Loans are strain for retirees

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By Dominique Smith / Staff Writer

Educational Debt (Stacey Patino / Staff Illustrator)

By Dominique Smith / Staff Writer

Once upon a time we would all pile into the car on summer vacations and go to grandma’s house. We wait all year for school to be over until we reach freedom, freshly baked cookies, cable TV and whatever granny felt like spoiling us with at the time.
Now we’re all grown up and trips to grandma’s house may be out of the question, because of the mountain of debt senior citizens are facing; and it may be your fault.
Defaulted student loans are the reason 115,000 senior citizens receiving social security benefits have experienced a $190 dollar pay decrease.
Most of returning students at Riverside City College or fresh new faces may have been asked, when trying to obtain student loans, for a Co-signer.
If you asked your grandparents, then you may have to factor in the risk of their future as well as yours.  
The reality is there is an 85 million dollar loan debt amongst the elderly from the age ranges of 60 and older.
Continuing education has a price tag and it really will follow you to the grave.
According to the Debt Act of 1996, the Government is not allowed to garnish wages on social security under $750; however that leaves retirement checks very light.
It used to be: save all of your money, get a good education and get a good job. In this current economic climate, it seems nothing more than a pipe dream.
Most Americans don’t start saving money for retirement until they are 48 to 64 years of age, not leaving much of a nest egg.
It is a scary thought that a college career can end in a ball-and-chain debt situation that cannot be shed by bankruptcy. It is an even scarier thought that it can all be in vain.
 With the economic crisis growing bigger, $750 is just a little less than minimum wage.
Student loans are a bit of a necessary evil, education is not cheap and being penalized for wanting to better yourself seems like a far reach, yet we carry on and it just might end up that, by the time we retire, there simply just won’t be any money.
 There are talks about social security stretching at least 20 more years, and then only being able to make up for 75 percent of its payments, we might not even see social security at the end of our lifetime.
Social security was signed into law on Aug. 14, 1934 by Franklin D. Roosevelt during the greatest economic crisis the United States had ever experienced, for the greater good of the working man to have something to look forward to.
President Roosevelt got us out of one great depression, if only there was a time machine to ask the eight term president how to fix this current state of disaster.
It would be wrong to discourage students from getting student loans, because they are beneficial and do help for the time being, but making sure you keep up your payments and get them taken care of is the biggest concern you will have to face. It may be a long time before this debt crisis gets fixed and adding on to it is a bad ideal.
Simply not being able to afford your payment won’t fly any longer and it is a shame that, once again, the elderly have to pick up the price tag for yet another failure in the economic system.

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