Comet Research

Last updated: October 18, 2018

It’s time to take control of your life.
Time to get a grip on your finances.
Pay down, better yet pay off your student loans.
Easier. Faster. Smarter.
After all, you’ve earned the right.

Here at Comet we take pride in the research we conduct, information/data we collect and offer to our users. So we wanted to make it easier for you to find and read.

Here is a list of Comet's research content you can find below:

Average Student Loan Debt in the U.S. - 2018 Statistics

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The value of a college degree has never been higher – at least in financial terms. Over the past decade, the cost of a university education has risen three times faster than other school-related expenses. Most students finance at least some of that cost by taking out student loans, with the goal of having their investment pay off with higher earnings down the road.

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Student Loan Payback Progress

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As of 2017, student debt hit its all time high of 1.4 trillion dollars.

And that number may grow year over year, which is why it’s important to understand how graduates manage their debts. What would they do differently with their education or loans if given a chance? Do they regret seeking a college degree? And how does school debt affect borrowers? We asked over 1,000 Americans these questions and more. Here’s what we learned.

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The Details of Debt

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For some, taking on debt is a necessary part of paying for the things we need (and want). But debt requires future payments, which can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety for many people. We surveyed 1,000 Americans to explore how their debt – or absence of debt – impacts their quality of life. The results reveal thoughts on debt and how having a plan to pay it off can have a large impact on a person’s overall well-being.

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The Dollars and Debt of Doctors

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Becoming a doctor is a lifelong dream for many Americans, and while getting a medical degree can be a costly pursuit, there are 88,304 students currently enrolled in U.S. medical schools. In 2016, 18,938 students graduated with medical degrees.

To explore at what cost a medical degree comes, we explored medical professionals’ finances, including their student loan debt, medical school tuition, pay satisfaction, and the pay growth of particular medical specialties. Continue reading to see what we discovered.

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Financial Advice by Generation

Everyone makes mistakes. By the time most people have crested out of their 20s and into older adulthood, experts say it’s not uncommon to look back and wish some things had been done differently. Maybe you spent too much time focused on work and not enough at home with family. You might think you’ve invested in the wrong career choice or maybe not taken care of your body well enough.

Whatever it is, in most cases it’s not too late to make a change. Few things in life are permanent after all, and there’s nothing wrong with deciding to take a different path when it comes to your career or personal life.

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The Typical American Financial Life

The Typical American Financial Life. Over 1,200 Americans share their financial accomplishments and hopes for the future.

How does your own financial path compare to that of the average American? From opening your very first bank account to tapping into your 401(k) in retirement, life is full of financial rites of passage. As we grow older, we find new opportunities to invest in our futures, either by putting some cash away in savings or by taking on debt to fund our next big step. But whichever monetary benchmark is next on your list, you may wonder where you stand in comparison to your peers.

After all, most of us are pretty private about all things fiscal, so it’s hard to know if you’re ahead of the crowd or falling far behind. And while there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all financial plan, it would be nice to learn when most folks hit the big benchmarks, if only to learn where we stand in comparison.

We asked over 1,200 Americans...

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Life After Law School

The average law school student borrows over $112,000 to pay for school, and before 2008, educational advisors looked at law school like a “sure thing.” Programs were more competitive, and the job market after graduation was more lucrative. Since the recession, things have changed a bit. The number of people applying to the top U.S. law schools in 2016 fell by over 20% compared to the number of applicants in 2008.

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Young, Single, And Career-Oriented

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Millennials have been called “lazy,” “entitled,” “selfish,” and “demanding,” but despite accusations that they’re ruining the modern workforce, more young people today are making sacrifices for their careers than they may get credit for.

In reality, when it comes to landing their dream jobs, millennials often have a strong desire to make a large impact. Even if their first or current gig isn’t where they hope to ultimately land, working hard to develop a foundation of knowledge and a growing network of professional contacts could be the boost they need to reach their goal in the future.  

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Friendly Competition

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Have you ever heard the news that a friend got a new job or fancy car or seen photos of your friends on amazing vacations while scrolling through social media? Did you immediately start to compare your own life and accomplishments to theirs? If you’re a millennial, you’ve probably set strict expectations for yourself.

Comparing yourself to those around you is a natural response to life and can help motivate us in certain situations. But for millennials, this can escalate to “ruthless” proportions based on extreme standards leading to anxiety and uncertainty. But does the reality to which they compare themselves exist only on social media, or is this not quite accurate? Research has shown spending too much time trying to measure up to what is seen on social networks like Facebook can have a damaging impact on people’s mental health and can create feelings of depression.

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Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venmo

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venmo: Our study of recent Venmo usage by gender.

“Separate checks, please!” The waiter looks at all twelve of you and asks, “And how would you like to split that?”

Venmo has revolutionized the way people send and receive money. And it’s insanely popular with millennials. Now, when spending money on food and drinks, rent, tickets, and everything else where costs are often shared, Venmo users can easily and instantly send money to other people or businesses via their mobile devices.

Part of the app’s success comes from the fact that it has embraced the way many younger people communicate. It requires each user to compose a short description for each transaction, and encourages them to use emojis when they write. Venmo then publishes this transaction information on a public feed.

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From Relatives To Roommates

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Experts suggest there are five important paths all young people take to adulthood: finishing school, moving out, getting a stable job, getting married, and becoming parents.

You probably don’t have to look very far, though, to find young people who’ve put on hold one or more of these transitions to independence. The idea of what constitutes a stable job is changing, marriage rates are down, more and more millennials are putting off having kids, and Americans collectively owe an estimated $1.4 trillion in student loan debt.

So what’s really holding young adults back from checking more milestones off their list even though they want to?

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Lending To Life Goals

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From renting your first apartment to retirement, most of life’s major milestones have a monetary component. And if individuals encounter new costs at each stage of life, just wait until kids become part of the equation. Caring for a child requires serious cash, and that’s before the college tuition bills start rolling in. Looking further down the road, we need to plan to take care of ourselves as we age. From a liveable fixed income to unpredictable healthcare costs, the golden years demand plenty of green. Those demands could present a problem for the majority of millennials who currently have nothing saved for retirement.

Life shouldn’t be assessed in dollars and cents – no ledger holds the secret to happiness. But it would be nice to know how much most people have saved for major life events, so we can gauge if we’re keeping up.

 In this project, we asked over 1,000 people to estimate their financial...

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Chasing The Dream  Or The Green?

Are workers in search of money or meaning? Among academics and executives across the country, this essential question remains unresolved. And as millennials come to dominate the American workforce, the conflict between idealism and income seems more important than ever.

In one camp, experts emphasize office culture and creative freedom as the keys to employee engagement. If workers feel empowered to do meaningful work, these theorists argue, they’re unlikely to feel stifled in their roles. Additionally, recent studies indicate millennial professionals feel more drawn to noble causes than earlier generations. As they weigh job prospects, young workers are attracted to companies that value the “double bottom line”: profitability coupled with social purpose.

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Perceptions Of Prosperity

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There’s no one definitive way to measure success. When it comes to your job, you might rate your accomplishments by titles or a feeling of purpose in your day-to-day work. When it comes to family, maybe your vision of success is how happy your children are, or how well they do at school. Perhaps you consider yourself to be well-off by receiving a quality education and successfully paying off student loans. Even people we perceive as being overwhelmingly successful tend to have very different definitions of what makes them so great at the things they do.

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Debt Regret

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Let’s be honest: On the subject of financing significant expenses, there’s little consensus – and plenty of strong feelings.

Some see responsible borrowing as a path to financial stability, empowering prudent investments such as higher education. Others view loans as liabilities and caution against assuming debt unwisely. On the spectrum between these competing perspectives, how do most Americans approach paying off purchases? We endeavored to find out.

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More coming soon...

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