SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Jan. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- College loan debt in the United States eclipsed $1 trillion 1 in 2012, surpassing both auto and home loans. In response to this staggering trend, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) today announced the launch of "Down With Debt," a Facebook initiative that aims to help Millennials with tips to help confront crippling debt, encourage the development of good financial habits, and reward one resourceful fan with up to $20,000 to help pay down student loans. The campaign, located on facebook.com/massmutual, will run from January 14 to February 14.
As tuition prices continue to rise at both public and private universities, an increasing number of students are borrowing to supplement the cost of higher education. Currently, more than 60 percent of all students take out loans and the average college graduate has more than $24,000 2 in debt upon graduation. In fact, 10 percent of borrowers have more than $50,000 3 in outstanding payments, causing many young adults to face years of struggle to pay their loans off.
"MassMutual recognizes that new graduates and young professionals in today's world face big financial challenges. As a result, we created "Down with Debt" to help people learn about effective ways to conquer their loans and take smart first steps in building a secure financial future," said Tara Reynolds, Corporate Vice President, U.S. Insurance Group, MassMutual."Down With Debt" invites the Facebook community to complete MassMutual's online application, propose strategies for paying down debt and have a chance to receive $20,000 to help pay down their own college debt. In addition, there are several practical financial tips for young professionals and recent college grads to put them on the path to financial security. "Mounting student loans for young adults are hindering their ability to save and invest for the future," said personal finance expert Farnoosh Torabi. "MassMutual's 'Down with Debt' campaign will not only help one lucky new graduate or young professional immediately pay down his or her obligations, but it also provides tips to help all Millennials get on the road to financial independence." For those strapped by the cost of college, MassMutual outlines the most important first steps to take on the road to financial independence:
- Make a budget – Set up a budget to help determine what is a necessity and what is discretionary.
- Delay luxury – Try not to overspend on unnecessary goods. First priority should be to pay down loans to get rid of student debt.
- Review student loan payment options – Income-based repayment plans are often available. Graduates should figure out available payment options instead of automatically writing out monthly checks.
- Use cash – Avoid credit card debt and use cash as much as possible.
- Keep an eye to the future – Millennials should find out if their employer offers a match of 401(k) contributions and contribute at least up to the match.