The High Emotional Cost of College

Apr 24, 2015 2:00 PM ET

Originally Published on

Today’s young parents are seriously stressed out about money. In a recent survey by T. Rowe Price, roughly 70% of Gen-Xers (currently age 35-50) and 60% of Millennials (age 21-34) described themselves as “overwhelmed by financial pressures.” Money is a frequent source of arguments with their spouse.

Six out of ten say they “sometimes feel like a failure because I’m not providing enough for my family and our future.”

The Student Loan Hangover

A significant source of this financial stress appears to be the loans many took out pay for college. Two-thirds feel they took on too much debt to pay for their education.  An equal number say they are still paying off their student loans. This is especially true of Millennials who have been out of college for a shorter period of time.

A majority in both generations are so determined that their own children will not face a similar burden when they graduate that they are jeopardizing their own financial security. Nearly 6-in 10 said that saving for their kids’ college education is a higher priority than saving for retirement. Forty-four percent of Gen-Xers and more than 60% of Millennials would raid their 401(k) or other retirement account if it meant their child could avoid taking out a student loan.

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