Today’s Money: Student Loans? 5 Ways To Lower Your Payments

Americans owe $1.2 trillion in student loan debt — at interest rates, typically, of 3.4% to 6.8% on federal loans, and up to 14% on private loans. According to Sofi, a leader in the business of student loan refinancing, customers save an average $14,000 by refinancing their loans. So, how do you know if this route to free money is for you? Check out the segment below, and see the story on

The #startTODAY 52-week Savings Challenge

photo-money-dietIs saving money one of your new year’s resolutions, or something you want to make a priority in 2015? Then keep reading!This month, as part of our #StartTODAY series, #TeamJean will take the 52-week Savings Challenge — and if you join us, you’ll end the year with $1378 to your name.

That’s a big deal. According to, 26% of Americans have no emergency savings at all, and the number of those with enough to cover six months worth of expenses shrank from 45% a year ago to 40% today.

There are different ways to save — some people save their windfalls, like tax refunds or bonuses — but the very best way to do it is habitually (i.e. every week) and automatically (so that you don’t really have to think about it.)

Enter: the 52-week Savings Challenge. Here’s how it works:


Money Sense on Fortune

gradShould you refinance your student loan? The answer has changed in recent months. In this week’s Fortune column I highlight the recent deals from both bank and non-bank lenders that can save both students (who hold Stafford loans with fixed rates ranging from 3.86% to 6.8%) and their parents (who hold PLUS loans with fixed rates between 6.41% and 8.5%) some decent money.

Read on here.

Money Sense on Fortune

XSmallToday’s Fortune column is based on an Arizona Pathways to Life Success (APLUS) study, which found that more than half of college graduates rely on their parents for financial support (that includes nearly half of those employed full-time). Additionally, these recent grads don’t seem to value the same things many of us did at their ages. Nearly 30% said marriage and having children wasn’t important — and roughly 20% don’t value owning a home. And 16% — gulp – said living on their own is unimportant. For more — and to see my take on the matter — head over to

Mailbag Monday: Secured Credit Cards to Establish Credit

collegemoneyHi Jean,

I’m wondering — what is the best secured credit card I could open to reestablish my credit? Thank you.


Mailbag Monday: Home Equity Loans

suburbHi Jean!

Love catching your show at night, had a question: I have a home equity loan outstanding of $150,000. Interest rate is variable, but has remained at 2.24 percent over the last 6 years. No mortgage on the house just the equity loan. Would you suggest paying it off as I am now, at a rate of $1,000 a month or is there some kind of low fixed rate option I should be looking into? The Loan has 15 years to pay it off as it stands now. Other piece of info, I’d like to purchase a condo in Florida to have for when I retire in 15 years. Wait on that and pay off home equity loan or start a new mortgage for a Florida property while the market is still good? Thanks a ton for any advice you have, your simple THE BEST:)



Mailbag Monday: Using The Fair Credit Reporting Act

debitcardHave you ever heard of a person being denied obtaining a credit card with a FICO score of 811? I pay my credit cards in full every month. This credit card offered two plane tickets. I really didn’t need the card, but I travel a lot and thought it was a nice benefit. What are your thoughts?


Jean on Morning Joe

Has it become impossible for America’s middle class families to save money? This morning I weighed in on Morning Joe. See my take below:

*Not seeing the video? Some browsers block videos on secure websites like ours. In your address bar, remove the “s” after http at the start of the web address, then reload the page. The video should appear. If you still have issues, contact us.

Mailbag Monday: Prioritizing your Principal

suburbOn 4/15, you made a comment about using tax refund toward principle on mortgage. I have to assume you are suggesting pay off your house, save the interest and not be having to make the monthly payments. That sounds like a good plan. I had the idea to get rid of my second mortgage, a very long life second.  I’ll never see the end of it, if I make payments.  But I could pay it off.  I had 3 financial advisers say that was a bad idea because even in retirement, I will need write-offs, and current interest rates are cheaper than what they will be. Why the disconnect here? Also, I heard on the radio that mortgage interest deduction will go away as part of Obama care. What do you know of this?



Wednesday Welcome: Using Micropayments to Pay Down Credit Card Debt

This week we bring you a second guest post from Bill Hardekopf, the CEO of Last time he was here, he shared some little-known credit card perks, and today he’s helping you pay down your debt with micropayments. What exactly are micropayments? Read on.

Bill_Hardekopf (color)Summer vacations are just around the corner, and consumers need to have their credit card balances as low as possible in order to avoid costly interest charges. One way to do this is to make micropayments on their credit card bill.

Most consumers pay their credit card bill once a month, but cardholders can actually make a number of smaller payments throughout the month. Some banks and issuers allow payments to be made as often as once a day.

If you carry any balance from one month to the next, micropayments can reduce the interest because most credit card companies charge interest based on your average daily balance during that particular month. If you pay more often, you reduce your average daily balance and, as a result, the interest you pay that month. (more…)

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