Before we get to the good reads!
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A Few Good Reads
Here are a few of my favorite reads from the past week.
1. Debt Is Making Young People Sick:
So you still can’t decide if you should empty your savings account to buy that starter home, trading a renter’s lifestyle for a 30-year mortgage? Or maybe you’re pondering an apartment you can’t really afford, or a first car you’re only kind-of convinced you need?
Perhaps this news will help you make up your mind: Researchers at Northwestern University have found that young people overwhelmed by debt have higher blood pressure and crummier mental and physical health, symptoms of the kind that lead to life-shortening problems like hypertension and strokes. Open this article
2. The Debt Collection Company that Helps You Get a Job:
Bill Bartmann, CEO of debt collection company CFS2, does things a little differently. Instead of just calling, hounding, and suing debtors to pay what they owe, he calls them “customers” and provides them with free job-search services, such as resume help and interview prep.
Perhaps the reason Bartmann runs his company differently is because he himself has never shied away from living life differently. A high school dropout who later put himself through college working at a hog slaughterhouse, he found himself $1 million in debt himself after his first business collapsed. He clawed his way back up by building CFS, the subject of this HBS case study — but then, that too, imploded. Now he’s back (again), and doing things differently (again). What follows are edited excerpts of our conversation. Open this article
3. High Debt Could Be Hazardous to Your Health:
If young people are drowning in debt, their blood pressure may be on the rise and their health could suffer. A new Northwestern Medicine® study has found that high financial debt is associated with higher diastolic blood pressure and poorer self-reported general and mental health in young adults.
The study, published in the August issue of Social Science and Medicine, offers a glimpse into the impact debt may have on the health of young Americans. Open this article
4. Student debt and tuition hikes: destroying the lives of America’s children
In Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi takes a long, in-depth look at the scandal of student loans and tuition hikes, a two-headed parasite sucking America’s working class and middle class dry as they plunge their children into a lifetime of ballooning debt in the vain hope of a better, college-educated future. The feds keep backing student loans, and the states keep cutting university funding, so the difference is made up by cranking up tuition and shifting the burden to future grads. Meanwhile, the laws that prohibit discharging student debt in bankruptcy, combined with ballooning default penalties (your $30K debt can rocket to $120K if you have a heart-attack and are bedridden and can’t make payments) and the most ruthless, unsupervised, criminal collection agencies means that tens of millions of Americans are trapped in a nightmare that never ends — student debt being the only debt that can be taken out of your Social Security check. Matt Taibbi is a national treasure, and Rolling Stone does us all a service by keeping him working. Open this article
5. How Upstart hopes to get you out of debt and into start-ups:
Getting through college is tough and even more so in a recession. The Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) estimates that Americans are currently carrying $165 billion worth of private student loans and nearly a total of $1.2 trillion worth of student debt.
I recently spoke with Dave Girouard, former president of Google Enterprise and now the founder and CEO of Upstart, a crowdfunding service that helps people who are just starting their careers raise capital from backers in exchange for a small share of their future income. Open this article
Recent Posts On This That and the MBA
This That and The MBA was included in several carnivals over the last weeks:
Thank you for the mentions last week. I really appreciate it. Have a great weekend!