More older people are bringing student debt into their retirement

Personal Finance

When Eads’ son was diagnosed with cancer, he retired earlier than he expected to tend to him. His son eventually died.

During these difficulties, Eads put his loans into multiple forbearances, which are temporary postponements of payments, during which interest accrues. The 71-year-old man now owes more than $60,000, more than double what he originally borrowed.

“All that happened to me wasn’t their fault,” Eads said. “But it feels like the people who service the loans are putting obstacles in front of you.”

He and his wife now live off around $2,600 a month between both of their Social Security checks and a small pension he receives from his 20-year career as a chemist for the government.

“We don’t take trips or anything else like that,” he said. “It’s difficult”

Because he’s enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan — which caps his monthly payments at a percentage of his income, he’s not responsible for paying anything right now.

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