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It’s tough enough trying to pay back student loans as a recent graduate, but lots of borrowers are on the hook for longer than they expected — and as people age, lingering student loan debt can make life even tougher than it might already be.

Such are the findings from Ameritech Financial, which says that the standard estimate of time to pay off student loans is 10 years. However, missed payments push out the repayment date, and making minimum payments barely touches the principal — if it does so at all.

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