The millennial generation is definitely in debt, and many aren’t handling it very well. That’s one takeaway from a survey out Thursday from Citizens Bank that found millennials are spending big chunks of their salaries paying off loans and trying to live frugally but are still operating under the impression they’ll be making payments into their 40s.
“The long-term cost of college continues to be a major challenge for millennials, even after they have established themselves in the workforce and significantly improved their credit from where they were when they started school,” Brendan Coughlin, president of consumer lending, said in a news release. “As this generation of college graduates starts to contemplate future life events like home purchases and retirement, it becomes increasingly important for them to take control of their college debt whether it’s through refinancing or other tactics that can help them limit its impact on their overall financial health.”
The survey, which contacted 501 millennials with student loans in February, found 57 percent of respondents said they regretted taking out so much in loans. As the Institute for College Access and Success notes on its website, the average student graduating from college in 2014 with debt owed $28,950.
But paying that off could require sacrifices some millennials aren’t eager to make. For example, only about half of debtors said they’d limited shopping, eating out and social spending to afford their monthly payments. Bloomberg reported 59 percent said they had “no idea” when they’d be in a position to pay off their loans entirely.
“They are very committed to living their life the way they want to live their life, and as frustrated as they are by student loans, they are not willing to make those lifestyle tradeoffs,” Coughlin told Reuters.
Another hurdle: Millennials might not know exactly what they’re paying. A third of respondents to the survey said they didn’t know their interest rate, and 75 percent said they didn’t plan to try refinancing as a way to manage their debt.
Are you among them, and are you panicking? Calm down: The fastest methods for paying off student loans include treating them like a mortgage, creating a gameplan and working part-time while in school, according to Bankrate.