Investing your student loans

Discuss various money matters here. Loans (federal and private), scholarships, lottery winnings, or other school finance related information and queries.
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Horchata
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby Horchata » Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:27 am

r6_philly wrote:
Horchata wrote:I'm doing the mandatory loan counseling program with FAFSA. The specifically say:

You may use your loan money only to pay for authorized educational expenses at the school that certified your loan eligibility.

* Authorized educational expenses include:
o Tuition
o Room and board
o Institutional fees
o Books
o Supplies
o Equipment
o Dependent child care expenses
o Transportation and commuting expenses
o Rental or purchase of a personal computer
o Loan fees
o Other documented, authorized costs <-- this probably doesn't count


Investment = saving, putting into an account that bear interest. So while using the loan proceeds to buy a car is unethical, putting it in any interest bearing account is not. I am sure you put your proceeds in a savings account and use it as your year progresses. This would be the same (only in a different type of account).


Where in that list does it mention "saving"? Nobody lends money so the other person can save it. Additionally, a savings account is not the same as a mutual fund. Just because they bear interest doesn't mean they're the same thing. Would you pay taxes on your capital gains on your savings account for tax purposes?

shoeshine
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby shoeshine » Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:34 am

Horchata wrote:Where in that list does it mention "saving"? Nobody lends money so the other person can save it. Additionally, a savings account is not the same as a mutual fund. Just because they bear interest doesn't mean they're the same thing. Would you pay taxes on your capital gains on your savings account for tax purposes?


I am not sure what you are saying here but interest earned in savings accounts is definitely taxable. That is why the bank sends you a 1099 form outlining the interest you earned every year.

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thesealocust
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby thesealocust » Wed Jun 29, 2011 7:59 am

No idea how I got the Madoff numbers turned around, but my point was consistent annual returns (i.e. the goal of many hedge funds) not average return over time. The OP was talking about earning a "7-12 percent return each year" which is what set me off - you can earn something that averages to LIKE that over time, but you can't earn that each year without massive risk or luck or skill.

Obviously if you're looking for average returns over time and can stomach the risk a stock index funds appears to be TCR.

Also as others point out, whatever you call investing in stocks it's not what you're getting the damn loan for. You still won't get caught, but it's absolutely a breach of your loan agreement.

r6_philly
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby r6_philly » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:34 am

thesealocust wrote:
Also as others point out, whatever you call investing in stocks it's not what you're getting the damn loan for. You still won't get caught, but it's absolutely a breach of your loan agreement.


What do you think a money market savings account is? Its underlying instruments are also other securities. Just because others don't understand investing and the financial market doesn't make them right. If you put your loan proceeds in a money market or a CD, that doesn't mean your loan proceeds are not being invested (by your bank) in bonds and mortgage-backed (gosh) securities.

Again, unless your loan agreement dictates how you can hold your loan proceeds, it's at your discretion how you want to save it.

The only possible unethical thing I can think of it is arbitrage, but I am not sure if there is a law against that in this case.

r6_philly
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby r6_philly » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:38 am

thesealocust wrote:No idea how I got the Madoff numbers turned around, but my point was consistent annual returns (i.e. the goal of many hedge funds) not average return over time. The OP was talking about earning a "7-12 percent return each year" which is what set me off - you can earn something that averages to LIKE that over time, but you can't earn that each year without massive risk or luck or skill.

Obviously if you're looking for average returns over time and can stomach the risk a stock index funds appears to be TCR.


Image

The longest negative return streak is 3 years (not counting Great Depression). If you can hold your ETF for 5-6 years you would have realized positive returns in the worst case.

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Verity
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby Verity » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:41 am

r6_philly wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
Also as others point out, whatever you call investing in stocks it's not what you're getting the damn loan for. You still won't get caught, but it's absolutely a breach of your loan agreement.


What do you think a money market savings account is? Its underlying instruments are also other securities. Just because others don't understand investing and the financial market doesn't make them right. If you put your loan proceeds in a money market or a CD, that doesn't mean your loan proceeds are not being invested (by your bank) in bonds and mortgage-backed (gosh) securities.

Again, unless your loan agreement dictates how you can hold your loan proceeds, it's at your discretion how you want to save it.

The only possible unethical thing I can think of it is arbitrage, but I am not sure if there is a law against that in this case.


There is a major difference in risk. A bank has to have insurance to protect your money. Stocks offer no such protection. I would suggest that OP buy Treasuries, specifically TIPS. They're guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the government, and adjust to meet inflation in addition to their paltry coupon rates.

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Verity
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby Verity » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:43 am

r6_philly wrote:
thesealocust wrote:No idea how I got the Madoff numbers turned around, but my point was consistent annual returns (i.e. the goal of many hedge funds) not average return over time. The OP was talking about earning a "7-12 percent return each year" which is what set me off - you can earn something that averages to LIKE that over time, but you can't earn that each year without massive risk or luck or skill.

Obviously if you're looking for average returns over time and can stomach the risk a stock index funds appears to be TCR.


Image

The longest negative return streak is 3 years (not counting Great Depression). If you can hold your ETF for 5-6 years you would have realized positive returns in the worst case.


But she's right, there is technically a difference with regard to what's promised in the short term. Just saying that unless a hedge fund has a fairly long record of returns of 14%+ per year, I'd rather take an index fund despite their promises.

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bgdddymtty
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby bgdddymtty » Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:46 pm

Verity wrote:
thesealocust wrote:You can, and you aren't allowed, and you won't get in trouble. It's also dumb, because if you had a way to guarantee a 7 to 12 percent annual return you should cash out as a hedge fund titan. That's the kind of rate Madoff was promising. Stock returns come with risk - you can earn that amount over long periods, usually while experiencing losses along the way. But if you feel like giving it a whirl with your loans, no harm will befall you for that choice, except you might lose the cash.


7% is an adequate return (which you can get from a simple index fund), and 12% is good. You would not be a "hedge fund titan" by promising those returns.
Risk. It's about risk.

You'd be competing with Vanguard. And losing.
Not so much, unless Vanguard buys a time machine. Here are Vanguard's historical fund returns (in terms of number of funds producing each return level) for funds that have been in existence for more than ten years:

<5%: 15
5-7%: 21
7-12%: 46
>12%: 3

Looks like you'd have a 58% chance of gaining at least 7% over the long haul (assuming you put all of your money in one fund). However, here are the same results for the last ten years:

<5%: 49
5-7%: 19
7-12%: 14
>12%: 3

Even with the recent market surge, that chance is down to 20%. Pull that off with no risk, and, as tsl said, you'd be the king of the world.

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Verity
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby Verity » Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:59 pm

bgdddymtty wrote:
Verity wrote:
thesealocust wrote:You can, and you aren't allowed, and you won't get in trouble. It's also dumb, because if you had a way to guarantee a 7 to 12 percent annual return you should cash out as a hedge fund titan. That's the kind of rate Madoff was promising. Stock returns come with risk - you can earn that amount over long periods, usually while experiencing losses along the way. But if you feel like giving it a whirl with your loans, no harm will befall you for that choice, except you might lose the cash.


7% is an adequate return (which you can get from a simple index fund), and 12% is good. You would not be a "hedge fund titan" by promising those returns.
Risk. It's about risk.

You'd be competing with Vanguard. And losing.
Not so much, unless Vanguard buys a time machine. Here are Vanguard's historical fund returns (in terms of number of funds producing each return level) for funds that have been in existence for more than ten years:

<5%: 15
5-7%: 21
7-12%: 46
>12%: 3

Looks like you'd have a 58% chance of gaining at least 7% over the long haul (assuming you put all of your money in one fund). However, here are the same results for the last ten years:

<5%: 49
5-7%: 19
7-12%: 14
>12%: 3

Even with the recent market surge, that chance is down to 20%. Pull that off with no risk, and, as tsl said, you'd be the king of the world.


Well, sorry I don't live in this fantasy no-risk world we seem to be discussing. If we're going to talk reality, most hedge funds that "promise" such annual returns never make their mark.

But back to OP's situaiton, there are certain funds that promise nothing, like Vanguard, that do reasonably well. There is no guarantee, OP's investment isn't guaranteed, and in fact whatever OP's planning is probably speculative.

I mean, we're talking about INVESTING STUDENT LOANS. Total margin, education & future employment risked. There is already way too much risk involved here. This whole discussion about fantasy no-risk, guaranteed investments is pretty 'tarded. I say OP enjoy a money market account, or if there's a need to walk on the (somewhat) wild side, CDs, TIPS & T-bills. At least they are short-term, guaranteed, and incredibly liquid.

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bgdddymtty
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby bgdddymtty » Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:24 pm

Verity wrote:
bgdddymtty wrote:
Verity wrote:
thesealocust wrote:You can, and you aren't allowed, and you won't get in trouble. It's also dumb, because if you had a way to guarantee a 7 to 12 percent annual return you should cash out as a hedge fund titan. That's the kind of rate Madoff was promising. Stock returns come with risk - you can earn that amount over long periods, usually while experiencing losses along the way. But if you feel like giving it a whirl with your loans, no harm will befall you for that choice, except you might lose the cash.


7% is an adequate return (which you can get from a simple index fund), and 12% is good. You would not be a "hedge fund titan" by promising those returns.
Risk. It's about risk.

You'd be competing with Vanguard. And losing.
Not so much, unless Vanguard buys a time machine. Here are Vanguard's historical fund returns (in terms of number of funds producing each return level) for funds that have been in existence for more than ten years:

<5%: 15
5-7%: 21
7-12%: 46
>12%: 3

Looks like you'd have a 58% chance of gaining at least 7% over the long haul (assuming you put all of your money in one fund). However, here are the same results for the last ten years:

<5%: 49
5-7%: 19
7-12%: 14
>12%: 3

Even with the recent market surge, that chance is down to 20%. Pull that off with no risk, and, as tsl said, you'd be the king of the world.


Well, sorry I don't live in this fantasy no-risk world we seem to be discussing. If we're going to talk reality, most hedge funds that "promise" such annual returns never make their mark.

But back to OP's situaiton, there are certain funds that promise nothing, like Vanguard, that do reasonably well. There is no guarantee, OP's investment isn't guaranteed, and in fact whatever OP's planning is probably speculative.

I mean, we're talking about INVESTING STUDENT LOANS. Total margin, education & future employment risked. There is already way too much risk involved here. This whole discussion about fantasy no-risk, guaranteed investments is pretty 'tarded. I say OP enjoy a money market account, or if there's a need to walk on the (somewhat) wild side, CDs, TIPS & T-bills. At least they are short-term, guaranteed, and incredibly liquid.
Agreed on all points, and I think this was the gist of what thesealocust was saying to begin with.

NVResident
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby NVResident » Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:54 pm

At current student loan rates, I would definitely not recommend using the money to invest in the stock market. That being said there are other types of investments where it could make sense. A few years ago, when loan rates were around 4.5%, my wife used loan proceeds from attending graduate school to help finance the construction of a duplex on a property we owned. This freed us from having to use traditional bank financing for construction, which has numerous additional fees and management oversight. We maxed out the student loan, combined it with cash, and paid for the construction. When it was complete, we immediately refinanced with a traditional mortgage, paid off the loans and walked away with some extra money.

Technically, the use of the funds in this manner was improper. In reality, as long as the loan is repaid, no one asks any questions. Ethically, I would say that putting the funds to use in a productive way (providing housing opportunities), provided a greater overall benefit to society than the way many students use their C.O.L. funds (consuming pizza, beer, and/or financing spring break activities) and we never lost a minutes sleep over it.

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Verity
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby Verity » Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:11 pm

NVResident wrote:At current student loan rates, I would definitely not recommend using the money to invest in the stock market. That being said there are other types of investments where it could make sense. A few years ago, when loan rates were around 4.5%, my wife used loan proceeds from attending graduate school to help finance the construction of a duplex on a property we owned. This freed us from having to use traditional bank financing for construction, which has numerous additional fees and management oversight. We maxed out the student loan, combined it with cash, and paid for the construction. When it was complete, we immediately refinanced with a traditional mortgage, paid off the loans and walked away with some extra money.

Technically, the use of the funds in this manner was improper. In reality, as long as the loan is repaid, no one asks any questions. Ethically, I would say that putting the funds to use in a productive way (providing housing opportunities), provided a greater overall benefit to society than the way many students use their C.O.L. funds (consuming pizza, beer, and/or financing spring break activities) and we never lost a minutes sleep over it.


Not a bad plan, assuming the absolute ability to refinance for more than you put in, and very a short turnaround.

By the way OP, unless you've already got something like this going, I advise you not to go out looking for such speculative schemes.

Beestinga
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby Beestinga » Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:04 pm

I don't see how this could be unethical or illegal.
You're taking out a loan to pay for school? Fine.
Take the loan. Pay for school, then invest your own money.
It's all, effectively, coming from/going to the same place. If you've got $25k. They give you $5k, 25k goes to school, and $5k goes into the bank, then you're just using $20k of your money + $5k loans for school and investing $5k of your money.
If you're earning a better rate than what's on the loan, there's nothing suspect about it. It's called arbitrage and it happens all the time.

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bgdddymtty
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby bgdddymtty » Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:33 pm

Beestinga wrote:Take the loan. Pay for school, then invest your own money.
It's all, effectively, coming from/going to the same place. If you've got $25k. They give you $5k, 25k goes to school, and $5k goes into the bank, then you're just using $20k of your money + $5k loans for school and investing $5k of your money.
He's not looking at doing that. He's looking at investing $5K of student loan money in addition to his own $25K.

If you're earning a better rate than what's on the loan, there's nothing suspect about it. It's called arbitrage and it happens all the time.
Again, there's that whole "risk" thing. Plus the fact that student loan funds are to be used exclusively for students' living expenses. No one's going to call him on it if he does it, but it's definitely against both the rules and the spirit of the program.

Beestinga
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby Beestinga » Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:45 pm

bgdddymtty wrote:
Beestinga wrote:Take the loan. Pay for school, then invest your own money.
It's all, effectively, coming from/going to the same place. If you've got $25k. They give you $5k, 25k goes to school, and $5k goes into the bank, then you're just using $20k of your money + $5k loans for school and investing $5k of your money.
He's not looking at doing that. He's looking at investing $5K of student loan money in addition to his own $25K.


ahh, roger that.

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zonto
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby zonto » Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:56 pm

If you have subsidized loans, then why wouldn't you take out the max you can and just save the rest.

There are plenty of options that you can invest very safely in and earn decent returns on your money. If you look at it like an emergency fund that you're simply keeping in case you need it for living expenses, I don't think that's a problem at all.

1. Flagstar Direct online money market - 1.1% and a Visa check card
2. CDs
3. I bonds through Treasury Direct (currently yielding 4.6% and tied to inflation). Have to hold a year, three months interest penalty if you sell before five years.
4. Brokerage account with Vanguard and do something like 10–20% world stock index (VT), 30% short-term treasuries (VGSH), and 50% short-term investment grade (VFSTX) or total bond market (BND) or something similar.

All earn better returns than the average checking or savings account. I love option 3 though, and will probably keep somewhere between one to three months of my future living expenses in a money market and put the rest into I bonds. If my wife loses a job or doesn't find one right away, then I'll be using the loan money for living expenses. If not, then it's our backup.

If you end up not needing the loan money for living expenses, then just pay it back before you start paying interest on it. If you're talking about doing this with unsubsidized Stafford or GradPLUS loans, then please reconsider.
Last edited by zonto on Wed Jun 29, 2011 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Verity
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby Verity » Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:51 pm

zonto wrote:If you have subsidized loans, then why wouldn't you take out the max you can and just save the rest.

There are plenty of options that you can invest very safely in and earn decent returns on your money. If you look at it like an emergency fund that you're simply keeping in case you need it for living expenses, I don't think that's a problem at all.

1. Flagstar Direct online money market - 1.1% and a Visa check card
2. CDs
3. I bonds through Treasury Direct (currently yielding 4.6% and tied to inflation). Have to hold a year, three months interest penalty if you sell before five years.
4. Brokerage account with Vanguard and do something like 10–20% world stock index (VT), 30% short-term treasuries (VGSH), and 50% short-term investment grade (VFSTX) or total bond market (BND) or something similar.

All earn better returns than the average checking or savings account. I love option 3 though, and will probably keep somewhere between one to three months of my future living expenses in a money market and put the rest into I bonds. If my wife loses a job or doesn't find one right away, then I'll be using the loan money for living expenses. If not, then it's our backup.

If you end up not needing the loan money for living expenses, then just pay it back before you stary paying interest on it. If you're talking about doing this with unsubsidized Stafford or GradPLUS loans, then please reconsider.


Just note that I bonds are not marketable. Also, they do not make interest payments, you just collect at maturity (which is good, because you can defer taxes and probably count this as capital gains, at 15%, rather than income tax for whatever bracket you're in. Problem is, your money is tied up and you take a penalty for early redemption).

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thesealocust
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby thesealocust » Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:41 pm

When you all are high-powered corporate attorneys drafting covenants for loan agreements between corporations and banks, I hope you remember this thread when you decided that it would be NBD to take your student loans and put them in the stock market :lol:

deadhipsters
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby deadhipsters » Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:46 pm

I think my real point here was doing this in conjunction with using Public Service IBR. Because essentially you are paying a reduced rate in interest by having your monthly payment reduced and the entire loan forgiven after 10 years.

Even if I were to recieve moderate returns on my investment it would help mitigate some of the risk of law school.

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Verity
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby Verity » Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:41 am

deadhipsters wrote:I think my real point here was doing this in conjunction with using Public Service IBR. Because essentially you are paying a reduced rate in interest by having your monthly payment reduced and the entire loan forgiven after 10 years.

Even if I were to recieve moderate returns on my investment it would help mitigate some of the risk of law school.


Mathematically this seems sound. Practically, you'd need to be sure you can get a public service job eligible for IBR, which by the way isn't easy to come by. To do this, you'd have to be sure you can finish at the top of your LS class. I see substantial risk.

jacobhenery3
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby jacobhenery3 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:55 am

Investing in stocks is not a child's play. It demands good grip of knowledge about the season chance in the market along with an expertise comments.

investing in SPAM

BlazedBillyMaze
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby BlazedBillyMaze » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:44 am

I don't see any ethical problem with it. The government is crooked anyway. Get your nut if you can - especially if they are subsidized loans. Remember, you still have to pay them back. Consequently, I would rule out the stock market completely and invest with bonds (AAA...haha), CDs, Money markets, etc (safe bets).

You take out these loans. You cannot discharge them in bankrupctcy. DO WHAT YOU DAMN WELL PLEASE. Take a little sip of the "V for Vendetta" kool aid.

These kids (that's what they are) that are telling you that it is unethical or against the rules are too myopic to realize that the financial world is a jungle and it will only get worse. That is why they will be dead inside after 2 years at Holland Knight.

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bgdddymtty
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby bgdddymtty » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:04 am

BlazedBillyMaze wrote:I don't see any ethical problem with it. The government is crooked anyway. Get your nut if you can - especially if they are subsidized loans. Remember, you still have to pay them back. Consequently, I would rule out the stock market completely and invest with bonds (AAA...haha), CDs, Money markets, etc (safe bets).

You take out these loans. You cannot discharge them in bankrupctcy. DO WHAT YOU DAMN WELL PLEASE. Take a little sip of the "V for Vendetta" kool aid.

These kids (that's what they are) that are telling you that it is unethical or against the rules are too myopic to realize that the financial world is a jungle and it will only get worse. That is why they will be dead inside after 2 years at Holland Knight.

The BlazedBillyMaze plan for "getting your nut":
1. Borrow money at 6.8%.
2. Invest money at <2%.
3. ???
4. PROFIT!

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dood
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby dood » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:15 am

bgdddymtty wrote:
BlazedBillyMaze wrote:I don't see any ethical problem with it. The government is crooked anyway. Get your nut if you can - especially if they are subsidized loans. Remember, you still have to pay them back. Consequently, I would rule out the stock market completely and invest with bonds (AAA...haha), CDs, Money markets, etc (safe bets).

You take out these loans. You cannot discharge them in bankrupctcy. DO WHAT YOU DAMN WELL PLEASE. Take a little sip of the "V for Vendetta" kool aid.

These kids (that's what they are) that are telling you that it is unethical or against the rules are too myopic to realize that the financial world is a jungle and it will only get worse. That is why they will be dead inside after 2 years at Holland Knight.

The BlazedBillyMaze plan for "getting your nut":
1. Borrow money at 6.8%.
2. Invest money at <2%.
3. ???
4. PROFIT!


i LOLd at blazedbilly's poast and the reply.

BlazedBillyMaze
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Re: Investing your student loans

Postby BlazedBillyMaze » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:21 am

bgdddymtty wrote:
BlazedBillyMaze wrote:I don't see any ethical problem with it. The government is crooked anyway. Get your nut if you can - especially if they are subsidized loans. Remember, you still have to pay them back. Consequently, I would rule out the stock market completely and invest with bonds (AAA...haha), CDs, Money markets, etc (safe bets).

You take out these loans. You cannot discharge them in bankrupctcy. DO WHAT YOU DAMN WELL PLEASE. Take a little sip of the "V for Vendetta" kool aid.

These kids (that's what they are) that are telling you that it is unethical or against the rules are too myopic to realize that the financial world is a jungle and it will only get worse. That is why they will be dead inside after 2 years at Holland Knight.

The BlazedBillyMaze plan for "getting your nut":
1. Borrow money at 6.8%.
2. Invest money at <2%.
3. ???
4. PROFIT!


My point in general is that if this guy should do whatever he wants with the money. Dry-humping Arnie Duncan's lame ass policies won't get you anywhere. On a side note, buying gold on 6.8% interest would actually profit at this juncture. You obviously watch Jim Cramer. You likely know better




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