This post comes from Josh Mitchell at partner site The Wall Street Journal.
Government officials are trying to rein in increasingly popular federal programs that forgive some student debt, amid rising concerns over the plans' costs and the possibility they could encourage colleges to push tuition even higher.
Enrollment in the plans—which allow students to rack up big debts and then forgive the unpaid balance after a set period—has surged nearly 40 percent in just six months, to include at least 1.3 million Americans owing around $72 billion, U.S. Education Department records show.
The popularity of the programs comes as top law schools are now advertising their own plans that offer to cover a graduate's federal loan repayments until outstanding debt is forgiven. The school aid opens the way for free or greatly subsidized degrees at taxpayer expense.
At issue are two federal loan repayment plans created by Congress, originally to help students with big debt loads and to promote work in lower-paying jobs outside the private sector.
Often perceived to be expensive, living an eco-friendly lifestyle can actually save you money and save the environment.
This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.
Many Americans believe that living an eco-friendly lifestyle costs too much "green."
That's the finding of a new survey by digital coupon website RetailMeNot and The Omnibus Co. released just in time for Earth Day.
The survey found that less than half -- 44 percent -- of Americans would describe their lifestyle as completely green.
Nearly half of the survey participants said the biggest reason for not living an entirely eco-friendly existence is because it's too expensive.
And 7 in 10 people said they only purchase eco-friendly products if the cost is the same or lower than non-green.
Trae Bodge, senior editor of The Real Deal blog, says that despite many people's perception that living green is spendy, it can actually save you money. Bodge compiled 11 ways to go green and save.
Here are our five favorite tips. They're both easy and Earth-friendly:
Are you mad as heck? Make sure your complaint letter gets attention by following these tips.
This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News.
For 13 years, I was a constituent services staffer for a Michigan legislator. In other words, my job was to try to resolve constituent complaints.
That means I've seen a lot of complaint letters. I've also written a fair share myself because many times, in order to resolve an issue, my boss needed to send her own letter about the problem. As a result, I quickly learned what letter-writing strategies work best and which ones are bound to get you the cold shoulder.
Here are some do's and don'ts for writing effective complaint letters.
Car, homeowners and health insurance: necessary. But what about life insurance? Here are seven things everyone should know.
This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.
This week's reader question is about life insurance, and it’s short and sweet.
Is life insurance really necessary if you are a single person with no dependents? -- PamWho needs life insurance?
Life insurance is one of the least understood major expenses. Many people buy it when they don't need it. Just as many need it and don't buy it.
You need life insurance if those depending on your income would suffer financially from your death. The most obvious example is when you have kids, debt and a one-earner household, because the death of the breadwinner would be financially tragic.
When you've paid off the house, the kids are gone, the savings account is topped off, and your death is just an excuse for your remaining friends to get together and have a drink, your need for life insurance is over.
Of course, there are those between these two extremes. For example, because Pam has no dependents, she probably doesn't need life insurance. But she may have an awesome home she wants to leave debt-free to her sister. If that home has a mortgage, she may choose to get enough insurance to pay it off.
Another situation where life insurance can come in handy is a big estate.
US stockpiles are at their lowest point for this time of year since 2011.
This post comes from Nicole Friedman at partner site The Wall Street Journal.
Drivers in the U.S. are facing rising gasoline prices ahead of summer-vacation season, just as refiners here are shipping more gas to other countries.
A new pipeline, built to release a glut of crude oil that was stuck in the middle of the country, is now feeding oil to refineries on the Gulf Coast that churn out gasoline and diesel. While these fuels still make their way to the Southeast and the East Coast, growing amounts are being sold to Mexico, the Netherlands, Brazil and other countries.
The push into these markets has been spurred by the U.S. oil boom. Rising oil output had been flooding the nation's oil market in recent years, keeping U.S. crude prices low relative to world prices. Facing tepid fuel demand in the U.S., refiners have been ramping up exports, creating more global competition for U.S.-produced fuel.
Take these simple steps to live a more environment-friendly lifestyle.
It's Earth Day, so we’re all looking for easy ways to be a bit gentler on the environment. Whether it’s buying local produce or planting a tree, going green is trendy. And it makes sense.
We want to preserve our world for generations to come. And to do that, we need to make responsible environmental choices in every area of life, even with our finances.
If you want to take your green-ness to the next level, check out these five ways to go green with your money.
It doesn't always pay to go for the lowest possible price on purchases and other expenditures. Here's why.
This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News.
It pays to spend less whenever you can, right? Well, not necessarily. There are some cases where the "less is more" principle doesn't work.
Being cheap cuts costs for the moment, but may cause you to incur additional expenses in the long run. That ends up being the antithesis of frugality.
Here are a few instances where thriftiness can backfire:
As an ex-couponer, I know all about this firsthand. I remember sitting at the dining room table every Sunday afternoon cutting away at the weekly circulars and matching the coupons from my ridiculously large collection to the sale items.
I saved a ton of money, but I also ended up with a massive stockpile of items I had no real use for.
The moment of truth came when I headed to my stockpile, only to realize I had accumulated six jars of mayonnaise and 18 sticks of deodorant, which I likely wouldn't use before the best-by date. That's not to mention the hours of my life spent clipping away that I could have used to generate additional income.
The choice is yours, but I suggest you conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether the hours spent on couponing are worth it. Here's a perfect example from LearnVest that really helps put things into perspective.
Just in time for Financial Literacy Month, surveys show that many Americans are poorly equipped to handle their current and future finances.
This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.
If you lost your job and sole source of income tomorrow, could you live for more than a month on what you have saved? If you answered "no," you're not alone.
A survey conducted by RetailMeNot and The Omnibus Co. -- just in time for Financial Literacy Month -- found that just 52 percent of respondents could live for more than a month on what they have socked away in their savings accounts.
If that's not concerning enough, nearly half of those surveyed said they lack knowledge or understanding, and thus confidence, about their personal finances. Many people are in dire need of financial literacy.
But truly, there are simple steps people can take. Trae Bodge, senior editor for The Real Deal blog by RetailMeNot, said:
Saving money is just one part of the financial literacy equation. It is also important that consumers spend wisely to be able to afford the items they need. Making small adjustments to shopping behaviors, like utilizing discounts for everyday purchases, in addition to putting away even a small amount each month, are important steps toward achieving overall financial health.
Other key findings of the survey include:
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