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How Is The New FAFSA Timetable Impacting College Offers?

I was wondering about this question. so was happy to see this article in the WSJ last week (subscription). Our post last September described two of the major changes to the FAFSA. First, families could now complete the FAFSA starting October 1st (previous deadline was January 1st). Secondly, the financial information provided on the FAFSA now will come from prior prior (not a typo) year’s tax return. Let me explain. Those families completing the FAFSA in October 2016 for the 2017-18 school year, data from their 2015 tax year would be used.

The most dramatic impact is that students should expect to receive offer letters from colleges SOONER with about 50% of colleges expecting to send their need-based offers sooner. Here’s the data:

Question: In What Year Was The First A.T.M. Installed (And Other Fun Facts About Banking)?

Answer: 1969.

Good opener to this 1,000 word article (about 5 minutes reading time) on the history of banking from NerdWallet. Here are a few interesting points (some of which I even remember!):

By |February 13th, 2017|Article, Checking Accounts, Current Events, Question of the Day|

Who’s the Fiduciary: The Butcher or The Nutritionist?

Opened the Saturday paper in search of good blog material and Ron Lieber of NY Times comes through again in his latest column “Pepper a Financial Adviser with Questions About Fees.” Fiduciary is a word being tossed around lots these days when it comes to the relationship between a financial advisor and their clients. It might surprise a lot of people that in the current regulatory environment, a financial advisor is NOT required to act in their clients’ best interest (hmmm…surprised?). This fiduciary standard (to act in best interests of your client) was about to be applied to advisors providing retirement investment advice but the new Administration appears keen on delaying this, according to CNBC.

By |February 13th, 2017|Article, Behavioral Finance, Current Events, Investing, Video Resource|

Article: What’s the Future of Credit Scores?

Think Big Data. The Economist (5 minute article, college reading level) enlightens us on this topic in their article: “Big data, financial services and privacy:”

This is all part of an “intensifying data arms-race in finance”, says Magda Ramada Sarasola from Willis Towers Watson, a consultancy, which claims that no industry used more big data last year. Banks and insurers used to rely only on what customers and credit agencies told them, but today websites and mobile-banking apps let them get much more close and personal. Less conventional sources are also popular. Social-media profiles, web-browsing, loyalty cards and phone-location trackers can all help. In a trial, FICO, America’s main credit-scorer, found that the words someone uses in his Facebook status could help predict his creditworthiness (tip: avoid “wasted”). Even facial expressions and tone of voice are being studied for risk.

Just another reason to be careful with social media..your bank or lender may be reading but then again the lines between social media and finance seem to be blurring:

By |February 12th, 2017|Article, Credit Scores, Current Events, Research|

Debate: Student Loans or Your Future Earnings: Which Would You Choose?

Kim Clark from Money describes a radical approach that some schools are taking to slow the growth of student debt:

Sheila Bair, who as head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation from 2006 through 2011 was one of the few officials to warn of the 2008 mortgage crisis, is now hoping to forestall a similar mess in student loans. Her solution: a new kind of college funding option that would let students trade away a portion of future earnings for financial support now.

Here are the details of this student loan alternative:

Please Include Student Loans in Your Lessons!!!!

Connecting the dots on a weekend and thinking about recent student loan news. Most standard personal finance courses spend way too little time on this issue of student loans and more broadly paying for college. Why? One major reason is the national standards have not emphasized this issue of college finance (see how many times you find “college” and “student loans” in this 52 page document).

So, what are the dots that I am connecting and why the imperative to include in your curriculum? 1) almost 50% of student loan borrowers are struggling; 2) the fastest growing segment of student loan market is over 60; 3) the largest student loan servicer is being sued for“systematically and illegally failing borrowers at every stage of repayment.” Kinda makes you wonder how much #3 contributes to #1 but I digress:

Article: Can The Credit Scoring System Be Fixed?

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I was thinking about this question recently for two reasons: 1) the $23 million fine that CFPB handed down to a few credit reporting agencies for deceptive marketing around credit scores and 2) As fewer millennials choose credit compared to debit, the number of credit invisibles increase. So, what can we learn from this article from the Atlantic (approximately 10 minutes in length)?

My notes:

  • Chicken or the egg problem with credit: “If you think about the credit-invisible population in this country, their ability to enter the financial mainstream and access affordable credit instead of payday lenders and pawnshops and check-cashing services is tied to what’s in their credit report,” says Michael Turner, the president of the Policy and Economic Research Council. “They’re caught in the credit catch-22: In order to qualify for credit you have to have already had credit.”
By |January 16th, 2017|Article, Credit Reports, Credit Scores, WebQuest|

Chart: How Strong Are American’s Problem-Solving Skills Using A Computer?

From Economist:

20170114_SRC362

Answer: Meh (or about average for OECD countries with about 33% of adults classified in the “High” category).

This Economist article focused on the need for retraining of low-skilled workers as the pace of automation accelerates and many of their jobs go the way of the buggy whip. As for how to accomplish this, Singapore has a promising example:

By |January 16th, 2017|Article, Career, Chart of the Week, Current Events, Policy, Research|