Can you relate to the woman in this video, who is still sitting on her dorm room couch at 26? I can.
Until last year, nearly every piece of furniture and decor I owned was secondhand — bought at thrift stores, garage sales and Craigslist, or inherited from family members and friends.
It's not that my style and decoration aesthetic was particularly creative or even that I was hoping to minimize my environmental impact.
It's that, with student loans, bills, and rent, I couldn't afford new furniture.
Apparently, I'm one of many millennials — the generation saddled with more student loan debt but making less money overall — who has postponed buying furniture. In fact, "postpone" seems to be the operative word.
Delaying expensive purchases, life events
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, student loans make up about 69% of the average 25- to 30-year-old American's debt — and this has impacted millennials' chances for success in many aspects of their lives.
One prime example is homeownership. Rather than buying homes, millennials rent and live with roommates. While part of this is related to the hike in housing prices, a recent study from ApartmentList reveals that student loans are also at fault. The study found that it takes college graduates with student loan debt four years more to put a first payment down on a home than those without debt.
Many other life milestones are now also further out of reach for millennials. Like marriage.
In an article by MarketWatch, New York City financial coach Shannon McLay says "It's a psychological thing." Millennials don't want to marry until their debt is paid and they're finally financially secure.
And there's there the furniture. According to Fung Global Retail and Technology, millennials in the U.S. and the U.K. spend less on furniture than older generations, partly because they have lower incomes and because their chances of owning a home are lower. It comes full circle.
Refinancing can help
If you're still sitting on your futon wondering how you're going to get ahead of your student loans and have enough money to buy new furniture, consider refinancing. (See the video above for a quick primer on how it works.)
As the financial and life milestones have changed for millennials, so should our priorities, according a Yahoo! Finance article. Prioritize paying off your student loans, one expert advises. Working aggressively to pay off your debt can get you closer to the other milestones in your life. And this is where refinancing can help.
By refinancing, you can get a lower interest rate and a lower monthly payment at the same time, allowing you to save money both month-to-month and in the long run.
In fact, people who refinance save an average of $253 a month and $16,183 over the life of their loan. That kind of savings can give you a chance to save for a down payment on a house, a new car, or start a retirement fund. (Or, you know, get a new couch.)
To see how much you can save by refinancing, check out our Student Loan Refinancing Calculator.