Millennials aren’t necessarily that different from other generations.
Many young adults in their 20s and early 30s have financial goals, from buying a home to saving for retirement. But these goals may seem out of reach for many because of one major factor holding them back: debt.
“Debt is saddling a generation, particularly the older end of this generation,” said Douglas Boneparth, a 30-year-old certified financial planner with Life and Wealth Planning in New York City.
Nearly one-third of millennials, who range from about 18 to 35 years old, have student loans. Their total debt burden can increase significantly as they enter their 30s and are paying off a mortgage and credit card debt as well.
According to a recent study by the online financial education site iQuantifi, the average debt load for those between the ages of 21 and 25 is $13,116. That debt load more than triples for those in their late 20s to $46,622. And the average total debt load is more than five times greater for older millennials in their 30s at $69,552.
Brandon Will, 27, is no stranger to debt. He owes about $37,000 in student loans and $8,000 on credit cards. “I do feel like my debt sets me back in the grand scheme of things as far as buying a home or whatever the case may be,” he said. “I think it’s a priority to get this stuff taken care of right now.”
Boneparth said that, like many millennials, Will may be unaware of options available to help pay off loans and other debt more cheaply or quickly. Here are a few strategies that can help millennials reduce their debt burden: