student loans

Consider These Programs to Help You Repay Your Student Loans

Check to see if you qualify for one of the income-driven repayment plans or a loan forgiveness program.

A particularly disturbing trend is the number of older adults who continue to be dogged by student loans. At the end of 2020, roughly 8.5 million Americans who were at least 50 years old owed about $349 billion in federal student loans, up 37% from the fourth quarter of 2017, according to Federal Student Aid. Worse, that debt lingers past their working years.

"Every year, thousands of seniors are carrying student loan debt into retirement, and a lot of that is unnecessary," says Martin Lynch, compliance manager and director of education for the nonprofit Cambridge Credit Counseling in Agawam, Mass., which provides free counseling on student loans.

If you're struggling to repay federal student loans, ask your loan servicer if you're eligible for one of four income-driven repayment plans. Payments are set as a percentage of your discretionary income, which is based on a comparison of your income and family size to the federal poverty guideline. The remaining balance may be forgiven after 20 or 25 years, depending on the plan. If you work for a state, municipality or nonprofit, you could qualify for forgiveness of your remaining balance after making 120 qualifying payments. Studentaid.gov has more information about loan forgiveness program

Although you could consolidate federal student loans with a private lender to get a lower rate, doing so will make you ineligible for federal loan forgiveness and income-driven repayment programs.

Most Popular

Dying Careers You May Want to Steer Clear Of
careers

Dying Careers You May Want to Steer Clear Of

It’s tough to change, but your job could depend on it. Be flexible in your career goals – and talk with your kids about their own aspirations, because…
September 13, 2021
5 Top Dividend Aristocrats to Beef Up Your Portfolio
dividend stocks

5 Top Dividend Aristocrats to Beef Up Your Portfolio

The 65-member Dividend Aristocrats are among the market's best sources of reliable, predictable income. But these five stand out as truly elite.
September 14, 2021
7 Best Commodity Stocks to Play the Coming Boom
commodities

7 Best Commodity Stocks to Play the Coming Boom

These seven commodity stocks are poised to take advantage of a unique confluence of events. Just mind the volatility.
September 8, 2021

Recommended

How Exactly Do You Stress-Test Your Financial Plan?
retirement planning

How Exactly Do You Stress-Test Your Financial Plan?

Some tasks are not good for DIYers, and stress-testing your portfolio is probably one of them. Because individuals don’t have access to the same tools…
September 18, 2021
The Downside of Delaying RMDs
required minimum distributions (RMDs)

The Downside of Delaying RMDs

With the SECURE Act 2.0, Congress is contemplating raising the age for required minimum distributions. However, don't assume you would benefit from th…
September 16, 2021
Is a Target Date Fund Right for You?
investing

Is a Target Date Fund Right for You?

You're busy, and poring over investments is a pain. Wouldn't a target date fund be easier? Take a look at their pros and cons to see if incorporating …
September 14, 2021
What's My Social Security Full Retirement Age?
social security

What's My Social Security Full Retirement Age?

The year you were born determines when you become eligible for your full Social Security retirement benefit. Use our calculator to determine your full…
September 14, 2021