My Debt Problem Began With a Wallet

I applied for my first credit card during my junior year of college. The application required an annual salary, which I didn’t have. But not having an annual salary wasn’t an option, so I checked the box indicating $100,000-$120,000. I justified the lie with the internal argument that my father’s income at the time must have been about that—or so I then suspected. I must have been wrong, though, since my father declared bankruptcy two years later. But this is about me and my money mess, not his.

Nobody’s Default But My Own: What Happened When I Decided to Stop Paying My Credit Card Debt

I should have never gotten a credit card, and I knew it. Nobody without a job, savings, or assets of any kind should, especially if their income is less than their rent. It’s basic math.

What Happens If I Don’t Pay My Credit Card Bill?

Many of us have thought, “What would happen if I just pretended this credit card bill didn’t exist? Hmmm…”

Alert: Terrible And Somehow Legal Private Student Loan Provision

Well this is very uncool, via the NYT: “Student Loans Can Suddenly Come Due When Co-Signers Die, a Report Finds.”

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

Living Without Credit Cards

Why don’t you have a credit card?

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.

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.

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.

Update on the Update on the Rolling Jubilee

Update on the Rolling Jubilee :/

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.

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.

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.

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.