My wife and I have some guaranteed Sallie Mae student loans hanging over our heads. Can these debts be negotiated?
—Michael in Nashville, Tenn.
Dave Says: The only way student loan debts would be negotiable is if you fell way behind on your payments and there were late fees involved. In that case, some of the collections and late fees might be negotiable, but the principal and interest wouldn’t be negotiable or bankrupt-able. The reason for this is that the government has guaranteed the loans. This means if Sallie Mae can’t get its money from you and your wife, they can get it all from the government. Why would they bother negotiating with you? My advice is to take control of your money and start living on a serious budget. Make paying off these student loans a priority and put every penny you can save toward paying them off. Your income is your largest wealth-building tool, and right now a big chunk of it is going into Sallie Mae’s purse!