Many Older Americans Facing “Double Whammy” When it Comes to Student Loans

USA Today ran an interesting story last week about parents facing the student loan “double whammy”, meaning they are paying off their own student loan debts, along with debts accumulated by their children.

One person in the article, Charlene Rose, 51, has not been able to put away money for her retirement—instead she’s faced with paying off the student loans she took out to get her master’s degree, as well as the student loans each one of her kids have taken out. The Rose family owes as much as $136,000 in student loans, according to USA Today.

“I didn’t think I would have this much debt,” Charlene told USA Today. “I think that I’ll still be able to pay it off. That’s my goal. I just can’t see not paying the debt.” Ironically, Charlene, who lives in Orlando, serves as the director of housing for Consumer Debt Counselors, which advises people on mortgage debt.

In its piece, USA Today reported that Americans, 50 to 59 years old, owed $112 billion in student loan debt at the end of 2012, up from $34 billion in 2005. The average balance for these debtors is $23,820 for student loans, up from $14,714 in 2005.

“People are still paying off debts that they took out in the ’70s,” Robert Applebaum, founder of the website, told USA Today. “There are also people who are nearing retirement age, but cannot retire because of their own student loan debts.”

According to American Student Assistance, nearly 20 million Americans attend college each year, with approximately 12 million people collecting student loans to cover costs. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau reports that because of this, there is nearly $1 trillion in outstanding student loan debt in the country.

Unfortunately, student loans are very hard to discharge in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, for most people, a bankruptcy filing can bring financial relief, as other forms of debt like housing payments, credit card bills and medical bills are dischargeable, making student loan payments easier.

If you are stressing or underwater financially because of student loans, you can contact our Washington DC and Maryland bankruptcy lawyer now for a free consultation. Our attorney can work with you to eliminate or consolidate your debt, and restore your financial freedom.

Law Firm of Kevin D. Judd
Judd’s Judgment: According to the Project on Student Debt, the average amount of student loan debt for a Class of 2011 graduate was $26,600.

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