2023 Student Loan Forgiveness Update: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Remember back in August of 2022 when we were all stoked to hear about the Biden Administration’s plan to forgive federal student loan debt? Yeah. Things have changed.

I’m here to update you on the status of federal student loan forgiveness. Shit’s complicated though, so if you didn’t read our FAQ about the program when it was first announced, you might want to get that background before reading any more. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

Now that you have the background, I’ll give you the latest on where federal student loan debt forgiveness stands, along with some guidance on what student loan borrowers can do from here. Spoiler alert: there’s Bitch-on-Bitch drama at the end.

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Barbara Sloan’s New Book Dares To Suggest Service Industry Professionals Deserve Financial Stability Too

Last year at the EconoMe Conference in Cincinnati, Kitty and I were excited to meet many a cool human. Much to our general shock and consternation, many of those cool humans were excited to meet us too! And not just because we were like “Hi we’re friends with Paula Pant.”

This is where we met Barbara Sloan, founder of Tipped Finance. Barbara is a veteran of the tipped workforce: a former waitress, bartender, stripper, and several other tipped professions. More importantly, she’s also a huge money nerd. She has made it her mission to dispense financial know-how specifically tailored to service industry professionals! And she does it all with the fierce determination and tireless badassery we like to see in our women.

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Season 4, Episode 8: "I'm Queer and Want to Find an Affordable Place to Retire. How Do I Balance Safety With Cost of Living?"

Season 4, Episode 8: “I’m Queer, and Want To Find an Affordable Place To Retire. How Do I Balance Safety With Cost of Living?”

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: the cost of living is higher for gay people. And it’s not just because we buy $30 pairs of underwear. That is a stereotype, you bigot. Andrew Christian Trophy Boys are only $23 a pop.

(I originally had a gif here from an Andrew Christian marketing spot. I decided to omit it for the sake of anyone reading this at work. The arrestingly bouncy nature of the model’s package as he pelvic-thrusted across the screen was designed to catch a manager’s eyes from fifty paces. I will replace it with a seemingly work-related gif to facilitate more subtle on-the-clock browsing. See? I’m always looking out for you, beloved readers!)

Queer cost of living perfectly encapsulated in a gif. I'm telling you, it's scientifically impossible for a gif to resonate any more with the queer community than this one.

In our classic article Ten Ways That Sexual and Gender Identity Affect Finances, we highlighted a few of the complex social and institutional structures that make it harder for queer people to accumulate wealth. But one thing we didn’t really touch on? Location, cost of living, and their outsize impact on queer people’s finances. But thanks to a letter from a righteously pissed-off Patreon donor, we’re diving into that today.

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{ MASTERPOST } Everything You Need to Know about Credit and Credit Cards

You didn’t want to watch a scary movie. But your friends at the 10th-grade sleepover insisted. “It’ll be fun!” they said. “Don’t be chicken!” they said.

Now you find yourself huddled under blankets on the couch in your best friend’s basement rec room giggling nervously over popcorn and hoping you won’t pee yourself at the first jump scare. Your friends shush each other as the movie starts.

Creepy music ushers in the opening scene. Lighting and thunder clash on the screen. With the lights turned off and you trembling with fear, the title of tonight’s horror movie flashes across the screen: Credit IV: It Comes for Us All.

Watching horror movie Credit IV: It Comes for Us All

One of the most common questions we get here at Bitch HQ is “… creeeediiiiit??????” And that’s not surprising! The system of credit reporting, credit scores, and credit cards is hella confusing. It’s also pretty fucking classist, racist, and ageist… by design. Heckin’ scary, man!

So to fulfill our mission of [checks notes] sticking it to The Man by democratizing financial acumen, we’ve written and said a ton on this topic. Here it all is: our primer to understanding and managing your credit so you can use it to get ahead… or at least prevent it from getting you down.

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Season 4, Episode 7: “A Coworker Smells Bad. How Do I Address This Super Awkward Issue at Work?”

NEW MOM ALERT! NEW MOM ALERT! LAUNCH THE ALERT FIGHTERS!

That’s right, bitchlings. Your humble Bitches have a whole entire NEW MOM. Her name is Kathleen and we are devoted to being good daughters to her. We do that by delivering spicy, spicy nuggets of adulting wisdom, served up with a soupçon of rage against the machine and/or patriarchy. And in return, she bestows upon us the highest tier of our Patreon donations!

Mama Kathleen, we’re so grateful for you and your generous patronage. We hope to make you proud.

Now, on with the program!

This time we’re covering a case study we simply couldn’t resist. Namely: How do you handle extremely awkward interpersonal issues in the workplace? Do you stage an intervention? An Ocean’s 11-style heist? An elaborate play the likes of which would make Hamlet look decisive and direct by comparison? Do you change your name and leave the country???

Or is the answer “none of the above”?

Our solution (hopefully) will not surprise anyone.

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Season 4, Episode 5: “401(k)s Aren’t Offered in My Industry. How Do I Save for Retirement if My Employer Won’t Help?”

Today’s question asker works in the service industry, which means their job doesn’t offer retirement accounts like a 401(k), 403(b), or a pension. This is the case for lots of people! Although these tax-advantaged retirement accounts are a cornerstone of personal finance advice, they’re only offered by 14% of U.S. companies. If you work for yourself, part time, in a tips-based job, or for a very small employer, a 401(k) may not be an option for you.

Does this mean you should just give up on the idea of saving toward your retirement?

When your job doesn't offer retirement accounts, do you just GIVE UP on saving for your retirement? HAHAHA NO

Good news, bitches. You don’t need a traditional retirement account to save towards your retirement. The classic 401(k), 403(b), and pensions are not your only options! Good options for retirement savings exist for everyone, regardless of their industry or employment status. We’re going to tell you about them today.

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Season 4, Episode 1: “Index Funds Include Unethical Companies. Can I Still Invest in Them, or Does That Make Me a Monster?”

Here it is. The moment you’ve all been waiting for. It’s time for… THE BITCHES GET RICHES PODCAST, SEASON 4!!!

Bitch Nation, we took a nice long hiatus between seasons while we jiggled some cords and perfected our format to bring you only the finest in podcastatory entertainment. And the premiere episode of season four has EVERYTHING… if by “everything” we mean the Bitches singing Hamilton show tunes, discussing the ethical practicalities of gun ownership, a minimum of 3-5 juvenile jokes related to poop and/or sex organs, and the terrible fake Wisconsin accents no one asked for.

Also… WE’RE ON YOUTUBE! That’s right, dear listeners/readers. This season you can consume the one and only Bitches Get Riches podcast in three ways: by listening on your favorite podcast streaming platform, scrolling down and reading the episode transcript, or by gazing in awe at our YouTube channel.

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You Have the Frugal Right to Repair Your Shit. Or Do You?

Let me tell you about my favorite pair of boots.

They’re calf-high brown leather with a one-inch heel that makes this short Bitch feel just a little more powerful. They’re the kind of boots you can wear with a dress, with leggings, with jeans—they’re exactly as dressy or as casual as you want. I got them almost five years ago for about $200.

Recently, the heels broke. I’d worn them down to the point that chunks of the sole had snapped off and gotten trapped inside the heel so they rattled when I walked. So I took them to a cobbler. $50 later, I had new, beautiful heels attached to my favorite boots. Good as new!

Now let me tell you about my last phone. It was a magical pocket-size computer that did everything from calculating tips to playing music to oversharing on social media. (Note: it did not call home often enough, which was a major design flaw as far as my mom’s concerned.) After three years, I noticed the battery failing. Soon it could barely hold a charge for a few hours, let alone all day.

I brought it in for repairs. And they told me that replacing the battery was so financially and technically inefficient that they simply… wouldn’t. But, they assured me, I could upgrade to a newer, better model for only $24.99! Per month, that is. Which is way cheaper than replacing the battery, promise!

I couldn’t get anyone to replace my phone battery. There was no cobbler-equivalent phone artisan wearing a leather apron and bifocals in a musty shop lovingly repairing old phones.

Out of options, I bought a new phone. And just to spite the fuckers, I paid the total cost up-front.

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My First 6 Months of Early Retirement Sucked Shit: What They Don’t Tell You about FIRE

As promised, I’m back with an update about my early retirement. It’s been six months since I stopped working. As I alluded to in a recent article, shit kinda went off the rails for me since retiring early.

You know, I didn’t have a solid vision for what my first six months of being permanently funemployed would be like… but whatever I had in mind, it sure wasn’t this! Life is full of twists and turns, ain’t she?

Do I have extra juicy, highly personal anecdotes to share? WHY YES, I DO! Navel gazing of the highest degree—dead ahead!

Today’s article is published in collaboration with the Plutus Foundation’s Impact Series. Their theme for October is the financial independence movement. Seems like a fine opportunity to give everyone an update on how my own financial independence is going! If you don’t already follow them, please consider doing so. The Plutus Foundation has amplified a lot of amazing voices over the years—our own fried and scratchy drawls included! They share amazing content. We’re lucky to have them as a leader in the personal finance space.

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