College graduates and current students who have a lot of debt hanging over their heads should consider this. There are reports of senior citizens who still have not paid off their student loans from decades ago.
In one particular case, a 67-year-old graduate had a portion of his social security wages garnished by the government because he was not keeping up with his payments.
So now we're starting to realize this is not just a problem for students and young adults. This is something that can extend well into what is supposed to be one's golden years.
A 57-year-old woman, Rosemary Anderson, told CNN she's on the hook for $152,000 in student loans she took out 20 years ago. She's a divorced mother of two. In her case, she took out loans not only for herself, but also to pay for her children's college education. After graduation, Anderson was paying six checks a month to Sallie Mae, Wells Fargo, and other financial firms. So she decided to consolidate all her loans into one big loan with the Department of Education at an interest rate of 8.25 percent.
Anderson is just one of many from an older generation struggling to pay off student loans, whether it's from their own education or that of their kids. When Anderson consolidated her loans, it came with a catch. She could not refinance. That's why she's paying the rate of 8.25 percent. Since then, interest rates on student loans have dipped as low as 3 percent and today can be found at 4.66 percent. At this rate she will have to make payments of $699 a month until she is 81 years old. She said she will never be able to retire.
Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill earlier this year that would have allowed millions of Americans just like Anderson to refinance their student loans, but that bill was blocked in June.