Many younger Americans are still shackled to heavy student debt burdens that they don’t understand.
College graduates and current students are delaying or missing life milestones as they pay back the cost of their education, according to a recent study by Newark, N.J.-based Prudential Financial, but they are unaware of what they will pay or how long they will pay it.
Half of the student borrowers in a survey of 2,369 people ages 17 to 34 didn’t know their future monthly payment accounts, while almost three-quarters, 74 percent, didn’t know how long they would be making payments.
In 2016, the average college graduate left school with $37,172 in student loans, according to Prudential Financial, nearly triple the average from two-decades earlier
More than half of the survey’s overall respondents said that debt was preventing them from saving for emergencies. Two-fifths of respondents said they were delaying buying a home, 42 percent, and saving for retirement, 40 percent.
Respondents were also delaying marriage and having children due to student loan debt.
According to Prudential Financial, American households headed by adults under the age of 40 with student debt obligation have an average net worth of $8,700, versus $64,700 for those without student debt, despite both groups having similar incomes.
At the end of 2016, Americans carried $1.31 trillion in student loan debt, according to Prudential Financial.