Keep Student Loans From Strangling Your Retirement Plans

Understand your options for handling student debt.

(Image credit: 2012)

More and more people are staggering into retirement carrying a heavy burden: student loan debt. Borrowers age 60 and older had $66.7 billion in student loan debt in 2015, up more than 700% from 2005, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. And they are struggling to pay back that debt: Nearly 40% of federal student loan borrowers age 65 and older are in default, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, compared with 17% of those age 49 and younger.

While student debt weighs heavily on borrowers of all ages, it presents particular challenges for seniors. Older people with student loans have less saved for retirement than those without such debt, and they’re more likely to skimp on necessary doctor visits and prescription drugs, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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Eleanor Laise
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Retirement Report
Laise covers retirement issues ranging from income investing and pension plans to long-term care and estate planning. She joined Kiplinger in 2011 from the Wall Street Journal, where as a staff reporter she covered mutual funds, retirement plans and other personal finance topics. Laise was previously a senior writer at SmartMoney magazine. She started her journalism career at Bloomberg Personal Finance magazine and holds a BA in English from Columbia University.