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A Third of US Is on Debt Collectors' Books

Average amount owed: $5K

(Newser) - More than a third of Americans with credit scores have debt "in collections"—meaning one in three of us has been reported to collection agencies, a study finds. That's a total of 77 million people whose non-mortgage debt is significantly overdue, the Urban Institute notes. The study... More »

Utah School Takes Lunches From Kids Who Owe

Parents outraged

(Newser) - Parents in Utah say they're outraged after up to 40 elementary school students at a Salt Lake City school had their school lunches thrown out because of outstanding balances on their account. The Salt Lake Tribune reports the move came Tuesday after the Salt Lake City District realized a... More »

Credit Card Debt Drove McDonnells: Indictment

Gory details from the allegations

(Newser) - Before Bob McDonnell was even in office, he and his wife were looking to then-Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams for gifts, according to the 43-page indictment against the couple. The document reveals that the couple had financial anxieties that may have driven their alleged graft, Politico reports. Weeks before McDonnell'... More »

As Default Looms, Investors Scurry to Unload US Bonds

Banks steer clear of short-term US debt

(Newser) - Worried over the possibility of default, investors and banks aren't taking chances: They're selling off billions of dollars of US debt, the Wall Street Journal reports. Banks have cut their government debt holdings by some 50% in the past two weeks, New York's Federal Reserve says. Additionally,... More »

Religious Family Lost at Sea Is Back in Arizona

Gastonguays face sizable debt after returning home

(Newser) - A family that fled the US in search of religious freedom is back home in Arizona instead, facing nearly $20,000 in debt. The Gastonguay family sailed off for the island nation of Kiribati, hoping to avoid what they said was government interference in religion—but storms damaged their boat... More »

Aggressive Debt Collector Pays $3.2M Fine

Promises to stop calling people multiple times a day

(Newser) - It's a little solace perhaps for people besieged by phone calls morning, noon, and night by debt-collection firm Expert Global Solutions: The company agreed to pay the FTC a $3.2 million fine and ease up on the harassment of debtors, reports Reuters . It's the biggest such fine... More »

1K Kentuckians Get Medical Debt Wiped Away

Thanks to Occupy offshoot

(Newser) - This is a protest that's easy to get behind: 1,064 Louisville-area residents have had their medical debts erased, thanks to what the Courier-Journal describes as a protest against the credit industry. The Rolling Jubilee Fund's intent is "to buy and abolish personal debt," per its... More »

Greek Report: Germany Owes Us Billions for World War II

Cash could be enough to end debt crisis

(Newser) - Greece may have a novel way of solving its debt problems: Get Germany to pay billions in decades-old war reparations. The Greek finance ministry commissioned a secret report that says Germany owes the country big time over World War II. Though the Greek newspaper, To Vima, that printed the report... More »

Our Credit Card Debt Just Got Worse

Q3 wasn't such a stellar one for plastic-happy Americans

(Newser) - Americans cranked up their use of credit cards in the third quarter, racking up more debt than a year ago, while also being less diligent about making payments on time, an analysis of consumer-credit data shows. The average credit card debt per borrower in the US grew 4.9% in... More »

Occupy Activists Buy, 'Liberate' Bad Debt

The Rolling Jubilee project is seeking donations

(Newser) - Occupy Wall Street campaigners have a new target: distressed debt. A project called Rolling Jubillee is soliciting donations to buy up bad debts at bargain prices and cancel them, the Telegraph reports. So far they've only bought $14,000 in debt for $500, but they want to refill their... More »

Educated Americans Have More Debt Woes

They 'thought they were immune' to the financial crisis

(Newser) - Think highly educated Americans came out better in the 2008 financial crash? According to two new studies , those with college degrees actually took on more unmanageable debt than other Americans, reports Time . "People with college educations may have thought they were immune to any economic problems," says Sherman... More »

1 in 5 Homes Have Student Debt

Figure jumps from 15% in 2007

(Newser) - Some 19% of US households, or almost one in five, owed student debt or had deferred loans in 2010, a Pew study finds. That's a jump of four percentage points from 2007—and twice as many homes are feeling the burden compared to two decades ago, USA Today reports.... More »

Buffett Dumps Municipal Bonds, Spooks Investors

Berkshire cancels credit default swaps on municipal bonds

(Newser) - Warren Buffett isn't betting on the health of cities, states, and towns anymore. Berkshire Hathaway has backed out of a number of credit-default swaps insuring $8.25 billion in municipal bonds, sending shivers of doubt through investors who've been hungrily buying such bonds, the Wall Street Journal reports.... More »

Owe Student Loans? Your Social Security Might Be Cut

Feds taking up to 15% of some retirees' checks

(Newser) - If you're retired and owe student loans, your Social Security benefits might not be as big as you thought. More and more retirees who are in student loan default are seeing a chunk of their monthly Social Security checks being grabbed by the federal government. Since January, the feds... More »

College Debt Crimping Richer Families, Too

More in upper-middle class now owe on student loans

(Newser) - What does the upper-middle class have in common with the poorer folks of America? Apparently, lots of student loans. The Wall Street Journal ran an analysis of Federal Reserve data, and found that families earning between $94,535 to $205,335 saw the biggest spike in the percentage who owed... More »

Private Student Loans Work Like Subprime Mortgages

Lenders didn't check whether recipients could repay

(Newser) - Private lenders offered student loans without confirming that recipients could pay them back—then sold them to investors, thus protecting the lenders against defaults, a government study finds. Sound familiar? It should: It's a lot like the process that caused the subprime mortgage crisis. Some $8.1 billion worth... More »

All Our Stuff Is Stressing Us Out

The typical American home has quite a lot of things in it

(Newser) - A team of anthropologists went into 32 typical American homes to research a new book, and here's what they discovered: We really, really like stuff. The homes were full of things purchased by families, Time reports. Example: In one home, a staggering 2,260 possessions were on display in... More »

Worst Student-Loan Payers: 40-Somethings

They claim highest delinquency rate of all age groups

(Newser) - Think recent grads struggle the most with their student loans? Think again. New data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reveals it's actually people aged 40 to 49 with the highest rate of student-loan delinquency. Some 11.9% of people in that age group are behind on... More »

Meet 'Generation Screwed'

Past generations have made things hard for millennials: Joel Kotkin

(Newser) - Today's youth is known as the Millennial Generation, but they may as well be called Generation Screwed. In the Daily Beast , Joel Kotkin runs down depressing statistic after depressing statistic showing that "their parents' fiscal profligacy and economic mismanagement" has doomed young people:
  • The median net worth of
... More »

Niagara Falls' Student Loan Offer Actually Luring Grads

More than 200 people have inquired about new plan so far

(Newser) - Niagara Falls' plan to lure recent graduates by paying their student loans is actually working: More than 200 people have asked about renting or buying a place there since the program began just last month. And not just locals; some of the interested parties are from as far away as... More »

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