Student loan debt

Massive Student Loan Debt Cripples Young Graduates

It is no secret that student loan debt is out of control in this country. But many people don’t realize the actual scope of the problem. More and more young adults are graduating from college with so much debt that they may take it with them to the grave.

A recent segment in Consumer Reports Magazine explored this important issue facing young Americans, and found that they certainly are not oblivious to the problem. They are very aware of the burden that college costs has placed on them; in fact, some wished they had not even attended college at all!

Results from the Consumer Reports Survey of 1,500 young Americans with student loan debt:

47% said if they had to do it over again, they would not take on as much debt as they did – either choosing a different school, or finding some other means of financing
45% said college was not worth the cost
44% had to cut back on daily living expenses to make their student loan payments
37% delayed saving for retirement or other financial goals
28% delayed buying a house
14% changed careers due to debt
12% delayed marriage

The student loan debt load facing our younger generations is one of the greatest financial problems in our country, with long-term impacts on the economy and the financial stability of our society.

How did we get here? The answer is long and complex, involving the government, private lenders, loan servicers, and other entities. But one aspect that we feel is largely at fault for our being in this mess is lack of planning.

It’s not your fault – it’s likely that no one talked to you about how you were going to pay for college back when you went to school (when the cost was probably quite a bit more manageable), and while there are lots more resources available to families now, most people aren’t aware of them, or don’t know how to find them.

One story in the Consumer Reports article that particularly bothered us was the story of one student whose mother paid a consultant $2,000 to help fill out the financial aid forms – but no one discussed with either the parent or the student how they were going to pay for the balance! As the student later recounted, “No one talked to me about whether I could afford college, how much it would cost, or how interest would work. I knew nothing about money.”

Obviously the consultant that they hired failed to provide an important service that this client needed. (This is why we never recommend that anyone pay someone just to fill out financial aid forms for them! Proper planning is much more important than the paperwork.) This young lady is now working on paying of $90,000 in student loan debt, and wonders if she will ever be able to buy a house or start a family.

We consider the amount of student loan debt in this country to be disgraceful, especially since so much of it could have been avoided with proper advance planning. This is why we are so passionate about the college planning services we provide to families. By providing guidance, support, and expert knowledge throughout the process, we are able to save families thousands of dollars, help students graduate sooner and with less debt, and put parents on a better track to a more comfortable retirement.

Don’t become a statistic! Make sure you and your student are not taking on more debt than you need to, or more than you can handle. Do your research, talk to an expert who can help you figure out a plan to pay for college in an efficient manner, and above all, start planning early!

For more information on how your family can pay for college in a more cost-effective manner, without taking on unmanageable amounts of debt, please attend one of our free local workshops in the Columbus area, or call 614-536-0246 to schedule a FREE one-on-one consultation with one of our college planning specialists.

 

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