Friday, September 10, 2010

How debt destroys relationships: A direct response to a reader who said: "I don't get the point of your blog"

[Note: If you have not donated yet to the "Enough is Enough" campaign, please chip in $5-$10 today! I have sent off my forms to create a bank account for Education Matters. Once that is in place, I will be filling out the forms to turn us into a 501(c)(4)]. 

To the seemingly clueless reader:

First off, read the pieces on Education Matters, especially the testimonials from people who are drowning in student loan debt, and then answer the question: "why does this blog matter?" I mean, if you haven't gotten it yet, then I guess a whole bunch o' people in D.C. and elsewhere are discussing this for no reason. If you still haven't gotten it after reading these pieces and all of my analysis about the student lending crisis, then I'd suggest your a lost case, kiddo.

Here's another reason, too: debt destroys relationships - let's hear it for the blogger over at 'But I Did Everything Right!' I know, we're just as shocked. Yeah. Real shocking. Hmph.

Also, Debra Wiley at the Department of Education wouldn't have bothered reaching out to me if the content on this blog didn't matter. 

Would you really like additional evidence? Gladly. I'm fired up and ready to go, so just let me know!


Nando said...

Apparently, that reader is clueless as to economic reality, or the person is a stooge of industry. Money problems directly lead to marital strife, contention, unhappiness, and, often, divorce. If both people are married, they could easily have a total of $150K in student debt.

This debt is toxic, as it is non-dischargeable. How is such a couple supposed to purchase a home, raise kids, or pay their bills?!?! Or is it their fault for not being born in the "right" economic class? Cryn, these people make my blood boil - but they also provide some extra fuel for my blog.

Anonymous said...

I married a woman that owned a home. The house was in her name.
We (or rather she) were lucky enough to have substantial equity in the home. Over 350 thousand dollars.
Well, we were married in 1989. I came into the marriage with the student debt. My ex-wife had none.

There was no pre-nup, because the Loan seemed manageable at first, and I was a lot younger and more optimistic.

But between 1989 and 1996, when we divorced, my student Loan more than doubled. It was close to 200 thousand when we divorced. It is close to 300 thousand now.
That is because of compounded interest and my failure to make enough money to handle the loans.

My ex-wife was very stressed and worried all the time about a possible Lien placed on her house. Of not getting all of her tax return. She always told me that the home was "all she had in this world" and I had no counter argument, other than trying to assure her that somehow I would find a way to pay off the debt.

My ex would wake up many, many times at 2AM or 3AM, worried about losing her home, and my debt. We would discuss the issue until daylight. Over and over and over (for several years).

We would finally fall asleep for a couple of hours before having to get up for work, and work through the day very tired from lack of sleep.

She couldn't take the stress. I couldn't take the stress.

Finally we divorced, and she was able to retain 100 percent of the marital residence, which I let her have. In that sense, I am happy for her, and glad that I did not drag her down with me, which a Student Loan can do now it seems.
That is because now one spouse can be responsible for the other spouse's Student Loan Debt.

But would we have stayed together if I had no Student Loan Debt?
I cannot in all honesty say so.

People sometimes expressed to me the idea that if one spouse has "True Love" for the other, then that spouse will gladly shoulder the debt of the other, till death do they part as in the marriage vow, Etc. Etc. Etc.

But my ex wanted nothing to do with any pre-marriage debt, even though she had the assets to "Help out"

I really don't blame her. Honestly I don't.

Anonymous said...

The banks don't care how they get the money from you, through what kind of debt:

be it mortgage or outrageous student loan amount, as long as you pay the bank;

Anonymous said...

I am the commenter that sparked this post. Let me expand on what I was trying to say. I am well aware as a 2007 law student graduate of what nondischargeable debt's consequences are for myself and my colleagues. As a former Hill intern, bankruptcy attorney now, I know more than your readers what the consequences on credit scores, relationships, career prospects and more are.


So, what are you really trying to accomplish except have some vitriol and make fun of anyone that tries to examine the issue critically.

YOU are the one hurting the movement by not having any sort of appropriate and fair discussion of the issues.

What solutions do you have to propose? This is just schadenfreude at its best or worst.

You are hurting us, especially when you lash out at commenters and interviewers on national radio.

Please do us a favor and either become more substantive and fair in your advocacy or take down this blog.

Jim of DC.

Cryn Johannsen said...

Jim - Finally, you provide me with something more substantive in your response. You provided me with a soundbite, and that's why I decided to reply. Education Matters is not schadenfreude, and if you've spent anytime here, you'd realize that. I think it's completely fair to post something critical of an interviewer here. People who are student debtors were anxious to know what had happened, and I think they deserved a response from me. You sound more like an apologist for something you were not even a part of, and that frustrates me as an advocate. Sorry that you think that all of my efforts are a waste of time and not substantive. I would suggest you read the paper I delivered at the Rev. Jesse Jackson's recent forum on student loan debt reform. Moreover, I respect your expertise as an attorney, but you clearly do not regard the work and research I've put into this movement. That's a shame.

Cryn Johannsen said...

One final thing, you may "know more than my readers" about bankruptcy (you are being presumptuous in that assumption, because I have people on the Hill, plenty of people who are attorneys, and other experts who read this blog on a regular basis), but you sure don't know what the German term schadenfreude means. Pray tell, where's the freude in all this? I'd sure like to know, Jim.

Cryn Johannsen said...

Here's some "vitriol" -

Yeah, I know. These pieces are really "hurting" the movement, Jim.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you have a job Jim.

And Jim of DC is a bankruptcy attorney and just a part of the Student loan problem.

That explains Jim the Creep. Jim the disgrace. All the more so because he has the gall to sit there in the Nations Capital and condem this blog.

And buddy, you haven't even begun to hear vitriol. Itis the Vitriol of people that are now desperate and backed into a corner of debt for life, with pseudoprofessional hypocrites like you out there that, in direct contravention of thier stated purpose and job title, condemn rather than try to assist the people that need bankruptcy protections the most.

I consulted with two bankruptcy attorneys about my hopeless student loan debt, and both were incredibly rude and dismissive when I mentioned student loans.

Figuratively speaking, they grabbed my by the scruff of the neck and threw me out of the office.

Someday, when bankruptcy protections are restored, I will go back to those bastards and say "I told you so"

What goes around comes around.

Anonymous said...


I'm Sept. 10, 4:41PM

Just a correction to be made. The dates are wrong. Bump everything up 10 years.
We were married in 1999, and divorced in 06.
The whole thing was finalized in 08 actually.

I'm in the habit lately of doing this. Time goes by so fast, especially the older one gets.

But the Student Loan amounts are correct.