In April of 2009, I was 22, debt-free, and a month away from graduating from an expensive, private liberal arts school whose primary focus, beyond education, was the careful comfort of its 2,000 students. This was a place where free cocoa was dispensed in the library lobby beginning at midnight, where students could invent and design their own major, and where parents—from their darkened dens—could elect to send ‘Spoil ‘em Long Distance’ care packages from the college’s online bookstore; they were delicate wicker baskets containing pucks of brie and water crackers. My parents—a pharmaceutical chemist and French teacher who’d fallen in love on that same campus—had paid my tuition [...]
I did not plan to do this job; it’s not related to my degree and I thought it would feel scuzzy. Now I’ve settled in as a career collector, and have learned a ton from it.
First things first: DO you feel scuzzy about your job?
Most days: No, surprisingly. My debtors mostly owe for things like jewelry, store credit cards, or car accidents caused by their own carelessness. I have few qualms about holding people accountable for their own irresponsibility. However, if a funeral home ever contracted with my office, I would probably cry before/during/after every call.
Debt can legitimately happen to good people, and I do feel [...]
Years ago, a troubled co-op board in Harlem rented me an apartment that was uninhabitable.
I wrote a few letters, stopped people in the laundry room, and tried to bargain kindly, until finally I went downtown to a courthouse. The woman who spoke to me was harried and tired. She asked three questions before concluding I had no rights in the matter. She shouted, “Next!”
Out of frustration, not willfulness, I stayed put. I kept talking. My eyes began to tear, then brim, like some damsel crashing a wedding with a gun.
“Oh, for Christ’s sake,” the woman sighed. “You wanna know what to do? I’ll tell you what to [...]
My husband is a generally wonderful partner, except for one issue. He refuses to pay one cent of my hefty school loans. I am a lawyer and owe about $100k. He feels I went to law school before we were married and therefore he is not responsible for them. We contribute jointly to household expenses and provide for our child, but anything extra he earns goes straight into his secret bank account, whereas every cent I earn goes toward the loans with little personal money left for me. Every time I want to take a trip or buy new appliances or whatnot, he says “if you didn’t have those [...]
The study found that consumers born between 1980 and 1984 have credit-card debt substantially higher than the debt held by the previous two generations. Specifically, they have on average $5,689 more debt than people, like their parents, born 1950 and 1954 at the same stage of life and $8,156 more debt than those born between 1920 and 1924, like their grandparents…
In addition to incurring more debt, younger people are paying off their debt more slowly, too. The study estimates that the children's payoff rate is 24 percentage points lower than their parents' and about 77 percentage points lower than their grandparents' rate.
My boyfriend and I have been together for three years and have lived together for about a year and a half. I think our relationship is pretty awesome in almost every way except for one thing — I have gotten to the point where I feel that since we have been together for a while and put this much into each other, I'd like to know if there's a future here. He, however, doesn't seem to want to discuss it at all. I'd like to go back to school in the near-ish future, probably not where we live now, and the few times I've tried to talk about it with him (trying to feel out if he'd want [...]