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Steve Rhode
Known as @GetOutOfDebtGuy on Twitter, Steve Rhode is an experienced consumer debt expert. He's lived through bankruptcy and founded a national credit counseling group. He's also experienced in all aspects of getting out of debt and a recognized authority on the subject. These days he spends his days writing about the debt relief industry, warning consumers about scams, and providing free debt help and answers through the website. You can also find Steve on Facebook.

Entries by Steve Rhode

New Bankruptcy Forms Make It Easier to File Without an Attorney

(2) Comments | Posted November 24, 2015 | 12:37 PM

Now don't get me wrong, there is no substitute for the experience, knowledge, and wisdom of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. But for decades people have been filing out their own bankruptcy petitions, because they can. The forms were not geared for the average person to easily figure out.

On December...

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AES Is Not Willing to Help Me With an Affordable Private Student Loan Payment

(0) Comments | Posted November 23, 2015 | 5:53 PM


Dear Steve,

Several years back my married daughter had been working and due do the economy had been losing many jobs. She decided to go back to school to hopefully get a better job. Of course to make all this happen she needed to apply for student loans. In...

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How Can I Move Forward When My School Won't Release My Transcript?

(10) Comments | Posted November 20, 2015 | 1:33 PM


Dear Steve,

I attended a private college one trimester in 1986 when I was 18. I transferred to a public university that year and completed my degree. 30 years later, today I am wanting to get a second degree but need my official transcript from the...

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My Step-Son Kill His Father and His Mom Cosigned His Student Loans

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2015 | 5:27 PM


Dear Steve,

Step-son that is SSI disabled for 3+ years with Mental Illness, Maternal Mother, My wife, co-signed student loans for him. He is now in Jail for murdering his paternal father and will end up in jail or an institution for the rest of his life.

My step-son's...

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The Morgan Drexen Legacy: More Pain for Lawyers and Consumers

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 1:07 PM

Morgan Drexen was a nationwide debt settlement enterprise that sold consumers hope they could eliminate their debt by settling it. And while debt can certainly be settled by knowledgeable people, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) had significant concerns about the company and attorney network they created. The entire Morgan...

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The Death of the Traditional Debt Relief Industry for Now

(1) Comments | Posted November 16, 2015 | 10:46 AM

Recently a couple of statements from people I know inside the debt relief industry have struck me. It seems there is a general lack of understanding why it is getting harder to sell debt relief services. Some blame the Consumer Financial protection Bureau (CFPB) for cracking down and some blame...

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My Navient Student Loans Are Out of Control

(141) Comments | Posted November 13, 2015 | 11:17 AM


Dear Steve,

I currently owe Navient $163,000 on my private student loans. After graduating in 2009 with few job prospects, I put these loans into forbearance for the first two years while I could. This raised my original debt total from $153,000 to the current figure of $163,000. I...

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Layla Lives to Help Military Veteran With PTSD

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2015 | 12:51 PM

Mission - Getting Layla From a Kill Shelter to Service Dog Training

Layla was rescued nearly at the last minute from a shelter in North Carolina. She is a sweet dog with a great attitude and Crisis Dogs NC spotted her within an hour of he being put down.

We had previously met Jude with Crisis Dogs NC through Pilots N Paws and she gave us a call about a wonderful dog she had rescued within an hour of her scheduled to be put down. Jude said this dog, Layla, had a wonderful temperament and she needed help getting her from Chapel Hill, NC to Dayton, Ohio where she would be evaluated and trained to serve as a service dog for a military veteran with PTSD.

Jude and Layla

This flight would be the longest one we had flow. The trip was about three hours each way and going to Dayton we faced some pretty stiff headwinds over the mountains of West Virginia.

Typically we fly at about 170 MPH but at times our speed was down to 113 MPH with the winds we were flying into. The weather looked a bit dicey over those West Virginia mountains and Steve was prepared for some tough instrument flying through a lot of rain and clouds. Thankfully the rain turned out to be light and the clouds we did face were not bad.

It was a dark and early morning for us. We headed out for the airport before dawn and as we approached the airport a brilliant morning sky greeted us as if to say it was going to be a good day.

The morning sun oozed up from the dark horizon to greet us on the way to the airport.

Layla greeted us with a wagging tail and cuddles. Jude was right, Layla was a special dog. Before long we prepared to depart the Chapel Hill, NC airport which is owned by the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. They let us land there to pickup Layla.

You'll see in the video that Layla was eager to fly with us. She jumped up in the plane and settled right in. Pam got Layla all secured and soon we were off.


With a lot of clouds, there often was not much to look at and both Pam and Layla dozed on and off while Steve paid close attention to the flying at hand.

Clouds along the way to Dayton, OH.

Layla was a dream in flight. Pam spent a lot of time rubbing Layla's head and she had her covered up with her jacket to keep Layla warm.

As we descended towards Dayton we spent time flying in and out of the clouds. And once out from under the clouds the airport was dead ahead.

We landed in Dayton, OH and met Renee from the Greater Dayton Lab and Dane Rescue. Renee and Layla look like they bonded quickly and off they went. After a brief break topped the plane off with fuel and got back in for our return flight. We both missed Layla on the way home but Pam broke into tears again as usual.

Layla and Renee meet for the first time. Both were very happy.

A few hours later we touched down at our home airport and put this successful mission behind us.

Renee tells us that Layla is doing well in her training and it is looking encouraging that she will make it all the way through the service dog program and become a great therapy dog.

Please come and be a part of our team. Just us at and help us to save the lives of these beautiful dogs who would otherwise be put down.

To watch more of our dog rescue flight videos, click...

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Puppies Fly to Freedom in a Cessna 182

(1) Comments | Posted October 29, 2015 | 3:23 PM

Recently, Pam and I had the pleasure of helping 11 dogs make their flight to life, safety, and a new future.

More puppies sleeping on the Pilot.Dog flight.

This flight and the saving of these dogs, who would have otherwise been killed for lack of shelter space, was made possible by our amazing supporters and patrons who help us out for as much or as little as they can afford. If you are not yet a supporter, click here to learn more on how to help rescue dogs.

Nancy a volunteer from Granville County SPARE (Shelter Partner for Adoption, Rescue & Education) and her two super cute daughters brought Danny, a Border Collie Mix, to meet us at Triangle North Executive Airport.

Danny is a happy and playful dog. He'd never met Nancy and her daughters until that morning and he was quickly rolling around and playing with them as if he'd known them forever.

Danny was at the Granville Animal Shelter in April of this year but his owners came and got him. In May, Danny was hit by a car and was found on the side of the road with a laceration on his leg. He was taken again to the shelter. This time his owners didn't want him or couldn't afford to treat him and told the shelter to euthanize him. That's when Granville County SPARE came in and took Danny, they paid for the surgery on his and found a foster family that took care of him while he recuperated. We did not meet the foster family but they deserve massive hugs.

We were flying Danny to LaMancha Animal Rescue in Union, PA. From what Laurie at Granville County SPARE told me, he would be better able to be adopted by a good family because LaMancha makes sure that the animals and new owners are compatible before going through the adoption process. It's a step that not every shelter put a ton of effort into.

Danny was a great passenger and insisted in sitting on Pam's lap and pressing his head into her. We flew to Rocky Mount, NC where we picked up Amber and her nine, 4-week-old puppies. We were a little concerned that Danny and Amber may not get along very well so we thought that Amber would sit in the copilot seat up front with Steve. Well, that was the plan at least. Amber had other intentions. You'll see what happens in the video.

When we arrived at the Rocky Mount airport, where we met Abby a volunteer from the SPCA Alliance of NC who brought Amber and her puppies from Tarborro, NC. Abby herself was 9 months pregnant, and was so happy that Amber and her babies were going to a facility that would be able to take great care of them. Danny and Amber didn't mind each other and got along well. Everyone had tails a wagging.

Amber was surrendered by her owner shortly after she gave birth to her pups. We are not sure exactly why but obviously the sudden explosion in dog family size was unmanageable by the previous owner. Amber was so thin and scared. She reminded us of the dogs you see on TV when the SPCA is looking for donations.

The SPCA shelter were afraid of all the disease that could run in a shelter and wanted to make sure the young pups could stay out of that environment. that the puppies would get something that would be life threatening. So Peggy who runs the SPCA Alliance contacted LaMancha to take Amber and the puppies so that they could get proper medical supervision.

The precious puppies slept through the whole process and stayed cuddled up together to stay warm. It got a little chilly in the back of the plane but Pam kept a constant vigil on them to make sure they stayed warm and put a towel over them so that they could keep their warmth in.

Amber originally sat in the front seat of the plane, up with Steve as co-pilot, but shortly after take off she decided to come in the backseat with Pam and Danny. She curled up next to Danny and he lounged across Pam for the flight. It was an unusually cold October Saturday and the higher we flew the colder it got. Because we were flying with young puppies we didn't want to go above 5,000 feet.

Pam covered up Amber with a warm jacket that she gave Amber in flight. Danny was a little heating dynamo and he kept Pam warm throughout the flight. Danny cuddled with Pam but Amber was more interested in just sleeping next to them both.

When we got to Chester County, G.O. Carlson Airport in Coatsville, PA we were met by several of the Landmark Aviation line people who were working the field that day. They were so nice and helpful with getting the dogs and puppies out of the plane, we couldn't have done it without them.

Alan and Cecilia, volunteers at LaMancha and their little girl met us at the airport. What wonderful, and compassionate people they are. Sometimes it can be difficult handing off the dogs you've become attached during flight because you don't know what type of situation they are going into. But Alan and Cecilia are two of the nicest people we've come across. Its so heartwarming to find people who love and care about the animals like we do.

We got Danny settled into the car then it was time for Amber's babies to make their exit from the plane. We had a human conveyor belt going where the line people helped us with handing the puppies one at a time to Allan and he carefully put them in the crate as Amber supervised. Amber was right there with us sniffing each puppy to make sure they were ok. She is such a good mama.

Soon the dogs were off and we jumped into The Flying Machine Cafe for some amazing food. It was seriously good and it you are in the area, you absolutely need to go there for great comfort food and a fun airport atmosphere.

Then it was time for us to say our goodbyes. Pam had really gotten attached to Danny during the flight and as usual cried as we left.

Cecilia has sent several pictures of Danny and Amber at the rescue and they looked happy. We've added the pictures as bonus material at the end of the video so be sure to watch the whole thing.

Everyone is doing great. Several of the Volunteers are in love with Danny, he such a good dog. And Amber is such a sweetheart you can't help but fall in love with her. They are making sure she eats three meals a day plus they'll give her hot dogs and mac and cheese to help fatten her up.

Cecilia didn't think that Danny would be there long because he would be adopted rather quickly. And Amber has to be there for the pups for a while longer plus she needs to get her health back before she can be adopted.

Mission Photos

Nancy and Her Daughter with Danny.

Nancy and her Daughter say goodbye to Danny.

Danny and Amber meet for the first time.

Abby, Amber, Steve, Danny, and Pam.

Puppies in their carrier before their Pilot.Dog flight.

Danny sits on Pam's lap for the entire Pilot.Dog flight.

Amber get comfortable in flight.

Pilot.Dog aerial view.

Skin and bones Amber finds some time in flight to sleep on the Pilot.Dog plane.

Puppies sleeping on the Pilot.Dog flight.

Danny looks around but holds onto Pam.

Danny was a perfect passenger on his Pilot.Dog flight to his new home.

Pam and Steve on a Pilot.Dog rescue flight.

Amazing Landmark Aviation line crew at KMQS Coatesville, PA

The incredible line crew at Landmark Aviation at KMQS.

Time to pass rescue puppies from the plane to the carrier.

The Pilot.Dog puppy unloading is nearly complete.

Amber gives her puppy a nuzzle or kiss.

It was loads of puppies that had to be safely unloaded.

Amber checks to make sure all is well with this puppy.

Amber is keeping a close eye on the puppy passing operation.

Alan accepts another puppy from the line crew.

Amber supervised as her puppies emerged.

More puppies coming out of the Pilot.Dog airplane.

Carefully passing the 4-week-old puppies from the Pilot.Dog plane.

Danny prepares to jump in his ride to LaMancha.

Chili at The Flying Machine Cafe at KMQS.

The Flying Machine Cafe at KMQS.

Beautiful sun rays in flight.

Ominous skies on the flight back home.

Yet another puppy picture.

Danny settles in at the LaMancha shelter.


Amber at the LaMancha shelter, shortly after she...

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Will Mark Tetzlaff Be Our Student Loan Hero?

(1) Comments | Posted October 20, 2015 | 4:24 PM

Mark Tetzlaff is a law school student who might not have achieved his dream of being a licensed attorney but the guy surely deserves some props for championing the cause through the courts of being impossibly in debt with student loans and seeking a legal remedy.

My last story on...

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Another Debt Relief Mailer to Watch for

(0) Comments | Posted October 20, 2015 | 1:50 PM

An amazing reader, Jessica, sent in a new debt relief mailer through my "I Buy Junk Mail" program.

These mailers promising all sorts of relief that try to appear as some sort of official notification are still going out to consumers. The mailers are problematic in my opinion because they...

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Hayden and the Inflight Gas Leak

(1) Comments | Posted October 20, 2015 | 1:28 PM

Mission -- Relocating Hayden to His New Forever Home

This story will put a big smile on your face and it's the perfect read if you are having a stressful day.

Hayden was great passenger with us on a recent flight and we flew him to his...

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A Feel Good Dog Rescue Story to Make You Smile

(0) Comments | Posted October 14, 2015 | 12:21 PM

Three more dogs saved from a kill shelter and flown to new forever homes. Now that's not a bad days effort.

This is a wonderful rescue story that our amazing patrons at helped to support. You can join our nonprofit support crew today.

Savings dogs from death is...

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My Daughter Lives in the UK Now and Can't Afford Her U.S. Private Student Loans

(65) Comments | Posted October 13, 2015 | 2:46 PM


Dear Steve,

My daughter has about $100k in private student debt (and another $100k in federal). She did her undergrad in CA and her grad in NY. Federal debt is manageable because they adjust for her income.

She can no longer afford to pay her private loans and...

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Father Forged Kids Names on Student Loans. Do They Owe Them?

(72) Comments | Posted October 6, 2015 | 11:57 AM


Dear Steve,

My ex husband left 2 of my children with over $100,000 each with student loan debt. He signed loans with their names without their knowledge, he missed months of payments which incurred high interest rates and now these kids both under 30 are saddled with these debts....

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My School Misled Me, Is Closing, and Leaving Me in Debt

(2) Comments | Posted October 5, 2015 | 5:24 PM


Dear Steve,

I started going to International Academy of Design and Technology in 2008 and was really excited to go for my Bachelors degree. I wanted a better life for my son and me. I asked all the usual questions; what's the program like, how are the courses taught,...

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Millions of Federal Student Loans Lining Up to Be Eliminated and Borrowers Repaid

(47) Comments | Posted October 2, 2015 | 3:27 PM

As a consumer debt expert for decades I've developed a pretty good sense of reading the tea leaves of debt. Sometimes this means making some sense out of puzzle pieces well in advance of assembly.

I'm getting that same strong sense that student loan debtors are on the verge of...

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My Car Is All Worn Out. What Should I Do?

(1) Comments | Posted October 1, 2015 | 9:07 PM


Dear Steve,

I need two new cars(used cars) but I don't know if I should fix these old cars or trade them in and buy two used ones. My 2007 Kia Optima has 165K miles on it and won't pass inspection -- it needs a catalytic converter and new...

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This Guy Gets How to Deal With Debt

(0) Comments | Posted September 30, 2015 | 4:37 PM

Bill Westrom just sent in an article to me to post on my site and it was so on track with what I have been trying to get across to people. I had to share it with you.

Bill understands that dealing with debt is about education,...

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Saving the Lives of Dogs, One Flight at a Time

(10) Comments | Posted September 30, 2015 | 1:39 PM

Here's a little something most people don't know about me: I'm a pilot. And the last year has been a busy one in the air.

Recently I launched as a way to allow people to share in the future dog rescue flights my wife and I...

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