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Why Not to Co-Sign on Student Loans

It never ceases to amaze me how some Americans reveal their personal finances (good and bad) to the likes of Money Magazine (as I recall when I subscribed many, many years ago, they’re always pinging readers with “Have a personal finance story to share?”). The latest example is this couple whose retirement could be just a dream for many years to come as a result of co-signing on their two sons’ student loans, according to this story at MoneyMag.

For the past 20 years Susanne Walsh has been dreaming of a retirement where she’d travel the world. Unfortunately, those retirement plans are now on hold — indefinitely.

That’s because Susanne and her husband Bill helped pay for their two sons’ college education and even cosigned on some of their student loans. Despite graduating with four-year degrees, neither of them have found stable jobs.

Now Bill and Susanne shoulder the brunt of roughly $189,000 in combined student loans.

The couple is on the hook for almost $750 per month in student loan payments for their son with a Rutgers degree, an aspiring actor who now waits tables in Hollywood, CA, while their other son is pursuing more degrees with his loans now in deferment.

Another Leg Down for Commodities?

Like many others who opine on this sort of thing, in an item at Project Syndicate Harvard economist Carmen Reinhart says another leg down (or two) could be in store for the commodities bear market now in its fourth (or seventh, depending on when you start) year.

Even though the dollar has weakened today, the price of WTI crude oil briefly dipped below the $40 mark which, should this move continue in the weeks ahead, make the Fed’s deliberations on interest rate hikes all the more interesting.

Ahead of today’s big Federal Reserve meeting minutes that will, absent a major market temper tantrum between now and then, seal the deal for a December rate hike, David Stockman shares some thoughts on this and related subjects at CNBC.

The former Reagan budget director, current proprietor of the Contra Corner website, and author of The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America was busy yesterday as evidenced by the six segments appearing after a quick CNBC video search.

A Great Job for Retirees?

It is not at all clear to me how this job would in any way qualify as a great job for anyone in their golden years, that is, with the notable exception of it either being this or having no food at all to put on the table, in which case, the definition of great is really being stretched.

Via this Fiscal Times story that, aside from this and the Uber driver entry, makes sense.

Yeah. This is Going to End Well.

From this Bloomberg story comes more evidence that corporate America and the financial industry continue to push further into uncharted territory with debt levels at big companies surging past previous record highs and an increasing share being used to finance such society-benefiting activities like share buybacks and acquisitions as shown below.

Of course, the Federal Reserve has nothing to do with this alarming trend and former Fed Chief Ben Bernanke would be the first to tell you so, as he did yesterday with William Cohen in this offering from the NY Times Deal Book blog:

“The low rate of interest isn’t something that God gave us here,” he explained. “It’s something that is a feature of the economy.”

“So”, in the words of Jesse Pinkman (and Walter White), “There’s that”.

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