Gotta favor to ask you. I’d like you to form an image in your mind of a typical person dealing with student loan debt. Got it? Good.
Now, let me guess. You’re picturing a college-educated young man or woman, perhaps with a concerned look on their face. Right? And no wonder they look concerned, considering the outrageous cost of college these days.
While the image you formed in your mind may be accurate for the “typical” person trying to figure out how they’re going to pay all that debt now that they’ve graduated from college, it doesn’t tell the whole picture. Not by a long shot.
That’s because the fastest growing group of student loan borrowers are – drum roll, please – age 60 and older. Say what? Yep, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, there are 2.8 million people 60 or older carrying $66.7 billion in student loan debt.
How could this be? Well, some seniors are recent college graduates, but the biggest reason for this situation is that many folks 60 or older are shouldering student loan debt that was accumulated by their children or grandchildren. These older folks either borrowed money themselves to help their kids or grandkids, or they co-signed for a loan.
In addition to being saddled with debt when many of us don’t have the same income we used to have, the report says that some older folks with federal student loan debt they can’t pay back are having money deducted from their Social Security payments by the government.
I’m not sure there’s a moral to this story. We all want to help our children and grandchildren as much as possible. But the advice here is don’t take on more debt than you can handle. Life is tough enough when you’re a senior.