A reader wants to know if he’s a typical student loan sufferer

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Question: I just turned 30 and I still have around $27,000 in student loan debt. I was prepared to be depressed about that, but when I lamented this fact on Facebook, friends I hadn’t talked to in years said I was LUCKY. So am I? And is there anything I can do to get this $27,000 monkey off my back any faster? At this rate, I’ll be 50 before I pay off these loans. THAT thought depresses me.

Patrick in Seattle

Howard Dvorkin CPA answers…

When it comes to carrying student loan debt, this is one of the few times in life when you want to be below average. Sorry, Patrick: You are almost exactly average.

A new study came out just this month that calculates Americans aged 18 to 34 have an average of $27,305 in student loans. Experian, best known as one of the Big Three credit bureaus, also reported, “there are 13 million consumers ages 18–34 that have at least one open student loan.” So not only are you average, Patrick, you’re also not alone.

Experian confirmed what many of us in the personal finance industry already knew: “The total amount of student-loan debt has reached an all-time high of $1.2 trillion.” That’s more than the $854 billion in credit card debt for everyone in the country.

What you can do about it

The good news, Patrick, is that student loans have such a problem, the federal government has created programs for easing America’s student loan burden.

Of course, you need to have federal student loans for these programs to work – not private ones. You can take advantage of these government programs for free by handling the paperwork yourself, or you can have someone do it for you. It’s similar to doing your own taxes or having an accountant do it for you. However, unlike your income taxes, there’s no “EZ form.”

If you have the time and ability to wade through the paperwork, I urge you to do so. If you don’t, I urge you to consult an expert. Debt.com offers a free consultation service at (855) 996-9768 so you can figure out what works best for you.

Hopefully, Patrick, you can go from average student loan debt to below average in just a few weeks!

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About the Author

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

I’m a certified public accountant who has authored two books on getting out of debt, Credit Hell and Power Up, and I am one of the personal finance experts for Debt.com. I have focused my professional endeavors in the consumer finance, technology, media and real estate industries creating not only Debt.com, but also Financial Apps and Start Fresh Today, among others. My personal finance advice has been included in countless articles, and has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Forbes and Entrepreneur as well as virtually every national and local newspaper in the country. Everyone should have a reason for living that’s bigger than themselves, and besides my family, mine is this: Teaching Americans how to live happily within their means. To me, money is not the root of all evil. Poor money management is. Money cannot buy happiness, but going into debt always buys misery. That’s why I launched Debt.com. I’m glad you’re here.

Published by Debt.com, LLC