Lucrative career options in the digital age are encouraging aspiring millennials to take a leap towards learning new skills and enhancing the current ones. Contemporary programs and courses devise their syllabus revolving around state-of-the-art industry-requirements and provide students with the doorway to professional freedom and all-round development.
Advanced career programs call for a significant amount of fees and, most often, taking a student loan becomes mandatory. Student loans have become very common and surprisingly, can amount to substantial amounts of debt. This can force you to procrastinate bigger dreams like owning a home, getting married and saving for retirement. Student loans can hold you back from living independently the way you love and reconsider your passion and interests.
Success in the modern world often requires you to take calculated risks, whether it’s about your career, starting a business and other aspects of life. Taking control of student loans from the start is a very important part of your financial plans & goals.Be in charge of your finances and concentrate on other important aspects of your personal and professional domain.
Here are some of the most effective methods to tackle student debts and finetune your finances.
Consolidate your loans and choose effective refinancing options
The Great Recession saw banks hesitant to assist students looking to refinances their existing loans. The economy slumped big time and banks rejected to offer student loans. However, colleges were beginning to swarm with students and a serious thought was applied to look for alternate refinancing methods. Banks suddenly re-entered the refinancing market to offer students better loan offers. This gives students the opportunity to save more by consolidating their federal and private loan into a single one. This way, they will be charged the lowest interest rate.
Private refinancing is available only for a niche group. You should not be employed in the public sector and should be out of a federal debt relief program. Otherwise, you cannot enjoy the benefits of refinancing.Make sure you don’t have any bad credits where you have to pay very interest rates.
Check out uncle Sam’s program that helps you consolidate your loan into a single payment process. It carries a lower interest rate and, the same is applied to prior loans. It allows you to pay less every month with an extended duration. In some cases like income-based repayment programs, consolidating your loans is mandatory.
Choose debt-relief programs
The Federal Government offers a breather for those whose monthly loan payments are higher than their income. The debt-relief program takes a chunk of the loan off the individual’s back. Manage your debts with an income-driven repayment plan where monthly payments include a certain percentage of your income. Payments often extend up to 25 years to lower monthly payments significantly. This includes four options to choose from, like:
- Revised Pay as You Earn program that limits the payments at 10% of your discretionary income with a repayment period up to 20 years
- Pay as You Earn offers the payment of 10% of your income with 25 years in hand to repay
- Income-Based Repayment plan gives 20 years’ time period to repay at just 10% of your income
- Income-Contingent Repayment plan gives the option to pay either 20% of your discretionary income or the amount calculated on a fixed repayment plan for 12 years, whichever is lesser
All the four programs come with the added benefit of student loan forgiveness. This option is extended only after 20 or 25 years and you are no longer required to repay the remaining loan balance. However, this difference amount is not eligible for income on tax returns and it will be taxed.
Student loan forgiveness
There are certain cases where the Federal Government can wave off you student loan repayment. As pointed earlier, this is an occasional situation where you no longer need to repay your remaining loan amount, subject to conditions. There is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program that qualifies individuals working in public service jobs, for loan forgiveness. They should be working full-time and should have made 120 payments.
Teachers working full-time for a period of five years for lower income in elementary or secondary schools enjoy a wavier up to $17,500. This includes subsidized and unsubsidized loans and is offered by the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program.
Company benefits to repay student loans
Several companies have started offering student loan repayment as an employee benefit to relive graduates from the burden of repayment. Check out companies that offer this assistance where you also get an opportunity to showcase your skills and expertise. These benefits can also be tax-free in the near future.
Cut off student loan through digital methods
There are some lucrative digital platforms that allow a wavier on your student loan repayment and let you enjoy other benefits too. There is ChangED that automatically transfers your spare amount towards your student loan.
EvoShare offers cashback on every purchase made from its retail partners online. This cash back will automatically go into your student loan account when you connect to the app.
Pickpocket.me automatically transfers 10% from every dollar spent up to the first $500. However, this app costs you $4.99 per month.
Taking a student loan is inevitable these days and is the proven way to fund your higher educational programs. Before taking a student loan, it’s imperative you make a thorough study of the finer points and assess your abilities and repayment capacity. As long as you are in control of where and how much of your money is going to, you will be in favourable position to secure your future and lead a financially independent life.
Staying connected: keeping the numbers moving in the finance industry
By Robert Gibson-Bolton, Enterprise Manager, NetMotion
2020 will certainly be hard to forget. Amongst the many changes we have come to live with, for many of us it has been adapting to a new style of working. Whatever your take on it is, remote working, working from home or even agile working, one thing remains clear – for many of us, this could be the new-normal for the foreseeable future. The professional services sector is no different. For example, many finance practices around the world are now allowing staff to work from home part of the time. In addition, a recent KPMG report found that half of the UK’s financial services workforce want to work from home after COVID-19.
Will this therefore become the de facto working practice for the finance industry too? We can’t say for sure, but this agile approach to working has certainly caused a major rethink for many firms. And as they evolve and adapt to meet the demands of a different way of working, firms need to ensure that their workforce can seamlessly interact with each other and their clients – this is key if they want to continue to deliver exceptional client service. Whilst financial services organisations everywhere are busy adopting innovative new technologies to better reflect the ‘work from anywhere environment’, they need to ensure secure access to resources and strive towards enhancing the end user experience. Success will be replicating the office working experience at home or wherever else they may be.
It’s all well and good for a firm to boast about the ability of their staff to work successfully from home, but how do they also establish that their people are just as productive as they were before? Whilst the IT department will have to grapple with security and compliance issues that arise from agile and remote working, they must also ensure that their people can connect securely, without eschewing user experience. And it needs to be completely seamless, without compromising the service level provided to clients.
Why all the fuss?
Which brings us nicely to persistent connectivity. Persistent connectivity effectively allows you to do more. How frustrating for the user when connectivity drops, or when the device that they are working on can’t find a network to connect to (or if the device switches between different networks). When connectivity drops, and re-connection is required then there is that small period where the user is not connected at all. And the user might have to re-authenticate or log into their VPN again (most VPNs are rubbish when they lose connectivity). All of these different scenarios ultimately disrupt the user experience – persistent connectivity provides the flexibility to overcome these challenges. When you enjoy consistent connectivity, you are making sure that the technology works as it was designed to work, allowing staff to rely on optimum user experience, anytime, anywhere – in effect, supplying them with that office-like experience, wherever they are. Just think about how many hours might be spent on a train, in a hotel or even on a client site. Consistent connectivity is key here – consistent in any of these locations.
Connectivity will be a fundamental component for successful remote working as firms try to meet the demands of an increasingly mobile workforce. Ultimately, they need encrypted and reliable connections that enable them to quickly and easily reach business applications and services. Working in a disconnected environment can lead to frustrated workers, hardly fitting given all the new remote working policies in place.
Getting the user experience spot-on
When you fine-tune connection performance so that essential business applications run reliably across networks, you are essentially talking about traffic optimization. Mobile traffic optimization ensures that applications, resources and connections are tuned for weak and intermittent network coverage and can roam between wireless networks as conditions and availability change. When connections aren’t performing well, applications that are crucial for job performance can experience packet loss, jitter or latency that can make working on the hoof extremely tricky. Compared to wired networks, wireless networks operate under highly variable conditions, including such factors as terrain or congested mobile towers. When you optimise the flow of traffic, you are helping to manage packet loss. Effectively, packet losses are data loss, which happens very regularly when you’re on the move or transitioning between different networks. Applications that require a lot of data tend to become fairly unusable when you hit even minor packet loss, which can be a common occurrence for many on residential broadband or on local Wi-Fi. conversely, NetMotion can enable critical applications to work and prevent disruptions at over 50% packet loss – in this way, employees can rely on technology performing well in situations and locations where it simply could not before. That is incredibly powerful for firms.
The finance industry is facing many of the same challenges presented to other industries. It is a question of balancing the requirement for more sophisticated ways to ensure secure access to resources with the need to enhance the end user experience (key team members in particular). For finance firms everywhere, adopting the right technologies will ensure that their people can enjoy a ‘work-from-anywhere’ environment.
Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific warns of capacity cuts, higher cash burn
(Reuters) – Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd on Monday warned passenger capacity could be cut by about 60% and monthly cash burn may rise if Hong Kong installs new measures that require flight crew to quarantine for two weeks.
Hong Kong’s flagship carrier said the expected move will increase cash burn by about HK$300 million ($38.70 million) to HK$400 million per month, on top of current HK$1 billion to HK$1.5 billion levels.
Hong Kong is set to require flight crew entering the Asian financial hub for more than two hours to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks, the South China Morning Post reported last week, citing sources.
“The new measure will have a significant impact on our ability to service our passenger and cargo markets,” Cathay said in a statement, adding that expected curbs will also reduce its cargo capacity by 25%.
The airline, in an internal memo seen by Reuters, requested for volunteers among its crew who could fly for three weeks, followed by two weeks of quarantine and 14 days free of duty, adding it will be a temporary measure and not all its flight will require such an operation.
“We continue to engage with key stakeholders in the Hong Kong Government,” the memo said.
The government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Separately, a company spokeswoman said the airline could not detail the impact on vaccine transport specifically in terms of cargo shipments.
The aviation industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as many countries imposed travel restrictions to contain its spread.
In December, Cathay’s passenger numbers fell by 98.7% compared to a year earlier, though cargo carriage was down by a smaller 32.3%.
($1 = 7.7512 Hong Kong dollars)
(Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Jamie Freed in Sydney and Twinnie Siu in Hong Kong; Editing by Bernard Orr and Arun Koyyur)
Travel stocks pull FTSE 100 lower as virus risks weigh
By Shashank Nayar
(Reuters) – London’s FTSE 100 fell on Monday, with travel stocks leading the declines, as rising coronavirus infections and extended lockdowns raised worries about the pace of economic growth, while fashion retailers Boohoo and ASOS gained on merger deals.
The British government quietly extended lockdown laws to give councils the power to close pubs, restaurants, shops and public spaces until July 17, the Telegraph reported on Saturday.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index dipped 0.1%, with travel and energy stocks falling the most, while the mid-cap index rose 0.1%.
“Stock markets are crawling between optimism around the rollout of vaccines and worries that a jump in virus infections and fresh local lockdowns could further affect recovery prospects,” said David Madden, an analyst at CMC Markets.
Britain has detected 77 cases of the South African variant of COVID-19, the health minister said on Sunday while urging people to strictly follow lockdown rules as the best precaution against the country’s own potentially more deadly variant.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had earlier warned that the government could not consider easing lockdown restrictions with infection rates at their current high levels and until it is confident that the vaccination programme is working.
The FTSE 100 shed 14.3% in value last year, its worst performance since a 31% plunge in 2008 and underperforming its European peers by a wide margin, as pandemic-driven lockdowns battered the economy.
Online fashion retailers Boohoo and ASOS surged 4.8% and 5.9%, each. Boohoo bought the Debenhams brand, while ASOS was in talks to buy the key brands of Philip Green’s collapsed Arcadia group.
Recruiter SThree Plc gained 0.9% after its profit, which nearly halved, still managed to beat market expectations and the company said it had resumed dividends.
(Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)
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