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Consolidating Student Loans Is Not A No-Brainer

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June 23, 2012 - Consolidating Student Loans Is Not a No-Brainer - by Morningstar Investment Research

I recently graduated from college and currently have three different student loans outstanding. I know consolidating my student loans is an option, but is it a good idea?

Morningstar assistant site editor Adam Zoll addressed this question, stating that with graduation season just ending, many newly minted grads surely must be wondering the same thing. About two-thirds of college seniors graduated with loans in 2010, owing an estimated $25,250 on average, according to a report by The Project on Student Debt. This debt might consist of a grab bag of federal and/or private loans taken o ut by students or their parents. To streamline the payment process, many borrowers choose to consolidate these loans. However, don't expect loan consolidation to save you money. In fact, it might cost you slightly more in interest because of how consolidated loan rates are calculated. Zoll detailed why this is the case.

Couples' Financial Planning: What to Do When There's an Age Gap

As nice as it can be to simplify and streamline, financial planning for married couples can get a little hairy. Couples' investment portfolios inevitably have more moving parts than is the case for single investors: With multiple IRAs, 401(k)s, and so forth, it can be difficult to skinny down the portfolio to a manageable group of holdings. Other aspects of financial planning, such as developing a Social Security strategy, also get more complicated for couples than for singles. Yet another wrinkle for married couples? When the two spouses have a big age gap between them--say seven to 10 years or more. When one partner is substantially older than the other, that brings in a new set of considerations relating not just to the investment portfolio but to other aspects of the couple's financial life, including estate planning and health care. Morningstar director of personal finance Christine Benz offered some tips to keep on your radar if you and your spouse have a big age gap.

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