Why It’s Time To Get Smarter About Student Loan Debt

By Mark Hamrick
Bankrate.com

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) According to a recent report from the credit reporting bureau Experian, 13 percent of U.S. consumers have one or more student loans on their credit file, with average total debt of more than $34,000 per person.

Bankrate.com

Americans don’t do enough homework about college costs and how to cover them.

The result is $1.4 trillion in student loan debt, the fastest-growing type of household debt. It now accounts for about a third of non-housing-related debt.

And there are many more grim statistics where those came from, raising tough questions for families.

THE TOLL OF HEAVY STUDENT DEBT
While a college education can help ensure, but not guarantee, career success, the rising student loan debt load takes a toll on millennials’ ability to achieve financial goals in a timely fashion.

“For some millennials, the American Dream seems to be more of a nightmare as many struggle to achieve life goals like getting married, buying homes and starting families,” says Paul Golden, a spokesman for the National Endowment for Financial Education.

Older generations also are juggling student loan payments, left over from either their own time in school or that of their children.

According to a recent report from the credit reporting bureau Experian, 13 percent of U.S. consumers have one or more student loans on their credit file, with average total debt of more than $34,000 per person. It also finds that one-third of student loan borrowers are not currently repaying all of their loans.

Furthermore, the National Association of Realtors reports:

-61 percent of student debtors have had difficulty contributing to retirement accounts

-32 percent are able to save for retirement, but at a reduced amount.

-If student loan borrowers were free of that debt, most would be putting that money toward long-term savings, investments, or a home purchase.

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