams are Everywhere

scam-alert

A client just alerted me to another student loan repayment scam company (Student Loan Relief Department). She found a link to a blog called After the Diploma (cute name, right?). My first tip was that it only had 3 blog posts. The second tip was that it talked about taking a quiz and “helping” with student loan forgiveness but I couldn’t find a company name. Hmmmm ….

I took the 10 question quiz to see if I qualified for student loan forgiveness to see what would happen. This was on the last page:

Congratulations!
You May Qualify For Student Loan Forgiveness

Please Call This Number In Next 10 Minutes

1-888-969-2385

Zip Code: 60644 – Loan Type: Federal
Ref# 22018429-001


Ask about the following:

Economic Hardship Deferment
Because you answered “Yes” to Q 8/10

William D. Ford Direct Loan Program (Often referred to in media as the Obama Student Loan Forgiveness)

Other deferement options:
Rehabilitation Training
Parental Leave
Military Service

Bankruptcy
In rare cases, Bankruptcy Discharge can be an option if filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

 

It seems fine and well and good until you realize that #1 this is a private company (which means they are looking to make money) and #2 the programs they are offering to help me “qualify” for are already offered by the federal government for free.

If you visit the actual page for student loan relief department (see how they made the name sound like something official? “Student Loan Relief Department”) you’ll see the programs they are offering to help you qualify for are FREE things that you can sign up for on your own.

If you see a company that offers to help you manage your student loan debt, read these articles first:

The Better Business Bureau

Consumers receive a phone call, email or spot a post on social media that claims a company can erase student loan debt. Many claim that their service is made possible by a new government program or policy sponsored by U.S. President Barak Obama.

The company asks for an upfront fee to negotiate with your student loan lender on your behalf. They will claim they’ve helped numerous other clients, but don’t believe them! Student loans can only be forgiven under specific circumstances, which are not fast or easy.  These scammers will take your fee and disappear.

In another version of the student loan scam, con artists claim that they can save you money by consolidating your loans. Some charge a fee for using a free government service. Others may actually move your loans to a private lender with a higher interest rate.

Nerd Wallet

 A growing pack of private companies offers to relieve grads of their student loan debt, when in fact all they do is file paperwork to consolidate borrowers’ multiple federal loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan. These companies’ tactics are deceptive and costly, officials say, because they’re charging up to $1,500 for services the U.S. Department of Education offers for free. They work exclusively with federal loans, since private lenders generally don’t offer flexible repayment plans or loan forgiveness.

 

There are lots of scams out there, folks. Stay vigilant.

Student Loan Hero on Secured Credit Cards

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StudentLoanHero.com has just released an article, What Is a Secured Credit Card, and Is It Right for You?, on secured credit cards. The article shares perspectives from several financial education professionals, including Shay Olivarria.

I share the pros and cons on getting a secured credit card to create a credit profile or increase your credit scores. Check out the article to get my insight.

 

ShayOlivarriaHeadshotShay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. She speaks at high schools, colleges, and companies across the country. She has written three books on personal finance, including Amazon Best Seller “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”. Shay has been quoted on Bankrate.com, FoxBusiness.com, NBC Latino and The Credit Union Times, among others. To schedule Shay to speak at your event visit www.BiggerThanYourBlock.com.

 

 

6 Tips to Help Your Child Become Wealthy

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Do you remember when the hospital staff put that little bundle of new baby into your arms? Perhaps you met your child in an office somewhere or maybe it was a park. Regardless of how your child came into your life, I bet you promised yourself that you would make the best life you could for your child. A big part of making a good life for your child, means educating them about personal finance and setting their feet on the path to wealth. Here are six things you can do while your child is still young to help them do well.
#1 Open a savings account at a credit union
Credit unions have great customer service, lower loan rate, and are smaller than many banks. Opening an account a credit union allows the child to start developing a relationship with a financial institution and helps the child understand that money go into an account before one can swipe a card. Many credit unions also make an effort to reach out to youth, so they may offer incentives to open an account and yearly incentives to contribute more during Financial Literacy Month (April).
#2 Buy individual stocks for birthdays holidays
There are multiple sites where adults can buy individual stocks, complete with attractive stock certificates, for children. If the child is old enough, have them help by thinking about what products they use every day and why certain stocks might be a better investment than others. Place the stock certificates where they can view them often and bring it up in conversation.

#3 Encourage friends and family to contribute to a 529 plan

Most friends and family love to purchase new clothes or new toys for children. While any gift is certainly appreciated, a gift of $10 that could triple its value is much more helpful. Most 529 plans have a way for friends and family to put a few dollars in for milestones.

#4 Let the kid grocery shop with a spending plan and coupons

Kids see adults buying things all the time, but rarely do they understand why we choose one item over another. Including the child in grocery shopping helps the child to understand value over cost, that things do cost money, money is not infinite, and how money moves from a checking account to a vendor (through cash, check, debit card or credit card).

#5 Set limits at  amusement parks

When you arrive at an amusement park, hand each child a specific amount and tell them that once they spend it, there will be no more money. As they spend, try to guide them by explaining the rationale behind each choice but do not force them to spend the way you want. If they run out of money and become upset, it’s a tough lesson to learn but would you rather have them learn this lesson at nine years old or twenty-nine year old?

#6 Sock the college fund in a Roth IRA

Investing for your child’s college education is good, but depending on where you put the money, the funds could count against the child with the financial aid office. A Roth IRA is a great place to park the money because it’s counted differently than other college investment plans, you can take out the principle with no fees whenever you want, and if there is money left over, that money can grow tax deferred until retirement. Talk with your fee-only financial advisor about this option.

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ShayOlivarriaHeadshotShay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. She speaks at high schools, colleges, and companies across the country. She has written three books on personal finance, including Amazon Best Seller “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”. Shay has been quoted on Bankrate.com, FoxBusiness.com, NBC Latino and The Credit Union Times, among others. To schedule Shay to speak at your event visit www.BiggerThanYourBlock.com.

 

 

Why Not Write a “Real”Book?

Einstein-simple-Quotes

I get asked this from time to time, “Shay, why not write a real book?” I think people appreciate the books I’ve written:Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook, 10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money, All My Mistakes, and now the 2nd edition of 10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money but they think the books are too small. When on thinks of a book, they think of “smart” people talking about subjects or creating characters that the average person couldn’t have put together. The more challenging the book, the better the book is.

Well, that’s not my cup of tea. There are so many really good in-depth books already covering advanced personal finance topics. What wasn’t there until I wrote 10 Things, was an easy-to-read and easy-to-understand book that explained the basics of personal finance for people that are just getting started. When I began learning about personal finance, I had to read with the book on one thigh and a dictionary on the other thigh! Lol I couldn’t understand HALF of the words and concepts that the books were throwing around. Young people and the uninitiated deserve to have a book too.

 

ShayOlivarriaHeadshotShay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. She speaks at high schools, colleges, and companies across the country. She has written three books on personal finance, including Amazon Best Seller “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”. Shay has been quoted on Bankrate.com, FoxBusiness.com, NBC Latino and The Credit Union Times, among others. To schedule Shay to speak at your event visit www.BiggerThanYourBlock.com.

Retirement Survey 2016

Retirement-Survey-2016.fw

Are you investing for retirement? Do you use a work-sponsored plan? An individual retirement account? Will you have enough money to retire on?

Take our anonymous 9 question survey to help us learn how to serve you better. We don’t collect any identifying information from you. We just want to know about the trends in retirement so we can plan webinars, books and speaking events to help you plan.

Thank you for taking a moment to share. Don’t forget to invite others to share as well.

 

 

ShayOlivarriaHeadshot

Shay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. She speaks at high schools, colleges, and companies across the country. She has written three books on personal finance, including Amazon Best Seller “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”. Shay has been quoted on Bankrate.com, FoxBusiness.com, NBC Latino and The Credit Union Times, among others. To schedule Shay to speak at your event visit www.BiggerThanYourBlock.com.

DREAMers Leave Scholarship Money on the Table

“Overall, roughly a third of financial awards for illegal immigrant students attending state or public schools went unused in 2015 …. ” Business Insider says.

DREAM-Act-Students

According to ImmigrationPolicy.org, there are 1.5 million people that could consider themselves DREAMers. The DREAM Act is explained a bit below:

A new analysis casts some much-needed light on the question of exactly who might be eligible for the Obama Administration’s “deferred action” initiative for unauthorized youth who were brought to this country as children. This initiative, announced by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on June 15, offers a two-year, renewable reprieve from deportation to unauthorized immigrants who are under the age of 31; entered the United States before age 16; have lived continuously in the country for at least five years; have not been convicted of a felony, a “significant” misdemeanor, or three other misdemeanors; and are currently in school, graduated from high school, earned a GED, or served in the military. Immigrants who meet these criteria are commonly referred to as “DREAMers” because they comprise most (though not all) of the individuals who meet the general requirements of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.

That means that there are students that eligible for money to attend college, but they are not applying for it. Some say that they are concerned about providing their parent’s tax information. They don’t want to be deported.

Many DREAMers came here are kids and would have no idea what to do if deported to their “home” country. Some don’t speak the language of that country. Some have no relatives or contact in that country. The DREAM Act is allowing students that are good kids to further their education. Students have to do well in school and cannot commit crimes.

“Moreover, Ed Source reports that many students were disqualified from Dream ACT scholarships for not obtaining the requisite 2.0 grade point average for community colleges and 3.0 for state school .. “. Business Insider has more about students not getting the funds that are available to them.

I want to share some places that offer scholarships to undocumented students:

Scholarships on Generation Progress Undergrad, grad school

Golden Door Scholarships Undergrad

United We Dream Undergrad

 

Do you know of more scholarships for undocumented students?

Leave ’em in the comments section. Thanks! =)

 

 

 

Uber Takes Advantage of Drivers

Half of all Uber drivers last about six months before they quit.

Since they need more drivers, they have come up with a scheme to get drivers with bad credit a loan for a new car through Xchange Leasing. The Houston Chronicle explains:

If you’ve got a license and are willing to drive, Uber will hook you up with a new car, no matter how bad your credit. To make sure you make your payments, though, Uber will automatically deduct them weekly from what you earn as a driver. If you don’t drive enough, or you fail to make your lease payment, Xchange has folks to take the car back.

Goldman Sachs just put up a million dollars to expand the program.

Here’s what this looks like to me:

Car-Crash

#1 You can’t get approved by another lender so you know that the terms will be bad. Can we say “sub-prime” lending?

#2 Uber, or XChange, sets the rates for the loan and then Uber turns around and sets the rates that drivers drive for. You’re telling the drivers what they’ll pay to lease the car AND controlling how much money they earn.

#3 The lease payment comes out of the Uber driver’s pay that week, before the driver gets the money.

#4 If the driver doesn’t drive enough to make the payments, then the car is repossessed.

This does not sound like a good deal for Uber drivers that don’t already have a car loan.