MarketWatch staffer Jillian Berman reports on findings from a New York Federal Reserve Bank credit panel on what happens "When 65-year-olds grapple with student loan debt."
Berman notes a jaw-dropping data point from the NY Fed report, which is that the average student loan balance for a 65-year-old grow 886% between 2003 and 2015. Yowsa! Still, that's an average real-dollar growth in balance of under $1,000. Berman writes:
In some cases seniors may have taken the debt on late in life to help their children attend college, giving them less time to pay the loans back while they’re still earning. Roughly 27% of student loan debt held by 50 to 64-year-olds was for their children, according to a 2014 report from the Government Accountability Office.
Berman notes that retirees risk having Social Security payments garnished if they default on student loans.