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Stateside student debts still taking their toll on the retired

Posted by Tom Walker

Across the pond, it seems the struggle with student loans is not an unfamiliar one. What is more concerning is that the stresses of debts is not confined to young students; in fact statistics from the New York Federal Reserve Bank show that over 16% of the nation's $1.2 trillion student debts belong to those who are over 50 years old. This very bleak statistic reveals the harsh truth that student debts is a problem that is severely impacting the entire country. With retirement on the horizon, having debts hanging over you from the '70s and '80s is anything but ideal, and many Americans still have as much as $75,000 worth of debt to pay off. For many, moving into retirement is a difficult transition as it is: you move from working life where you are receiving a consistent salary into a life with a fixed savings pot and a reliance on government Social Security payments. Having $75,000 of debt to pay off on top is a considerable financial worry for many.

Those who failed to make payments or even forgot about the debt that was created over 30 years ago only understand the harsh reality when the government reclaims up to 15% of benefits in order to pay off the outstanding loan. Further still, parents who paid off their own student debts are still taking out Parent PLUS loans in order to pay for their children's college education, resulting in more financial debt, again shortly before retirement. The gloomy reality is that there is no current solution to the country's debt issues. Although legislation has been updated over the past years to increase transparency around the financial consequences of taking out hefty student debt, for many Americans the solution will simply be to delay retirement and continue working through their golden years.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons