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Kick start the financial road to college

(StatePoint) Fall kick starts the financial road to college for parents of high school seniors. But if you’re like the majority of parents, you both value the importance of a college degree, while harboring anxiety about the price tag. 
  In a recent College Ave Student Loans parent survey conducted by Barnes & Noble Insights, 85% of parents agree that earning a degree is more important than ever. At the same time, most parents surveyed agree that the cost of college is more of a financial burden than in previous years, that the cost is surprisingly high, and find paying to be stressful.
  As you begin making your financial plans, consider these tips:
• Build a smart college list: Encourage your child to apply to a mix of private and public schools as sometimes merit aid from private universities can make costs comparable to public options. By applying to a variety of schools, you can compare financial aid award packages and identify a school that’s not only a good academic and social fit, but a good financial fit as well.
• Apply for financial aid: Create a spreadsheet listing financial aid deadlines and requirements, which vary by school and state. You can check with your school’s financial aid office to learn what paperwork is needed.
  One date to circle in your calendar is October 1. This marks the day you can begin filing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Complete the FAFSA this fall and every year your child attends college. Doing so is the key to unlocking scholarships, grants, work-study and federal student loans. This is also the date you can begin filing the CSS Profile, an online application that nearly 400 colleges, universities, professional schools, and scholarship programs use to award more than $9 billion in financial aid annually.
• Look for scholarships: Have your college-bound student seek out and apply for reputable scholarships. Be sure to read the fine print to understand the terms. One easy one to apply for is the College Ave Student Loans $1,000 monthly scholarship sweepstakes.
• Review your finances: The overwhelming majority of parents (97%) plan to help pay for their child’s college education, according to the College Ave survey. Of those, 62% plan to draw from their income and savings to do so. Make time this fall to review your financial resources to determine how much you can contribute without sacrificing your retirement goals. You may need to get creative. For example, 1 out of 10 parents surveyed find extra income from a side hustle.
• Prep your student: Many students learn their first money management lessons in college. Give your child the financial know-how needed to hit the ground running. Discuss how to create and stick to a budget, how to build an emergency savings account, and how to avoid peer pressure when it comes to spending. For example, just because a friend is dining out or traveling frequently, doesn’t mean your child has to do the same. Also, discuss how they can contribute to their education costs. Creating financial goals now will help set your child up for financial success.
• Get savvy: As you navigate the financial road to college, stay savvy by referencing the free tips, resources, guides and financial expert advice available at
  College costs can surprise many families. Don’t get caught off guard. To get financially prepared, use the year ahead to explore all your financing options and formulate a plan.

Tips to manage and improve your personal finances

​ (StatePoint) If you’re like many Americans, having a better understanding of money management is a priority for you right now.
  In fact, nearly 75% of Americans hope to improve their financial literacy in 2021, according to a recent survey conducted by OnePoll for World Finance. The same survey also found that 50% of Americans need advice on how to budget properly.
  “While money matters can seem overwhelming at first, there is a simple formula for successful personal finances: know your credit score, create a manageable budget and build your savings,” says Chad Prashad, president and CEO of World Acceptance Corporation, the parent company of World Finance, a personal finance company.
  To help you get started, World Finance, which helps over one million customers each year improve their financial situations, is offering the following tips and insights:
1. Know your credit score: Many banks and lenders will let you review your credit score for free on a regular basis. If your credit score has room for improvement, a simple way to build it is through a credit building loan. This is a small loan designed to be easy to pay back, helping you establish positive credit through the lender. When taking out a loan, always be sure to use a reputable lender that reports to credit bureaus so that repaying your loan positively impacts your score.
2. Make, and stick to, a monthly budget: There is no one-size-fits-all way to make a budget so find a method that works best for you. A few systems to try include envelope budgeting (dividing expenditures into physical or digital envelopes representing different spending categories), zero-based budgeting (earmarking every last penny of your income to a useful purpose) and the 50/30/20 Rule (allocating 50% of your income to needs, 30% to wants and 20% to savings and debt reduction).
3. Start saving: While building a savings account can be daunting, it’s important to allocate one in your budget. Doing so will mean you have an emergency fund to keep you afloat when the unexpected happens in life. According to the OnePoll/World Finance survey, nearly 30% of Americans do not feel that they have the safety net or resources available to cover a financial setback greater than $400. If you find yourself in a situation where your savings won’t cover what you need, a personal installment loan with equal monthly payments designed to fit into your budget could be a good solution. Find a lender that will work with you to understand the complete picture of your finances, such as World Finance. To learn more, visit
  “Every so often, it’s a good idea to take inventory of your financial wellness,” says Prashad. “Use the opportunity to understand your credit score, employ budgeting tactics and create a savings fund.

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