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Home > Author Archives: Steve Rhode (page 30)

Author Archives: Steve Rhode

FTC Calls Debt Collector Commercial Recovery Systems, Bullies


The Federal Trade Commission has issued a complaint against a Texas-based debt collection operation and its current and former principals for illegally threatening consumers with false claims that unless they pay a debt, they will face legal action or wage garnishment. The complaint was filed in federal court on the agency’s behalf by the Department of Justice. “When it comes ... Read More »

    Can My Student Loans Be Forgiven After Ten Years?

    break free from prison pressure or quit job running away towards

    “Dear Steve, I have student loans that are more than 5-10 years old from undergrad and graduate school of $84,000 or more. I have made payments over the years but not consistently. recently my wages were garnished and created a financial hardship for me. After a least ten years or more could my loans be forgiven? I just read your ... Read More »

      Can We Release the Cosigner on Our Parent PLUS Loans?

      Student Loan Corkboard Concept

      “Dear Steve, My husband took out several Direct Parent Plus loans for our daughter’s education (federal loans). Because his credit wasn’t the greatest my father-in-law endorsed those loans. Now that my daughter has graduated we consolidated those loans. We only make about $60,000 a year between the two of us so we need a repayment plan with low payments. We ... Read More »

        Sallie Mae Won’t Help Me Lower My Interest Rate

        Mature woman confused

        “Dear Steve, Student loans from 1997 at 8.5% fixed rate when consolidated federal loans. I cannot get any help from Sallie Mae to reduce my interest rates. I don’t want to refi with a personal loan because I’ve been laid off three times during my career. I tried Income based for one year reduced my loan amount $100 but now ... Read More »

          My Opera Singer Wife Will Never Get Out From Under the Student Loans

          Women fighting

          “Dear Steve, My wife has several federal student loans from grad school dating back to around 2005 She also took out two private student loans through Chase in 2005 and 2006 It has been sold several times and now is with AES. The interest is killing us. She sings opera, I’m a personal trainer. we simply don’t make enough. She ... Read More »

            The Validation Center Mailer


            A reader forwarded me a mailer from The Validation Center. It came out sometime in the past year but as you can see it contains much of the same historic debt settlement pitch we’ve seen for years. The line about no 3rd party fees is interesting. I’m not sure if that means they don’t use an outside fund escrow company ... Read More »

              The Best Way to Budget for Home Improvements and Renovations


              A lovely reader asked me recently how to best budget for a home improvement project. She is in the middle of dealing with the garage addition to her property she wanted to know if early financial surprises in the project would be an indication of later pocketbook misfortune. Well it turns out I happen to know a very knowledgeable fellow ... Read More »

                Student Loan Forgiveness Scams

                Signs, Road Stencils

                For those looking for legitimate student loan forgiveness help it seems there are bad actors and scammers just waiting to take advantage. Some of the most ridiculous scams I’ve seen seem to circle around misinformation and bad advice for ridiculously high fees. Don’t get me wrong, it is entirely possible for have federal student loans forgiven. I personally think the ... Read More »

                  We Have No Savings, an Underwater Mortgage, and the Car Just Died

                  Drowning swimmer

                  “Dear Steve, I have $11,000 in debt, no emergency fund; home seriously underwater; car died and employer just dropped our healthcare coverage, which looks like it will add another $500 to my monthly expenses. It looks like I need to address 3 of the aforementioned expenses immediately; how will this impact my credit score or what strategy should I do ... Read More »

                    How Can I Lower My Parent PLUS Loans for My Daughters Nursing School?

                    Ready to Collapse

                    “Dear Steve, I am a single mother and a NYC public school teacher who is retiring this June. I am 62 and I have been taking out Parent Plus loans and will have to take out more until my daughter graduates from nursing school in December 2016. My estimated Parent PLUS Loan will be around 70 max. by the time ... Read More »

                      How to Prevent a Tax Refund Intercept on a Defaulted Student Loan


                      “Dear Steve, I recently inquired to see if my defaulted student loan would offset my tax return. The FMS 800 number stated that my tax return may be offset for my debt to the US Department Of Education. My question is my husband and I file a joint return and we are now in a position to take care of ... Read More »

                        Can You Really Help Me Get the $50 PayPal Owes Me?

                        help woman

                        “Dear Steve, I was contacted via email by PayPal Extras MasterCard® on 5 Nov 14 offering a $50 statement credit for a $100 purchase made by 31 Dec 14 on an approved PayPal Extras MasterCard. I applied for the card, was approved and made the required minimum purchase on 11 Nov 14. Now, despite 3 billing cycles since the purchase, ... Read More »

                          Why Dave Ramsey Fans Need to Think for Themselves

                          puzzled looking little boy looking to the left

                          Yesterday on Facebook I posted a link about this recent article, How to Borrow Your Way Out of a Student Loan Default and Lower Your Payment. I thought the article was filled with some really important advice about how to get your federal student loans out of default and avoid being sued, having tax refunds intercepted, or wages garnished. One ... Read More »

                            How Do I Get a Child Support Collection Removed From My Credit Report


                            “Dear Steve, I have a child support collection on my trans Union report dating back to 2001 (date opened) and showing date closed as Nov 2007. As it’s more than 7 years old can’t that be deleted? Also, the state recently added the same collection to my Equifax with the same dates. Can’t that be deleted as well? David” Dear ... Read More »

                              The Best Way to Lower Parent PLUS Loan Payments

                              Moving Up

                              Parent PLUS student loans sure seem like a financial death trap. Parents are encouraged to jump into them to help pay for school by taking out Parent PLUS student loans, and they think they are doing a good thing, but is it smart? What a Parent PLUS Loan Is For those that might now be aware, a Parent PLUS student ... Read More »

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