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John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

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Finance 101: Tips for College Freshmen

September 1, 2015 12:42 am

Did you know college graduates with a bachelor’s degree pay an average $350 a month in loans over 18 years? With stats like those, college freshmen can’t afford not to prioritize personal finance while pursuing a higher education.

“With the soaring price of college tuition, it is important for all incoming students to consider their finances prior to their fall arrival,” says Steven Trumble, President and CEO of the national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC). “You would not believe how many students are graduating with an absurd amount of debt with no plan on how to pay it.”

To avoid graduating with excessive debt, the ACCC recommends adopting a money-saving mentality with these tips.

• Create a budget and stick to it! Budgeting is a great way to curb your expenses and avoid credit card debt. Try using a budgeting worksheet for students to compare and contrast your total income and expenses to get a realistic budgeting plan.

• Knowing that a need is something you have to have and a want is something you would like to have can help you save money in the long run. Decide which items are needs and which are wants and try to purchase wants as few times as possible.

• Fill out the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) every year. Things change in a year, so be sure to fill out the FAFSA on a yearly basis to see what types of financial aid you qualify for.

• Bear in mind some financial aid packages will require you to maintain a certain grade point average in order to keep it every year. If you are given an opportunity to get a Work-Study job, do some research on campus and take full advantage. Most importantly, make sure you understand the terms of repayment upon graduation.

• The college bookstore is notorious for being the most expensive place to purchase books. Consider renting or buying your textbooks from places like the library, Amazon or Chegg. At the end of each semester, sell back your books to recoup some of the cost.

• Join a bank that is near campus as well as your hometown to avoid surcharges while at school. Keep in mind there are many banks that will offer free savings and checking accounts to college students, which helps to avoid fees.

• Understand your financial situation. More often than not, students graduate and are shocked with the amount they have in student loans. Make sure you are aware of how much school costs each year, what your parents are willing to cover, what you are expected to cover and annual living expenses.

• Charging items when you are short on cash can be tempting, but by limiting yourself to one or two credit cards, you can keep track of your spending and minimize your debt. Make sure that you are only charging items that you can afford.

Source: ACCC

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Freddie Mac: Housing Market Further Stabilizes

September 1, 2015 12:42 am

In more encouraging news for housing, Freddie Mac recently reported two additional states and four additional metro areas have entered “stable” territory–a promising sign of a normalizing market. According to Freddie Mac’s Multi-Indicator Market Index® (MiMi®), Arkansas and Tennessee are in stable range, as well as the Omaha, Neb., Scranton, Pa., Chattanooga, Tenn., and Madison, Wis., metro areas.

Housing nationally stands at 80.3 on the MiMi, which indicates an outer stable range. Earlier this summer, 45 of the 50 states and 95 of the 100 metro areas were showing improvement. Based on the MiMi, the market has improved 5.41 percent in the last year.

“Housing markets are the strongest they’ve been in years with the National MiMi above 80 for the first time since 2008. Nationally, all MiMi indicators are heading in the right direction,” says Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Len Kiefer. “Robust homebuyer demand has put total home sales on pace for the best year since 2007 and look for that trend to continue as the MiMi purchase applications indicator remains on the upswing.”

Source: Freddie Mac

Published with permission from RISMedia.