By Ameritech Financial, Special for USDR
It’s becoming apparent that millennials are not the only ones struggling with student loan debt. Whether borrowed for their children’s education or their own, student loan debt is increasingly in the hands and homes of the baby boomer generation. Ameritech Financial, a document preparation company who aligns each client with the Department of Education repayment program that fits their needs, wants to emphasize that regardless of age, they help each borrower work toward potentially affordable payments, with the ultimate goal of loan forgiveness.
Between 2005 and 2015 (according to the most recent data by New York Fed), the amount of student loan debt increased by eight times for people age 60 or more and five times for people age 50–59, while for people under 30 it increased by only two times.
“It’s alarming to see the amount of people preparing for retirement who have student loan debt increase like that,” says Tom Knickerbocker, Executive Vice President of Ameritech Financial. “Student loan repayment can be burdensome for anyone, but potentially more so for those in their 50s or 60s who are facing retirement and the financial challenges that can come from that.”
There are two ways older generations get student loan debt: taking out loans for their children or grandchildren or taking out loans to go back to school. Both can affect their finances as they are saving for retirement.
Parents helping their kids through college by taking on student loan debt are in uniquely vulnerable positions. Not only do they not see a return on the investment, but the potentially outrageous monthly payments can prevent them from staying afloat, especially when something bad happens.
Take Jim Roach, an entrepreneur who took out loans to help his daughter through college. When she graduated, he ended up with $40,000 in student loans. When he fell on hard times — a string of events including cancer, divorce, a new child with expensive medical needs and business failure — he ended up with an additional $27,000 from interest and fees that he had to have his daughter handle.
It’s hard to tell how much parents are borrowing in these cases. Many choose to mortgage their home instead of taking out student loans — a move that is smart but hard to track. Whether the debt is in the form of student loans or another mortgage, it is bad for retirement savings. Any money going into education costs is money taken away from retirement.
In other cases, older workers go back to school to be more competitive and earn more, but they are saddled with as much debt as younger students. Again, this can be beneficial and is well worth exploring, but it can also harm retirement efforts.
What’s worse is that defaults are much more common in student loan debt held by older Americans. Of student loan debt held by borrowers age 60–64, 12.6 percent are in default. That is higher than student loan debt held by anyone under 40.
“We’ve seen lots of reports come out about student loan debt influencing other financial decisions, whether that’s buying a home, starting a family or now retiring,” says Knickerbocker. “We at Ameritech Financial know how burdensome student loan debt can be and we are proud to be able to help borrowers get into repayment plans through the Department of Education that are hopefully low enough so they can confidently plan for and meet their financial goals.”
About Ameritech Financial
Ameritech Financial is located in El Dorado Hills, California, right next to the California state capitol, Sacramento. Ameritech Financial has already helped thousands of people with financial analysis and student loan document preparation for federal student loan forgiveness programs offered through the Department of Education.
Each representative on the phone is certified through the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA) and has received the Certified Student Loan Professional certification through Americans for Student Loan Relief (AFSLR).
Ameritech Financial prides themselves on their exceptional 24/7 Customer Service.
SOURCE Ameritech Financial