Young adults more likely to die still in debt - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Young adults more likely to die still in debt

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Caitlin Roufa, working through $100,000+ in student-loan debt Caitlin Roufa, working through $100,000+ in student-loan debt
Financial expert Brett Nicklaus Financial expert Brett Nicklaus

Young people are buried under debt. In fact, it's so bad for students, there are more than a $1 trillion owed to lenders. So, Congress is taking action. There's some advice to help graduates out but problems go beyond their student loans.

One Ohio State University study states younger generations carry thousands of dollars more in credit card debt than their parents and grandparents. Plus they're staying in the red longer. Experts say if that's you, watch your interest rates carefully and prioritize.

Caitlin Roufa graduated in 2009 with a degree in Astrophysics. Four years later, still no career. She faces $100,000 in student-loan debt, but Roufa can't pay that off until she starts earning income. Roufa reflects back to the college recruiters who advised her to sign up for a student loan.

"They said 'Sign these papers, these are lenders we work with.'"

One financial expert says students take on these big payments for self-improvement

"In their mind, they're bettering themselves and they believe the job's going to be there. It's a great marketing ploy but it's a dangerous trap." -says Trinity Financial Owner Brett Nicklaus.

If you've got credit card debt, Nicklaus says there are steps to try. The first, pay bills on time can help you avoid paying interest. Next, set aside more money for higher-interest rate debts. Also, shop around for a lower interest rate and ask your credit card company for help setting up a repayment plan. Finally, stay away from new debt, avoid impulse purchases and try to cut unnecessary spending out of your budget. Roufa has small credit card debt. She was able to set up a payment plan with her company, but student-loans are a different animal.

"My private lenders, I called them before my loan payments were due and none of them had any programs, none of them were willing to work with me and then I kept getting the phone calls from them 15, 20 times a day." -she recounts.

Experts advise with any debt, the key is to cut spending. But with three pets and a baby on the way, Roufa says that's easier said than done.

"I can't put my life on hold for debt because then I'd be waiting decades, my life would be over before it began."

For more help, click here to check out Trinity Financial's debt calculator.

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