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Over 50 with Student Debt

“Hopelessness” and “despair” are a couple of the words used to characterize many people who are over 50 and still owe money on their student loans. If you are coming out of high school, or maybe coming out of a stint in the military (thank you for your service), and heading for college, this sounds crazy. You’re probably thinking, ‘That’s 20 to 30 years away. Surely, I can pay off my loans by then.’ Not always.
People over 49 hold 20% of student loan debt. Part of that debt is the cost of college more than doubling for a four-year degree over the last three decades. Have you or your parents’ incomes increased that fast? Another part is parents and grandparents taking on debt for their children or grandchildren. In my Say No! To College Debt book, I discuss the cons of borrowing to put your children or grandchildren through college.
Some of that loan increase is people going back to college for a career change. I did that three times. Early on, I dropped out of college to be a musician. After 10 years, I went back to learn accounting and graduated with no debt. A decade later, I decided to pursue an MBA and graduated again with no debt. Finally, I moved into academia and earned a Ph.D. in my sixties – still with no debt. It’s possible to not accrue student debt even later in life. I should also add that I received no government support in any of those degrees.
It’s possible to get through school without debt. To help you, I’ll continue to post more blogs (usually every other week) with ideas and issues relating to getting through college with minimal or no debt. You can read prior posts or sign up to directly receive future posts on my website, You can also order a copy of the Say No! To College Debt book there.
Title and information source: AARP Bulletin July/August 2019

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