Congratulations are in order! You planned, saved money for education expenses, and now your child is off to college. But as you settle into your “empty nest,” you might be wondering, now what? It’s time to figure out how to adapt to your child’s new independence while keeping your family on a steady course financially.
For many families, financial aid programs help make higher education attainable. The first step in applying for aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is used to determine the student’s eligibility for federal aid programs, such as grants, work-study options, and loans. Schools also use the FAFSA to assess whether additional aid is available from the applicant’s state of residence and from the school itself.
For various reasons, the state of a woman’s financial security often depends on her marital status. A study from the U.S. Government Accountability Office says that women’s household income dropped by 41 percent after divorce, nearly double the size of the decline men experienced. In 2020, women earned just 82.3 cents on the dollar compared with men, according to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, a gap that was more pronounced for women of color. And women earn less than their male counterparts in nearly every occupation. Whether you are newly divorced, widowed, or single by choice, the following tips could help you shore up your financial security.
Wise debt management is a key component of healthy and effective financial planning. Today, most people carry some amount of debt to finance a degree or buy a home or car. Other debts may be incurred out of necessity or as part of an investment plan. Whatever your reasons for taking on debt, you should understand the different types of debt and their risks. This knowledge will help you manage debt wisely as part of your overall financial plan.