Tales from the Wallet: Refinancing Student Loans (Guest Post)

refinancing student loansHave you refinanced your student loans, or are you looking into it? We’ve talked about tackling huge school debt, paying down debt vs. saving, getting financially prepared for grad school, creating a money roadmap, and switching from a lawyer’s salary to a student lifestyle, but we haven’t discussed refinancing student loans. Today, Blonde Lawyer (the name she uses to comment on Corporette posts) shares her experience of refinancing with SoFi, one of a growing number of peer-to-peer lending companies (CommonBond is another) that offer student loan refinancing. The author is including a referral link of her own, but Kat / Corporette is not being compensated in any way for this post — it sounded like an interesting topic for readers to discuss, and hopefully this one reader’s experience will be a launchpad for discussion.  Thank you for writing this, Blonde Lawyer!  Here’s a recent WSJ article and a Reuters article for further reading on the topic. 

I have noticed that a lot of Corporette readers are interested in potentially refinancing their student loans. I suggested to Kat that this would make a good “Tales from the Wallet” post and offered to write about my experience refinancing with SoFi. Hopefully there are other posters who refinanced with one of the other major players that can write about their experiences too.

So a little bit about me: I graduated law school in 2009. I went to an in-state school with in-state tuition. I paid my tuition 100% with Stafford loans ($59,500) and also took out living expense loans ($34,072) through a private loan company for a grand total of $93,572 in loans. After graduation, I was most worried about my $34,072 in private loans. My husband co-signed them and they were not dischargeable if I died or became disabled. The interest rate was a variable 8.61% with a 19% cap!!! I had one other issue with this company. I had selected a standard 10-year repayment for all my loans, but once the private loans entered repayment, the math wasn’t adding up to me.

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Guest Post: From Growing Up Poor to Working in Big Law

Growing Up Poor | CorporetteHow does your background — like growing up poor — affect your life in Big Law or other conservative jobs? After all, Big Law (and other Big jobs) can be interesting places, full of strange traditions, big personalities, and a lot of assumptions — that everyone knows what to wear yachting or for a golf scramble, for example. Today, I’m happy to welcome back Ruth Moore*, a lawyer turned actress (who’s currently a recurring character in a TV series) with some deep thoughts on how growing up poor affected her legal career. Ruth has guest posted before, with a Tales From the Wallet post about how to break free from golden handcuffs (and get used to paying tuition again). Welcome back, Ruth! – Kat.

This post came about because I was telling Kat about how I’d always been curious which of my Big Law colleagues had also grown up below the poverty line. I have this theory that there were certain habits and ways of thinking from growing up poor that stuck with me as a young adult, when I suddenly went up a couple of rungs on the socioeconomic ladder.

Some of those habits were sartorial. For example, even though I was earning a lot of money, I was still very cheap with myself, especially in the beginning. I distinctly remember buying a pair of jeans from H&M for $39.99 and thinking, “Wow, I’m buying forty-dollar jeans at full price, I really made it!” For work clothes, I splurged on two skirts and three shirts (deeply discounted) from a chain that represented, to me, the height of luxury: The United Colors of Benetton. Dry cleaning seemed too frivolous so I’d just wash them by hand. I wore my Aldo heels with the same pride with which my officemate wore her Louboutins. I didn’t get a professional haircut until my fourth year as a lawyer, opting to trim it myself instead. It’s kind of a miracle that no one reported me to “What Not to Wear.” (Pictured: Money, originally uploaded to Flickr by loopoboy 2.0.)

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Guest Post: Online Dating for Professional Women

Online Dating for Professional Women | CorporetteOnline dating is something we’ve discussed from time to time on Corporette, such as when we asked you for your favorite online dating sites for smart chicks, as well as discussing how to find time to date when you’re busy, when to break it off, how to date a busy guy, and how to date a guy with more time (or less money) than you. I’ve been off the market for a while, so I asked reader Kryss Shane to guest post — she is a dual licensed psychotherapist who also does life coaching, and offers private Skype sessions for self-pay clients.  Welcome to the blog, Kryss!

As Kat tells me, when she was last single, there were a few main online dating sites for smart women, each known for their own crowd (one full of Christians, one just for those wanting to hook up, etc.).

A lot has changed since then. Now the web gives us some generalized dating sites (OkCupid, PlentyOfFish, Match.com, etc.) as well as options for those who are seeking a partner with shared religious beliefs (JDate, ChristianMingle) or for those in a specific demographic (OurTime, for people over 50; BlackPeopleMeet; InterracialMatch). There are sites for cougars, for those looking to date a prison inmate, for wine drinkers, and animal lovers. There are sites for fetishes, for preferences, for moods, for just one night, and for those looking for forever. Add in the apps for your cell (Tinder, Grindr, etc.) and it can certainly feel overwhelming!

For professional women, dating can already be tricky enough; some are turned on by our power, others feel competitive or resentful of it. We question whether to add our job titles to our profiles, we debate whether our photos should indicate what we do, we wonder if someone who looks but doesn’t message was turned off by our professional status. In short, we’re women who live in a society that teaches us in so many ways that we are doing what we shouldn’t: being self-sufficient, educated women.

Rather than attempting to break down the pros/cons for each of the major dating sites, let’s focus on the shared goal of trying to find the right match(es). With hundreds of thousands of people on these sites, how can a person with limited time properly narrow down the options? (Pictured: Schattenpaar, originally uploaded to Flickr by Benni.)

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Guest Post: Pumping at Work 101

Pumping at Work 101 | CorporettePumping at work: it’s one of the toughest parts of going back to work after maternity leave. In past posts we’ve covered what to wear to pump at work, how to manage pumping in different offices, pumping during work travel, and how to dress professionally when you go back to work (when your pre-pregnancy clothes still don’t fit). Today Reader K gives you some basic tips for pumping at work and recommends a few helpful products. Thank you, K! 

My best friend gave me great advice before I went back to work: The dread is worse than the reality. I was nervous about leaving my little guy with someone I barely knew; I was nervous I would not be as good at my job as I had been before I left for leave; I was nervous that I would sit at my desk missing him all day. Basically, I was nervous about everything.

But now, seven months in, it hasn’t been that bad. For the most part, I have managed to focus completely on whatever I’m doing, whether work or home life. That means I am really efficient at work and then don’t really check my email once I get home until after my son goes to bed. (Fortunately, we hit the baby jackpot and got a great sleeper.) The hardest part, though, was pumping at work. After reading comments here and talking to my sister and some friends, I got into my routine. (Pictured: breast pump overload, originally uploaded to Flickr by madichan.

Read the rest of the post on CorporetteMoms… (but feel free to comment, on topic, on either page)… 

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N.B. PLEASE KEEP YOUR COMMENTS ON TOPIC; threadjacks will be deleted at our sole discretion and convenience. These substantive posts are intended to be a source of community comment on a particular topic, which readers can browse through without having to sift out a lot of unrelated comments. And so, although of course I highly value all comments by my readers, I’m going ask you to please respect some boundaries on substantive posts like this one. Thank you for your understanding!

Guest Post: The Top 5 Crimes in Office Décor

We’ve talked a lot about office decor on this blog — how to decorate your desk, how to liven up your office walls, what the logistics are for decorating your office, and how to know when your office decor is too nice — but we’ve never had a true expert weigh in. So today I’m thrilled to welcome Sayeh Pezeshki, an office stylist who founded the blog The Office Stylist and created a stylish LA coworking space. She was nice enough to round up her top five crimes in office decor for us — take it away, Sayeh! 

I always read or hear about fashion crimes (can you believe she wore that!?) but you rarely, if ever, come across office décor crimes. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, and sadly, it was hard to limit this post to just five. When it comes to styling and designing your workspace, there are things you should NEVER do, like wearing white pants after Labor Day…

blank walls

1. Blank Walls

It’s your office—not solitary confinement! You should feel excited and energized in your work space, not like a prisoner. Deck out your walls with fun prints, wallpaper, or paint colors. Anything is better than plain, white, boring office walls.

“Don’t” image via Desert Domicile, “Do” image via My Scandinavian Home.

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Guest Post: Crazy Work Schedule? Go Easy on Yourself

Too Busy to Exercise? | Corporette Has life ever gotten so crazy that there was NO WAY you could work out? Sure, exercise is important, and everyone should do it regularly. We all know that. But Jewish Girl, the blogger behind Stuff Jewish Girls Like, reminds us that you shouldn’t feel guilty if it seems impossible right now to fit in regular workouts. Life (i.e., a crazy work schedule) sometimes gets in the way. I forget how I first discovered her blog, but I’ve been a reader for a few years — her life as a busy associate in a BigLaw firm (and adventures with shopping and fun stuff like the 30 Day Shred) sound, well, very familiar to me. Welcome to the blog, JG! – Kat.

Hello, Corporette readers! I’m JG, and up until last month (when I left private practice for a government job) I was a third-year associate at a big civil litigation firm. Before leaving, I found myself assigned to a particularly challenging trial team. The hours were extremely long, the room service was extremely plentiful, and within no time my pants followed suit: they became extremely tight. The experience taught me something new about exercising in the midst of utter professional chaos. I’m not talking about the chaos of working a few late nights or early mornings. I’m talking about the chaos of suddenly moving to a new city, living out of a hotel room, and working a seemingly never-ending string of 17- to 20-hour days.

Two weeks into the trial, somewhere in between my 3:30pm mango papaya smoothie and my 3:30am order of buffalo wings (with both ranch and bleu cheese dressing, because this girl loves her options), a fellow lawyer told me about a handy-dandy seven-minute workout anyone can do from the floor of their hotel room. It’s apparently perfect for those occasions when you are short on time and can’t devote yourself to a full hour in the gym. Great idea, right? After all, EVERYONE has seven minutes! Right? Sure! What’s more important that physical fitness, after all? Certainly NOT an extra bleu cheese dressing (just in case the ratio of cheese chunks to dressing was off in the first batch). Certainly not that.

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