THE GUARDIAN: How soaring student debt threatens a vulnerable set: Americans over 60

Career College Central Summary:

  • The popular idea of what retirement involves, as long as you’re healthy enough to enjoy it, can sound a bit like an extended vacation: golfing, fishing, sitting around drinking iced tea while discussing the latest books with a group of like-minded friends, traveling to visit the grandchildren or places you’ve always yearned to see.
  • Nowhere in those scenarios is there any mention of writing a monthly check to pay off a student loan.
  • Here’s a reality check. Over the last 10 years, it is Americans over the age of 60 who have seen their student loan debt grow at the fastest rate of any demographic group, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • By 2014 that sum had hit $58bn, up from a mere $6bn in 2004. The increase in borrowers over the age of 40 taking out new student loans was nearly twice the increase in borrowing by their younger counterparts over that period.
  • That’s not great news, because Americans in their 40s, 50s and 60s have much less time to repay those loans and try to save for their other big financial goal – retirement. Senior citizens are ending up retiring while still owing substantial sums in federal student loans. And since those amounts cannot be discharged even in bankruptcy proceedings, the consequences are painful.
  • Some retired borrowers are finding that the government is looking to the social security payments on which they rely to buy food and pay rent in order to recoup some of that debt.

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