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Baby boomers beset by student loan debt

New York residents are probably familiar with the growing problem of student loan debt. The cost of education keeps going up, and many graduates are finding that there aren’t enough well-paying jobs available to help them pay off their loans once they come due. Many of these graduates are seeking credit counseling relatively soon after they leave school.

What many New Yorkers might not know is that a large number of these debt-ridden graduates are baby boomers. Many Americans in their 50s and 60s have gone back to school later in life to try to boost their earning potential, or just to fulfill lifelong dreams. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, more than two million people over age 60 owe money on their student loans.

The average student loan balance for these older Americans is $19,500, and if they hope to retire without debt, they don’t have long to pay off that balance. Some are saying they don’t think they will ever pay it off, and they expect to die with their student loan debt still on the books. Delinquency rates have risen for these debtors as well. The New York Federal Reserve found that, among student loan debts held by people over age 60, 13 percent were at least 90 days overdue.

There is help available for people whose student loan debt is weighing down on them. Government programs can help debtors come up with a new repayment plan that have lower monthly payments. Student loans generally can’t be discharged through bankruptcy, but bankruptcy attorneys can sometimes help debtors reduce their monthly payments or eliminate other forms of debt that are holding them back from the dreams they went to school to pursue.

Source: MSN Money, “Baby boomers may die with college debt,” Aimee Picchi, April 16, 2013

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