<h1>How Student Loan Debt Impacts Long-Term Financial Wellness</H1>
Student loans can be a burden that keeps people from achieving their long-term financial goals. According to the Federal Reserve, nearly 44 million Americans have an average of $30,000 in student loan debt. And with more than one in three borrowers not making any payments on their loans for at least six months, this problem will only get worse without intervention. Continuing your education is critical for your financial success, but you need to have a plan for how you’ll reduce the effect of student loan debt so you can buy a home, have a family, save for retirement, or achieve any other goal hindered by debt. Here are a few things you need to consider about the impact your student loans can have on your long-term financial health.
<h2>The ripple effect student loan debt can cause your life</h2>
<h3>You can expect a lower chance of getting your mortgage application approved</h3>
Zillow recently reported that 25% of those with student loan debt were denied a mortgage due to their debt load, while Marketwatch found that only 8% of those who had no student loan debt outstanding were denied.
You might not think that buying a home is in your near future and therefore this fact isn’t a big deal, but consider the rising cost of rent and other necessities due to inflation. The money you spend every month on your living expenses could be going toward building equity and increasing your net worth, so homeownership is something worth considering seriously.
<h3>Most people with student loan debt save less money over time</h3>
It might seem like a no-brainer that those with debt of any kind save less money since they have to make interest payments, but student loan debt is particularly cumbersome to financial stability.
With the stagnation of wages and the increase of, well, everything, most studies find that gen-Z and younger millennials are spending 20% of their income solely on student loans. That 20% also means that gen-Z will most likely see a reduction in overall net worth and have less chance of having a protective cushion of an emergency fund for the unexpected, leading to more debt or the need to make life-critical decisions about their medical options.
<h3>Financial stress can severely affect your mental health</h3>
If you’re not bummed out already, then statistically, you’re an outlier. Blue Cross Blue Shield ran a study and found that the financial stress caused by the knowledge you can never discharge student loan debt created ripple effects across the board of their millennial-aged customer base. Financial stress has led to a 108% increase in drug-related deaths and a 47% increase in depression-related diagnoses since 2013.
In addition, over half of millennials surveyed reported leaving a job due to the strain on their mental health caused by their employer. Add onto that the stress of needing to make that monthly student loan payment, and it’s clear to see that this debt burden is both a financial and mental health crisis in society.
<h2>What you can do to reduce the impact of student loan debt</h2>
Not all hope is lost, though. There are ways you can greatly reduce the potential impact your student loans have on your life. Planning ahead by using all available financial aid, scholarships, and grants you’re eligible for will significantly reduce the amount of student loan debt you’ll need to take out. There’s also the option to use different student loan debt consolidation strategies to reduce your interest rates and payment timeline, freeing up your options. Finally, some federal student loan programs have the chance of getting your loans forgiven entirely in exchange for serving your country in the military or as an educator in several fields.
<h2>The bottom line</h2>
Student loan debt is a growing issue that impacts the financial well-being of many Americans. With this type of debt, it can be difficult for an individual to save money or plan for retirement, but it’s not impossible. The sooner you create (and stick to) a plan for reducing the impact of your student loan debt on your finances, the better off you’ll be to navigate the world comfortably.