Older Americans and Student Loan Debt
Student loan debt continues to grow and affects adults of all ages; the number of older adults with student loans has dramatically increased as well. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), "Student loans make up the nation’s second largest consumer debt market, and seniors are the fastest growing segment of this market. From 2005 to 2015, the number of Americans age 60 or older with one or more student loans quadrupled and the average debt load owed by an older borrower roughly doubled."
Some Seniors have student loan debt because they went back to school later in life, but the majority of it was for their children's education. And half of co-signers out there are aged 55 and over. It's important to remember that as a co-signer you are just as responsible for that debt as the main borrower. So if the main borrower fell behind, it's just as if you've fallen behind as well.
"I can't afford my current payment. What are my options?"
Depending on your loan type(s), usually there are multiple repayment options available, including income based repayment. So find the most affordable payment for your individual situation. For more info on repayment options, check out StudentLoanBorrowerAssistance.org.
"What if I've already missed a payment?"
The worst thing you can do is nothing. Instead, be sure you that you keep in contact with your student loan servicer. While private loans can be a little more tricky, there are typically options to bring your federal loans current and to avoid or get out of default. Here are tips for dealing with your servicer as well.
"What if I need help figuring out my options?"
Great news...LSS offers FREE student loan counseling with experienced financial counselors. We will review your budget, student loans, and repayment options. With this information you will be able to make an informed decision on the best course of action to take. Plus, many people are juggling other kinds of financial issues like credit cards or not having an emergency savings account. We provide comprehensive and individualized financial counseling sessions and concrete steps to take. Give us a call today at 888.577.2227 for your free and confidential session, or go to our website to get started online.
For more information, check out the CFPB's article, "Four Tips to Help Older Student Loan Borrowers Navigate Common Problems with Their Student Loans."