Nearing Retirement With Student Loan Debt? What You Can Do

Many older adults will struggle with rising costs (health care and otherwise) and not enough savings. Here’s how they can manage lingering student debt.

An older man peruses paperwork, looking thoughtful, while standing at his kitchen counter.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Student loans have become one of the heaviest financial burdens for Americans. As of this year, student loan borrowers owe a whopping $1.7 trillion in federal and private student loan debt, according to the Federal Reserve. It may seem that student loan debt is most often a problem for younger and middle-aged Americans, but data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says otherwise. It found nearly 40% of borrowers 65 and older have defaulted on their loans.

What’s even more concerning is that for many, age 65 is when people start thinking about claiming Social Security benefits, if they haven’t done so already. This financial burden can add even more pressure on Americans nearing, or in, retirement.

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This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.

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Patrick M. Simasko, J.D.
Partner, Simasko Law

Patrick M. Simasko is an elder law attorney and financial adviser at Simasko Law and Simasko Financial, specializing in elder law and wealth preservation. He’s also an Elder Law Professor at Michigan State University School of Law. His self-effacing character, style and ability have garnered him prominence and recognition throughout the metro Detroit area as well as the entire state.