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When it comes to money, I regularly battle against a fear-based mentality. And one of my biggest fears is running out of money in my golden years.
While I’m young and working, I can ensure that my bills are paid and I’m contributing to my savings. But what happens when I retire? Or if I’m forced to retire at some point due to my age?
Now, reports are showing that the elderly aren’t just having these fears, they’re battling student loan debt with the rest of us. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to think about when I’m older is my student loan debt. Here’s how I’m going to ensure that I won’t have to — and how you can too.
How the elderly are being affected by student loan debt
Because the student loan problem is still relatively new in America, it might seem surprising that the elderly are being affected by it.
But they are — and the number of the elderly affected is increasing. In fact, the number has gone up by nearly 60 percent over the past few years, according to Politico. What’s worse, many of those who can’t pay are dealing with garnishment of their social security.
Can you imagine needing student loan help even in retirement? How about losing your limited retirement funds to student loan repayment? I think we can agree that it’s best if you never have to face this in your golden years. Here’s how you can make sure you don’t.
How to get student loan help now to avoid needing it in retirement
1. Pay your loans off — or get them forgiven
Many older borrowers who have defaulted ignored their loans for decades. And now they’re being forced to repay through deductions from their social security. If that’s not proof that you can’t hide from student loan debt, I don’t know what is.
The absolutely best thing you can do for future you is to convince present you to pay those loans off. If you can’t afford to pay them off faster than your repayment plan, that’s OK. Just make sure you keep paying the full amount due every month — on time.
If you need student loan help, and can’t make your payments, sign up for an income-driven repayment plan. These plans ensure you get the lowest possible payment and make you eligible for student loan forgiveness. And if that won’t help enough, you can always explore deferment or forbearance.
2. Check your credit report regularly
Here’s a scary thing to consider: You might think you don’t need help with student loan debt. You might think that you already have your loans paid off, only to find out that one of them was sold to a servicer who failed to contact you. And since you didn’t know about it, you didn’t pay on it, and you could end up in default.
That’s why it’s important to check your credit report at least once a year. Make sure you check your report from all three bureaus, and if you see something you don’t recognize, dig deeper. It could either be a mistake or a loan you didn’t know about — either way, the sooner you handle it, the better.
3. Don’t co-sign loans for others
If someone you know needs student loan help, you might be tempted to co-sign. But you shouldn’t co-sign unless you’re sure you can afford to repay the loan in full. Otherwise, you could end up in a situation in which both of you default.
Ideally, you’d be co-signing for someone just to help them get approved, but you never know when hardship can strike. Even if that person never intends to default on the loan, there’s no guarantee that they won’t. Consider the rule of lending money: Don’t lend it unless you can afford to lose it.
4. Start saving for college for your kids now
If you have kids or plan on having kids in the future, start saving for college now. This will help offset their costs and your own — since you might take loans out to help them go to school.
But if you already have kids (or grandkids) in college, you might want to think twice before you take out loans for them.
“Young people have the benefit of time on their side to grow income as well as investments,” said financial planner Kaya Ladejobi. “They are a long way from retirement. It’s more forgiving if they carry debt than someone on fixed retirement income.”
As parents and grandparents, you want to give everything you can to your kids or grandkids — especially when it comes to education. But giving them support in a way that also protects you is the best scenario for everyone. Give to your kids and grandkids if you can afford to do so. Just make sure you do it in a way that doesn’t risk your own financial stability.
Seek help with student loan debt and get a handle on your future
When people talk about student loan debt, it can be hard to face the fact that the loans are already signed for and the damage is done. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have control over the situation.
Even the most seemingly hopeless of student loan situations can be fixed. Whether it’s through federal assistance programs, a strong debt payoff plan, or refinancing to lower rates.
As long as you seek help with student debt if you need it now, then you can get a handle on it. That way you can look forward to what your golden years should be about — enjoying life.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.57% – 6.98%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.80% – 6.22%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.57% – 8.17%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|