Repaying student loans is a burden, but most people 40 and under don’t regret taking them out

By Samantha Fields

April 20, 2022

About 70% of Americans under the age of 41 who have student debt say they’ve delayed at least one major financial decision because of it, according to a new study from Bankrate.

But nearly 60% say they feel the education their student loans bought improved their career and earning potential.

The most common thing people with student loans have put off doing is saving for emergencies and retirement. Also on the list? Buying a house, getting married and having kids.

“It makes sense, you know. The average student loan payment is about $400 a month,” said Naomi Zewde, a professor at the City University of New York. “That’s the money that they would have spent to take whatever is the next financial step they would have taken. So, you know, that displaces a lot of disposable income, especially in the beginning of your career.”

Putting off big financial moves because of student loans is more common for younger people, for people living in the Northeast and the West, and for Black people — largely because of the racial wealth gap, according to Fenaba Addo, an associate professor of public policy at UNC Chapel Hill.

“Black borrowers are much more likely to accumulate more debt, graduate with debt and Black borrowers have higher rates of default and delinquency, so struggle with repayment quite a bit,” she said.