Archive | December, 2012

New Years Resolution

17 Dec

Kayla Rudd, Purdue University student, English Education Senior, and Employee of Purdue University’s Division of Financial Aid
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

With the New Year nearing people start contemplating New Year Resolutions, but why?  Why are people inclined to create these resolutions at the beginning of each year?  History reveals multiple facets of the generated idea of the “New Year” and the resolutions that follow.  While researching the New Year phenomenon, I stumbled upon an intelligent man named Bill Petro.  He basically handed me most of the history that I needed to know about the New Year tradition.   Overall, the New Year began in pre-Christian times.  In the beginning, the New Year started with the Babylonians celebrating in March, but it was later changed to January by the Romans (Petro, 2012).

Now, of course, English had to acquire the word “January” from somewhere.  And what does the root of January mean?  January is the Roman god Janus’s month.  Who is Janus?  Janus is a Roman god depicted below with two faces; he is the god of the doors and gates.  He is also seen as the god of beginnings.

Janus the Roman god of January

Janus the Roman god of January

So, the idea of resolutions came with this two-faced Roman god.  These resolutions had a moral focus that mostly consisted of “being good to others”.  “But when the Roman Empire took Christianity as its official state religion in the 4th century, these moral intentions were replaced by prayers and fasting” (Petro, 2012).  As the Christians chose to mostly focus on a Feast of Circumcision (a celebration dedicated to Christ) for the New Year, they did not take part in the usual festivities.  Traditionally, the New Year was celebrated with revelries which are noisy, drinking parties.  Furthermore, “the Puritans urged their children to skip the revelry and instead spend their time reflecting on the year past and contemplating the year to come. In this way they adopted again the old custom of making resolutions” (Petro, 2012).

As centuries passed to today’s celebration of the New Year, the month of January is used to celebrate these things.  Essentially, groups come together and have some sort of party (whether there is alcohol or not) that includes some now-traditional foods.  People also tend to create a variety of resolutions.  Most resolution seem to involve increasing health or working on personal financially stability.

Not only are there resolutions with the New Year, there are also superstitions and the need to produce luck for the upcoming year.  People can go online and find the lucky foods that they should eat for the New Year, but Americans have predominately combined foods from other cultures.  Some of the lucky foods that are often mentioned include the following: Sweet-and-Sour Sauerkraut, Brown-Butter Creamed Winter Greens, Sausage and Lentils with Fennel, Hoppin’ John Salad with Molasses Dressing, Cuban-Style Roast Suckling Pig, Sauerkraut with Apples, Salt Cod in Tomato Garlic Confit, New Year’s Orange and Brandy Cake, Pecan Shortbread Cookies, and Coffee-Glazed Doughnuts (Salkeld, 2012).  Clearly, sauerkraut seems to be a common theme.  If you want to read more about this or to even try out the above foods, you can visit the website here:

Sources:

Petro, Bill.  http://billpetro.com/history-of-new-years-resolutions

Salkeld, Lauren.  http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/holidays/newyearsday/luckyfoods#ixzz2DMUi0GgT

Graduated and Living with Mom and Dad

10 Dec

Article written by Brandon Endsley, Information Graphic brought to you by Hannah Peters and collegeathome.com

www.purdue.edu/mymoney

Commencement is over, your roommates have packed up their things, and there is a looming monthly student loan bill brewing in the back of your mind. If you can relate to this scenario, take a deep breath because you are not alone.  The average college graduate has incurred about $25,250 in debt which has a rough monthly payment of $300, depending on the type of loan and its stipulations.

Our generation’s student loan debt is greater than any other previous generation.  In 1987, such as, the average student loan debt was $7,500 which increased to $8,200 by 1991 and swelled to $18,900 by 2002.

As a nation, we have a student loan debt problem on our hands. High student loan debt causes students to put off life events such as buying a house, purchasing a car, or starting a family, to make their monthly payments.  A generation delaying life events changes the nation’s demographic cycles (such as, the average person will no longer buy his or her first house at age 34) and the nation’s economic cycle’s change with the demographic cycle.  These changes can cause market uncertainty.  Market uncertainty does not create a safe place for investors, which, in return, can cut the effectiveness of the nation’s economy, prolonging our slow grow.

Information Graphic

information graphic about college grads moving home

information graphic about college grads moving home

As a nation, we need to be aware of our national debt and aware of the negative outcomes of too much debt.  The information graphic below shares data pertinent for seniors on the verge of graduating and for recent graduates shackled with student debt.  The information graphic brings to light the negative effects debt has on our nation’s graduates today and shows a trend of where we are heading.  You can receive further information about your student loans and their repayments here.

Created by: CollegeAtHome.com

When Should I Start Paying Off Debt?

3 Dec

College is a time when students worry less about incurring debt and more about learning and enjoying new-found freedom. But as graduation nears, you’ll have to test the debts you’ve taken on during school.

Getting out from underneath debt

Graduate carrying heavy debt load

If you’re like most students, you’ll have thousands of dollars in student loan debt. You might also have some credit card debt or a car loan to pay off. Becoming debt-free is made even more challenging because you may not yet be settled in a permanent job or career. Just remember that countless other new graduates are in the same place. While many young adults go about debt payment in less-than-ideal ways, this is your opportunity to get out of debt, develop good financial habits and possibly even save money along the way.

Plan of Attack

Before you start repaying your debts, go over what types of debts you have and find out when payments will be due. If you have credit card debts, you probably already know that you have to start making payments immediately.

Student loan lenders understand that graduates often need time to find jobs and begin earning a steady income. Because of this, there’s almost always a grace period, a time of about six to nine months between your graduation date and the date your first payment is due. Even during the grace period, however, you may still be responsible for paying interest charges. Check the details of your loan to find out when you’ll be responsible for paying interest.

Once you understand the bills you face, you’ll be better prepared to create a plan of attack.  Decide how much money you can afford to put toward paying down your debts. You’ll need to cover at least the minimum payments each month on your debts. If you haven’t found a job yet, are using savings to pay down debts or are borrowing from your parents, it’s usually best to keep your focus on the minimum payment.

Paying Down Debt

Paying down debt

counting money

Reevaluate these payments after you begin earning an income. Once you have a job, make it a goal to start making significant progress on your debts rather than just paying the minimum amounts. It’s helpful to keep in mind that for each month you stay in debt, it actually costs you more money by accruing interest. So if you make larger payments each month, you’ll get out of debt faster and save more money in interest.

You’ll need to once again reevaluate your monthly payments after the grace period ends on your student loans. Having this additional financial responsibility will usurp some of your monthly funds, taking away from your ability to pay down your other debts like an auto loan and credit card debts.

Even so, if you still have credit card debt, this should be your top priority; credit cards usually come with inordinately high interest rates, so this type of debt will end up costing you a much higher percentage of your original loan. Until you have credit card debt under control, pay just the minimum on your student loans and divide any extra money toward reducing your credit card bill.

Again, reevaluate your monthly payments if there are any changes in your finances. You’ll have to adjust your budget, for example, if you finish paying off your credit card debt, earn a promotion or receive a raise.

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Katherine Pilnick writes and blogs about issues touching on personal financial well-being and issues that influence it for Debt.org, America’s Debt Help Organization.

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