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Laurel Road: Exploring How Long It Takes to Pay Off Student Loan Debt



NEW YORK (Newswire.com) – Laurel Road: The journey to repay student loan debt could take many years, depending on various factors. On average, borrowers take about 20 years to pay off their loans, but with a relatively small balance, they may be able to pay off the debt within just a few years of graduation. And borrowers with the resources to make substantial payments may drastically reduce their repayment time. Read on to learn more about the factors that determine how long it takes to pay off student loan debt. 

Types of student loans 

The type of student loan will influence repayment options and timelines. Federal loans, which account for about 90% of student debt, offer repayment plans and programs with various loan terms. Private loan terms depend on the individual lender, as some may have variable rates that could affect repayment timelines. Private loans may take between 5 and 20 years to repay, depending on the financial institution’s guidelines. 

Repayment plans

A borrower’s repayment plan plays a major role in determining the time it takes to pay off  their student loan debt. Each private lender may offer unique payment plan options, and refinancing could either extend or shorten the payment term. Federal student loans offer several options, such as income-driven repayment plans, that depend on a borrower’s income, and several that don’t. Each plan can impact how long it takes to repay a loan: 

Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans are typically paced at 20 or 25 years of payments, after which the balance may be eligible for student loan forgiveness. Those who work in the public sector or at a qualifying non-profit may also qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) with a repayment plan of ten years before loan forgiveness.  

In the Standard Repayment Plan, borrowers pay a fixed monthly amount to repay their student loan within ten years. Most people with student loan debt automatically enroll in this plan. 

What else affects repayment timelines? 

Additional factors could influence how long it takes students to repay their loans.  

Federal Proposals. Since 2020, student loan payments and interest have been paused in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Biden-Harris administration has also proposed a student loan relief plan which would eliminate $10,000 or $20,000 of debt for qualifying borrowers. Other proposals include reforms to IDR plans. Each of these decisions may impact repayment timelines for federal student loans.  

Forbearance or Deferment. Borrowers who are struggling with payments may apply for forbearance or deferment. Forbearance pauses payments for up to a year at a time, but the loans may continue accruing interest. Alternatively, if a borrower is in school, unemployed, or meets other need-based qualifications, they may apply for deferment, which delays loan payments as long as the need persists. Perkins loans and subsidized loans don’t accumulate interest during deferment. However, both forbearance and deferment may extend repayment terms by several years, which is why an IDR plan is generally considered a better option for those who need help making loan payments. 

Consolidation. Borrowers may consolidate multiple loans to streamline their repayment process. Sometimes, loan consolidation could reset the repayment schedule, potentially even extending the repayment period to 30 years. 

Principal Payments. Borrowers with the means can always contribute extra payments toward their principal loan balance, which will not only cut the total repayment time but also reduce the total interest paid over the life of the loan.  

Final Thoughts 

Most repayment plans allow for debt resolution within 10 to 25 years with consistent payments. Borrowers struggling to make monthly payments have options to make the process more manageable—through refinancing or a new payment plan—though it may extend the term of the loan. Meanwhile, those with the resources could choose to accelerate their loan repayment process by making larger monthly payments or by paying down the principal. There are many paths available, depending on the borrower’s loan type, balance, resources, and future financial plans.  

About Laurel Road 

Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $7 billion in federal and private school loans.


Source: Laurel Road


8 Smart Ways to Save On Holiday Expenses



(Family Features) While often regarded as the most wonderful time of year, the holiday season is also an expensive spot on the calendar. Even as many families feel the squeeze of inflation and rising costs, there is hope for your budget when it comes to gatherings, gifts, food and beyond.

Consider these tips from the money-saving experts at Slickdeals and Head of Deals Vitaly Pecharsky to avoid overspending without sacrificing your festive spirit.

Stick to a budget. Beyond gifts and stocking stuffers, holiday costs can add up quickly once you factor in travel, decor, pet care, special events and more. Create an all-encompassing budget for the season then break it into segments for each type of expense, including hidden expenses like wrapping paper or extra toiletries for guests, so you don’t end up with an unexpected credit card bill.

Split up food costs. Instead of putting yourself under the pressure of full-time holiday chef (and taking on all the expenses that come with it), consider hosting a potluck-style gathering. Providing the main course and encouraging guests to bring an appetizer, side or dessert is an easy way to avoid a hefty hosting bill. Send an e-vite with a list of must-haves that allows loved ones to sign up for specific dishes to ensure everything is covered without doubling up.

Search for the best deals. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift from toys to technology or trying to save on travel costs and home decor, make sure you find the best price. Consider a site like Slickdeals, where a community of millions of people work together to save money so you can be confident you’re getting the best deal. With 12 million shoppers assisting others by vetting and voting up the top deals from renowned retailers, your holiday needs are covered without sacrificing quality. You can also set Deal Alerts that send notifications directly to your inbox when a deal that matches your criteria is posted to the site.

Share experiences, not just “things.” Gadgets and gizmos may come to mind when brainstorming holiday gift ideas but remember some family members and friends just want more time together. If you’re considering a special experience for – and with – that special someone, think about their favorite hobbies and activities. Animal lovers may be overjoyed with a day at the local zoo and gearheads would cherish tickets to the next auto show. Integrating experiences into your gifting repertoire often makes for a more memorable (and cheaper) solution.

Take advantage of gift cards. A quick internet search can lead you to discounted gift cards, allowing you to save cash on holiday purchases. Or, for the one on your list who has everything, simply give the card as a gift so he or she can pick out what’s truly needed. As an added bonus, discounted gift cards are typically available even at the last minute so procrastinators can still save.

Show off your DIY skills. Buying new holiday decorations and replacing worn out crafts are seasonal expenses you may not immediately factor into your budget. Rather than heading to the store for (likely overpriced) ornaments and tablescapes, put your creative cap on and repurpose goods from around the house. Reusing items like glass jars to make homemade snow globes, for example, can be a crafty way to save. Plus, it’s a fun activity for family members to enjoy together.

Seek out post-holiday sales. Once the holidays are over, it’s a perfect opportunity to get ahead of the game for next year. Stock up on gift wrap, decorative items and other nonperishables that are often heavily discounted in the new year.

Save throughout the year. A handy tip for holiday seasons to come, try creating a fund each year where you can save up for gifts, food, travel and other end-of-year expenses. Set up a special bank account specifically for holiday savings where you contribute a small amount each month to be financially prepared for the festivities.

Find more ways to save this holiday season by visiting Slickdeals.com.

Photos courtesy of Shutterstock


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U.S. News & World Report Unveils the 2024 Best Places to Retire Rankings



Pennsylvania sweeps the top five as Harrisburg, PA, rises to No. 1 this year.

WASHINGTON /PRNewswire/ — U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in rankings and consumer advice, today unveiled the 2024 Best Places to Retire in the United States. This year’s list evaluated the country’s 150 most populous metropolitan areas based on how well they meet Americans’ expectations for retirement, with measures including Affordability, Health Care, Desirability, Retiree Taxes, Job Market and Overall Happiness. The results are three new places in the top five.

Pennsylvania dominated the top five in this year’s list and secured seven placements in the top 10. Harrisburg rose one spot to take the No. 1 rank due to its scores on health care for seniors, retiree tax rates and overall happiness of its residents. Reading moved up six positions to the No. 2 spot, and Lancaster fell from No. 1 last year to No. 3. Scranton saw the sole double-digit jump into the top five, rising 13 positions to No. 4, and Allentown climbed four positions to No. 5.

“Over the last year, Americans have observed record-high interest rates in the housing market, steadily increasing cost of goods and extreme weather patterns impacting the living conditions of our nation,” says Beverly Harzog, personal finance expert at U.S. News. “As retirees consider where to spend their golden years, they want areas that not only give them the best bang for their buck, but places where they can live a happy, healthy life. This is why Pennsylvania dominated the Best Places to Retire ranking’s top positions, taking seven of the top 10 spots on the list.”

Florida scored highly as a desirable place to retire, with six places appearing in the top 25. The 2024 ranking’s adjustments made for affordability and retiree taxes allowed Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to soar 19 spots to No. 17. Other notable top 25 increases include Trenton, New Jersey, which moved up 25 positions to No. 20, and Rochester, New York, which rose 29 positions to No. 21.

Affordability is the most heavily weighted of the six factors in the 2024 Best Places to Retire methodology, which also includes happiness, health care quality, retiree taxes, desirability and job market ratings. U.S. News expanded its data points in this edition to better encapsulate a place’s strengths and weaknesses. In addition to a survey to determine whether people want to retire in a given metro area, the Desirability Index now includes weather temperateness, which evaluates the number of days annually with moderate temperatures and minimal precipitation. It also includes an establishment-to-population ratio, which assesses the number of restaurants, bars and activities per 1,000 residents. The Affordability Index – which previously focused solely on housing affordability – now factors in price parity, a Bureau of Economic Analysis data point on the general cost of goods within an area.

The six measures factored into this year’s rankings were weighted based on a public survey of individuals across the U.S. who are at or approaching retirement age (45 and older) to find out what matters most to people when they’re considering where to retire. Data sources include the U.S. Census Bureau, FEMA National Risk Index, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sharecare and U.S. News’ Best Hospitals rankings.

Best Places to Retire is part of U.S. News’ expanding Real Estate section, which provides rankings, tools and advice to help individuals navigate the housing market, from finding the right neighborhood and home value estimate to working with an agent and buying and selling a home.

2024 U.S. News Best Places to Retire – Top 10
*See the full rankings here.

  1. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  2. Reading, Pennsylvania
  3. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  4. Scranton, Pennsylvania
  5. Allentown, Pennsylvania
  6. New York City, New York
  7. York, Pennsylvania
  8. Daytona Beach, Florida
  9. Youngstown, Ohio
  10. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

For more information on Best Places to Retire, explore Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) using .

About U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is the global leader in quality rankings that empower consumers, business leaders and policy officials to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives and communities. A multifaceted digital media company with Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars, News, Real Estate, Careers and 360 Reviews platforms, U.S. News provides rankings, independent reporting, data journalism, consumer advice and U.S. News Live events. More than 40 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

SOURCE U.S. News & World Report, L.P.

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financial wellness

Want to achieve your goals? Get angry



Anger can be useful when facing a challenge, study says

Newswise — WASHINGTON — While often perceived as a negative emotion, anger can also be a powerful motivator for people to achieve challenging goals in their lives, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

“People often believe that a state of happiness is ideal, and the majority of people consider the pursuit of happiness a major life goal,” said lead author Heather Lench, PhD, a professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at Texas A&M University. “The view that positive emotion is ideal for mental health and well-being has been prominent in lay and psychological accounts of emotion, but previous research suggests that a mix of emotions, including negative emotions like anger, result in the best outcomes.”

The functionalist theory of emotion, which has been studied for decades, suggests that all emotions, good or bad, are reactions to events within a person’s environment and serve the purpose of alerting that person to important situations that require actions, according to Lench. Each emotion may call for a different response. For example, sadness may indicate that a person needs to seek help or emotional support, while anger may suggest they need to take action to overcome an obstacle.

To better understand the role of anger in achieving goals, researchers conducted a series of experiments involving more than 1,000 participants and analyzed survey data from more than 1,400 respondents. In each experiment, researchers elicited either an emotional response (such as anger, amusement, desire or sadness) or a neutral emotional state, and then presented participants with a challenging goal.

The research was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

In one experiment, participants were shown visuals designed to elicit specific emotional or neutral responses and then asked to solve a series of word puzzles. In another, the goal was to attain high scores on a skiing video game, with one game that involved challenging play (avoiding flags on a slalom course) and one easier game that involved only a jump. 

Across all the experiments, anger improved people’s ability to reach their goals compared with a neutral condition in a variety of challenging situations. In some cases, it was associated with increased scores or shorter response times. In one experiment, it also increased cheating to achieve a better outcome.

The researchers also analyzed data from a series of surveys collected during the 2016 and 2020 U.S. presidential elections. Before the elections, people were asked to rate how angry they would be if their favorite candidate did not win. After the elections, they reported whether they voted and whom they voted for. Survey participants who indicated they would be angry if their candidate did not win were more likely to vote in the election, but anger had no effect on which candidate they voted for.

“These findings demonstrate that anger increases effort toward attaining a desired goal, frequently resulting in greater success,” said Lench. 

The effects of anger in spurring people to reach for and frequently achieve their goals were specific to situations where the goals were more challenging, according to Lench. Anger did not appear to be associated with reaching goals when the goals were easier, such as in the ski-jump video game.

Lench also noted that while anger was associated with increased success across the board, in some cases, amusement or desire were also associated with increased goal attainment.

The results suggest that emotions that are often considered negative – such as anger, boredom or sadness – can be useful, according to Lench.  

“People often prefer to use positive emotions as tools more than negative and tend to see negative emotions as undesirable and maladaptive,” she said. “Our research adds to the growing evidence that a mix of positive and negative emotions promotes well-being, and that using negative emotions as tools can be particularly effective in some situations.”

Article: “Anger has Benefits for Attaining Goals,” by Heather Lench, PhD, Noah Reed, BA, Tiffany George, PhD, Kaitlyn Kaiser, BA, and Sophie North, BS, Texas A&M University. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published online Oct. 30, 2023.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA’s membership includes over 146,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives

Source: American Psychological Association (APA)

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