6. Student Loans

Americans now owe more in student loans than they do on their credit cards, and the horror stories of people who overdosed on education debt are legion. Here are just three examples of student loan borrowing gone bad:

• I interviewed one young woman who has racked up more than a quarter of a million dollars in student loans for an undergraduate degree that she isn’t using. She’s waiting tables. She borrowed every dime of the cost to attend a private college in New York, saying she didn’t realize that she was strapping herself to an unbearable burden of debt. Most of what she owes is private student loans, which have variable rates and few of the consumer protections that come with the federal version. Her inability to pay her ...

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