Photo: Flickr / Offbeat Photography
Here’s a shocker for all you kids out there: Americans over 60 still owe 4.2 per cent of student loan debt, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.Compared to millennials, they’re not doing that bad, but the total is still $36 billion.
10 per cent of those loans are delinquent, while another 11.2 per cent are in default.
Three factors account for the loans: Attending college after high school, going back as an adult, or co-signing for a child’s loans (a terrible idea).
Boomers pummelled by the burden can’t file for bankruptcy, but Your Money contributor Meg Handley offers some tips to deal in the meantime:
1. Stay organised. If you have a mess of private and federal student loans, it can be difficult to keep things straight. The government’s National Student Loan Data System tracks all your federal student loans, making it just a bit easier to stay on top of what (and who) you owe money to.
2. See if you qualify for debt forgiveness. Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch? Depending on your professional field, you could qualify to have part or all of your federal student loans erased. If you volunteer, you might also qualify for loan forgiveness. Check FinAid’s student loan forgiveness section for details.
3. Consolidate monthly payments. If you’re struggling to make your monthly loan payments, consolidating the loans might make things easier—that is, if you don’t choose a predatory service. With more options for repayment and one lowered monthly bill, you may rest easier at night.
4. Pay off private student loans first. Private student loans almost always have higher interest rates and less repayment flexibility, so it’s best to address them first, says Miranda Marquit, personal finance writer for Yielding Wealth. “We really don’t want the interest capitalised (meaning the interest accrued is added to the principal and then more interest is paid on the interest),” she writes.
5. Have a talk with your lender. If you’re having trouble keeping your head above water, just calling your lender could cut hundreds of dollars from your monthly tab. Keep in mind when switching payment plans the length of the plan could mean more interest over time.
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