Liz Weston rule about student loans: borrow no more for education than you expect to make the first year out of school. RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images
Ask Money

Getting Personal: The perils of private student debt

Tess Vigeland Feb 23, 2012
Liz Weston rule about student loans: borrow no more for education than you expect to make the first year out of school. RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images

This week Tess teams up with Liz Weston, MSN’s personal finance columnist and the author of a couple influential books on the subject, to answer some questions from our listeners. Many of us use our tax refunds as a way to save long-term, but financial advisers tend to cringe at the practice. “People have all these little ways of tricking themselves into saving a little bit more,” Liz reasons. “They may not be rational, they may not be logical… who cares? If the end result is you’re getting where you need to go… fine! Good for you.”

On the pervasive subject of attempting to pay off massive student loans, Liz reminds us that, unlike credit card debt, student loans can’t be discharged in bankruptcy. Your only hope may be to open the lines of communication with your lender.

When a caller wants to know how to react to recently foreclosed upon former homeowner who is now being pursued by the bank for an outstanding second mortgage of $38,000, Liz again advises that communication is the key. Lenders know you can run to bankruptcy if need be, she says, so most will work with you to come to a fair solution.

To hear more advice from Liz, click on the audio player above.

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