Skipping Out on Student Loans? Check Your Wallet

So what can Uncle Sam do if you don’t repay your federal student loans?   Report you to credit reporting companies. Garnish your wages. Keep your tax refunds and Social Security payments until the debt is paid off.   That’s right, all of the above.  Only most people aren’t aware of it. Economists and researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York asked this of more than 1,000 consumers – only to discover that less than one-third of them correctly answered that the …

Debt Collectors Fined, Told to Back Off

Here’s some good news for people hounded by relentless debt collectors and hauled into court. Two of the nation’s biggest debt collection companies have agreed to stop lawsuits against borrowers and drop collections on some $16 million in judgments. In a settlement with New York authorities, Portfolio Recovery Associates, based in Norfolk, Va., and Sherman Financial Group, based in New York, also agreed to pay fines to settle allegations that they violated state law by pursuing borrowers for debts that …

Is Rising Mortgage Debt Threatening Retirements?

Older Americans are carrying more mortgage debt and have accumulated less home equity than their peers a decade earlier, according to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The median mortgage debt for those age 65 and older rose 82 percent to $79,000 from 2001 to 2011, according to the agency. And though delinquencies and foreclosures have decreased since 2012, they had increased fivefold between 2007 and 2011 among older homeowners, the CFPB reports. “A home can be a place of …

Do You Worry About Money? Join the Club

Whether you’re nearing the end of your working life or still several decades away, Americans all share the same financial fear: Will I have enough money to retire? More than two in three Americans ages 30 to 64 say their top financial worry is whether they’ll be able to save enough to live reasonably well in retirement, according to a Gallup poll released this week. Not being able to pay for medical costs was the top money fear for people …

Your Most Embarrassing Number, and It’s Not Weight

Which number is your most embarrassing –  age, weight or credit-card debt? Surprise, it’s debt, according to a poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Thirty-seven percent of nearly 2,200 respondents say they would be the most red-faced to admit their credit-card balances. Credit scores came in second on the shame scale, with 30 percent saying they would not be comfortable disclosing their number. Consumers have fewer qualms about divulging weight and bank balances, according to the foundation. (Twelve …

Social Security Halts Tax-Refund Grab to Recover Old Debts

Update: The Social Security Administration says it will immediately stop collecting old debts by grabbing taxpayers’ refunds. In a statement, Carolyn W. Colvin, the acting commissioner of the agency, says: “I have directed an immediate halt to further referrals under the Treasury Offset Program to recover debts owed to the agency that are 10 years old and older pending a thorough review of our responsibility and discretion under the current law to refer debt to the Treasury Department. “If any Social Security …