Federal Student Loans

I have become disabled and will be receiving SSDI soon. I need to get out of this troubling heay load of student loans but I see no way but a long dark tunnel. Can anyone help give some advice on how I can get out of this mess?

I think if you are considered permanently disabled federally guaranteed student loans are cancelled. You should check this out with US Department of Education and your state guarantee agency. Also, I am very sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but my understanding of student loans is that the law is TOTALLY on the side of the lender. Even if you file bandruptcy, you cannot get out of a student loan. If they lose track of your payments – it’s up to YOU to prove that you paid them. But even if you have proof, if they say you owe it, then you owe it until they say you don’t.

It seems you are at the mercy of the lender, unless there is something I don’t know about.

As they are ‘federal’ you could directly contact them now and ask about lower payments and even ask about a relief program for students who like you become disabled while in school, or after they’ve graduated. Not sure other than the same things us ‘no feds’ have had to do.

I’m sorry this happened to you, but hopefully the government programs will have some safety nets.

Unfortunately, this is not true. Let me look up the law and be certain. It will take a day. No, Lockhart, a very recent Supreme Court case decided this term, held that the debtor was liable.

I have to see a lawyer myself because of this ruling. Congress is ruthless with student debt. The Lockhart plaintiffs had wonderful sob stories. I did ask for a temporary hold when I became disabled. I was in denial. Of course, I’m talking about Social Security Disability benefits. I think because SSI is welfare it can’t be attached. They are withholding Social Security checks. I will look up the statutes and case law because it directly impacts me.

Horrified. Too scared to deal with it.

More info here – https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation

You could reduce your month debt

You could reduce your month debt by putting your children in public schools. Use some of the extra $400 towards your emergency fund/savings. And leave the retirement accounts alone. The bottom line is that your family are going to have to make some serious financial decisions, and using your retirement should not be an option. Or get a second job and tackle each debt one day at a time.

I also send my children to private schools. It is an absolute requirement in our Orthodox Jewish Community. However I have made it clear to everyone in my life I would NEVER touch my IRAs to pay school tuition. I will simply tell the schools that money is not available for tuition and they will have to set tuition accordingly. Since I work for the government and have an increasingly rare defined benefit pension I don’t have a 401K but the rules for IRAs are similar.

When you withdraw from your 401K you are charged a 10% penalty for early withdrawl. In addition 20% is withheld for taxes (so when you file you may get some of this back, depending on your circumstances). So you would essentially have to take out $41,600 in order to end up with an amount of $32,000 to pay the debts.

Where I am confused is the school bill. I completely understand the desire to have your children in the private school, and I’m sure you have thought this through. Is this 12,000 in back tuition? Will you be charged another $12000 next year? In the state of Arizona you get a tax credit for payments made to private schools. This credit is $800. So even though my children do not attend a private school, I can pay $800 towards my friend’s daughter’s tuition and then I receive an $800 credit on my state taxes. This is how she pays for her daughter’s school. A good friend of our organized a campaign to help her. Several people in her church, mom’s groups and sports clubs pay to her tuition and then receive the state credit on their taxes. If you talk to you school a lot of times they have sliding fees, or discounts available if you are having a hard time making your tuition.

I agree with the comment about your 401K interest being low. 4% is too low. We don’t have anywhere near what you have invested and we are at almost a 9% interest. I would study that a little and see if there are better options for the investments.

The 20% for taxes is for the Federal taxes only! I needed $18,000. to pay off some bills and I allowed 20% for taxes. When I filed my 2005 taxes I found out I still owed $2,100. for state taxes. I asked my accountant how that could be and she told me that unless I tell my financial advisor to take out for state taxes they will not do it!

401k for people who are not of age to pull it out without penatly

I have yet to hear Dave Ramsey recommend using the 401k for people who are not of age to pull it out without penatly. The reason is, that if you compute the penalty, the tax, etc, you find yourself essentially paying an excorbitant interest rate.

What many 401k participants, desperate for money, may forget is the cost of taking a financial hardship withdrawal. A $10,000 withdrawal does not equal $10,000 in your pocket.

“If you are under 59 1/2, you will lose 35 percent to 45 percent of the withdrawal in taxes and penalties,” Benna said. “You need to think about that.”

For example: suppose your tax filing status is married filing jointly and you earn $60,000 a year. That means your income falls in the 27 percent tax bracket.

If you take a $10,000 hardship withdrawal to pay for your child’s college tuition, you will owe $2,700 in federal income taxes and an additional $1,000 to cover the early withdrawal penalty. You’ll be left with $6,300, or less if you also owe state income tax.

Taking a hardship withdrawal can also result in longer-term pain — a less generous retirement.

Take the example of a person who, starting at age 30, contributes $5,000 a year to her 401k plan. At age 40, she buys a house and takes a $10,000 hardship withdrawal for the down payment. Let’s assume her portfolio generates an average annual return of 8 percent. By retirement at age 65, she will have $793,094. Had she not taken the hardship withdrawal she would have had $861,584, or $68,490 more.

A $10,000 withdrawal may seem insignificant today, but over time it can mean a lot. The trouble is making up for it in the account.

Tapping into the 401k should always be the last resort.

My 2 cents worth.

I don’t know about 401(k) s to venture a guess

If you live in an excellent public school district, it sounds foolish to pay for private school. I’m from New York City. Several schools such as Bronx High School of Science, Stuyvesant, and Hunter College are harder to be admitted to than a private school. I was raised with a lower-income ghetto education. I worked hard. Several elite private colleges awarded me scholarships. The difference in class between public and private school grads was shocking. It’s not only a matter of basic knowledge.

The self-confidence and sophistication is hard to replace. If I had children, I would scale down my house, etc. before I messed with their birth right – a good education. Friends of mine have barely squeezed by paying for private tuition. Not very relevant. I suppose I am awed that people will sacrifice for their children.

I know what you’re talking about me. We all do what we can for the kids, but I don’t think that any amount of sacrifice can give them the self-confidence and sophistication that kids from wealthier families have. The school and even the freedom from financial worries are only a small part of it.

People raised on royal jelly are different to the core and they approach life from an entirely different point of view. I grew up in a very upscale community and while we were merely part of the struggling middle class, we felt like we were dirt poor because of what our friends were like. Yes, it’s better to be the stable boy for the royal family than a migrant worker, but you still will never think of yourself as much more than a slave even if you do manage to get into Oxford.

Junk mail problem

I work in the customer service department of a publishing company that publishes investment newsletters. Part of my job, besides subscription processing, is opening the daily mail. We frequently get envelopes stuffed with our promotional material, other people’s ads (but no good coupons which is what I can use), monopoly money, political articles, religious tracts, porno ads (which should be illegal!), confetti (which I had to clean up, no fun), all kinds of junk. My supervisor told me that she has personally opened mail that had a frog corpse in it, as well as one with a used feminine hygiene product in it. Now that’s just SICK.

If you want to know the truth, when you do stuff like that, it just makes you look like a moron with too much time on your hands. And it’s WRONG to make a company (even credit card companies) pay for useless mail that you send back. A simple “please take me off your mailing list and do not sell my name” is much more palatable than an envelope full of junk.

Also, if you send a form that has your name and address on it, it probably will be processed. For all we know, it’s a legitimate order (we offer billed subscriptions).

Just use common sense and common courtesy. If you don’t want it, kindly let the company know. Believe it or not, they do have real live people who work there, too.

If that is all it took. How come I keep getting the same crap from the same people even after telling them to take me off their list numerous times? As we sow so shall we reap!

Has it occurred to you and other mass mailers that NO ONE wants your junk? Helluva way to make a living. Where do I sign up for that?

I just wanted to reply to the comment Tom left to Ava.

( “Has it occurred to you and other mass mailers that NO ONE wants your junk? Helluva way to make a living. Where do I sign up for that?”)

This comment was uncalled for. No one has the right to attack her for job. Last I checked this group is here to help people in debt. The message at hand was how to get you name removed from mailing list and she was only trying to help out and let all of us know that stuffing the envelopes with junk and mailing them back does not help any of us. Just simply put remove from maililng list on it. We are not here to bash people for their situations or what they do, we are all here to try to help each other. Please keep this in mind.

Withdraw from 401k to lower expenses and debt? Long!

Hi, I hope someone can help me sort this out. I posted some time ago and got a lot of good encouragement!

The bottom line is, we barely make enough money to cover our expenses. Any house repairs, car repairs, etc. are a huge ordeal. I’m trying to get on track by establishing a separate savings account into which we can deposit a little each month to cover big expenses like car repairs, but we have so little extra to do this.

So one idea I am tossing around is to take a chunk out of the 401k from my husband’s old job to pay off some of our secured and unsecured debt.

We currently have $67k in the 401k; that’s the only savings we have.

We have two cars that we’re paying off; on one we owe $5k, the other is $10k. Selling them off might barely get us what we owe, so that wouldn’t work, as we wouldn’t be able to buy replacement cars. We do need the two cars. The car payments total $723/month.

We owe Discover card $5k which we are paying at $200/month.

We have a debt of $12k to our children’s private school which we are paying off at $400/month.

The total of these debts is $32k. The total monthly payments on all this is $1,333.

The way I see it, if we withdraw $32k plus another $4k to pay the penalties and taxes, we would be able to put about $800/month into long-term savings and CDs or retirement accounts, and have another $500 to cover our monthly expenses including big-ticket items.

Does this make sense, or am I treading into dangerous ground here? The 401k is currently earning about 4%+.

I’d really appreciate a reality check. Thanks a lot!

I think you should rethink making a 401k withdrawl. You’re taking a huge opportunity cost of what the money could become if you left it invested. I’m concerned that you’re only making a 4% return….there must be more investment options than the rate you’re getting which sound like a guaranteed account.

Please don’t take offense at my honesty because I’d rather tell the truth than try to pacify you. Though I have limited information, it appears that you have some “lifestyle” issues, e.g., private school. Proper education for children is a high priority for any good parent but at what expense?

A 401k withdrawl seems to be a quick fix for you. Have you examined how you ended up in debt?

It may be a little painful but why not make a family game out of additional ways that you can cut expenses. If you’ve cut back all you can and you’re still barely making it, you need to go after the dollars and downsize. For some, this means moving to a smaller home, etc. Americans are infected with an inability to delay gratification – we try to acquire the things in our 30s or 40s that it took our parents 30 years to acquire.

Food for thought…

Being a Fan of Dave

Getting out of debt and staying out of debt is the same issues as loosing weight and keeping it off. It is hard work and takes life long changes

You are looking at a lifestyle change driven by a change in values. Fully understanding your spending and where and when and why is more important then increasing your income. Increasing your income will in the short term help you get out of debt faster but it won’t prevent you from going right back down the same rat whole when you finished.

If you are following Dave’s and Mary Hunt’s and many many many others in the financial health field you understand that it is not about how much; it is spending in a deliberate planned fashion and saving in a deliberate planned fashion. It is about being in control of your money rather then letting your money control you. It is about spending only a percentage of your income saving a percentage of your income and planning for those events that happen to most like unemployment, divorce, health problems so that you don’t self destruct and end up in the welfare line when life happens as we all know it will.

If your truly following Dave and the rest then you don’t spend a penny until you have your monthly budget and allocated your money to your envelopes and have money to spend. If you have a week to the next pay check and no money then you go hungry for a few days and try to do better next month. But if being a Dave Ramsey fan means having his poster on the wall but your credit cards still in your wallet your probably not ready to truley change.

Step 1: Cut up all credit cards and start using cash and don’t apply or accept any new offers of credit and get off the Junk mail and phone lists by writing to:

Mail Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
P.O. Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735

Telephone Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
P.O. Box 9014
Farmingdale, NY 11735

Or go to
And for emails

Only when you have your budget and snowball payment schedule can you truly evaluate your need for more income. If you don’t know how much 60% of your income is or how long it will take to pay off your unsecured debt paying 20% of your income to it then you have a lot of work to do.

I am in such a bad situation

Hello everyone. I am in such a bad situation. A little over a year ago I decided to sell my Townhouse and move into a house my father had been renting. I went from $550 mortage to a $1,000 mortgage. Very stupid on my part. At the time I had a loser of a boyfriend and he was not helping out at all. The first step was to get rid of him and find a roommate. After that was said and done, it seemed like no matter what I did I could not get caught up. In March me and my boyfriend, Russ, moved from the house into a small one bedroom apartment in order to sell the house.

Since then, I have lost my job and he has lost his. I am working part time with my father while I am looking for work. So as it stands we are living on $10.00/hr and dying. My car was repoed about two weeks ago and my father paid off my loan and put a new loan in his name so I could keep the car. My car insurance payment bounced due to NO funds in the account and is going to be canceled on the 16th and the car payment is due on the 15th for $280. I have many other debts that are sooooooo past due and in collections. I am at wits end and do not know who to call to help me out or what to do to get the collections off my back until I can start paying. I also have $12,000 in student loans that I had made arrangements to pay and now can not. Please help.

Just to get back to you, I can assure you that your situation is not uncommon. Hang in there and keep reading as many of the posts on this site. They will help – if you let them.

To become financially stable, pay off debts and work at further financial goals in your life, takes dedication and work. It gets easier as time goes on. I’ve been there. My life was a lot like yours about nine years ago. It took my almost 5 years to get out debt and break free of really poor budgeting and spending habits and mindsets. I learned a lot and wouldn’t trade that for the world.

I’m not so much into all the technicalities of financial planning, because if a person doesn’t change their mindset, emotionally and mentally about money, spending and budgeting… all the technical stuff won’t help.

Let us all know how things are going or if you have any specific questions about how to get out of debt. There are so mnay things you can start doing to change your situation. Don’t dispair.

BTW: Do you have a degree (for the student loans, you have to pay off?) Also, you may consider finding another quick part-time job to supplement the one you already have, while looking for that fulltime better paying job. Your boyfriend (who is sharing living space with you) should do that to. If he can’t or won’t – maybe he is just another lazy deadbeat. I use to attract those kind of deadbeat boyfriends myself – and was in denial about it.

Stopping Credit Card offers from Landing in your mail box

This took less then five minutes to do. I checked my credit report about two weeks ago and these guys are always in my credit. One did it about every three months. If I understand correctly, inquiries are just as bad on your credit. Why check my credit to send me a pre-approved card that they know they will not give me? It is a waste of their time, money, the mailman’s time, the US post offices money, and the trash collections time and money. And we wonder why dumpster bills are so high. J/K

I know someone who gets so annoyed at getting those offers in the mail. What they do is take the envelope the company sent them (with the no postage necessary type) and return it to them with an empty application or sometimes nothing inside! The company has to pay the postage just for them to have to deal with it!

If you want to be a real hind-end, I suppose you could overstuff the envelopes with blank paper to cost them more money! Inquries such as those DO NOT affect your credit
score. If you’ll look at the section on your report (or at least on Equifax), they have an explanation of the different types of inquiries on your report and what they mean.

The kind we all get, like you’re talking about, are, according to Equifax, (and I’m copying word for word from the report) “Inquiries that do not display to companies and do not impact your credit score.

This section includes inquiries which display only to you and are not considered when evaluating your credit worthiness. Examples of this inquiry type include a pre-approved offer of credit, insurance, or periodic account review by an existing creditor.”

The only inquries that impact your credit score are ones that you generate yourself, by applying for loans or credit cards, etc.

Thank heavens!

Re: Debt collectors question

My dad had a CHASE Visa, and got my name on it too so if I needed it if he was in diffs health wise, I could use it.

Mainly he used it on car things, house repairs, clothes and such.

When he passed on in 2001, they (CHASE) sent me a request for the death cert copy and a paper to sign. Remember, I was shell shocked from his death, can’t see well, and had no other family to help me. I signed what I now know to be a paper taking responsibility for the debt. But the card people would not work with me, and wanted about $630 a month. I was getting $780 a month from SSI. I knew nothing about legal things, and was getting calls every day about this. Some were ‘nice’, others were threatening to open his estate and slap me down in court. I even looked into bankruptcy, but that would have left me with no house, little money to reloacet to g-d knows where…

They sold it off to the collectors, who said they would in fact work with me. And they have… but when that first year came and I called to see how it was doing on my payments and such, then she told me about the interest, I got very upset and said “I’m sending you over 1/4 of my living money! What am I to do now?” she said look into it, and about an hour and a half later she called me back and put me on the phone to Mr. Johannes, and he told me they scrapped the interest and put a new lower balance on, instead of what I originally had.

It was my stupidity to sign carp (My way of saying ‘Cr*p…”) without having it looked over, but at the time, I pretty much was numb from every thing around me when he died. It was the 11 of September 2001 when he died, but so did over 3000 people in the twin towers. I pretty much isolated and sadder than he** for my loss, and everything else.

Anyway, it’s done and I guess I made my bed and have to lie in it. No money for legal, so…..

Dad and I had this house and all in a trust. So to get the house and all in my name was easy, and the property taxes are ‘grandfathered’ on the Prop 13. so thankfully, I don’t have to go homeless.

Debt collectors question

As most of you know, I’m making auto payments to Machol & Johannes, P.C for a debt my father left.

Someone emailed me offlist raising questions about whether or not this might, in fact be a legit thing they are doing:

“I noticed in one of your posts on the debt steps group you wrote you were making payments to a collection agency.

I hope I don’t seem like a snoop, but I would like to ask you a question.

Are you sure this agengy is being honest with you? I ask because I was scammed by one of these places.

I agreed to make monthly payments and paid $1,700.00 over a period of months thinking I was reducing my debt. After getting suspicious when they failed to give me any accouting of my payments I found out they were charging me high interest and instead of my debt going down, it was increasing.

Citibank was the original creditor who sold my account to the collection agency. I had paid the original balance to them several times, but was not able to pay the balance in full so was held hostage with high interest and other fees.

This collection agency actually bought an account that was all interest and then added their own interest.”

As I’d mentioned before, they were in fact doing this on a $200.00 a month plan in 2003-4, but when I called to raise heck, they wiped the interest off and applied it instead to my principal.

I am in until 2008 (July) and would like to ditch this account sooner than that.

I called them and found out I am over half paid off. So every payment and any augmentations (Say if I can send checks and such also) is in fact going to the balance. Not the interest. This is good, and makes me feel better too.

But this brings to the board a good question: How would one go about checking up on these ‘collection agencies’? Is there an oversight committee or BBB, legal body with which one can call or mail to check them out?

When someone dies the only recourse for collecting on debt is there estate. If there is not estate they cannot go after the kids to pay it off. Something does not sound right here. In Texas you can contact the Secretary of State for collection agencies who can legally collect in Texas. You said that you are paying your father’s debt. Did you co-sign a loan with him or something? Unless you were a co-borrower, we usually aren’t responsible for our parent’s debt.