Financial Wellness

We know that dealing with your financial life on top of being a law student can seem overwhelming and stressful at times. This is for all of our students and not just as it relates to those who are taking out loans. We take seriously our responsibility to prepare you for a successful professional future and while you are here, we also want you to be fully supported and prepared in the area of personal finance as well. While we don't claim to be financial planners, we are committed to providing information and tools to assist all of our students in managing finances. 

Hopefully, some of the information in this section will reduce some of the stresses that result from common frustrations and problems, or spark an idea to keep on top of your finances. 

MAX by AccessLex

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    Meet Max

    We are excited to announce that Detroit Mercy Law has partnered with Max-by-AccessLex.pngAccessLex to offer a financial wellness program designed by law students for law students that will prove to be extremely helpful to you. MAX offers personal finance information through online webinars, a podcast, on-campus programs, and individual counseling. MAX offers you the best-in-class personal finance resources at no cost to you.

    To provide a comprehensive personal finance education, the MAX program:

    • Teaches personal finance in a way that leverages the skills law school attracts and fosters;
    • Takes a multi-format approach – including interactive online lessons, webinars, in-person workshops and one-on-one counseling – that lets you define your own path;
    • Delivers information in quick and easy to understand components to fit into your demanding schedule; and
    • Offers scholarship incentives to motivate you to stay on task and on schedule – AccessLex will award over $330,000* through MAX Scholarship drawings during the 2020-21 academic year!

    To Get started: Go to www.AccessLex.org/MAXonline. Your name, email address, school, and class year are all you need to log-in to the program, personalize your experience, and track your progress. No other personal information is required, and all information remains confidential.

    *Unfortunately, MAX Scholarships are not available for international students. 

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    Why Max?

    “How will MAX benefit me?”  Over the next few years, you will face very important financial decisions.  And, even now, you may be faced with questions about student debt and repayment options.  70% of law students say they feel stressed about personal finances.  Reduce your stress level by increasing your financial knowledge.  MAX can help you.

    “OK.  Sounds great.  But how much time will it take?”  Each online lesson takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.  And, we would like you to complete your lessons during the summer when you have more time.

    “How do I get started?”  Simply sign up and/or log in at https://www.accesslex.org/maxonline via your computer, tablet, desktop, or smartphone.

    “What else does MAX provide?  Supplementing MAX online lessons will be webinars and podcasts, a monthly newsletter, and MAX Coaching – your personal access to one-on-one financial coaching with accredited financial counselors.  And, there are the scholarship opportunities.  AccessLex will be giving away $330,000 in scholarships to MAX participants during the  academic year ($110,000 per each class 1Ls, 2Ls, and 3Ls at MAX schools).  Create your MAX account and earn chances to win a scholarship by completing the online lessons and 1L survey and by attending webinars.  Check out all the scholarship winners here.  This academic year, it could be YOU!

    “Why does Detroit Mercy Law participate in the MAX program?”  We take seriously our responsibility to prepare you for a successful professional future and, while you are here at Detroit Mercy Law, we also want you to be fully supported and prepared in the area of personal finance as well.  Now is the perfect time to build a firm foundation of understanding of your own personal finances!  Graduating from law school with a strong framework for making good financial decisions will be extremely beneficial and will have a positive impact on every aspect of your personal and professional financial future. 

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    Upcoming Events

    Events for the 2020-21 academic year are currently being planned and will be posted when the details are available.

Financial Resources

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    Budgeting 101 During Law School

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    Budgeting Tips

    Here are some easy steps to being more financially wise:

    Step 1 - Track Your Spending. Keep a record of every penny you spend for a couple of months, especially the months before law school starts. It will feel difficult, tedious, and boring, but it's important to see where your money is going.

    Step 2 - Actually Save. Saving a few dollars every month is still saving. Put your change in a jar every day. Transfer money from your checking to your savings; if you don't see it you might not spend it. 

    Step 3 - Create a Budget. You don't have to use the budget we provided above. An app might be better for you and there are plenty of free ones out there. Here are a few:

    Step 4 - Review Your Budget. If you have a budget you've been using, take a look at it again. Then about it halfway through the year, take a look at your budget again and see how things have changed.

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    Credit Information

    Your personal credit score can impact your ability to rent an apartment, buy a car or a house, get a Federal PLUS loan, private loan, or Bar Study Loan with or without a cosigner. Most people know this information. However, many people fail to monitor their credit history on a regular basis. 

    Credit Reports

    Lenders typically use three credit bureau reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. You cannot choose which credit bureau you want the lender to use for your credit review. You may have a negative credit item on one credit bureau’s report and not on another because creditors do not necessarily report information to all three credit bureaus, so you need to check all three regularly.

    All consumers are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies every 12 months. Students are encouraged to take advantage of this benefit. You can find more information at annualcreditreport.com.

    Credit Scoring

    Credit scoring is an automated way of evaluating your credit history against a number of pre-programmed criteria. In addition to finding negative credit items, credit scoring enables a lender to examine other criteria, such as credit card balances relative to their limit, an individual’s number of credit cards (even if they do not have current balances due), and slow payment history. These items are part of your credit “character” and affect your credit score.

    If any negative credit items appear on your credit report, you should take whatever steps are necessary to resolve the issue. If the issue has been resolved but has not been removed from your credit report, you should obtain documentation from the party that reported the issue to the credit bureau. Most lenders have an appeal process so you may submit documentation to clarify your credit history.

    Find out more about credit scoring at myFiCO and Credit Karma.