Student loan debt, emergency funds, status symbols, self control and more.

1. Student Loan Debt in Your 30’s & 40’s

Dinks Finance — Jason cites a 2014 Associated Press article that stated the average student loan debt balance for people between the ages of 35 and 50 was $20,000. If you’re stuck in this situation, he says don’t hide from you lenders, just start making payments. He understands this is a difficult proposition for some people, but it’s necessary.

He follows that thought up with four different payment plans you can use for federal student loans. They range from the standard plan, which is usually a 10-year repayment plan, to the extended payment plan. This plan usually lowers your monthly payments but you’ll pay more interest because you’re extending the loan. This post tells you how Uncle Sam can help pay off your loans.

2. Why You Need an Emergency Fund First

L Bee and the Money Tree — Lauren is a strong believer in emergency funds. She says they are a priority. She even believes  you should save for a fund before you pay off your debt. Her reasoning is if you’re busy paying off debt and then a financial emergency occurs and you don’t have money, you fall deeper into debt.

She clearly explains what an emergency fund is, and how much you should have saved. Lauren ends with some scary stats regarding people who live without an emergency fund. For example, 38 percent of people “feel ill-prepared to deal with even a minor emergency.” Here’s some advice on what to do in an emergency with no emergency fund.

3. A Car As The Ultimate Status Symbol for Insecure People

Financial Samurai — This blogger recently got into an argument with a person driving an expensive Porsche SUV. The Porsche person believed that the Financial Samurai, who was driving a Honda Fit, should’ve gotten out of her way. She actually ended the argument with this sentiment: “This is why I drive a $70,000 car and you drive that!”

The Samurai “owns multiple properties in San Francisco” so money is not an issue. He can afford a Porsche. But he doesn’t think driving one in the city makes sense. Parking is a hassle, unless you have a small vehicle. He also thinks anyone who pays “more than 10 percent of your gross income on a car” is jeopardizing their finances. Is your car a status symbol?

 4. No Such Thing As Too Much Self Control

Med School Financial — According to this blog, “Self-control calls for expending more energy than is generally called for in our decision making or any given situation that puts two desires at odds with one another.”

Exhibiting self control helps with many things, such as avoiding substance abuse and securing financial health. It makes sense, if you can’t control yourself financially, you probably don’t budget or limit your spending. This blogger provides tips on improving self control. For example, establishing a routine that promotes “positive habits.”

5. How Outlet Stores Lure Customers Into Buying with “Phantom Discounts”

Money Talks News — People shop at outlet stores for goods sold at cheaper prices. But now, a class-action lawsuit backed by the FTC, charges outlets stores with using false advertising. For example, a Bass outlet store advertised a pair of boots at $45, down from the original $180 price tag. There was one problem though, the $180 price tag was fake.

Outlet stores are also selling “cheaper” lines of clothing. And when shoppers buy them, they think they’re getting the same quality “goods sold in standard retail stores.” Unfortunately, that’s not the case. This illegal sales technique is called “framing.” Bob explains what framing is and how you can avoid this reprehensible practice and save money.

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Brian Bienkowski

Brian Bienkowski


Bienkowski is a contributing writer and is the face of's 'By the Numbers' videos.

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Article last modified on November 22, 2017 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Around the Web: Emergency Funds - AMP.