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New Year's Resolution #1: start paying attention to my ever-expanding student loan debt.

Now, you may think that NYRs are an idiotic concept. Fair enough. My roommate ranted for forty-five minutes on the subject just last week.

That's fine. Call it a resolution, call it a goal, call it good old fashioned budgeting and finance. Either way, the moment you have a job, your focus should turn to your debt. Here are ten ways to assess the debt, free up cash, and finish paying off your debt long before 2075.

Last year, we explored the brilliant, yet work-in-progress student loan management tool, (Tuition I owe - get it?)

We saw it as a useful tool, though we had some reservations about handing over our sensitive data (SSN, specifically). I went ahead and gave it a shot, because, well, if someone steals my identity, they become the proud owner of six-figure debt and $0.38 in a bank account. I'll adopt a pseudonym, become a bartender, and move to Dublin. Win-win, right?

Needless to say, I'm still here, and still blogging, which means their site stayed secure. Plus, for federal loans, they have ways to avoid handing over your sensitive information. They've also fixed a few other bugs and typos. At this point, if you are juggling multiple loans from multiple companies, your first stop should be

Like many young people, I've been too busy to pay attention to Obamacare. Democrats passed a healthcare law, the Supreme Court upheld the insurance mandate as a tax, and since then, congressional Republicans have threatened to hold their breath and stomp their feet until they turn blue and pass out. Or until the law is defunded.

None of that means a thing to me. Until recently, I lacked a job with benefits, and the only concern I had was this: how does this affect my insurance premiums? The answer, unfortunately, is that for most of us recent graduates, it'll spike our premiums. A new push by Generation Opportunity (GOp ... like GOP with a little less facial Republicanism, but still funded by the Koch brothers) is encouraging our nation's youth to "opt-out" of Obamacare by paying the minor penalty, and abstaining from overpriced healthcare.

Renting is hideous, especially here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Back in the projects of Lexington, Virginia (true story), we were able to find two bedroom apartments for only $450 per month. Here? We're talking $1,100 for a crappy "junior one bedroom" apartment.

That's $13,100 per year. That's might-as-well-have-a-mortgage territory.

Except, there is this minor factor of student loan debt. Now, everyone's finances are different. Some of us have $1,000 per month student loan payments. Others are using IBR to delay the inevitable. Either way, student loan presents two major obstacles to home ownership: debt to income ratios and down payments.

Last week, in the midst of the student loan interest crisis, we looked at different options for dealing with paying back student loans. Though Congress has a fix -- for now -- the burden of student loan repayment looms large over many graduates' heads. Still desperate and considering bankruptcy? Hate to say we told you so, but that's not going to happen.

In two recent cases, two different courts ruled that students could not discharge their student debts through bankruptcy. Why? It's a very high standard to overcome.

For many of us, law school would not have been possible without student loans. Yet, CNN reported on Wednesday, that the Senate failed to reverse a measure that doubled the interest rates of millions of student loans to 6.8%. What's more, The Washington Post notes that if this issue isn't resolved before the August recess, many students will lock in these high rates once the school year starts.

Here's a breakdown of your options and how to take advantage of them ...

You graduated. Then you tackled (or are tackling) the bar. After a few months of spinning your wheels, you even found a job. Now, your transmission is going out and you suddenly find yourself in an unfamiliar place, with the desire, and more importantly, the means to get a new(ish) car.

That's right. No more disposable $200 Nissan Pulsars (it was a rough time in my life).

Here are your top choices, based on a completely arbitrary set of criteria. These are all used, under $35,000, and the twin considerations of luxury and performance are key. Prestige is also. After all, Pulsars won't fit in at the firm, right?

I was skimming my second-favorite law blog this morning, and ran across an interesting post by Elie Mystal on, a crowdfunding site where "Upstarts" sell their soul pledge a percentage of their income for the next ten years in exchange for present-day funding. The gist is "give me money now, and if I don't fail at life, I'll give you a percentage of my income, per my tax filings, for the next ten years."

It's a nice concept, and could pay off if you back a winner. Plus, who needs student loan debt relief more than lawyers?

It’s a much-lamented fact of life that student loan debt is basically non-dischargeable. Can’t pay your credit card debts? File bankruptcy. Can’t handle hospital bills? File bankruptcy.

Can’t pay your student loans? Move to Djibouti.

For one lucky law grad, however, he’ll be slightly closer to debt-free, despite three failed attempts at the bar, a single-income household, and the Ninth Circuit’s affirmation of a lower court’s holding that even if he were to pass the bar, he probably wouldn’t make much more than he does now.

Much respect to Senator Elizabeth Warren, the first-term Congresswoman who beat incumbent Republican Scott Brown for one of Massachusetts’ seats in the Senate. According to the Los Angeles Times, a big reason for her victory was her embrace of the Occupy Wall Street movement and criticism of big banks.

And with her first bill, she may have just won a few more votes.

The Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act, which has a snowball’s chance in hell of passing, would set student loan interest rates (for one year only) at the same rate that banks get when they borrow money from the federal government: 0.75 percent. The interest rate on federal student loans is currently set to double to 6.8 percent this summer.