Episode-682- Listener Calls for 6-10-11 — 24 Comments

  1. RE: Sallie Mae


    My own Sallie Mae student loans have been done for years now. And so much re-canoitering of the whole banking/lending scene in American finance has gone on that perhaps my advice has no bearing at all under whatever the latest flavor-of-the-month rules are in that whole dispicable industry. But here was my experience.

    Sallie Mae WANTS you to stick to the agreed upon schedule of payments. They do NOT want you to pay it off early because they make less money that way. “Threatening” to pay it off can sometimes ratle their chain enough to where they will work with you.

    They also do not like it when you make extra payments on the side, and will even throw up obstacles against any attemts by you to do that. Some of the obstacles they throw up include taking those extra side-payments and applying them only to the interest and not the principle. So if you want extra payments to be applied to the principle, you need to spell it out in writing. But even then they might not honor it (depending upon which type of loan you are paying off).

    Another obstacle they employ against any attempts by you to pay it off sooner is that if you have some extra cash this month, and then you decide to use that extra cash to write out this month’s normal payment check for a HIGHER amount than what you normally pay, then they will instantly restructure your loan so that from the following month onward ALL monthly payments MUST be that higher amount. This one trick totally messed up a few of my classmates back in college who were on a fixed budget and thought they were being responsible by taking their birthday gift money that they got from mom and dad and applying it to their student loans.

    The option to restructure the loan payments is SOMETIMES available, but I found out the hard way that they are only willlig ot restructure if restructuring is to Sallie Mae’s advantage, and the welfare of the student/borrower is not at all part of their decision-making. They utimately do not give a rip about the student/borrower. I also found out it is to their advantage if you default because then they can attach your paychecks, and when your paychecks are attached that means they have a guaranteed monthly payment as opposed to the not-so-guarateed situation of you manually writing a check each month.

  2. I want to emphasize what Jack says about traffic stops. I’ve been pulled over several times and let off because I was polite and honest. Believe me, they can usually tell when you are not telling the truth and hate it. It is not worth being confrontational with the officer. If you have problems with how anything is done, call the department after the encounter is over.

  3. Regarding the student loan:

    Generally there is nothing that prevents you from paying off a loan early, including SL debt. Banks will often apply excess payments to future payments instead of applying it to principal correctly. Maybe because it benefits them or maybe because its a more “conservative” thing for them to do in this “how-much-a-month” society.

    I’ve seen this happen with someone else in the past. He was able to get that bank to make the appropriate corrections AFAIK. His loan may or may not have been held by SM, I don’t know who held it.

    Best thing the caller could do is try and get them to retroactively apply all previous excess payments to principal and re-calculate all subsequent payments appropriately, including doing the same for any unapplied amounts. If they won’t do it or pretend they can’t I would consider talking with an attorney, depending on how much money we’re talking about.

    For future payments make sure each payment is applied correctly. There is usually a check box or a box to tell them how much overpayment to apply to principal. Just make sure you are following the required procedures to apply payments as desired.

  4. Thanks alot, Jack! You just cost me a new keyboard due to your comments on the student loan payoff question. I was already in pain (from laughing) at your comment “what magic spell to cast…” but I snorted out my mouthful of coffee when you said “just for make this bitch go away fund…” all over my keyboard. It was a total loss. But as a good prepper, I have several spares.

  5. Student Loans:
    I worked in the student loan industry for quite some time. Most likely if the caller is with Sallie Mae, he has FFELP loans. (Federal Family Education Loan Program) This was cancelled by Obama last year or so. There are several ways to have his excess payment applied to the principle. Most student loan companies actually just extend you payments out when you over pay. (i.e. if you have a payment of $100.00 and you pay $150.00. they take the $100 payment and then use the next $50 on your next payment. Do that twice and you can skip a payment.)
    1. Call and ask them. It is illegal for a student loan to have any penalties for paying it off early.
    2. You can send in two checks instead of one. The first one is your regular payment amount. The second you actually write on the memo field that this is to be applied to the principle. You will still probably have to call and follow up on it to make sure they understand how it si to be applied.

    The problem is that when you call you are going to get a call center employee that probably doesn’t even directly work for Sallie Mae. There’s an awful lot of turnover in call centers so you will need to be very firm and clear bout what you want and that it can be done. That’s going to be the biggest barrier to all of this.

  6. A few years ago i took a 20 gal. tank to be filled. The attendant took the tank round to the fill station and set the tank on a bathroom scale, made the connections, zeroed the scale and filled the tank to exactly 20 lbs.


  7. Using food from one’s garden:

    I was eating potatoes & sweet potatoes from last years garden into March. (stored in the basement)
    My winter squash was finished by Feb. I’m still putting frozen green beans from the garden in my work lunches (this is June). Been eating freshly picked asparagus and now strawberries all spring (perrenials) while my summer garden is just getting going. I left my fall crop of carrots and salsify in the ground over winter (zone 5)and harvested them early spring before they started their spring-lets-make-flowers growth (about march).Frozen brocolli ran out in Feb. (planted more this year). In short, eating at least something from the garden year-round. Excess is the blessing that feeds you through the winter. And of course, most foods are just eaten seasonally.

  8. I would agree with many of your statements on the 30-06 and would add that you can hunt and kill deer with anything even a simple .22 or snare if it comes down to it. I would suggest a 30-06 from the simple survival situation of if the SHTF you can find ammo for the 30-06 just about everywhere including the backwoods ma and pa store or gas station. Something in the 7.62×39 might also be a viable option for this same reason. I have weapons of various caliber but if times get tough I know that those 2 rounds tend to be found more frequently then the numerous others I have on hand so from a survival standpoint I would suggest he starts with one of those and then can add to it as he finds a specific need/ want later.

  9. I think the question regarding traffic cops was not phrased correctly.

    I thought Jack was being an ass until i went back and listened to the question the way he heard it.

    First of all, i respect all LEOs and briefly entertained the idea of becoming one at some time in my early life. But $13,000 a year was not enough to get shot at.

    I have been stopped many times in my life. I’m always nice and polite and have gotten off with a warning many times. Being nice and respectful, turning on the light and keeping my hands out have gone a long way to getting off with a warning. On the causeway in New Orleans one day a LEO pulled me over and asked “Do you know how fast you were going?” I had had a bad day but was still nice and just simply said “I really don’t know officer, it depends when you were looking at me. Prolly somewhere between 65-70” he was barely able to stifle a laugh and thanked me for my honesty and let me go. And i’ve been guilty every time except twice.

    I am not naive enough that there are not some bad cops out there. I’m sure most all of them are. But there are bad cops as well and there are good cops who make mistakes.

    The comment and proposed idea of the card was not to hand that to the officer with the license and insurance information. It was meant for help when the situation had already deteriorated and the person being stopped had no idea what to say. I did not make that clear enough and I apologize.

    Most people, quite simply , do not know when to shut up and people have an inherent desire to explain things. Even the most innocent people out there can talk themselves into jail while being totally innocent. They do not know what words to say (“Am I being detained officer or am I free to go”). The sad part is that most people don’t even know what their rights are and they give them away every day.

    I agree with everything Jack said except one. There will NEVER be a day when i voluntarily give a LEO permission to search my vehicle. Lets use Jack’s example of traveling from one state to another and being stopped and asked to search. The LEO asks Jack if he has any weapons in the truck. Jack says no but allows them to search.

    Jack likes to hunt and fish so, he has a fixed blade knife in his truck with a blade length 5 and 3/4 inches in his truck which in legal in Texas but the legal limit in that state is 5 inches. Now Jack is under arrest for possession of the weapon and giving false information to a LEO. Now, ordinarily this wouldn’t even cross the radar screen except there was a stabbing and the bad guy was driving in a truck that “looks like” Jacks truck. The LEO can use this new charge to take him to jail. If he had not given permission to search the truck, he’d be home by now.

    What if Jack had given a ride to a hitchhiker and the hitchhiker accidentally dropped his crack pipe in Jack’s truck?

    So, what sounded like a “US against the cops” to be confrontational question simply was not. Just a warning to keep your mouth closed and an idea on a card as to what to say if you get yourself in too deep and feel like you are being questioned about something else.

    God bless the 5th amendment.

  10. Erg
    I am not naive enough that there are not some bad cops out there. I’m sure most all of them are good. But there are bad cops as well and there are good cops who make mistakes.

  11. Loving the podcasts! You are highly respected among my circle of friends & I am thrilled that I was told about your site & services. Thanks for taking the time to help educate all of us!!!

  12. Getting stopped by LEO

    Corporal Shaun Appler has a bunch of videos on you tube. Not a big fan but you are: A, listening to what one LEO thinks and it might be a representative of a larger group and B, while some things he says seems a little off, lots are solid common sense.

    Best easy info I have seen from a LEO when carrying a weapon and are stopped. Massad Ayoob always keeps it simple.

    Don’t forget to look at his top notch video of what to do after a shoot:

  13. @Keith Snow,
    I’ve been a firearms instructor for more than 20 years, and a hunter education instructor for nearly as long, and I would like to add a few points to Jacks response to your firearms questions. Whether you need a shotgun, rifle, and/or handgun will really depend like any tool on your intended use of that tool. Sit down and really think about what you’re needs are, and then you can formulate a plan for the proper tools to fit the job. You mentioned protection and that can be personal protection which may include a handgun, proper training and a carry license, or may in your situation mean only a shotgun with the proper ammunition and training.

    As for hunting, you would be well off finding and attending a local hunter education class. Generally the instructors of these classes are knowledgeable, and quite often you will find experienced adults in the class accompanying their children or grandchildren, who can be another good resource. Make sure you know your state hunting regulations as far as legal hunting tools. Here in Ohio, a rifle for any cartridge may not be used for the deer hunt. We can use muzzle-loading rifles, shotguns, and handguns, but no .30-06, etc. Your local laws may influence this decision.

    Learning about your guns in general can take a two pronged approach. If you can find a local gun club that has NRA instructors, then you can probably take basic courses for any of your guns or even ones you don’t currently own but may intent to acquire. These classes are design to take an absolute newbie to a basic level of being able to load and shoot the gun safely. Once you know how to function things in a safe manner you may find additional resources at a club, such as non-instructor experts for a particular type of firearm or type of shooting. Secondly, YouTube can be your friend for things like tearing down, re-assembling, and cleaning your guns; however, BE SURE THE GUNS ARE UNLOADED and the ammunition is locked away from the area where you are manipulating the gun.

    In any case, welcome to the world of shooting, have fun, and above all be safe.

  14. “Dealing with runoff on private roads” I have the same problem at my BOL. What Jack calls swales
    I joke as being speed bumps on a angle. This directs the water off the road into the ditch which can handle the water. I made my “speed bump” out of gravel, there is some up keep in you need to rake the speed bump as they flatten out.

  15. As someone who is looking into law enforcement as a new career path I have to say that there is a lot of really bad advice out there on how to interact with police. The care outlining what you’re rights are will tell an officer that you are trying to hide something and that they need to be on guard. Police officers have a target on them just as our warriors overseas do. About 18 months ago a few blocks from a retail store I worked at four police officers were gunned down in cold blood. Shortly after that a State Trooper was shot in the head while conducting a traffic stop. There are those out there that target police and so they have a reason to be on guard, adding to that is dangerous and stupid. It is not only unwise to be confrontational with police it is an indication to them that you are potential threat to them. In more than a year I’ve complete dozens of all night ride-alongs and seen more than a few people talk themselves into a ticket. Likewise there are people who will get themselves arrested for simply being idiots. If we as a culture want to be respected and taken seriously then we need to respect the laws that our society have passed. Like many I believe that the freedoms we are supposed to enjoy as humans have been interceded by government, but Police are not the ones to whom these grievances are voice. These are the men and women who we ask to stand a watch and do what they can to protect us. As a Marine reservist I am granted level of professional respect when I go to a police department. Too, I understand how much the hands of law enforcement have been tied by the law. Overseas rules of engagement favor the enemy and here police are treated as the bad guy. This perception needs to stop within our culture. We need to reach out. Volunteer with local police so they have someone train their dogs with, actors for the SWAT team, anything that shows a willingness to work with them. Ride-along as much as your local departments allow. Befriend members of the local sheriff’s department, police, correction and your state patrol. Learn what they are afraid of, let them know who you are, create ties to them so that if there is ever a reason that you are stopped or even arrested you’ll have a little more credit than Joe Crackhead. Become a reserve police officer in your community. Build bridges and soon there won’t be a reason to be afraid of the police.

  16. On termites-The way Jack explains it, it sounds like these guys do the same thing for you that worms do, just with wood. Very interesting. I wonder if termites would reduce the life span on a hugelkultur bed, or if they would make the wood more porous.

    On Student Loans- While I don’t have student loans, I imagine the bank will act the way my bank did with my mortgage. I tried sending a half payment every 2 weeks which works out to 1 or 2 extra payments per year and can take 7-10 yrs off a mortgage. I did this for a couple months and called to make sure they were applying it right, and wouldn’t you know-since one of the half payments I sent in was in between months they put it against interest instead of the principal. You can get on a program though where they’ll draft it out of your account every 2 weeks to do this, which I’m sure they’re ok with giving up some interest in order to make sure they get theirs straight out of your account. Plus the fact that they know you’ll probably sell your house before they loose any money anyway since that’s what most of america does.

    For any changes along those lines – paying extra, splitting payments, whatever, I would call the bank and make sure they’re applying the extra to the right place, because they’re not going to do it for you-especially when it benefits them.

    “Pay the bitch off fund” ROTFL! It was an awesome feeling a couple years ago when I used my tax return to pay off a couple credit cards. Here’s your money, close the account, I don’t want to hear from y’all ever again!

  17. @Gump

    Yes, you can create somewhat of a swale by ditching at an angle across a road, making a ‘speed bump’, but I don’t think that’s exactly what Jack was referring to. I believe Jack was suggesting the caller create swales that are level and on coutour in the elevated bank on the upper side of the road. These swales would allow more of the water to collect and absorb into the upper bank and not run off into the road. Then a person could plant trees in the front berms of these swales to utilize the extra water catchment behind them. The reduced amount of water that does make it to the road would be handled by a ditch between the road and upper bank, which, every so many feet, is channeled under the road using the drain pipes he mentioned. The drain pipes could even empty into similar swales on the lower side of the road and irrigate even more trees.

    The angled ditch you mentioned does work, and is a quicker way, but if you’ve tried it like I have, then you know it definitely required repair and manicure after every decent rain storm.

  18. In defense of handguns for home defense:

    The shotgun is absolutely superior to a handgun. If my home is being invaded then I will go to my shotgun. Fortunately that has never happened. Things that have happened are unexpected door bells at 10:30 at night, odd sounds around the side of the house etc. These have always turned out to be a person looking for directions who stopped at my house because the lights were on and they figured they wouldn’t be waking anyone, cats/dogs/opossums getting into the trash, etc. Any of them could potentially have been something serious. If you address what is typically the mundane situation with a shotgun, you may end up unnecessarily alarming your neighbors or others. A handgun allows you to address these scenarios while being armed without drawing attention. If it turns bad then your handgun helps to enable you to withdraw to your shotgun or rifle. This is why I think a handgun is just as valuable a tool in the home defense arsenal as a shotgun. Hopefully I’ll go my entire life never deploying a firearm in self defense. So far my handgun has been my go to weapon around the house way more than a shotgun, but it’s there if I need it.

    If its 3 in the morning and my doorbell rings or a window breaks or any other alarming thing, then its straight to the shotgun before investigating.

  19. My advice regarding the student loan is not only to check the correct box to determine how your overpayment is applied, but check your statement EVERY month to make sure they’re doing what you want.

    You may have to stop paying online and go back to a check method if you are paying online, b/c there is not usually way online to say what the overage should go to.

    The caller is going to have to commit to monitoring this loan really closely, since his bank is obviously working a bit on the shady side with this.

  20. RE:Handguns, Mostly I’ll go with Jack on preferring the big guns to defend my home. However, I have 2 small children in the house, when something goes “Bump” in that unusual way, my glock with strobe is my first choice.

    It’s my job to go and secure the children and bring them back to our room while my wife grabs the Cell and shotgun. She’s got the arty and cavalry on speed dial. It’s my job to round up the rest of our herd and cover the retreat to our safe room.

    Handguns are incredibly useful when you need one hand free to carry little sleepers. I am just not able to carry a one year old and use a long gun at the same time.

  21. Re: the student loan…

    The caller said that the extra funds have been getting applied to ‘unpaid interest’. That is not the same as being applied to future payments. If there is unpaid interest on the account, at this point, it is essentially the same as principal. It is part of the current loan balance that needs to be paid off the same as the principal balance, and both the principal balance and the unpaid interest balance would be accumulating interest.

    Maybe something else happened in the past with the loan that resulted in additional interest? For instance, my wife deferred payment on her grad loans for a couple of years so she didn’t have to make payments while money was tight. But, that certainly didn’t mean that the balance wouldn’t still accrue interest. Now that we’ve started repaying on the loans, there is over $3000 in unpaid interest on the account (which generates it’s own interest, just as the principal does). In our case, making the minimum payment barely exceeds the new interest in a month, so, while we continue to tread water with that debt, even though we’re making payments, the unpaid interest is still there. At this point, unpaid interest is part of the total balance the same way the principal is – doesn’t matter which gets paid first.

    All that said, Sallie Mae sucks, so definitely follow up with them to find out the details of your situation. Entirely possible (and likely) that they screwed something up (accidentally on purpose?) on their end!

  22. Dirt roads should be crowned, meaning the center must be slightly higher than the edges so the water runs off immediately to the edge and not down the middle of it. Then use a layer of gravel on the edges to keep the water from eroding the dirt.

  23. Once I was stopped for a tail light out and there was a wanted felon with the same name, height, hair color and eye color. We both had a scar on a knee and fortunately I have no tattoos. I was half stripping on the side of the road and laughing while doing it. The office said he was happy I didn’t because he was off in 10 minutes and he didn’t want to spend the next hour checking me into jail. The funny thing is I had a pistol under my floor mat that was technically illegal because my permit was in a different state, but he never searched the car because I was so cooperative and relaxed during the encounter.