Even if you were to fall into extreme financial hardship and file for bankruptcy, you need to understand that your student loan debt will not be discharged in bankruptcy. It is the Velcro of all debts.
Money you know you need or want to spend in the next few years is savings. Money you keep handy for an emergency belongs in savings. Money you hope to use soon for a down payment on a house belongs in savings. And all savings belong in a low-risk bank savings account or money market account.
Pay off your mortgage before retirement, and that's one less bill you'll have to worry about when you're on a fixed income.
Everybody in America started to define themselves by all these things they had around them. And all of a sudden it came tumbling down. So the old American dream has died, and that is a good thing.
Emil Theodor Kocher