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You finally made it through college and graduated with a degree, a new set of friends, great memories, and most likely a significant amount of student loan debt. How can you manage paying such a substantial debt on a starting salary (assuming you were fortunate enough to find a job at all)? It is not easy, but by following some simple rules, you can increase your chances of successful student loan repayment.

Consider the following dos and don'ts of managing your student loan:

1. Don't Splurge on Spending – It's tempting to take that first paycheck and splurge on some of the things you've always wanted and can now afford. Resist that urge and make it a priority to pay down debt. Devote at least the minimum payment amount to your student loan payments — and, if you can afford it, consider paying ahead to knock down th...

Repaying Your Student Loans

Video: Cutting College Costs During Your Student Years

Video: Can You Get A Scholarship With A Low GPA?

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MoneyTips

Procrastinator alert: your taxes are due! If you are nowhere near ready as the scary deadline approaches, you may file an extension with the IRS that gives you up to six more months to file your taxes. Filing an extension will spare you from late filing penalties — 5% of the amount of tax you owe for each month or partial month past the deadline. The extension is automatic — you do not have to send any justification or reasoning like "I have 5,000 wadded-up receipts crammed in a shoebox."

The IRS and Treasury Department have extended the 2020 tax filing and payment deadline from April 15th to July 15th, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To file an extension, fill out IRS Form 4868, "Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Tax Return" and subm...

Last-Minute Tax Day Filing

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It's STILL Not Too Late To Lower Your Tax Bill

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MoneyTips

Most people say they plan for retirement, but they are really planning for financial independence. The day you achieve financial independence is a great day – you have accumulated enough wealth to not have to work again, and will be able to retire whenever you choose. (We use the word "day" symbolically; as a practical matter, your financial independence is likely to arrive more gradually.)

How do you plan for financial independence? Here are seven simple steps to follow.

Set A Target Date and Plan Accordingly – Decide when you want to achieve financial independence, and use online calculators to help you run different scenarios based on that date. This will help you plan your savings and investment needs.

Spend Wisely – Being frugal is not being a cheapskate. Cheapskates will not pay for anything. Frugal people will pay for value. If it doesn't bring you value – and that could be emotional enjoyment as well as financi...

Fill Your IRA With Low-Cost Index Funds

Our Spending and Saving Habits (Infographic)

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MoneyTips

June 28 is National Insurance Awareness Day. Is it a coincidence that less than a week later, we celebrate Independence Day with lots of explosives in untrained hands? Americans spent a record $945 million on fireworks in 2018, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA).

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many professional fireworks displays to be cancelled, resulting in even more potentially dangerous at-home fireworks shows. Perhaps it's time to brush up on your knowledge of fireworks safety and how potential damage or injury could be covered by your insurance policies.

For many Americans, the Fourth of July holiday means cookouts, family get-togethers, and a nighttime fireworks show. If you are putting on your own fireworks display for your family, friends and neighbors, your first thought should be about safety. Your second thought might well be about insurance.

In general, fireworks affect two different policies – your Five Fun Financial Facts: 4th of July - #1 of 5

What The Founding Fathers Would Say About Today's Economy

Dog-Owners' Liability Insurance 101

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MoneyTips

Few things are more effective at fighting identity theft than credit freezes. When you freeze your credit, potential lenders can't access your credit file to assess the risk of lending money to you. No risk assessment means no credit – so identity thieves can't use your stolen information to create fake accounts in your name.

You can't open new credit accounts in your name, either. When you're ready to shop for a new home or refinance your existing one, you must temporarily remove (thaw) the freeze so lenders can assess your credit.

Fortunately, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act of 2018 removed credit freeze barriers by making them free and simple to apply and remove. If you request a credit freeze with any of the three major credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) over the phone or via a secu...

Mortgage Pre-Approval Necessities

How To Set Up A Credit Freeze

Free Credit Freezes And More Credit Changes You Need To Know

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MoneyTips

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That's sound advice for almost all aspects of life, including the search for mortgage relief services.

Distressed homeowners don't have to resort to third-party mortgage services. Free counseling is available at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD programs such as the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) can allow qualified homeowners to refinance their home at more favorable terms.

If you don't qualify for any HUD programs, you can work directly with your lender or consult with third-party mortgage counseling services. However, you must be careful to distinguish legitimate mortgage services from scammers. Scammers are adept at taking advantage of desperate homeowners for their own gain without providing any assistan...

Five Warning Signs Of A Mortgage Relief Scam

FTC Permanently Bans Scammers From Mortgage Industry

Justice for Mortgage-Relief Scams

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