Financial Advice

Our Student Loans are Choking the Life Out of Us


Dear Steve,

My husband and I have $260,000 in student loan debt, we’ve paid $35,000 toward this debt in the last 5 years and it’s gone up $30,000. My husband makes $36,000 a year (I am, currently, a SAHM who cannot find a job), we are obviously suffocating in our debt.

I cannot find a lawyer who is willing to file bankruptcy on our behalf, can we do it ourselves? Or is this a completely insane idea, that will most likely fail due to the current bankruptcy laws around student loans?



Dear Vicki,

Strategies to deal with student loans differ by if they are federal or private loans. Federal loans offer some tools to push back the debt through income driven repayment programs. Click here to learn more. But beware, those programs are being pitched by many as a magic wand but the have serious consequences. Click here to learn what to avoid.

For federal student loans the government is most likely going to roll out clearer guidelines in the next year about what constitutes an “undue hardship” which will make more student loans easier to discharge in bankruptcy.

Despite what people and some bankruptcy attorneys think, student loans are discharged in bankruptcy every year. And some private student loans are very easy to discharge. Read this to see which ones.

I’m not surprised you are having a tough time finding a bankruptcy attorney to take this on. Most seem intimidated by this emerging specialty. Some are just flat afraid of taking on the battle with the banks. It can be an enormous time drain on them to fight for you.

But if you want to know more about eliminating your student loans in bankruptcy, read this, this, this, and this.

If these are private student loans, as crazy as this sounds, one valid strategy to dealing with unaffordable private student loans when the lender won’t work with you is to stop paying them.

Sure there are consequences but there are also some potentially good outcomes as well. Read Top 10 Reasons You Should Stop Paying Your Unaffordable Private Student Loan.

Lately I’ve seen some major private student loan lenders offering 0.001% interest rate affordable repayment plans to people who are seriously delinquent. You just need to find a knowledgeable person with substantial experience in this area who can walk you through the maze of misinformation and ineptitude. Sad as it may be, some federal and private student loan servicers don’t understand or don’t want to share all of the options they can offer. It’s not unusual to push a servicer into a corner only to have them say, “How did you know about that program? Who told you?”

Since I no longer take on individual clients, you might want to contact my friend Damon Day who is an exceptionally talented debt coach. He specializes in dealing with student loans and we often chat about the insanity of student loan debt and share new tips learned.

Before I go I wanted to leave you with three easy action items you can jump on right now to address your situation. Just click here.


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This article by Steve Rhode first appeared on Get Out of Debt and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.