Tag Archives: student loan debt

The Millennial Crisis

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There is a serious economic crisis brewing that few seem to be paying attention. According to a new survey from Zillow Group Inc. (ZG  Get Report), approximately 22.5% of millennials ages 24 through 36 are living at home with their moms or both parents, up nine percentage points since 2005  which was 13.5% and the most in any year in the last decade. Between the student loans which cannot be discharged thanks to the Clintons (to get the support of bankers) even after they find that degrees are worthless when 60% of graduates cannot find employment with such a degree and the fact that taxes have escalated to nearly doubling over the last 20 years that is predominantly state and local, the affordability of buying a home has been fading fast. Despite the fact that millennials are eager to enter the real estate market, they’re bearing the brunt of the challenge directly caused by the combination of taxes and non-dischargeable student loans.

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Now 63% of millennials under the age of 29 cannot even afford the cost of home ownership, according to a CoreLogic and RTi Research study. The expense, in fact, is their number one reason for remaining a renter. In their research, they concluded that one-third of millennial renters reported feeling they cannot afford a down payment to buy a home. This is a sad response that is not being taken into consideration by governments.

Where home prices have not risen sharply, taxes have. First-time home buyers face ever-growing challenges to find and buy affordable entry-level homes as the economics of inefficient governments at the state and local levels have refused to reform and raise taxes to meet pension costs they promised themselves. Politicians from London to Vancouver have increased taxes to try to bring home prices down rather than looking at the problem objectively. All they are accomplishing is punishing people who have owned homes and destroying their future when home values were their retirement savings.

California and Illinois are just two major examples at the top of the list of grossly mismanaged state governments. It is this net affordability factor that has begun to encumber sales of real estate, softening prices and turning many millennials into renters rather than home buyers. Then add the rise of interest rates and we have an economic cocktail of taxes that is beginning to kill the real estate market in a slow death drip by drip. Depressions take place when the debt and real estate markets collapse – not equities and commodities. The amount of money invested in debt markets dwarfs equities, It is ALWAYS the debt market that you undermine when you want to destroy an economy.

Taxes and the rise in interest rates will further erode affordability and is beginning to slow existing-home sales in many markets already. As this trend continues, home prices and mortgage rates over the next couple of years will likely dampen sales and home price growth. There was another study conducted by Freddie Mac which also found that affordability challenges are contributing to a downtrend in young adult home ownership. Long-term, real estate prices will decline as taxes and interest rates rise. The next crop of buyers is being culled and as that unfolds, real estate cannot rise when banks also begin to curtail the availability of mortgages.

Source: by Martin Armstrong | Armstrong Economics

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One Million Americans Default On Their Student Loans Each Year, Report Reveals

More than one million American student loan borrowers default on their debt each year, a new report says.

That means by 2023, approximately 40 percent of borrowers are expected to default.

That is according to a new report by the Urban Institute, a nonprofit research organization dedicated to developing evidence-based insights on critical socioeconomic issues. Researchers found about 250,000 student loan borrowers see their debts go into default every quarter, and an additional 20,000 to 30,000 borrowers default on their rehabilitated student loans.

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“My results indicate that the likelihood of student loan default is positively correlated with holding other collections debt (e.g., medical, utilities, retail, or bank debt). About 59 percent of borrowers who defaulted on their student loans within four years had collections debt in the year before entering student loan repayment (compared with 24 percent among non-defaulters). Those who will default on their student loans are more likely to reside in neighborhoods that have more residents of color and fewer adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher, but a borrower’s personal credit profile is a stronger predictor of default than the neighborhood where she resides,” said Kristin Blagg, a research associate in the Education Policy Program at the Urban Institute.

The average defaulter is more likely to live in Hispanic and black neighborhoods, Blagg found. Her previous research has shown that minorities are more burdened by their education debt because their parents have a lower net wealth as well as higher rates of unemployment. These neighborhoods also have a median income of around $50,000, compared with $60,000 for non-defaulters.

The Urban Institute made a startling discovery: Those with the smallest loan balances had a higher probability of not paying off their debt. In fact, 1 in 3 people who had a student loan balance less than $5,000 defaulted within four years, compared with 15 percent of borrowers who owed more than $35,000.

This is because students who dropped out of college have less debt, but are easily burdened by debt since they do not have the benefit of a degree, said Mark Kantrowitz, a student loan expert, who spoke with CNBC.

Also, Kantrowitz said, “They often lack awareness of options for dealing with the debt, such as deferments, forbearances, income-driven repayment and loan forgiveness.”

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The report then describes the relationship between a borrower’s credit profile and student loan default in a nationally representative sample of student loan borrowers, over the first four years of repayment. It found that by the time the student loan falls into the default, the borrower will see their credit score plunge by 60 points, to an average of around 550. Borrowers who stay current, usually have credit scores in the high 600s.

As we have mentioned, millennials are delaying marriage, home-buying and having kids (pretty much delaying the American dream), simply because of their gig-economy job(s) cannot cover debt servicing payments of their loans.

“Negative effects of student loan default can be wage garnishments, tax offsets, and other methods of loan collections,” said Elaine Griffin Rubin, senior contributor and communications specialist at Edvisors. “In addition, some states suspend or revoke state-issued professional licenses, and some states suspend a driver’s license because of a defaulted loan.”

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To make the situation worse, defaulting on student loans increases the balance, likely due to collection fees and the accumulation of interest. Kantrowitz said a borrower could expect their balance to jump by over 10 percent after default.

These myriad consequences that come with a default can be hard to recover from, Kantrowitz said.

“At best, it delays participation in the American Dream,” he said. “At worst, they are shut out permanently.”

Student debt is a crisis that many Americans will not be able to recover from. The College Board, a non-profit organization, says the average cost of a U.S. degree is $34,740 a year at a private college, minus living costs.

Graduates of the Class of 2016 owe a staggering $37,000 each in student loans. Total Student Loans Owned and Securitized, Outstanding (SLOAS) has surpassed the $1.5 trillion mark in Q2 2018, which is second only to home mortgages among categories of consumer debt and the main reason Americans’ household debt has swelled to a record high.

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Credit bubbles are all the same. It just happens that the life cycle of the student debt bubble is nearing a deleveraging period. According to both Keynesian and monetarist theory, when the student debt bubble cracks, the state should intervene directly, and bailout the millennials who made terrible life decisions in accumulating massive amounts of debt for a worthless liberal arts degree, simply because the myth of going to college would usher in a high paying job. As it has become increasingly evident, that is not the case in today’s gig-economy. The failing education system has duped millennials, they have now realized that the greatest con of all time is college.

Source: ZeroHedge

Fed Finds Wealth Advantage For College Grads Is Vanishing

Four years ago, in one of its taxpayer subsidized research papers, the San Fran Fed asked “is it still worth going to college“, looking at the trade off between the “investment” of tens of thousands of dollars in student loans relative to the pick up in earnings potential over one’s lifetime. It found that the answer is “yes” because “the value of a college degree remains high, and the average college graduate can recover the costs of attending in less than 20 years.” In other words by the time one is 42, one’s student loans will be paid off, assuming of course that one can still find a job. And, staying in this idealized world, the difference between earnings continues to grow “such that the average college graduate earns over $800,000 more than the average high school graduate by retirement age.”

Four years later, the New York decided to rerun the same analysis, which it described in a recent blog post “The College Boost: Is the Return on a Degree Fading?”, and came to a starkly bleaker conclusion. 

As DataTrek’s Nick Colas summarizes the Fed’s study, the net income and net worth benefits of a college or grad school degree are rapidly diminishing. Specifically, the NY Fed economists looked at two broad demographic cohorts (whites and African Americans), segmenting changes in expected income between those people born each decade between the 1930s and the 1980s. Their findings:

  • White workers with a 4-year degree born from the 1930s to the 1970s saw a +57–72% pickup in income over their non-college educated counterparts. Those born in the 1980s only saw a +43% improvement, however.
  • African American college grads born in the 1980s are, however, still seeing income differentials in line with older cohorts (+71% versus +66 – 76% for those born in the 1940s to 1970s).

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The data looks similar for those workers with a graduate degree. For white workers born in the 1980s, the differential to their peers without an advanced degree is +54%, lower than the +80–108% of older cohorts. For African Americans, the benefits of a graduate education remain consistently high (+73–125% more than those without a grad school degree) across all age groups.

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Where things look really bad is when you look at total wealth differentials between the age groups. These include both financial assets and non-financial, such as home ownership.

  • On that count, white families with a college educated household member who was born in the 1980s is +42% better off for their sheepskin, versus +134–247% for those born in the 1930s to the 1980s. Moreover, the older the graduate, the better the differential.
  • The news is even worse for African American households, where those born in the 1980s are only +6% better off than their non-college educated peers. Those differences were +126% to +253% for those born in the 1940s to the 1970s.

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Exactly the same thing holds true when applied to graduate degrees: earlier born households accumulate much more wealth than later ones when compared to those who did not earn such a degree.

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Key takeaway: to us, this looks like a solid data-driven indictment of the rising cost of US education, with its concurrent increase in student debt (and one that is vastly different from the far rosier take by the San Fran Fed in 2014). A college and/or graduate degree does mean higher wages. But it also means more educational debt, which delays both savings and home ownership.

The notion that younger demographic college graduate cohorts will deliver out sized economic growth, as their parents did when they were younger, seems suspect at best.

Source: ZeroHedge

Student Debt Bubble Expands As Parents Do More Of The Borrowing

Not so long ago, student debt was mostly the responsibility of students. That is, you paid for college with loans and then paid off those loans with the proceeds of the good job you got with an advanced education.

These days it’s a little different. The cost of higher education is soaring, the jobs available to college grads don’t pay as much, relatively speaking, as they used to, and the size of loans available to students – though huge – don’t cover the full cost of many degrees.

One might expect these changes to lead more students to work for a few years and save up, or choose a cheaper degree, or eschew college altogether (as a lot of successful people now recommend) and substitute work experience for a diploma.

Some of that is happening but apparently the biggest change is that parents have stepped in to cover the difference between what their kids can borrow and the cost of a degree. As the chart below illustrates, until just a few years ago, the average debt of students exceeded that of students’ parents. But post-Great Recession, parents have given up trying to moderate the cost of their kids’ education and started doing the borrowing themselves. They’re now taking on the majority of new debts, and the gap is widening dramatically.

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Retirement Crisis?

So we can add student loans to the list of instances where people who once tried to control their borrowing have stopped trying and are now just going with the flow. Which means several things.

First, kids who if left to themselves and the market would probably opt for one of the aforementioned cheaper alternatives are still in high-cost, frequently low-reward degree programs, and are being sheltered from the consequences by well-meaning parents.

Second, the retirement crisis that everyone is talking about – in which people who have never saved a penny are approaching retirement age and looking at 30 years of abject poverty – is being made that much worse by parents taking on new debts at a time of life when they should be aggressively trending towards debt-free/cash-rich.

Third and most important for people who aren’t participating in this game of financial musical chairs, the eventual implosion of the student loan market – i.e., the point at which loan defaults become intolerable – will lead to a government bailout, making student loans everyone else’s problem.

But of course the government won’t raise taxes or otherwise inflict immediate consequences on the electorate. It will borrow the money and create enough new currency to cover the first few years’ interest, leaving the longer-term consequences for later years and other people.

As with all the other mini-bubbles out there, if student loans were an isolated problem in a sea of rock-solid financial behavior they’d be easily managed. But they’re just one of many time bombs set to explode shortly.

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Auto loans, credit cards, underfunded pensions and increasingly mortgages and home equity lines are all heading the same way domestically, while emerging market dollar debt (which dwarfs the US mini-bubbles) is just as precarious internationally.

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The question then becomes, how many of these bursting bubbles can the US paper over before the currency markets figure out that each will be followed by another, for as far as the eye can see?

Source: ZeroHedge

The Exorbitant Cost Of Getting Ahead In Life

Some 84 percent of Americans claim that a higher education is a very or extremely important factor for getting ahead in life, according to the National Center for public policy and Higher Education.

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So, it’s worth the exorbitant cost, but not everyone can pay, and outsized costs in the U.S. are giving much of the rest of the developed world the higher education advantage.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), people with a Bachelor’s Degree earn around 64 percent more per week than those with a high school diploma, and around 40 percent more than those with an Associate’s Degree. In turn, those with an Associate’s degree earn around 17 percent more than those with a high school diploma.

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The Federal Reserve Bank of New York says that college graduates overall earn 80 percent more than those without a degree.

There’s also job security to consider.

Individuals with college degrees have a lower average unemployment rates than those with only high school educations. Among people aged 25 and over, the lowest unemployment rates occur in those with the highest degrees.

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From this perspective, it’s no surprise that students are willing to bite the bullet and take on a ton of debt to finance education.

About three-fourths of students who attend four-year colleges graduate with loan debt. And this number is up from about half of students three decades ago.

The average student loan debt for Class of 2017 graduates was $39,400, up 6 percent from the previous year. Over 44 million Americans now hold over $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, according to Student Loan Hero.

According to College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2017–2018 school year was $34,740 at private colleges, $9,970 for state residents at public colleges, and $25,620 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.

The U.S. is one of the most expensive places to go obtain a higher education, but there are pricier venues, too.

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If you want a free higher education, try Europe—specifically Germany and Sweden. Denmark, too, doles out an allowance of about $900 a month to students to cover their living expenses. But don’t try to study in the UK on the cheap. The UK is the most expensive country in Europe, with college tuition coming in at an average of $12,414.

In Australia, graduates don’t pay anything on their loans until they earn about $40,000 a year, and then they only pay between 4 percent and 8 percent of their income, which is automatically deducted from their bank accounts, reducing the chances of default.

For Japan—a country that sees more than half of its population go to college—the highly respected University of Tokyo only costs about $4,700 a year for undergraduates, thanks to government subsidies. The Japanese government spends almost $8,750 a year per student because it sees the massive value in having a highly educated citizenry.

For Americans, while student loans may still be a good investment overall, the idea of taking a lifetime to pay off the debt may become increasingly unattractive. And it’s only going to get worse, according to JPMorgan, which predicts that by 2035 the cost of attending a four-year private college will top $487,000.

Source: ZeroHedge

New Game Show Gives Millennials A Chance To Eliminate Student Loan Debt

Overinflated college tuition facilitated by a bottomless ocean of cheap student loans has so far trapped forty-five million Americans with a record $1.48 trillion in non-dischargeable debt – an amount which has more than doubled since the 2009 lows.

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As we reported in January, approximately 40 percent of student loans taken out in 2014 are projected to default by 2023 according to the Brookings Institute.

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However, a new game show on TruTV offers millennial contestants a chance to answer trivia questions – and if they win, the game show will pay off their student debt.

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“Paid Off,” a new trivia game show that premiered this week tries to illuminate the student debt crisis that has entrapped countless millennials. To get the balance right, the show’s producers partnered with a nonprofit group called Student Debt Crisis.

Its executive director and founder, Natalia Abrams, gave this advice to producers: “Every step of the way, from signing up for college to paying back their loans, it’s been a confusing process. So make sure that there’s some heart to this show.”

Video: Paid Off with Michael Torpey Season 1 Trailer 

Michael Torpey, a New York-based actor (“Orange is the New Black”) who is the host of the show, acknowledges that student debt is a crisis and one of the most difficult financial issues plaguing millennials in the gig economy.

“We’re playing in a weird space of dark comedy,” said Torpey, who developed the show with TruTV producers and various nonprofit groups. “As a comedian, I think a common approach to a serious topic is to try to laugh at it first.”

Video: Paid Off with Michael Torpey – The Story Behind Paid Off with Michael

The rules of game show are simple: Three millennial contestants, all of whom have an exorbitant amount of student debt, go head-to-head in a few rounds of trivia questions, hoping that their useless liberal arts degree enables them to answer enough questions right. If they win, well, the show will cover 100 percent of their outstanding student loans.

“One of the mantras is ‘an absurd show to match an absurd crisis,’” Torpey told The Washington Post. “A game show feels really apt because this is the state of things right now.”

Earlier this year, the show had a casting call in Atlanta – this is what the casting flyer stated: “truTV’s new comedy games show PAID OFF is going to do something the government won’t – help people get out of student loan debt! If you’re smart, funny, live in the Atlanta area and have student loan debt, We Want You!”

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Video: Paid Off with Michael Torpey – Finger The Masters

Torpey told NBC that “he strives to balance the light hearted trappings of a game show with an earnest, empathetic look at the student debt issue.”

“I want to be very respectful of the folks who come on our show, who opened their hearts and shared their struggles with us,” Torpey said. “I hope this show de-stigmatizes debt. I mean, there are 45 million borrowers out there. It is a huge number of people!”

Google searches for “paid off game show” have been rising since June.

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Meanwhile, “student loans forgiveness” searches have been surging over the cycle.

Source: ZeroHedge

The State Of American Debt Slaves

It was one gigantic party. But wait…

Total consumer credit rose 5.4% in the fourth quarter, year over year, to a record $3.84 trillion not seasonally adjusted, according to the Federal Reserve. This includes credit-card debt, auto loans, and student loans, but not mortgage-related debt. December had been somewhat of a disappointment for those that want consumers to drown in debt, but the prior months, starting in Q4 2016, had seen blistering surges of consumer debt.

Think what you will of the election – consumers celebrated it or bemoaned it the American way: by piling on debt.

The chart below shows the progression of consumer debt since 2006 (not seasonally adjusted). Note the slight dip after the Financial Crisis, as consumers deleveraged – with much of the deleveraging being accomplished by defaulting on those debts. But it didn’t last long. And consumer debt has surged since. It’s now 45% higher than it had been in Q4 2008. Food for thought: Over the period, the consumer price index increased 17.5%:

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Credit card debt and other revolving credit in Q4 rose 6% year-over-year to $1.027 trillion, a blistering pace, but it was down from the 9.2% surge in Q3, the nearly 10% surge in Q2, and the dizzying 12% surge in Q1. So the growth of credit card debt in Q4 was somewhat of a disappointment for those wanting to see consumers drown in expensive debt.

The chart below shows the leap of the past four quarters over prior years. This pushed credit card debt in Q3 and Q4 finally over the prior record set in Q4 2008 ($1.004 trillion), before it came tumbling down via said “deleveraging.”

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These are not seasonally adjusted numbers, and you can see the seasonal surges in credit card debt every Q4 during shopping season (as marked), and the drop afterwards in Q1. But then came 2017. In Q1 2017, credit card debt skyrocketed to an even higher level than Q4, when it should have normally plunged – a phenomenon I have not seen before.

This shows what kind of credit-card party 2017 and Q4 2016 was. Over the four quarter period, Americans added $58 billion to their credit card debt. Over the five-quarter period, they added $109 billion, or 12%! Celebration or retail therapy.

Auto loans rose 3.8% in Q4 year-over-year to $1.114 trillion. It was one of the puniest increases since the auto crisis had ended in 2011. Since then, the year-over-year increases were mostly in the 6% to 9% range. These are loans and leases for new and used vehicles. So the weakness in new-vehicle sales volume in 2017 was covered up by price increases in both new and used vehicles in the second half and strong used-vehicle sales:

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The red line in the chart above indicates the old unadjusted data. In September 2017, the Federal Reserve announced a big adjustment of consumer credit data going back through Q4 2015, impacting auto loans, credit card debt, and total consumer credit. This adjustment was based on survey data collected every five years. So routine. But for Q4 2015, the adjustment knocked auto loan balances down by $38 billion.

Hence that misleading dip in auto loans in Q4 2015 in the chart above. This was at the peak of the auto-buying frenzy, and actual auto-loan balances certainly rose.

Student loans surged 5.6% in Q4 year-over-year. This seems like a shocking increase, but the year-over-year increases in Q3 and Q4 were the only such increases below 6% in this data series. Between 2007 – as far back as year-over-year comparisons are possible in this data series – and Q3 2012, the year-over-year increases ranged from 11% to 15%:

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And there was no dip in student-loan balances during the Financial Crisis; in fact, those were the years with the steepest growth rates. From Q1 2008 to Q4 2017, student loan balances soared 141%, from $619.3 billion to $1.49 trillion, multiplying by 2.4 times over those ten years. More food for thought: Over the same period, the consumer price index rose 17.5%.

The problem with debt is that it doesn’t just go away on its own. If one side cannot pay, the other side takes a loss on their asset. Some auto loans and credit card debts remain on the balance sheet of lenders, while others have been securitized and are spread around among investors. But most student loans are guaranteed by the taxpayer or directly funded by the government.

Over the years, student loans have fattened entire industries: Investors in private colleges, the student housing industry (an asset class within commercial real estate), Apple and other companies supplying students with whatever it takes, the textbook industry…. They’re all feeding at the big trough held up by young people and guaranteed by the taxpayer. Food for thought, so to speak.

Source: By Wolf Richter | Wolf Street

 

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