Interesting bit of knowledge in case you have to negotiate with a credit card company. Offer them 20% and they get double what they would have received by selling the debt. Or offer the collection agency 20% and they make 100% profit for zero work at all. It's good to know people's breakeven point.

My neighbor was having some trouble with the guys putting in a fence for him. One of the guys was a hot-head and ready to walk when there was a misunderstanding. His issue was about getting paid for the mistake. What he did not understand was it was never about the money for the neighbor. It was about getting the fence he wanted. It was around $1800 they spent for fence panels and posts that were too short. So my neighbor and his wife had a quick conference, and offered the fence contractors $2500 for the misunderstanding. Suddenly everything was fine. It really pays to try to understand what people need, versus what they care little about.

And yes: Every student loan application process should include a counseling session with a consumer advocate who points out obvious problems like paying back $200,000 with an English degree. Expensive private colleges used to be just for the rich kids. That's still a useful notion. That's why we have state colleges and universities, with in-state tuition deals, and occupational loan forgiveness programs. I'm not saying Art, Music, English, etc. education is useless. I'm just saying 18 year olds need to know their earning prospects before committing to such huge loans. Many of them would lead much better lives studying something like air conditioning repair and installation at a junior college or public trade school, making a decent living, and pursuing their Art, Music, or Writing interests in their copious spare time. Counting on a high-paying career in one of those fields is like retirement planning by buying lottery tickets.

Instead they wind up with a crappy 9-5 job doing something totally unrelated to their degree, and working a second job that's even worse to try paying the interest on their loans.


We're flying electric helicopters on Mars yet you can't turn on your clothes dryer in Texas. That's because scientists are in charge of Mars, and Republicans are in charge of Texas.