The first month of the latter half of the year is upon us, and here are some money to-dos for July:
1. Figure out how the student loan interest hike affects you
Because no agreement has been reached between lawmakers, the federal rate on student loans has doubled from 3.4% to 6.8%, and go into effect today, July 1st.
If you are a recent grad and you’re still in your deferment period, look into how this rate will affect your payment amounts come repayment time. Since post-college deferment periods are usually six months, this still gives you some time if the rate were to reverse back to 3.4%, but in the event that it doesn’t, it’s still good to look ahead.
If you are already in repayment, see how much more interest the new rate will mean for your loans. Depending on which plan you will opt/have opted for — standard, graduated, or income-based, for example — this new interest rate will impact your total payments over the lifetime of the loan(s).
If you have some extra money you can spare for the loans, it might be a good idea to put it towards your loans, since the 6.8% rate will add up to a lot more interest over the course of a decade or so.
2. Plan and book your vacation now
If you’re planning on going on vacation right after summer, think about booking your trip this month. Right after summer is when people get “travel fatigue” and airfare and hotel tends to be cheaper in the months of September and October. An oft-used piece of travel advice is to book about eight weeks in advance, so booking in July for a September/October trip could help you save a lot.
3. Re-balance your investments
We’re at the mid-year mark, and if you have investments, you might want to go through them and re-balance your portfolio, if you haven’t checked it since the beginning of the year. If some of your assets are outperforming others and some aren’t doing as well, you may consider selling some of the higher-performing assets (“selling high”) and buying some of the lower-performing ones (“buying low”) so that your portfolio is balanced once again.
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