Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

This week: Learning about money from your pets, three types of ID theft to guard against, the finances of Trump supporters, becoming self-employed and why our student loan system is immoral.


1. The Ethics & Immorality of the Federal Student Loan System

[Credit.com] “Legal? Sure. After all, the bill was passed by overwhelming bipartisan majority and signed into law by the president. A generally accepted practice? Yup. One needn’t look any further than your local bank for that. But is it moral? Only if you’re OK with turning a profit on the backs of your own children.

This article takes a thoughtful look at the structure of our student loan system. The author concedes that common practices, like the government making a profit on interest rates and fees, are legal. But just because something is legal doesn’t make it morally OK. Whether you have student loans or not, this is an interesting read.

2. Could What You Know Make You Money?

[The Dollar Stretcher] “Self-employed people recognize that they have a special skill set that they can monetize. In the age of digital-everything, there are many new business opportunities, and nearly every one with the desire can go into business for themselves. All it takes is some willpower and the ability to self-evaluate one’s skills.”

This article examines three self-employment opportunities through the eyes of those living them. They include a photographer, a woman who does social media management and acts as a virtual assistant, and a graphic designer. Each lists both the pros and cons. Thinking of striking out on your own? Give it a read.

3. Where Donald Trump Supporters Stand on Debt, Credit and Personal Finance

[Credit Sesame] “A recent Credit Sesame survey of 1,350 respondents — a subset of Credit Sesame’s 7 million members — finds that compared to supporters of other candidates, Trump backers have less debt and fewer student loans. Conversely, they have almost double the bankruptcy rate of other GOP candidates’ supporters.”

The media seems obsessed with finding out exactly why Donald Trump has attracted so many supporters. This is one more article attempting to make sense of a candidate who, to many, doesn’t seem to make any.

4. 3 Types of Identity Theft You Should Safeguard Against Today

[Debt.com] “This is not an issue that only wealthy people need to worry about because it is not just money that can be stolen or misappropriated using stolen identity. In fact, there are many types of identity theft and, even if you have no wealth to lose, there is still a lot of trouble that it can cause you.”

This article addresses medical identity theft, financial identity theft and driver’s license identity theft. While we’ve done tons of articles on ID theft, one thing I found interesting was the discussion of driver’s license theft. I generally lose mine about once a year, but never thought about the potential ramifications. The article explains: “Usually, the stolen driver’s ID is sold off to someone who looks reasonably similar to you (as pictured on the ID). If they are pulled over for a traffic violation, it is your driver’s ID that is shown to the cops. The violations go on your driving record, reducing your chances of getting cheap auto insurance and even putting you at risk of getting your license suspended.”

Gulp. Is there someone out there carrying around my driver’s license?

5. 6 Money Lessons You Can Learn From Your Pets

[Wise Bread] “I love my pets, and not just because they have made the alarm clock app on my phone completely superfluous. They’re great companions and friends, but they are also fonts of incredible money wisdom.”

When I saw this title, I assumed this would be a silly read. After all, while I love my dog and cats, they’re hardly the mammals I’d turn to for financial advice.

But this author has legitimate points to make. Dogs remind us to take joy in the small stuff. If you let your investments sleep as much as you leave your napping cat undisturbed, you’ll probably be a better investor. If we could be as fearless about failure as our furry friends, we’d probably be better off.

You get the picture. True, you probably shouldn’t ask Fluffy or Fido for opinions on whether to use Roth or traditional IRAs, but that doesn’t mean they have nothing to teach us, about both money and life.

Stacy Johnson

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