Go to college. Start a career. Get married. Have kids. Retire to the Florida Keys.
That’s the future most Americans envision for themselves. But with college loans at an all-time high of $1.3 trillion, that timeline has new steps — like “move back in with parents” and “work two jobs.”
Students around the country are realizing they may need to work a little harder to achieve their version of the American dream. According to a study conducted by American Institute of CPAs, 8 in 10 adults have said loan payments required them to sacrifice financially or personally. These concessions include…
- Delaying the start of retirement accounts (50 percent)
- Living with roommates (40 percent)
- Postponing marriage (20 percent)
- Putting off having children (19 percent)
Seven in 10 of those polled wish they handled their college years a little differently. In hindsight, one in three would have attended a public university or gone to community college to save money.
Here’s some advice from AICPA’s Financial Literacy Commission…
- Look at other options to finance your education like grants, scholarships, part-time jobs, or work study.
- Apply to jobs that offer tuition reimbursement assistance, and see if you’re a candidate for military aid.
- Complete your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as soon as you can after its January 1 release to increase your chances of receiving aid.
- Learn the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loans, PLUS loans, Perkins loans, need-based vs. merit-based assistance, and private vs. federal lenders.
- Learn about the different options to repay your debt, including the income-based repayment plan, loan consolidation, the extended repayment plan, and the graduated repayment plan.
- Take note that student loans are extremely hard to cancel, even during bankruptcy. Permanent total disability and death are two of the limited ways to be pardoned.
You may need to put off buying that beach house in Key West, but don’t throw in the towel just yet.