The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that "nearly one in five consumers with loans said they think they will never be able to finish paying off their debt.” This is twice the number of people that said the same thing last year.
The article describes a grim situation where people are stuck in low paying jobs, underemployed, or have been looking for work for a long time. Also, since wages haven’t increased much over time, people don’t see things as getting much better.
Who Is Feeling It the Worst?
The pessimism was also tied to income and age. Approximately 20% of people who made less than $30,000 per year said that they would never be debt free, as opposed to 15% of those making $75,000+ per year.
As for age, millennials aren’t as worried as older groups, who don’t have time on their side. This often happens as parents, and even grandparents, take out student loans for their children or grandchildren.
According to the Post, other studies show that more people are carrying debt into retirement, as debt load for all types of loans increased from 2005 to 2014. What is worse, they are having their Social Security benefits garnished to cover the student loan debt.
So What Solution Do They Offer and Do They Work?
As for a solution, the article quotes Matt Schulz, a senior industry analyst for CreditCards.com, as saying that people shouldn’t give up on paying their loans. He suggests as a solution balance transfers to cards with lower interest rates or calling the credit card banks and asking for lower interest rates.
Balance transfers aren’t always the best solution, as restrictions and other “gotchas” can make that option unattractive, and still may not lower the monthly payment enough to make it affordable.
Plus you would most likely have to stop using the card, as the lower rate on balance transfers may not apply to new debt. As for asking for a lower interest rate, you may still be struggling with the payments, even if the credit card bank agrees to give you one.
Is It Better to File Bankruptcy?
But although people should consider all the alternatives, they should not take bankruptcy off the list. Sometimes “hitting the financial reset button” is the best way to move on and get a better quality of life.
Credit scores can be rebuilt, so do you really want to spend the next few decades of your life (especially your golden years) weighed down with debt? If your income is such that making the payments is too much of a struggle, and you don’t see it getting better any time soon, why continue to live like that?
But What About the Student Loans?
Bankruptcy can wipe out loans and credit card debt. As for the student loans, why let them follow you into retirement? The federal government can garnish Social Security to collect, but it also has income based plans that can make repayment more affordable.
State and private loans cannot attach that income, so it is protected. Plus without having to pay on other debt, you might have enough money every month to make the student loan payments more affordable.
So What Do I Do?
The bottom line here is that you should consider bankruptcy as an option to see if it can make your quality of life better by removing the struggle with debt. A good student loan lawyer can also work with you to find ways to deal with that debt to ease the pinch.
If you live in southern New Jersey, I would like the opportunity to be of assistance. So please feel free to call me at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site for a free consultation in my Woodbury office to discuss your case.
If you have more questions about bankruptcy, then download my free book,Top Questions People Ask About Filing Bankruptcy in New Jersey.
If you would like more information about student loans, you can dowload my free book, I Graduated; Now What? A Guide to Dealing with Your Student Loans.