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Top Tips to Repay Your Student Loan Debt Fast

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Do you remember your first student loan payment? It must be a doozy, to say the least. It was also a wake-up call that you just need to make some changes if you want to get out from under the weight of your debt in a few years. These six steps will help you save money on interest payments and pay off your loans faster than ever before. Check below for how to get out of student loan debt tips:

Pay more than the minimum

If you’re like many people, your student loan debt can feel overwhelming. The good news is that there are steps you can take to lessen the burden of repayment. One of them is paying more than the minimum amount due each month.

If you pay more than the minimum amount due, it will help reduce your principal balance faster and lower your monthly payments. In addition, having a lower balance means that less interest will accrue on future payments—which ultimately leads to paying off your student loans sooner!

Look into refinancing

You can also look into refinancing your student loans to lower your monthly payments. This is an excellent option if you have high-interest debt because it allows you to consolidate multiple loans and get a lower interest rate.

The process involves applying for a new loan with one of the major private lenders of student loans or with a bank or credit union (depending on your credit history). Still, there are lots of factors that go into determining whether they’ll approve you. For example, “If refinancing is something you are looking for, consider SoFi” experts.

Put extra money toward your loans

The first thing you can do to pay off your student loan debt quickly is put extra money toward your loans. This is called a lump sum payment, which can be the difference between having debt for years and having it paid off in months.

You should start by paying off the loans with the highest interest rates first. The more you pay on those loans, the more time and money you’ll save in interest payments down the road—which makes repaying those loans even easier!

Another thing you can do to get rid of that debt is to use a student loan calculator (like this one) to see how much faster paying more than just the minimum each month will help you get out from under your student loan burden.

Look for work with student loan repayment benefits

Several jobs offer student loan repayment benefits, including positions such as those in the healthcare, education and public service sectors. In addition to these areas of work, other industries can help you get your student loans paid off faster by letting employers pay a portion or all of your student loan debt. One example is military service, where some branches provide this benefit for their service members.

Enroll in autopay

Setting up autopay is the best way to stay on top of your student loans. This way, you’ll never have to worry about missing a payment and paying late fees. Automating payments also helps reduce the chance of falling behind on your loan(s).

They’re just the beginning, though—it’s important to remember that many other resources can help you make smart choices about repayment. Of course, you should always do research before making any big financial decision, but in this case, it could save you years of financial pain.

 

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5 Things the War in Ukraine Has Revealed About Cryptocurrencies

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On February 22nd, 2022, the War in Ukraine erupted. The ensuing conflict has been one of Europe’s most significant, bloodthirsty, and costly conflicts since the Second World War. But as well as revealing flaws in everything from the Russian military to the NATO alliance, the conflict has also revealed some very stark truths about cryptocurrencies.

After all, this conflict is defined by increasing sanctions on the Russian state and has featured numerous innovative crowdfunding models based on blockchain technology. From organisations utilising blockchain to offer humanitarian relief in the war to the authorities of countries attempting to enforce their control over cryptocurrencies, the modern phenomena of blockchain and crypto are playing a significant role in this equally modern war.

One of the main ways that cryptocurrency plays a role is due to the plethora of ways that the transfer of fiat money via centralised systems has been interrupted. Throughout human history, centralised finance systems have been susceptible to collapsing under the pressure of war and political unrest. Cryptocurrency, and the decentralised blockchain technology it’s hosted upon, is able to operate much more efficiently.

In this article, we’re going to look into the numerous applications of cryptocurrency and blockchain that the ongoing war in Ukraine has revealed.

Cryptocurrency Used for Fundraising

Crypto

In what has been Europe’s most significant military showdown since the Second World War, the conflict in Ukraine has demonstrated how crypto can be effectively used to raise much-needed funds in the midst of war.

At the outbreak of the conflict, the Ukrainian regime in Kyiv publically announced that they would be open to accepting war relief donations in the form of cryptocurrency in an effort to include a wider spectrum of potential donors. In turn, this saw the formation of the Crypto Fund of Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation spearheads the Crypto Fund of Ukraine. The fund was established in partnership with the likes of Kuna, FTX and Everstake to support humanitarian aid and provide military support for Ukraine. 

The crypto fund is said to have played a serious role in enabling Ukrainian national defence and allowed the Ukrainian regime to accept more than $100 million worth of cryptocurrency donations. The funds were used to buy vital military aid such as body armour, night vision optics for fighting in the winter months, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to monitor Russian positions.

But the Crypto Fund of Ukraine is one of many ways decentralised technology has been used to raise funds to support Ukraine. Other cryptocurrency fundraiser organisations aiming to support Ukraine have also utilised decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs). One of the most well-known is the UkraineDAO.

Like the Crypto Fund of Ukraine, the UkraineDAO was established at the outbreak of the conflict to muster financial support for the Ukrainian military. The project is spearheaded by people like Nadya Tolokonnikova, one of the founders of the Feminist anti-Putin punk band Pussy Riot and seeing involvement from the likes of the generative NFT studio called Trippy Labs. So far, the UkraineDAO project has successfully raised over $8 million in donations.

Interestingly, the UkraineDAO was behind the successful sale of a nonfungible token (NFT) that took its place amongst the list of the top 20 most expensive NFTs of all time. The NFT was centred around a Ukrainian flag and sold for more than $6 million worth of Ether (ETH).

As well as a method to receive donations, various humanitarian organisations have used cryptocurrency on the ground in the war in Ukraine. World Central Kitchen, an organisation which provides food for those in need during times of war and natural disasters, accepted donations in Ether (ETH) during various crowdfunding campaigns to carry out their work to feed those affected by the war in Ukraine. 

But, of course, where there are good intentions, there are also malicious intentions. Cryptocurrency has equally been used by those with ill intentions in the conflict in Ukraine, which brings us to our next point. 

Malicious Use of Crypto in War

Whilst the helpful intentions of humanitarian organisations and other fundraisers have received considerable attention, there is also an underbelly of malicious crypto activity that has undermined the efforts made by those trying to support Ukraine. 

For example, a series of online fraudsters have begun a highly-organized campaign to rip off would-be donors by impersonating spokespeople of approved cryptocurrency organisations taking part in fundraising campaigns for Ukraine. 

It’s believed that these cybercriminals have likely dispatched millions of emails in an effort to deceive people worldwide. A common tactic used will be to impersonate Ukrainian people who are desperately in need of aid with the goal of extracting money from would-be donors.

In doing so, the real victims of the conflict in Ukraine will face extreme difficulties in getting the help they really need, as such cybercriminals can easily blur the lines between who is genuine and who is a scammer. 

An increasing number of people are reporting that these cybercriminals are also using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram to launch their scam campaigns. Any would-be donors should only donate cryptocurrency via channels that the Ukrainian government officially authorises to evade potential scams. Alternatively, you can avoid scams by making informed decisions on well-known and reliable sources such as this crypto website

Crypto Scams on the Dark Web

Put simply, the dark web is an overlay internet grid made up of unindexed sites that are hidden from standard web browsers and search engines. The dark web can only be accessed using particular browsers such as Tor.

There is a reason that the dark web is deliberately concealed from everyday users. It bears a wide spectrum of highly illegal activity, including black markets for narcotics, firearms, and even assassination services. In addition, it’s widely used by black hat hackers to buy and sell stolen private credentials.

Naturally, the dark web is being heavily used by shady people to spread fraudulent messages with the aim of stealing money from people looking to support Ukraine. One of the main methods is to send links that take people to phishing sites that are developed to steal cryptocurrencies.

Users have reported that these scammers are using increasingly advanced techniques, from fake AI-generated chat boxes that aim to mimic user activity to fake donation buttons to look more genuine.

In the chaos surrounding the outbreak of the war, a particularly well-trained gang of cybercriminals launched an elaborate fundraising scam that involved the release of a crypto token called Peaceful World (WORLD). Still, it was stopped in its tracks by both the Ukrainian government and various cybersecurity experts.

Governments Can Ban and Control Cryptocurrencies

When the founder of Bitcoin (BTC), Satoshi Nakamoto, created the world’s first cryptocurrency, one of his main aims was to create a financial asset that would give freedom to the owner and take away the overwhelming level of control that global regimes and centralised financial organisations currently held over it.

However, with the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, it’s becoming increasingly clear that cryptocurrency can be banned or controlled at a governmental level in more than a few ways.

For example, in October 2022, blockchain companies based in the European Union were strictly barred from offering any form of crypto custodial services to Russian citizens or businesses. The decision resulted from a series of sanctions imposed by the European Commission on the Russian Federation. In addition, Russian cryptocurrency wallets that fell under the control of Europe-based exchanges were also targeted and frozen.

The reason for the wave of crypto sanctions was an attempt to stop Russian from using cryptocurrency to successfully evade fiat currency sanctions placed on the country, as they have done before.

Before the latest sanctions, restrictions were already in place that ensured a strict limit of 10,000 euros for trading and making deposits in crypto wallets and accounts owned by Russian citizens.

In order to dodge a regulatory conflict with the European Union, the recent acts and sanctions announced by the European Union have left significant exchanges like Coinbase, Kraken, Crypto.com, and Binance to refuse services to Russian citizens and businesses.

U-Turns on Crypto Bans

The wave of crypto-related and fiat currency-related sanctions to hit Russia has left the world’s biggest country in a serious economic situation. Barred from SWIFT and cryptocurrency wallets, Russian citizens were beginning to be backed into a corner regarding viable solutions for moving money at home and abroad. 

You may remember that the Russian government notoriously banned using crypto to make payments inside Russia back in July. However, in the wake of the recent sanctions and left with few options, this ban was naturally reversed, and both the Russian central bank and the Ministry of Finance agreed to permit crypto to be used for cross-border payments.

This latest decision was believed to have been made to encourage Russians to use domestic cryptocurrency exchanges, reinforce the economy in the wake of sanctions, and provide a decentralised payment that is largely untouchable by hostile governments, provided it manages to sidestep current sanctions.

In Summary

The war in Ukraine is one of the most brutal conflicts seen in Europe in decades. But as an inherently modern war, it has taught us practical lessons about the use of cryptocurrency in large-scale human conflict on an international level.

The war has shown how cryptocurrency has been used on a community level through the use of fundraising from people wishing to support Ukraine, and the Ukrainian state has equally used it to raise direct donations worth over $100 million from donors worldwide.

On the flip side of the coin, the conflict has equally attracted the attention of scammers and cyber criminals seeking to take advantage of people’s good intentions and use the chaos of war to scam funds from people. 

Sadly, the horrific war in Ukraine shows no signs of ending anytime soon. As it continues to rage in 2023, cryptocurrency will undoubtedly be revealed in many more use cases across the conflict by both sides and for various reasons. 

 

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Online Blackjack Terminology Explained for Beginners

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Not everybody who plays blackjack online is a pro. However, you can improve your blackjack gameplay and become a better player with a bit of homework and practice. The first lesson of learning to be a better blackjack player is to understand blackjack terminology. Without this, you simply won’t understand what is going on. Fortunately, you don’t have to venture far to learn a few of the basics. We’re here to help.

The Basics

In blackjack, there are certain moves that are deemed “basic”, and you’re going to need to learn these before you can even hope to land wins. Hitting and standing are two of the most common terms, where hitting involves taking a new card, and standing requires you to stick with what you’ve got. Busting involves going over “twenty-one points” and losing. Meanwhile, when you split, you’re dividing your hand into two hands (at a cost), and when you double down, you’re doubling your stake for just one more card.

Soft vs Hard Hands

You will often hear the gambling terms “soft hand”, or “hard hand” thrown about in blackjack. These terms can mean various things in different games. In blackjack, though, a soft hand is one which gives players more room to manoeuvre because it has an ace in it. By contrast, a hard hand offers more rigidity. As it lacks an ace, it doesn’t offer much wiggle room.

Insurance and House Edges

Two other terms you may wish to note are “insurance” and “house edge”. Insurance is an optional side-bet that you can take while the blackjack game is being played. It can see you potentially pocket earnings of 2:1 if the dealer has blackjack, but it is a risky bet. By contrast, house edge tells you the percentage of each bet that is pure profit and that the house keeps (and that can’t be won by players), with the rest representing RTP. You want as low a house edge as possible when playing blackjack.

Variants Explained

Blackjack is a game that can be played in many different variants. A variant is a “type” of blackjack game. For instance, European Blackjack, American Blackjack, Face-Up 21, Blackjack Switch and Blackjack: Double Exposure are all blackjack variants.

Deck-Related Terminology

Let’s end by looking at some deck-related terminology. We’re sure that you already know that “deck” refers to a complete set of cards (minus jokers). Shoes represent a collection of several decks combined and shuffled. Discards (as their name implies), are any cards that have been dealt, and they remain by the side until the dealer inserts them back into the shoe to be shuffled once more. Finally, we have face-up cards. These are any blackjack cards that appear with their value side facing upwards. In most games, one of the dealer’s cards will be face-down. However, in some games – such as Double Exposure – the dealer with have two face-up cards.

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What is Car Insurance Endorsement? 

Car insurance endorsements are additional features that policyholders can add to their existing, active auto insurance policy to make it fitter for their needs

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Car insurance has been essential to the driving man ever since cars became mainstream. No matter which state you are in, car insurance is necessary, mandatory, and very important for your medical, financial, and legal safeguarding. 

Forty-nine states out of fifty have made it mandatory for drivers to have liability coverage with a coverage limit equal to or above the minimum coverage limit. So in case a driver gets in a car accident, both the drivers can get their medical treatments and the car repaired.

But just as there are different people with different driving preferences and vehicles, more than one-size-fits-all car insurance is needed to precisely cover the needs of some drivers. People want customizability and auto insurance policies that can be made according to their needs. 

It is where car insurance endorsements come in. What are these, and how can they be used to offer tailor-made insurance coverage? Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about car insurance endorsements. 

What is Car Insurance Endorsement

Car insurance endorsements are additional features that policyholders can add to their existing, active auto insurance policy to make it fitter for their needs. People use their cars for different reasons; some use them for commuting, while others like to take their vehicles to the most challenging terrain they can.

This different use case is what creates the need for modification in the basic car insurance policies. Think of it as this; when someone owns an average car but wants to ride it in a more challenging terrain, perhaps off-roading, they need to make some changes. 

The standard tires are just fine to work in everyday conditions, but to climb a hill or cross a muddy road? It won’t work. So the driver can swap the standard tires for more rugged, off-road tires. The exact change can be made with car insurance policies as well. 

The Basic Insurance Policies

Car insurance endorsements are almost always add-on policies, not standalone ones. It means that you must have the base policies to buy auto insurance endorsements. You need a car first if you want to purchase off-roading tires. 

There are four fundamental policies that every driver either must have or should have to drive a car safely, securely, and legally. These policies are:

  • Liability insurance
  • Collision insurance 
  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage
  • Personal Injury Protection plan

Liability insurance: Liability insurance is the most important auto insurance policy. This policy is used to cover the cost of repairs and medical treatments of the other driver in an accident that is your fault. It is mandatory in forty-nine states, and driving without one is a felony. 

Driving without liability insurance would lead to legal and financial ramifications. Do not drive without liability insurance. 

Collision insurance: Collision insurance is optional; people can choose to buy it or skip it. But despite being optional, it is imperative because this policy covers the cost of repairs to the policyholder’s car after an accident. 

It does not matter whose fault the accident was; if the accident was due to a collision and it was unintentional, collision insurance can be claimed. This policy is also one of the most expensive insurance policies you can get. 

If you want to save money, make sure you search for the best insurance company in your state. For example, if you live in Illinois, look for cheap Illinois car insurance companies and then select the one that offers the best coverage at the most affordable rates. 

Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Uninsured Motorist coverage is mandatory in twenty states and optional in the rest. Policyholders can claim this policy when the driver at fault lacks liability coverage or is not present at the accident site (hit-and-run accident.)

Personal Injury Protection plan: Personal injury protection plan covers the cost of medical treatments needed after the car accident. It involves hospital bills, therapy bills, etc., and lost wages. PIP is mandatory in 12 states called the “No-fault states.”

Car Insurance Endorsement Options

Apart from having those as mentioned above optional and mandatory car insurance policies, you can add extra features to these policies to fit your needs. It does cost extra, but it can save you a lot of money if you get in an accident without these add-ons. 

Let’s look at some widespread and ubiquitous auto insurance endorsements you can get and what additional features they offer. 

Roadside Assistance

The most common car insurance endorsement is Roadside Assistance, and almost every major auto insurer offers it. Roadside Assistance adds extra features to your car insurance policies as the name suggests. 

Roadside Assistance is recommended for people who travel on the road a lot. RSA comes with features such as:

  • Winching 
  • Towing
  • Tire change
  • Refueling
  • Battery jumpstart
  • Unlocking the car

All these services can be availed anywhere you are, in the middle of the road (that’s the point of the add-on.)

Modified Car Coverage

Expensive music systems, engine upgrades, etc., cost a lot. When you own a car, you may decide to modify it. This modification increases the value of the vehicle. 

Getting the modified car coverage will ensure that all the expensive added parts are covered in the insurance policy. 

GAP insurance 

GAP stands for Guaranteed Assets Protection insurance, and this policy add-on is for people who finance their cars. When you finance a vehicle, you pay more than the price of the car due to interest. 

So what happens if your car gets totaled due to an accident or gets stolen before you have paid the entire loan amount to the bank? The insurance company will only give the actual cash value (which is lower than the MSRP of the car due to depreciation.)

It is where GAP insurance comes in. It covers the extra amount in case your car gets totaled or stolen to ensure you do not pay any money from your pocket. 

Rideshare Insurance 

Rideshare insurance is for people who want to use it for any ridesharing business. General car insurance policies do not cover the commercial use of the car. Insurance companies have the right to deny your claim if your vehicle gets in an accident while you are using it for commercial use. 

Getting a commercial car insurance policy is expensive and not needed since the business is part-time. 

Rideshare insurance allows you to switch your policy from general to commercial when you are using your vehicle for commercial purposes. 

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Want to know what car insurance endorsements are? Take a look at the comprehensive article on everything you need to know about auto insurance endorsements.

 

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