Retirement vs. Son's Student Loan

by Valerie
(New York, NY)

Good Evening: My son's unemployed without benefits and with some health issues. He's returned home due to his condition, and there's a good chance that he'll remain with me through my retirment years.


I advised him while attending college out of state to take out a student loan to complete his studies, which he was repaying himself before his health started to deteriorate. Now he has a loan of 20K that I'm feeling partially responsible for. He was of college age when taken and still living under my roof, which has left me feeling obligated to lend assistance.

My question is, do I pay off the loan, not touching existing retirement money (which isn't a great deal), but by using my up coming tax refunds, bonus, salary increases and anything else I can get my hands on before I leave the work force in 4-5yrs.

Keep in mind, that he may never be able to work again, and this will hang over his head & mine through my retirement. I'm torn between using my future money to continue to save for retirement, or paying off this student loan which I've calculated could be paid off in 2yrs..... Whats your thoughts?

Thanks for listening



Wendy: I am no financial planner.. you might want to make an appt. with maybe 2 of them locally to see what advice they give you. I say 2, just to see if both give the same advice... all financial planners give free initial consultations.

Personally, I'd say Don't Do It... Don't let your guilt put your own retirement in jeopardy (especially since you might need to house/feed yourself and your son). You advised him correctly (as proved by the many articles out there). Secure the future now...

I've read far too many articles lately on not even funding kids college any more. Instead let them take loans (as you did), and save for retirement instead. You can always pay it off later, if at some point it makes sense, but retirement is a long time and you just might need that cash when you and your son are both unable to work.

I assume he will apply for Social Security Disability and may be able to pay off some of the loan that way or by part time employment? I wonder cf you contact the loan company... is there any disability clause? Google the company and read more on the website... just for the heck of it.

I also wonder what field your son was studying for and how far along he got. If he has good knowledge in a specific area or hobby, he might consider a work-from-home website for income. Write to me (bottom left column) if you want to chat about the possibility. This would also help with possible depression, feeling worthless after losing his promising future... he'd become someone again.

Here are a few articles:

The last line of this article says: You probably don’t want to support your children through college only to risk becoming a burden to them in your later years. Interesting.

Here is a story from USA TODAY.

I will end here as there are so many articles out there.

I don't know your age, your sons disability or knowledge base, your retirement (only Social Security and small savings or do you have a pension too)? So many factors and a professionals two cents would help you greatly.

Just google "retirement planner in XXlocation"

Hope I helped in some small way!!

Comments for Retirement vs. Son's Student Loan

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Son's loan
by: Kathy

I am the mom of a disabled adult son and I have learned to accept the fact that he is an adult and he is legally responsible for these loans. If your name is not on the legal documents, let it be his responsibility.

You must remember that if you dip into your retirement, you put your retirement in danger. It would be horrible for you to ruin yourself financially and have to struggle financially to care for him.

I love my son, but I have to accept the fact that at my age, I am not going to go back into the work force and what I have is all I have.

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