Dear Mary: We made a big mistake co-signing for our children's college funding. Now, years later, we owe so much on their loans. And the worst part -- our kids didn't even graduate! We are trying to survive on one income. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
-- Anna, email
Dear Anna: The sad truth is that you are not alone. Much of this country's $3 trillion in outstanding student loan debt is being shouldered by parents, and it could be affecting their retirement. I assume your children have defaulted on these loans and now the lender is coming after you as co-signer for payment.
I hate to sound harsh and truly wish I had better news, but only the death of the student for whom you co-signed will make this go away. Not even filing for bankruptcy will relieve you of these debts.
My best advice is that you don't give yourself the option to live on one income. Whichever of you is not working needs to get a job -- any job -- and devote that entire paycheck to paying down these loans until they are paid in full. Putting off payment will do nothing but make matters worse.
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