Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Addendum To The Recent Post On Suicide

The subject of suicide must be approached with caution and sensitivity, and I want to make it clear that I am sympathetic to those of you who have struggled with suicidal thoughts.

Suicide has been of interest to me lately, precisely because of the desperate emails I've been receiving from indentured educated citizens. My latest piece entitled, "For the Indentured Educated Class, Suicidal Thoughts Are Not Merely A Personal Problem," received a lot of responses, too. I am also asserting that suicide is not merely related to the psychology of specific individuals (that is, of course, a factor), but reflects a larger societal problem as it directly relates to the student lending crisis. In a word, it has sociological implications, and that's why policy makers ought to be paying attention to the matter.

There is something very important that is missing in this conversation, however. I need to clear that up. Are you aware that death provides no discharge in some private loans, and that your co-signer(s) could still be liable? I don't mean to sound insensitive, but want to make this point. Of course, I think suicide is never the answer, and I've made that clear in previous posts on the subject (for instance, see my comments to readers here). In addition, it may also not be a good decision financially, if that is how you are thinking about it.


Anonymous said...

I would have to say that the student loans were a large part of the the break-up of my marriage.
My ex-wife worked as well, was terribly stressed out by them, and the way they just kept getting bigger and bigger.Her family was horrified as well, and simply did not understand.

My ex-wife was terrified of having her wages garnished and her tax returns taken. Of having a lien placed on her home, which was hers prior to the marriage.

We had many, many sleepless nights worrying over the loans and discussing them until the wee hours of the morning, and then going to work the next day really tired, and repeating the nights in the same way--up at 2 or 3AM and asleep again at 5AM until 6:30, over and over and over for several years.

It just never ended, and the only solution was to end the marriage and let my wife keep all of her assets.

Again it really was the only solution, because the loans were surely and inevitably going to involve her.
But she was not a co-signer of anything. My student loan debt occurred before the marriage.

Depressing? Yes.
Enough to make one think of suicide? That's a no-brainer.

But as bad as my situation was, it must be even more horrible to have an impossible student debt burden that will take a family member-co-signer down as well.Particularly an elderly one.

When I finally do die (and no not by suicide) at least I have the comfort of knowing that my debt dies with me.End of story.

But still, death is constantly in my thoughts in the most Gothic sort of sense. Very dark and brooding at times. Very Edgar Allan Poe like. Death looks gigantically down on my life.

Call it the culture of the grave. A soul destroyed by debt. Halloween all year round. There is no sunshine for the debtor. All is doom and decay, eating away at the soul of the US from the inside.

Nando said...

Many recent graduates - strapped down with mountains of non-dischargeable debt - have contemplated this option. They feel trapped, as they know that they cannot discharge this toxic debt in bankruptcy. Why should those who rack up $40K in gambling debts be allowed a fresh start, while those who worked to improve themselves are stuck with their decision?

The schools are simply producing too many graduates for the number of decent-paying jobs. The fact is we are a service-based economy. As part of my job, I sometimes research city master plans. I have been reviewing recent RDA plans. And in every instance, I have been floored by the money spent by cities to bring in retailers, fast food restaurants, movie cineplexes, call centers, etc.

And, of course, the politicians and appointed officials and developers pat themselves on the back for bringing jobs to their city. Yes, but those are ALL low-wage jobs. How does that truly help the tax base? And how can these same morons claim that higher education is a MUST for the "jobs of the future"?!?! These guys cannot gauge what the economy will look like next week, let alone 10 years from now.

Anonymous said...

Nando hit the crux of the problem: the political and business elites of the USA made a Faustian pact, short term cash flow in exchange for long term financial security. It is unlikely that China, Korea or India will return the USA's manufacturing base.

Anonymous said...

Indeed. It is a knee-jerk reaction when our "leaders" refer to the importance of higher education. Regardless of party or political affiliation, legions of elected officials still speak of sending everyone possible off to college, with nary a thought as to what that really means. Education per se is no immediate solution in a post-industrial economy creating 9.00/hr. jobs. If anything, some of the truly creative types we have seen in our time ditched college as it merely restrained their creativity.

warwick555 said...

I think many young people will simply refuse to go to college to avoid debt. Colleges will go bankrupt. So stay alive. They will die before you do, and then they won't have the money to pay off the politicians any more. The more the truth comes out about the number of student loans going into default, the more support will be garnered for treating them like other debt. The market for education will then be truly driven by demand, and not by the ease of signing your life away for an overpriced education. Don't worry about your credit rating, and even having your wages garnished isn't has bad as eating dog food to avoid bankruptcy. Fifty percent of Americans have bad credit. Businesses are having to make deals with people who have bad credit. Having bad credit doesn't mean what it used to mean, because the banks have ripped us off in so many different ways. Join a church. Join a 12 step group. Avoid people who try to put you down because of your financial situation. Old hippies like me didn't give a damn about money in the 1970's, and although I've been temporarily seduced in the past, I've always come back to the basic spiritual truth which is that all we have is today and you can't take any money with you. If you are young and surrounded by fair weather friends, find a spiritual old hippy and ask them to mentor you. Learn to like tofu and futons. Let your jeans get ragged. Wear thrift shop clothes and eat spaghetti. Take long walks and grow your own vegetables. As the 1970's slogan says, Don't let the bastards get you down!