We deal with a lot of misery… millions of America’s students new and old have been harmed or destroyed by student debt and over the years we have gained some insights and wisdom, which we would like to share to our growing list of supporters.
Our top 10 student borrower advice (for now) is:
- Never borrow money to go to college unless it is a last resort.
- Use community college as much as possible first. Focus on getting a general education Associate’s Degree that is 100% credit transportable to a 4-year college. This strategy also allows you time to gain insights and do research on the precise career path you will take so that you can more smartly choose a 4-year degree path.
- When possible, prepare ahead of time and “test out” of as many classes as possible to help reduce your college work load, hence costs, at every college level.
- When attending a 4-year college, try to get a college associate’s job that allows you to lower your education costs as you go. Work as much as possible during college in order to pay down your costs toward reducing the need for borrowing.
- Research your career before you embark on it. Make sure that: A) there will be plenty of jobs for graduates in your field at the time you graduate, B) that the pay for those jobs will be high enough to easily repay your student loans and also afford a normal living expense as an independent adult.
- Never borrow a grand total of student loan dollars that exceeds your ability to pay off the entire balance within 10-years post graduation—assume 5 of those years will require that you work for about Minimum Wage levels.
- Upon graduation, pay your student loans off immediately and forsake all other unnecessary expenses. Do not get married, do not have kids, do not buy a new car, do not do anything that harms your ability to rapidly pay off your student loans and get out from under them—remember, they are caustic debt that stay with you an entire lifetime and must be eliminated as soon as possible in order to ensure your financial independence—even small outstanding amounts can later turn into lifetime nightmares that destroy lives so never fool around—pay this poison debt off as soon as possible.
- Parents, grandparents, friends, spouses and others should, under NO circumstances, ever co-sign for a student loan. There is a single exception—if the parent is wealthy enough to easily pay off the debt by themselves within 3-years post graduation, then fine, go for it but as a rule, parents should not be co-signing—all student loans are guaranteed by law so the lender does not need a parent or anyone else to co-sign, in spite of what they tell you.
- Have a total student debt goal plan. The best plan is to manage your student loan debt in such a way that your entire debt will be repaid within 5-years post graduation. That way, you can attend college, graduate, repay the loan, then move on with your life and toward the American Dream, unhindered by caustic debts that never go away—debts that easily turn into rattlesnakes that destroy your life completely.
- Never sign-up for any alternative payment program that extends debt payments 25-years. Use normal loan consolidation programs to lower you payments. Use hardship waivers when you are unable to pay loan payments. Contact your federal student loan Ombudsman for help and guidance when you run into trouble.
We also suggest that you consider never, ever, under any circumstances, trusting a lender or student loan guarantor (they will only give you advice that helps them, not you). If you are attacked or hounded by debt collectors, fight back (close your bank accounts and safe deposit boxes, get off the Internet grid, change your phone number, liquidate all your assets, if any, and generally become invisible—and if they catch up to you, photograph them, record their every actions and utterances, and file lawsuits against them and the individuals that work for them—work at stripping their assets and using those assets to repay your student loans). For example, if a debt collector calls you using a pre-recorded message, guess what—that is illegal in most states—sue them and you will instantly win in most cases—use the winnings to repay your debt and teach them a lesson (and help other students in the process of helping yourself).
We also believe that after you graduate, your number one goal should be to pay off every dime of your student loan debt first, above all else, and when you are middle-aged and living the America Dream, try to help out another person to go to college by: A) granting them 1-year’s tuition, or B) allowing them to live in your spare room or couch for 1-year, or C) buy their books or clothes or gas or an occasional pizza, etc., or D) do some other thing that gives back to the process and encourages them to do the same thing for others—more and more people need and appreciate a helping hand-up—and more and more people need that hand!
College education is not really an option anymore, it is a necessity. Unfortunately, the federal government, lenders, and educators are using it as a device to destroy the lives of millions of students and Americans through the issuance of un-affordable student debts. The only real way to fight back is to simply not take on the student debt in the first place, thus avoiding becoming a victim of this hideous system (once well meaning and intended, today a human rights issue equal to that of slavery).