September 2021 NewsletterSubmitted by Dorval & Chorne on September 1st, 2021
Keagan Schmidt | September 1, 2021
Happy September! After a month off of writing, it’s good to be back... In the following months I’ll share more about my wedding experiences and how it relates to quality of life focused financial planning!
This month we are talking about:
- Student loans... Remember those? Updates on student loan deferral and loan forgiveness
- Question of the week... “Aren’t you too young to be using coupons?”
- Getting personal, with pickleball. A lesson we can all learn!
Good old student loans, what’s new?
Kind of like that friend who said, “we should hang out this summer” and it’s now September... many people have found themselves on hold as they wait to see if the government is going to leave them hanging, or if there is really going to be any type of loan forgiveness, as promised. Turns out, there is in fact some loan forgiveness happening! For those deemed by Social Security to have total and permanent disability, $5.8 billion worth of student loan debt will be forgiven by the end of 2021 for over 323,000 borrowers.
If you are not one of those 300,000+ borrowers, there is still some good news for you! On August 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education announced one last extension of COVID-19 emergency relief for student loans through January 31, 2022. This means eligible loan payments are still suspended, and the interest rate will remain at 0%.
In previous newsletters I have talked about how this loan deferral situation throws a wrench in financial planning advice! For those who are interested in tackling debt and getting rid of debt, you may feel like “what should I do now?!” Instead of feeling confused, you should feel empowered! You not only have time on your side, you also have the advantage of 0% interest.
Instead of continuing to put money towards your loans while on deferral, continue saving it into your emergency reserves. Who knows, by February of 2022 there may be another wave of loan forgiveness...and you may qualify! Nobody knows, so we want you to take advantage of the flexibility that saving the loan payment on your own terms gives, rather than putting it onto the loans quite yet!
Question of the week: “Aren’t you too young to be using coupons?”
If you did a study asking people, “Would you prefer to pay less money for things in general?”, you’d probably guess the answer would be a resounding yes. However, if you asked the same group of people how often they use coupons, you might get a little different answer?
I love easy ways to save money. Whether it be on groceries, gas, or entertainment-- you can count on me to look for a good deal! My habits were brought to my attention when I was asked a question this week by the sales clerk at the gas station. I had a digital coupon that I received from Holiday Gas Station for 5 cents off per gallon of gas. (It required me to walk inside to pay, ugh). Even though it only saved me about $1.00 off my total bill, I still often find myself doing it.
I showed the clerk my phone screen to scan, and he looked at me, concerned, asking, “Aren’t you too young to be using coupons?!” I laughed and told him, I guess so... but it got me thinking.
I wanted to know if I am the only millennial who uses coupons still!?...Do you? In a Coupon Intelligence Report done by Valassis, they found that more than half of millennials use coupons frequently. 30% stated that they always use coupons, while 23% use them very often.
So, I guess I am not alone. But in my research, I also learned that there is a high correlation between socioeconomic status, and increased coupon use. Several studies have shown that contrary to what you may believe, it is not the low-income Americans making up the coupon user population. In another example I found, a study of more than 8,000 adults showed households earning more than $100,000 were 200% more likely to cash in coupons than households earning less than $35,000.
If you think about it more, I think that it is a good money lesson. Becoming wealthy isn't always about how much money you can make, it is also about being cognizant of how you spend your money! For me, using a coupon on simple things like gas, an oil change, a manicure, or lunch, makes me feel better about the purchase knowing that I am getting the most value possible, and it aligns with my values.
Similar to how people can take small steps like taking the stairs or cutting out soda to improve their overall physical health, a simple practice like using a coupon is something that may seem insignificant in your overall financial picture, but it may change your money habits and cause you to think about how you are spending your money.
So next time I go into that gas station, I might also proudly use a coupon for a coffee as well... Because I guess I am too young ;)
Getting pickleball personal
According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association on Pickleball, 75% of players are 55 and older. To give some perspective, only 7.1% of Tik Tok users are age 50 and older! I must confess, I fall into both demographics as a recent Tik Tok and pickleball lover... and now I’m hooked! (Yes, that’s me in the picture... I may be missing the ball?)
One of our favorite wedding registry gifts was a set of pickleball paddles! We’ve been having a great time learning the game, and improving our skills (my now-husband Derek much faster than I...as he thrives at a ping pong table and on the tennis court...and if you don't know, pickleball is like a combination of the two). But regardless of how fast I’m picking up on the game, it’s always a good time.
The other weekend, we were just getting started with our game. After a minute or so of good volley, Derek crushes the ball to my backhand side (I don’t think all the training in the world could prepare me to return that shot). I laugh and shout over to him, “can you literally not try so hard?!” as I run to chase the ball rolling into our neighbor’s court. An older woman picks up the ball, tosses it to me, and says “you know they just can’t help it,” with a wink. And in the meantime, her husband yells over to Derek, “nice shot man!”
Growing up in sports, and to this day I would call myself a competitive person. But l find it so interesting that my first reaction was to ask him to try less hard! I think in life, and with a lot of the younger people we help for financial planning, the world of social media and your peers is just so filled with highlight reels of people trying so hard. Whether it be social media that shows our picture-perfect lives or Tik Tok videos that tell you if you are “trendy enough,” sometimes, just like me after a defeating pickleball rally, we just want to shout “okay, can we just take it easy?”
It may be the person at work who is constantly bringing up how big their 401k balance is, or your coworker silently judging you for not picking up as many hours as they are, you feel like you’re behind because everyone else is buying a house, or you’re drowning in student loan debt ... there are so many pressures of the world! We’ve helped people who are contributing 20% into their retirement accounts when they can barely make it paycheck to paycheck, or are stuck in a revolving wheel of debt! They feel like they have to try to keep up because it’s what they’ve heard is the right thing to do.
Just like I’ve learned to still have fun and enjoy myself despite going 0-7 in an afternoon of pickleball-- I think it’s a great learning lesson to apply to your financial life. Whether or not you feel like you have it all together, try to not compare yourself to others who are in completely different situations than yourself!
All right, that’s it for this month. Stay tuned for my next newsletter where I will continue to share and inform in new and creative ways. If you want to sign up for the newsletter email, click here (and let others know they can sign up.) Last but not least, let’s connect on LinkedIn!
Advisory services provided through AdvisorNet Wealth Management (AWM) and Dorval & Chorne Financial Advisors. Dorval & Chorne Financial Advisors and AWM are not affiliated.