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Month: March 2017

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My Student Loan Refinancing Experience

These days, student loans are pretty much a given for most young professionals. When I graduated law school back in 2013, I had a hugely negative net worth thanks to $87,000 worth of student loans that I had taken out. That doesn’t seem like all that much when you consider that the average law student today graduates with almost double that amount of debt. I think it’s a testament to just how normalized student loans have become when $87,000 can seem like nothing.

The thing that really stinks about student loans isn’t just the monthly payment. It’s the huge amount that you’re paying out each year towards interest. If you look at my own student loan history, you can see that I paid over $15,000 in interest over the life of the loan. And that’s with me paying off the loan in just two years!

One of the reasons we’re paying so much in interest is because of the high interest rates we’re given. Since anyone can get a student loan, the interest rates are higher than they should be for folks who are going into fields where they should hopefully make a decent income. Regular grad school loans clock in at a 6.8% interest rate these days. Grad plus loans come in at a whopping 7.9% interest rate. Those kind of interest rates are no joke…

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Where Should You Put Your Emergency Fund?

Every personal finance expert probably agrees that you should set aside some money as an emergency fund. The amount you should have in your emergency fund is a subject of debate, but the typical rule of thumb is to keep somewhere around 3-6 months worth of expenses. You never know what the future might hold, so it makes sense to at least have some buffer to keep yourself afloat in case something happens.

Since we can all agree that we should at least have some money in an emergency fund, the next important question is where should we put that money?

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Paying Off Debt Is Never “Easy”

One thing that I absolutely HATE is when someone tells me that paying off debt is easy if you’re making a good salary. Maybe I take it too personally, but it feels like a knock on my accomplishment. After all, I paid off $87,000 worth of student loans, but I also had a good salary that allowed me to do it. Was it easier to do than if I had been making less? Of course. But it definitely wasn’t easy.

A recent headline I saw reminded me that a lot of people think paying off debt is just a walk in the park so long as you make a high enough income. Take a look:

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Earn Tax-Free Airbnb Income With The Masters Rule

Most people that I talk to about Airbnb agree that it’s a cool concept. Now that Airbnb has become pretty mainstream, my guess is that most of you have used it before or at least know someone who has. At this point, I think it’s probably more surprising to find someone who doesn’t know what Airbnb is.

Even though there are a ton of people using Airbnb on the guest side, the majority of people I talk to are understandably hesitant about actually hosting guests on Airbnb. I definitely understand the concerns – they’re ones I still think about as an Airbnb host. My biggest fears are having someone steal from me or otherwise mess up my house. Luckily, nothing like that has happened to me yet.

Even though I know that most people won’t sign up to be an Airbnb host, I still always try to convince people to at least give Airbnb hosting a shot. My rationale is that you don’t need to do it all that time. Instead, you can just try it out a few times and see what it’s like. If it’s too weird for you, you can just deactivate your listing. At most, you lose a bit of your time. But I think even people who are weirded out by having a stranger in their house can handle hosting someone in their home for just a few days per year. Why not challenge yourself and see?

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Independent Contractor vs. Employee: It Pays To Not Be An Employee In The Sharing Economy

A huge point of controversy in the sharing/gig economy world has been how to classify those of us who work in it. Most people reading this have probably seen or read about lawsuits challenging Uber’s classification of its drivers as independent contractors, rather than as employees. The same lawsuits have been raging on with basically every app out there in this space, including delivery apps like Postmates, DoorDash, and Caviar.

I’ve sometimes wondered if the folks fighting to be classified as employees understand the huge benefits they could be giving up by going that route. Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand the problem with misclassifying workers. Most people need the benefits and protections that come with traditional employment.

But, I suspect that many people fighting to be classified as employees under these apps don’t really understand what they stand to lose.

Continue reading Independent Contractor vs. Employee: It Pays To Not Be An Employee In The Sharing Economy

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