Is it true that by moving to another country (and not having any U.S. seize-able assets) you can kiss your student loans goodbye? Other papers' columnists will not answer. —Oenie
Oh, those other papers' columnists—always deserting you just when shit is getting real.
Dear Abby won't shut up when somebody's husband is leaving toenail clippings in the tub, but as soon as you need to dispose of a body, she goes dark. Savage Love? Great on dildos, lousy on laundering $150,000 in small bills. And where the hell was Ask Amy when my last batch of crank came out all yellow and gummy?
Let's face it, when you need someone to directly advise you, in print, to do something illegal, it's Dr. Know or nobody.
In this case, plenty of advice about this loan dodge has already been published—you just didn't like the conclusion, which is that it's illegal, it can blow up in your face, and it's probably not worth it.
First, what foreign country wants to give deadbeats like you permanent-resident status, including the right to work? (And I know you'll need a job; if you were rich, you would have paid cash for college.)
Assuming you can clear that bar, did your folks co-sign any of those loans? Because when the loan company puts a lien on the family home while you're AWOL, Mom and Dad are gonna be pissed.
All your loans are in your name alone? And you're sure you won't ever need to file a U.S. tax return again? And you're prepared to have bad credit for seven years?
You are? Well, then…it might work. Few foreign countries are prepared to enforce U.S. debts, and initiating collection actions in overseas courts has so far proved to be too much trouble even for Sallie Mae.
Even after all this, though, those familiar with the process agree that student-loan exile just isn't worth the trouble, unless you already have some compelling reason for wanting to leave the United States. Oh, wait.
QUESTIONS? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.