Student Loans

16 Apr Student Loans and Bankruptcy: Zen Buddhism to the Rescue!

I just finished listening to a discussion on the radio about discharging student loans in bankruptcy, and it occurred to me that we could learn a lot from "The Middle Way" of Zen Buddhism in our approach to this issue. "The Middle Way" is a term Siddhartha Guatama (hereafter "The Buddha") used to describe the path to liberation. In fact, he apparently taught this concept immediately after his "enlightenment" in The Setting in Motion of the Wheel of Dharma. The idea of "The Middle Way" is that we should take a "path of moderation between the extremes of sensual indulgence and self-mortification." The Apostle Paul echoed this several centuries later by encouraging the early church to, "Let your moderation be known unto all." (Yes, I know I'm mixing religions here, but stay with me.) But I'm not a Buddhist! No worries. Neither am I. But I think The Buddha had a point, and I think it's something we can learn from here in America in the 21st century.
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12 Feb Trillion Dollar Student Loan Industry Exempt From Bankruptcy

Photo Credit to DreamstimeIn 2010, the annual volume of new student loans reached 100 billion dollars. There is now more than a trillion dollars in student loan debt on the books and this type of debt is growing rapidly. A new economic crisis is about to emerge. Student loan debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy except under the most extreme of circumstances. It is not only government-sponsored or guaranteed student loans that are exempt from bankruptcy discharge. Bank loans made to students, and relatives or friends who guarantee those loans, are facing discharge problems when the debt carries that "magic" designation as an "educational loan."
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11 Apr Bank of Mom and Dad’s Finance: When to Say No to Your Children

I discuss financial problems with people everyday. I usually ask people to give me a little history--how did they get to the point of needing to discuss bankruptcy? Some of the answers wouldn't surprise you--job loss, medical bills, divorce. But it might surprise you how frequently I hear a story that involves financial help to adult children, that ultimately leads to bankruptcy. Parents struggle with saying "no" to their children almost from day one. How long do you let your baby cry in her crib before you pick her up? How long do you linger at the preschool door when your toddler is crying "don't leave, Mommy." From toys to treats to clothes and shoes, we go on trying to strike the right balance, between giving enough and spoiling them rotten.
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