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.
Among the other topics we addressed this week:
When the Facts Change, So Can Morningstar Analyst Ratings Here are some examples of Analyst Ratings we've changed due to altered circumstances.
An Update on the Morningstar Analyst Rating We have more Neutral-rated funds than any other ratings level.
These Alternative Funds Have Delivered Using unconventional approaches, these funds have beaten a flat market during the past five years.
The Intangible Costs of ETF Ownership Costs don't stop at the expense ratio.
Examples of Excellent Shareholder Letters And here's the case for providing them.
A Floating-Rate Fund With Strong Performance and a Decent Payout Investors wa ry of future inflation and increased interest rates may want to consider this floating-rate fund.
Top Dividend Stocks of Our Ultimate Stock-Pickers While few of our Ultimate Stock-Pickers focus solely on dividends, income-paying stocks continue to work their way into the portfolios of our top managers.
Why Should U.S. Investors Care About Spanish Finances? We believe that if Spain or its banking system defaults, the result will be a liquidity crisis in Europe.
More Exposure to 'Unconventional' Oil Sources as Oil Sands ETF Launches Franklin Templeton files for exemptive relief to create and market actively managed ETFs. Plus, the week's best- and worst-performing funds.
What Have You Splurged on in Retirement? Retirees weigh in on their trips, toys, and trappings, how they've afforded them, and whether they've been worthwhile.