Though millennials catch the most flack for taking out hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans to pay for worthless college degrees that do little to improve their financial prospects in the “real world,” for older Americans who take out loans to finance their education later in life, the repercussions can be ten times worse.
While it might not seem like much compared with the overall $1.4 trillion mountain of student loan debt rattling around the American economy, according to the Wall Street Journal, Americans over the age of 60 are struggling to pay down an aggregate $86 billion in student loan debt.
Student loan borrowers in their 60s, on average, owed $33,800 in 2017, up 44% from 2010, according to data compiled by credit-reporting firm TransUnion. Total student loan debt for people aged 60 and older rose 161% between 2010 and 2017,the biggest increase of any age group.
Rising student debt is the biggest contributor to the overall increase in the debt burden. for Americans aged 60 and older. US consumers who are 60 or older owed around $615 billion in credit cards, auto loans, personal loans and student loans as of 2017, up 84% since 2010, the largest increase of any age group.
And for many, the results are nothing short of ruinous. Take Ante Grgas-Cice, 66. After a restaurant venture failed, he took out loans to go back to school, a decision he said “will haunt him for the rest of his life.” Because he has had difficulty paying down his $30,000 debt burden, the government garnished his social security check for a period last year.
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