Free Government Money News January 2013

Happy New Year! We hope that you are feeling positive – and by this time definitely not hung over!

We greet 2013 with great hopes. Amid the difficulties we may be facing there are still reasons for optimism.

We find and show you positive steps you can take to improve our life on an ongoing basis on this website.

We update several of them in this issue of our newsletter. And you will definitely want to read about a new plan from the Obama administration, especially if you are a recent college grad with a lot of debt.

Do you (like so many others) struggle under the weight of student loans you you know you're going to have to pay back? Cheer up: 2013 brings a promising new plan that could help lighten your load. Learn more in our Free Money Highlights below.

Small business owners and and those who want to become business owners will find plenty of challenges as well as potential rewards in 2013. We review both in this issue.

Are critical home repair projects high on your list of New Year's resolutions? You are not alone! Fortunately there are definite possibilities you can pursue to get the financial assistance you need. Discover the details below…

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January Free Money Highlights

Lighten Your Student Loan Payment Load

If you are a recent college graduate you may be finding it tough to meet the payments on your student loans. But help could be on the way. A new Obama Administration plan could make it easier for you to pay off your student loans without sacrificing basic necessities. (Note: if you're still in school and struggling with your finances, check out our article about Pell Grants to discover where you might get more money for school through grants and scholarships and more.

Called the Pay As You Earn program, it is aimed at students who received loan disbursements on or after 2007. The new plan is different from the existing Income Based Repayment Plan, which caps required monthly payments at 15% of disposal income. If you are eligible for the Pay As You Earn program, your monthly payments would be no more than 10% of your disposable income.

The servicer of your loan would determine your eligibility, so be sure to contact them to see if you qualify. You can find out by answering a few simple questions about your loan balance, the size of your family and your tax filing status, when you took out your loans, and the state where you live. If you don't qualify for this plan you might still qualify for the Income Based Repayment Plan, so it's worth checking out.

Small Business 2013: Bad and Good News

The modest reduction in uncertainty resulting from the “fiscal cliff” deal carries mixed blessings for small business people. If you are one of them you know that you face a number of new taxes, some of them significant. Not only are rates higher, but employers must also prepare for the debatable benefits of Obama's health care plan. Hopefully you are already preparing for the impact of this legislation even if it is painful.

The good news is that there are definite signs that access to equity may be getting easier. Because of the JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) which goes into effect this year, you can take advantage of online crowdfunding portals to raise money from a wide range of investors. Though not all the rules are yet known, this will be an exciting new opportunity for many. Learn more about the basics and stay tuned for new developments in our article about Crowdfunding News. Banks also appear to be making it easier to borrow money, as the amount of commercial loans outstanding increased last year. So if you've been trying unsuccessfully to get a loan, it may be a good time to give it another shot. For information and leads on finding resources for your statup or small business, check out Small Business Financing Opportunities and Fund A Startup Business.

Money For Home Repairs

We get a lot of inquiries regarding the need to make serious repairs in the home. Though direct government grants for such needs are few and far between, they do exist in certain cases. If you are 62 or older, and if you live in a rural area, you should look into the The Very Low-Income Housing Repair program which comes from the Department of Agriculture. And did you know that sometimes public utilities provide grants to help their customers make repairs? A quick call can probably tell you if you qualify.

If you do not meet the requirements of either of those programs, there is still some free counseling available to determine what your options might be. Discover more about them in our article about Grants For Home Repair.

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