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5 Questions with Umesh Agarwal, Credit Entrepreneur and Influencer

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Every once in a while, you come across a business model or entrepreneur that stands out. With the rise of social media, it has become extremely difficult to be unique. Despite this challenge, Umesh Agarwal has gone from the shadows into the spotlight by branding his business and services in a way that is relatable, trustworthy, and highly effective. 

Umesh has pioneered the way credit is communicated and has opened the floodgates for thousands of normal people to understand how credit can work to their advantage. More importantly, Umesh has helped thousands of people fix their credit, gain access to top credit cards, and better their financial situation. As a partner of Credit 101, Umesh helps entrepreneurs build credit repair businesses by offering a turnkey solution that is scalable and equipped with mentorship offerings along the way.

To learn more about Umesh’s business and his rapid ascent to over 7 figures in revenue, we did a rapid-fire Q&A with the “Credit King”.

1) What is your personal background and history with credit?

I am originally from India and have a formal education rooted in engineering. I came to the United States to get a master’s degree in engineering in Texas and have since started and grown a credit business. My business stems from a personal problem. 

I was new to the United States and was completely unfamiliar with how credit scores and access to credit operated. This led me down a rabbit hole of reading, learning, and interacting with credit providers. The result of 5 years of hard work is what has allowed me to start teaching other people and helping people fix their credit. 

2) How important is social media to your business?

Social media has been a great way of getting new eyeballs to my website and business. Ultimately, it is important to keep in mind that social media can’t fix a business rooted in rotten foundations. It works for me since my business is real and legitimate. It would succeed without social media so social media is a nice bonus to an already successful operation. I am thankful for Instagram where I have amassed over 160,000 followers. This has provided me with incredible access and feedback from a diverse set of people from all over the world.

3) What credit advice would you give your 18-year old self?

First, do not be afraid of credit. It is there for a reason and when positively exploited, it can provide life-changing rewards and opportunities. For example, by simply having a higher credit score, you can get lower interest rates and get approved for terms that normal people might not get. This can result in thousands of dollars saved over the course of a loan and other perks along the way. 

Once you form a positive relationship with credit, it is important to then learn the tricks of building your credit score by using credit wisely. This means getting access to credit cards, being responsible and consistent with payments, and growing into larger cards after proving your creditworthiness. This is where the fun part happens. 

4) Speaking of fun, how do you use credit to travel the world?

Credit cards provide you with rewards for spending on certain categories of items. Some of these rewards are in credit card points and others in the form of cashback. Points can be redeemed for plane tickets, travel, products, and other goods. The key is to know which cards give the most rewards for what category. 

For example, there are credit cards that reward users for 2x points for dining out, meaning you get more bang for your buck. Using a normal debit card is not advised because you miss out on all of these opportunities.

5) What are the more advanced methods of credit hacking?

There are many things that we teach, but essentially the more access to credit you have, the more power you have. Getting approved for new cards with generous sign-up bonuses can be a great way to build points. Using business accounts to get multiple copies of the same card is also a tactic. 

Finally, finding ways of spending money that can be instantly refunded (such as gift cards) gives you points without actually having to spend money. In these cases, you might lose 1-2% on transaction fees, but these fees can be dwarfed by rewards like enough points to fly round trips around the world. 



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Are Sallie Mae Student Loans Federal or Private?

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When you hear the name Sallie Mae, you probably think of student loans. There’s a good reason for that; Sallie Mae has a long history, during which time it has provided both federal and private student loans.

However, as of 2014, all of Sallie Mae’s student loans are private, and its federal loans have been sold to another servicer. Here’s what to know if you have a Sallie Mae loan or are considering taking one out.

What is Sallie Mae?

Sallie Mae is a company that currently offers private student loans. But it has taken a few forms over the years.

In 1972, Congress first created the Student Loan Marketing Association (SLMA) as a private, for-profit corporation. Congress gave SLMA, commonly called “Sallie Mae,” the status of a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) to support the company in its mission to provide stability and liquidity to the student loan market as a warehouse for student loans.

However, in 2004, the structure and purpose of the company began to change. SLMA dissolved in late December of that year, and the SLM Corporation, or “Sallie Mae,” was formed in its place as a fully private-sector company without GSE status.

In 2014, the company underwent another big adjustment when Sallie Mae split to form Navient and Sallie Mae. Navient is a federal student loan servicer that manages existing student loan accounts. Meanwhile, Sallie Mae continues to offer private student loans and other financial products to consumers. If you took out a student loan with Sallie Mae prior to 2014, there’s a chance that it was a federal student loan under the now-defunct Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).

At present, Sallie Mae owns 1.4 percent of student loans in the United States. In addition to private student loans, the bank also offers credit cards, personal loans and savings accounts to its customers, many of whom are college students.

What is the difference between private and federal student loans?

When you’re seeking financing to pay for college, you’ll have a big choice to make: federal versus private student loans. Both types of loans offer some benefits and drawbacks.

Federal student loans are educational loans that come from the U.S. government. Under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, there are four types of federal student loans available to qualified borrowers.

With federal student loans, you typically do not need a co-signer or even a credit check. The loans also come with numerous benefits, such as the ability to adjust your repayment plan based on your income. You may also be able to pause payments with a forbearance or deferment and perhaps even qualify for some level of student loan forgiveness.

On the negative side, most federal student loans feature borrowing limits, so you might need to find supplemental funding or scholarships if your educational costs exceed federal loan maximums.

Private student loans are educational loans you can access from private lenders, such as banks, credit unions and online lenders. On the plus side, private student loans often feature higher loan amounts than you can access through federal funding. And if you or your co-signer has excellent credit, you may be able to secure a competitive interest rate as well.

As for drawbacks, private student loans don’t offer the valuable benefits that federal student borrowers can enjoy. You may also face higher interest rates or have a harder time qualifying for financing if you have bad credit.

Are Sallie Mae loans better than federal student loans?

In general, federal loans are the best first choice for student borrowers. Federal student loans offer numerous benefits that private loans do not. You’ll generally want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and review federal funding options before applying for any type of private student loan — Sallie Mae loans included.

However, private student loans, like those offered by Sallie Mae, do have their place. In some cases, federal student aid, grants, scholarships, work-study programs and savings might not be enough to cover educational expenses. In these situations, private student loans may provide you with another way to pay for college.

If you do need to take out private student loans, Sallie Mae is a lender worth considering. It offers loans for a variety of needs, including undergrad, MBA school, medical school, dental school and law school. Its loans also feature 100 percent coverage, so you can find funding for all of your certified school expenses.

With that said, it’s always best to compare a few lenders before committing. All lenders evaluate income and credit score differently, so it’s possible that another lender could give you lower interest rates or more favorable terms.

The bottom line

Sallie Mae may be a good choice if you’re in the market for private student loans and other financial products. Just be sure to do your research upfront, as you should before you take out any form of financing. Comparing multiple offers always gives you the best chance of saving money.

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Tips to do some fall cleaning on your finances

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Wealth manager, Harry Abrahamsen, has five simple ways to stay on top of the big financial picture.

PORTLAND, Maine — Keeping track of our financial stability is something we can all do, whether we have IRAs or 401ks or just a checking account. Harry J. Abrahamsen is the Founder of Abrahamsen Financial Group. He works with clients to create and grow their own wealth. Abrahamsen shares five financial tips, starting with knowing what you have. 

1. Analyze Your Finances Quarterly or Biannually

You want to make sure that your long-term strategy is congruent with your short-term strategy. If the short-term is not working out, you may need to adjust what you are doing to make sure your outcome produces the desired results you are looking to accomplish. It is just like setting sail on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. You know where you want to go and plot your course, but there are many factors that need to be considered to actually get you across and across safely. Your finances behave the exact same way. Check your current situation and make sure you are taking into consideration all of the various wealth-eroding factors that can take you completely off course.

With interest rates very low, now might be a good time to consider refinancing student loans or mortgages, or consolidating credit card debt. However, do so only if you need to or if you can create a positive cash flow. To ensure that you are saving the most by doing so, you must look at current payments, excluding taxes and insurance costs. This way you can do an apples-to-apples comparison.

The most important things to look for when reviewing your credit report is accuracy. Make sure the reporting agencies are reporting things actuary. If it doesn’t appear to be reporting correct and accurate information, you should consult with a reputable credit repair company to help you fix the incorrect information.

4. Savings and Retirement Accounts

The most important thing to consider when reviewing your savings and retirement accounts is to make sure the strategies match your short-term and long-term investment objectives. All too often people end up making decisions one at a time, at different times in their lives, with different people, under different circumstances. Having a sound strategy in place will allow you to view your finances with a macro-economic lens vs a micro-economic view. Stay the course and adjust accordingly from a risk and tax standpoint.

RELATED: Financial lessons learned through the pandemic

A great tip for lowering utility bills or car insurance premiums: Simply ask! There may be things you are not aware of that could save you hundreds of dollars every month. You just need to call all of the companies that you do business with to find out about cost-cutting strategies. 

RELATED: Overcome your fear of finances

To learn more about Abrahamsen Financial, click here

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How to Get a Loan Even with Bad Credit

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Sana pwedeng mabura ang bad credit history as quickly and easily as paying off your utility bills, ‘no? Unfortunately, it takes time. And bago mo pa maayos ang bad credit mo, more often than not, kailangan mo na namang mag-avail ng panibagong loan. 

Good thing you can still get a loan even with bad credit, kahit na medyo limited ang options. How do you get a loan if you have bad credit? Alamin sa short guide na ito. 

For more finance tips, visit Moneymax.

 

 

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