Repairing Your Credit: A Huge Pain

On her blog Girl's Gone Child, Rebecca Woolf talks about trying to maintain a good credit score so that she and her husband can refinance their mortgage, and how they battled her credit card debt only to get screwed by a forgotten annual fee. Nooooo

My Credit Card Debt Is As Bad As Substance Abuse

I now, embarrassingly late in the game, see credit-card debt as a problem for many that is nearly as pernicious as drug and alcohol addiction.

Update on the Rolling Jubilee :/

Remember the Rolling Jubilee, the Occupy-adjacent project that raised money to buy and forgive debt? Naked Capitalism has an update on what’s been going on with the project, and it’s kiiiiinnnnnd of a bummer. Basically: They promised transparency, and they haven’t been transparent. Yves Smith tried repeatedly to get them to disclose what they’ve been up to, and came to this conclusion:

“It’s troubling to find the members of the Rolling Jubilee board try to avoid answering basic questions and living up to promises they made by taking the position, in effect, that they have good intentions and a good cause and thus aren’t required to provide much in the way of responses.”

Bring Back the Debtors’ Prison! Take Me I’m Yours

Debtors' prison would be open to all, although in the case of credit card, medical, or gambling debt, it would make more sense to declare bankruptcy. So I imagine it would become a kind of intellectual symposium behind bars, the feckless overeducated lifting weights in the yard and discussing Adorno and Arendt in the cafeteria, with the occasional stabbing over who didn’t return what book to the prison library on time.

Living Without Credit Cards

Why don't you have a credit card?

The Way We View Debt

Via our pal Matt Levine, Bloomberg has an interview with Thomas Anderson, the author of a new book out called The Value of Debt. During the financial crisis, many households were overleveraged, which later resulted in a focus on de-leveraging and becoming debt-adverse (we got better at paying down our credit cards, for example, though that kind revolving debt is beginning to rise again). As you can see from his response above, Anderson argues that being too debt-averse is a mistake. He argues that it's all about balance—pay off that high-interest, non tax-deductible debt first, but also hold onto some of your money in case you need it. Do what you need to do to remain secure, essentially.

Student Loans Before Kindergarten

At Slate, Jessica Grose unpacks the idea of parents taking out subsidized student loans to pay for private preschooling and says that what we should really be thinking about is finding more money to fund public preschools. I still can't get over the idea of parents taking out loans to send their kids to preschool.

Step Down From That Money Panic Ledge It’s Going to Be Okay Probably

Talking about my debt and having a plan to pay it off has helped me be a lot cooler about it. The frequency of STRESS ATTACKS during which I suddenly remember HOW MUCH MONEY I OWE AND HOW I'M NEVER GOING TO PAY IT BACK have really gone down. I'm just a human, with a large amount of debt, NBD. No one owns me I own me, and I have 1 plan. Cool. Chill. Namaste. I rarely panic about my credit card debt anymore. But I do still have moments when I'm in bed and my entire body seizes and my stomach drops because I remember about TAXES. Ways 2 deal.

The Answer to Getting Out of Credit Card Trouble: A Spreadsheet

When I clicked the "sure, I'll pay back this $55K" button on the student loan site, I had $10K in credit card debt. I also had no idea that I had racked up $10K on my credit cards.

Update on the Update on the Rolling Jubilee

The initial update was that they haven’t updated. And the update is: Please await update. (“Although we haven’t announced the details of our most recent purchases yet, we are very proud that we have not just met this promise but exceeded it. We are currently gearing up to make our next announcement in mid-November.“)

I Declared Bankruptcy, And I’m Neither Proud Nor Ashamed

What to creditors do when you stop making payments? They send you lots of things on pink paper and/or printed with red ink. They freeze your credit. They start calling daily. They’ll call you at work if you have provided them your work number. I was never harassed by a collector, mostly because I never answered the phone unless I knew who was calling.

All You Can Do is Face It And Fight It

Last week American Student Assistance released an 8-minute movie horror movie called THE RED. It’s about debt, and after the film ends, there’s a call to action to face your own debt (“you can’t outrun it, all you can do is face it and fight it”). I spoke with ASA managing director Sue Burton about her organization and what they’re doing to help people confront their student loans.

LS: Tell me about your organization, Sue Burton.

SB: American Student Assistance has been around for 57 years helping borrowers navigate repaying loans. SALT is our program to help students get ahead of their loans. We’ve found the best way to help students manage their loans is to help them when they’re make borrowing decisions, to get them informed and engaged for when they ultimately leave school.

LS: Your movie gave me a knot in my stomach.

SB: The goal is to drive awareness of the power of solutions. So much is written about the problem of student loan debt—but we want students to feel empowered to take action, to look at solutions, to get themselves informed about their options. You can ask people if they have student loans and they’ll say, oh yeah, but you ask much, they have no idea.

Students are disengaged from the details of their loans and how to manage those loans—they’re paralyzed.