Even your student loans may succumb to the coronavirus — at least, temporarily.
If you have federally held student loans, the Department of Education announced on March 20 that your interest rate has automatically been set to 0% for at least 60 days.
Additionally, the DOE announced that they will also halt collection actions, wage garnishments, and withholds on federal income tax refunds and Social Security payments due to defaulted student loans.
Here’s all of our coverage of the coronavirus outbreak, which we will be updating every day.
Additionally, you can contact your loan servicer immediately to ask for an administrative forbearance on your federally held student loans for at least 60 days.
During a typical forbearance period, you don’t have to make your monthly student loan payments without becoming delinquent; however, interest typically continues to accrue on the loan during that time.
But this interest waiver means that you won’t accrue interest during this period.
Additionally, if you’re at least 31 days behind on your payments as of March 13, 2020, or become more than 31 days delinquent after that date, you’ll automatically be placed in an administrative forbearance.
We’re here to help you figure out how this applies to your loans and whether forbearance is a good option for you.
What to Do About Student Loans During the Coronavirus
However the coronavirus may be affecting you, your student loans aren’t going anywhere for now. Here’s what you need to know about the interest waiver and forbearance benefit.
What Loans Does the Interest Waiver Cover?
The interest waiver covers all loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education, which includes Direct Loans, subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans, Parent and Graduate Plus loans, and consolidation loans.
If you have Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) and Perkins loans held by the federal government, they’re covered, too — but the majority of those loans are commercially held, which makes them ineligible for the benefit.
You could consolidate your FFEL or Perkins loans into a direct consolidation loan, which would make it eligible for the interest waiver. But if you consolidate and the 60-day waiver ends, your interest rate might be higher than what you’re currently paying, and any outstanding interest will capitalize.
Neither private loans nor state-issued ones are included at all in the waiver.
But some states are also getting in on the action: New York state, for instance, is suspending collection of student debt owed to the state.
How do you know what’s covered and what isn’t?
Call your loan servicer to confirm the type of loan you have, who holds it and how the waiver may affect your loan.
It’s a good starting point, although with ever-changing events, it’d be a good idea to keep those numbers handy so you can call back for updates from the federal government as well as your state government’s website.
How Does the Waiver Affect Your Monthly Payment?
If you choose to apply for forbearance, your payment will be $0 for at least two months, which could be a big help if you’re struggling to pay bills amid the coronavirus spread.
If you continue making your payments, the interest waiver doesn’t mean your monthly payment will change — the amount you pay would first go toward already accrued interest, and the rest would pay down principal.
In theory, that’s helpful because it allows borrowers to make a bigger dent in their balance while saving on interest.
If your loan is already in forbearance, it will stop accruing interest as of March 13, 2020. However, when your loan goes back into repayment, any interest that accrued prior to that date will capitalize.
What If Your Loans Are Already in Default?
The DOE halted collections and wage garnishments for at least 60 days as of March 13, 2020 — the first day of the national emergency due to COVID-19. Additionally, the U.S. Treasury will stop withholding money from defaulted borrowers’ federal income tax refunds, Social Security payments and other federal payments.
That also means you should stop receiving pesky phone calls from collection agencies, and the DOE stated it will refund any money that was being withheld as of March 13, 2020.
It’s up to your employer to make the changes if your wages are being garnished, so if yours have been since the March 13 start date, contact your employers’ human resources department.
If you have questions about arrangements you have in regards to defaulted student loans, contact the Department’s Default Resolution Group at (800) 621-3115.
Why You Might Not Want Forbearance
No payments and no interest for two months — is there any reason not to take advantage of administrative forbearance?
If you’ve lost your job or your income has been drastically cut, and you’re currently on an income-driven repayment plan (IDR), you’re probably better off sticking with your current plan.
You can update your info and ask your loan servicer to recalculate your monthly payment based on your current income. Depending on the plan, you’ll pay between 10% and 20% of your monthly income — which can be as low as $0 if you have no income.
If you’re trying to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, any months of non-payments won’t count toward your required total payments — but payments don’t need to be consecutive.
So what’s the difference between paying $0 via forbearance and $0 on your IDR?
Any time spent in an administrative forbearance does not count toward the required payments toward the required 120 payments to earn your eventual loan forgiveness, but a zero-dollar IDR payment does count.
The Department of Education noted on its website that it may extend the 60-day interest waiver benefit, depending on the status of the COVID-19 national emergency.
When the zero-interest period end date is set, the Department will post the information to this page and your loan servicer will contact you to let you know you need to resume payments.
And again, if you are able to keep making payments during the interest waiver period, this could actually be a good chance to put a dent in your student loan balance.
Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder. Read her bio and other work here, then catch her on Twitter @TiffanyWendeln.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.
IndianOil Citi Platinum Credit Card Review
|IndianOil Citi Platinum Card Rating|
|Reward Points ★★★★
Welcome Bonuses ★★★
Fuel Benefits ★★★★
Annual Fee ★★★
Additional Benefits ★★★
|Paisabazaar’s Rating ★★★★|
In partnership with Indian Oil, Citi Bank has launched this co-branded credit card named IndianOil Citi Platinum Credit Card. If you are specifically looking for a fuel credit card, this card might serve the purpose. The card comes with savings on fuel and fuel points. Here is our review of IndianOil Citi Platinum credit card:
|About IndianOil Citi Platinum Card At A Glance|
|Annual Fee||★ Rs.1000 (waived off on spending Rs.30,000 + annually)|
|Key Feature||★ Earn up to 71 litres of free fuel annually|
|Reward Points Earned||★ Earn 4 turbo points on every Rs.150 spent on fuel purchases
★ Earn 2 turbo points on groceries and supermarkets
The IndianOil Citi Platinum Credit Card lets you earn reward points and save on your fuel purchases. Also you have the privilege to earn turbo points on all your expenses using this card. To help you in deciding if this card is the right choice for you or not, we have given a detailed review for your convenience.
Key Highlights of IndianOil Citi Platinum Card
Avail Exclusive Welcome Bonus
This card offers you with a welcome gift on the successful activation of your card. You are entitled to-
- Get a 250 worth of free fuel on the first spend on your card
The welcome gift will be given in the form of turbo points. Hence you will receive 250 turbo points which can be used further for fuel purchases. The points will be rewarded within 30 days of card issuance.
Evergreen Reward Points On Every Purchase
The card lets you earn reward points (turbo points) on every purchase that you make. Be it fuel, grocery or any other spend, the card offers decent rewards to you. The accumulated points can then be used to get free fuel in the future. With this card, you get-
Rewards on Fuel Spends
|Earn 4 turbo points on every Rs.150 spent and 1% fuel surcharge reversal on fuel purchase at authorized IndianOil outlets|
Rewards on Grocery
Earn 2 turbo points on every Rs.150 spent on groceries and supermarkets
Reward on Daily Spends
|Earn 1 turbo point on every Rs.150 spend on all other spends|
Points to remember-
- 1 Turbo Point= Re.1 of free fuel
- Redeem your turbo points earned via SMS for free at authorized IndianOil outlets
- The rewards points never expire, hence you can either redeem them instantly or keep collecting
- Also, earn 200 bonus turbo points for every additional card that you take
Total Savings Of Rs.5240
We have given below the value chart of how some of your monthly purchases can save you Rs.5240 free fuel.
|Value Chart||Monthly Spend (Rs.)||Turbo Points Earned||Surcharge Waiver (@2.50%)|
|All other purchases||9000||60||0|
|Total monthly purchases||20,000||287||150|
|Total annual purchases||2,40,000||3440||1800|
Here in the above mentioned table-
- 3440 turbo points= Rs.3440 worth of free fuel
- Total Savings of Rs.3440 + Rs.1800= Rs. 5240
Exclusive Fuel Benefits
If the majority of your work requires commuting on a daily basis, this card can be the right choice for you. With this you can easily save on your fuel purchases. In short, this card is one way by which you can earn free fuel. You can-
- Save over 5% on fuel at IndianOil outlets
- Get full waiver of 2.50% on fuel surcharge
- Earn 4 turbo points for every Rs.150 spent (2.60%)
You have the option to redeem your turbo points instantly for fuel at select IndianOil outlets.
Get Your Annual Fee Waived Off
The card gives you the opportunity of getting your Rs.1000 annual fee waived off. All you need to do is just spend Rs.30,000 or plus annually and get your annual fee completely waived off. This is a decent benefit that this card offers. The amount you need to spend would not be that tight on your pocket and if you are a regular commuter, it will serve as a great advantage at your disposal.
Added Benefits Of The Card
Apart from the fuel discounts and reward points, the card also provides some of the additional benefits for your convenience. Below is the list of some of the added advantages you get with the card.
|Dining Privileges||Save up to 20% at over 1000 restaurants in Chennai, Bengaluru, Delhi / NCR, Mumbai|
|Movie Privileges||Get a complimentary small combo on every ticket purchased for a Sunday show at leading multiplexes|
|Shopping Privileges||Enjoy savings and offers across numerous retail stores|
|Bill Pay||Pay all your utility bills online using the Bill Pay facility|
|EMI Deals||Buy expensive products and pay in easy installments|
Is Rs.1000 Annual Fee Justified?
We can say that the annual fee is justified in the sense if your main objective behind the card is to get value back out of your fuel expenses. Also if you will be able to spend Rs.30,000 annually you can get this sum waived off, which is counted as an added benefit. Hence for your reference, we have given a list of related fees and charges of the card.
|Primary Features||Fees / Charges|
|Extended Credit Charges||3.25% per month / 39% p.a.|
|Overlimit Charges||2.5% of the amount over the credit limit, subject to a minimum of Rs.500|
|Cash advance fee||2.5% of the amount/Min. Rs.500 and $7.5 at International ATMs|
Should You Go For This Card?
Looking for a fuel credit card? Are you a frequent commuter? If the answer is yes, the IndianOil Platinum Credit Card can be the right choice for you. For your help, we have laid down a few points considering for whom the card will be ideal. However, if your requirements are different you can look for other fuel-specific credit cards available. The card is ideal for you if-
- You are a frequent fuel purchaser and commutes on daily basis
- Majority of your fuel purchases are from IndianOil outlets
- You are ready of pay the annual fee of Rs.1000
- You are not looking for any category specific credit card
Limitations of IndianOil Citi Platinum Credit Card
Despite offering savings on your fuel purchases, this card might not be the one for everyone. We have listed down some of the drawbacks associated with the card-
- The annual fee might look a bit high to some.
- For a fuel credit card, the surcharge waiver capping is lower than expected.
- The majority of fuel discount is available at IndianOil outlets only, which is again a somewhat restricted option.
Specifically as a fuel credit card, IndianOil Citi Platinum Credit Card comes with an impressive reward program and is definitely among the best fuel credit cards available in the market. This card enables you to earn Turbo Points in accelerated fashion whenever you purchase fuel at IndianOil outlets. The points can then be redeemed for a wide range of products including free fuel, exclusive products from lifestyle stores, or on leisure and travel etc. If your fuel purchases are high, this surely is the right card for you as it allows substantial savings on your fuel purchases.
The post IndianOil Citi Platinum Credit Card Review appeared first on Compare & Apply Loans & Credit Cards in India- Paisabazaar.com.
Coronavirus Stimulus Check 2020 [how much you’ll get & who qualifies]
(The following is a transcription from a video I recorded. Please excuse any typos or errors.)
Quick little update for you.
The Senate and the White House reached an agreement on this big stimulus bill, the Trump coronavirus stimulus check for 2020.
Let me share with you who will be eligible, how much you will get, what the qualifications are, and when you can expect to receive the stimulus check from the U.S. government.
And so if you haven’t heard about this, it’s pretty cool because you’re probably going to be getting a nice fat check from the government.
Here are the details that you need to know.
It is expected to be up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child, which is pretty fun.
These amounts are based off of your 2018 tax returns if you haven’t filed 2019 tax returns yet.
Taking Your Income Level Into Consideration
And according to this article from the Los Angeles Times, the amount received will decline gradually beginning with individuals who make $75,000 a year or married couples who make $150,000 total each year.
Individuals making $99,000, or above or couples making $198,000, or above would receive no check.
Which looks like this:
And here is another helpful breakdown of how big your stimulus check will likely be:
When will you get your check?
Stimulus Check Timeframe
The fun thing about is they’re expected to be shipping within the next few weeks.
So that’s really cool. And you don’t normally see the government move this fast on things, but the stock market’s been doing fantastic the last two days as a result of the expectation of this thing coming through.
While I’m not really excited about the long term effects of the government giving away all this money, I know a lot of people who will be excited to get a little bit of cash in their pocket.
So that’s the latest update for the Trump coronavirus stimulus check for 2020!
Let us know in the comments below what you plan to do with this Trump stimulus check that you will hopefully be receiving soon!
13 Ways to Spring Clean Your Finances
Spring is the perfect time to tidy up your home and your money. Here are 10 ways to boost your mood, ease some stress, and spring clean your finances.
Around this time of year, I always start to think about spring cleaning. I am a bit of a clean freak, so I have a to-do list for each room of my home. And then it all gets done little by little rather than in a single weekend. Whether you prefer to spring clean a bit at a time or all at once, don’t forget to add one thing to your list: your finances.
Now is a great time of year to check in on those financial New Year’s resolutions and to tidy up your financial life. Not sure where to begin when making your money spring cleaning list? Check out these ideas for a start:
1. Get rid of old accounts
Over the years, it’s easy for accounts of all sorts to accumulate. Maybe you have a 401(k) from a job you worked at for only a couple of years, or an empty HSA that you can’t use with your current health care plan. Or maybe you tried a new bank a while back, but didn’t prefer their service and switched back. You may even have credit cards you aren’t using at the moment.
Now is an excellent time to clean up all those old accounts. Try to figure out where you have accounts, and consolidate as much as possible. This may mean rolling your 401(k)–or more than one–over into an IRA. Or you may need to actually close old bank accounts or credit cards.
Be careful when closing credit card accounts, though, as this will change your debt-to-credit ratio and could lower your credit score. But if the card in question has a relatively small limit or charges an annual fee, it may be worthwhile to close it.
2. Clean up your paperwork
While you’re going through those old bank accounts, start cleaning up your paperwork, too. Reducing the number of accounts you have can reduce the amount of mail you get, which is always a great option. But you should also go through your filed paperwork annually to see what you can get rid of.
Generally, you want to keep tax-related paperwork for seven years, or maybe more if you’re a business owner. But if you’re still hanging on to personal tax paperwork that’s more than a decade old, it’s time to take it to the shredder. As you get rid of paperwork, ensure that your filing system makes sense that you keep the paperwork you need and don’t let things fall through the cracks.
3. Change banks
Are you getting the best possible interest rate on your savings and maybe even checking account at your bank? If not, or if you’re paying high banking fees, it may be time to find a new bank. With interest rates trending up, you may even out-earn inflation in some high-yield savings accounts.
The key here is to be sure you can live up to the bank’s expectations to get the best yields. So be realistic about your daily and annual balances to ensure you aren’t choosing a bank where you’ll inadvertently have to pay fees because your balance isn’t high enough. And be sure the high interest rate you’re going for also applies to your general balances.
4. Get going with a debt snowball
Getting out of debt is always a worthwhile goal. And while you definitely don’t want to think about any more snow this time of year (especially if you live in the Midwest like I do), setting up your debt snowball can be helpful.
One option, the traditional “snowball” method, is to pay off your debts smallest balance to largest balance. Each time you pay off a debt, you roll that debt’s minimum payments into your monthly snowball payment. By the time you get to your highest-balance debt, you’re throwing a ton of money at it each month.
Another option is to structure your debts from highest interest rate to lowest interest rate. This is also a great option, and it can help you save more money as you get out of debt. Check out this article for an overview of the pros and cons of each approach.
5. Set and track a budget
If you aren’t already tracking your budget, it’s time to start now. Keeping track of your budget is the best way to begin working towards your financial goals. And you don’t have to do anything super complicated.
Plenty of online budget tools let you set up a simple budget and automatically keep track of your spending in different categories. And the great thing is that you don’t have to be micro about what you track. Just focus on tracking your trouble spending areas–those types of things you tend to overspend on. Just becoming more aware of your monthly spending can help you rein it in so that you can direct more money towards that debt snowball.
6. Automate your savings
Once you’ve figured out your budget and how much you want to put towards debt each month, look at how much you want to save. Whether you’re saving for long-term goals like retirement or short-term goals like a vacation, automating your savings is an excellent way to make it happen.
For retirement, this may mean looking at your employer-sponsored retirement plan and, if possible, ramping up your contributions. If it’s too early in the year to change your contributions, consider contributing to an IRA instead. You can also make automated transfers between your checking account and your emergency fund, vacation fund, or other short-term savings account goal.
7. Consult with a financial advisor
You might think that financial advisors are only for the wealthy, but that’s actually not the case. In fact, a financial advisor could help you set a path for your financial success in the future. And you may not even need to meet with a real person.
Related: Do You Need a Financial Advisor?
Services like Betterment can help you see where you need to go financially and whether you’re on track to retire when you’d like to. This particular tool is an excellent robo-advisor service that can really ramp up your confidence in financial decision-making.
But meeting with a person isn’t always a challenge. In the old days, you’d have to find a referral or walk into an investment office to locate a great financial advisor. But now there’s a service called SmartAdvisor (by SmartAsset) that will actually match you up with a great financial advisor.
Simply take a survey (no more than 25 questions) and the algorithm will match you with up to three different financial advisors, based on your investment goals and financial situation. From there, you’ll be contacted by the advisor to talk more. It’s like speed dating for financial advisors and we highly recommend it.
8. Begin investing
Once you’ve met with a financial advisor or used a service like Betterment, it’s time to start investing if you haven’t already. You’re really never too young to begin investing, and if you’re out of your twenties, you can’t get going soon enough!
If you have an employer-sponsored retirement plan, that’s the best place to begin. This is especially true if your employer offers any sort of match for your retirement plan contributions. That’s essentially free money, so you definitely don’t want to miss out on it! But even if your employer doesn’t offer a plan, you can invest on your own through an IRA, which is another tax-advantaged investment option to consider. Check out this article to learn how to open your own IRA.
9. Track your net worth
Tracking your net worth might seem like it’s not worth your time, but it’s actually something worth looking at. Your net worth is the value of all your assets, including non-liquid assets like your home or car, minus all of your debts. Sometimes the path towards becoming debt free can be long and arduous. But as you climb that path, your net worth will climb, too. So that can be encouraging.
Plus, your net worth is a good indicator of your overall financial health. And it’s not that hard to track, either. Tools like Personal Capital make tracking your net worth practically automatic, which is great.
10. Create or update your estate plan
For me, some of spring cleaning is about preparing for the future. If I spring clean things like the lint trap on the dryer, which you should totally do more than once a year, I can protect my home from the possibility of a fire. And spring cleaning in the basement lets me catch leaks or other problems that could get out of hand in the future.
Financial spring cleaning is no different. Much of it is about planning for the future, both of yourself and of the ones you love.
Unless you’re a wealthy individual, you probably don’t need a complicated estate plan. But nearly everyone needs a will and a streamlined estate plan. For instance, if you have debts, you need to be sure those can be covered so that your loved ones aren’t stuck holding the bag. And if you have children, an estate plan and will is even more important. So if you don’t have one of these or you haven’t looked at it in more than a couple of years, it’s time to get an estate plan together.
These spring cleaning steps could happen in the course of a week or two with some dedicated effort and the right tools. Or you can begin your spring cleaning now and plan to finish in a couple of months, just in time to relax for the summer.Spring is the perfect time to tidy up your home and your money. Here are 13 ways to boost your mood, ease some stress, and spring clean your finances.
IndianOil Citi Platinum Credit Card Review
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