Financial Fitness Zone: Struggling with student loan debt

Posted at 6:02 AM, May 21, 2015
and last updated 2016-11-17 15:28:46-05

Are you struggling with student loan debt? You’re not alone.

“I have four daughters and I'm terrified,” said Valley resident Dan Rineer.

“People I know are struggling a lot with their bills and having to make those $300 payments,” said future Sun Devil Jerri Doby.

That crippling debt is student loans. More and more college grads are now entering the workforce owing a mountain of money.               

40 million Americans carry around their student loan weight like a heavy book bag. That's almost half of the people college-age to middle-age and sometimes they have it for 10 to 20 years. That would fill up Sun Devil Stadium 600 times!

“If you learn from your mistakes then it's not that bad.” 

And learning means looking, according to Sulie Richardson,  Community Education Officer for Desert Schools Federal Credit Union.

  1. Look for the loans that are forgivable and some will even trade volunteer work for loan reduction.         
  2. Don’t ignore a balance, no matter what the amount
  3. Don’t automatically consolidate the debt
  4. Don’t automatically defer the loan payments

The average burden for each borrower passed $30,000 last year and that means students and graduates will deal with the debt now and for years to come.

“If you're really serious about improving your financial situation and you have a budget, you're tracking what you're spending and you see where you're spending money, and some of these things are non-essential items, you need to make some changes,” Richardson said.