Some millennials were more stressed about the ‘Game of Thrones’ finale than repaying their student loans

Source: HBO

The latest season of HBO's "Game of Thrones" debuted with a record-breaking 16.1 million viewers and set off more than 2.4 million tweets — in fact, it became the "most tweeted-about [episode] in the show's history," according to Forbes. Sunday's season finale is expected to be one of the most-watched episodes of the show ever.

Could what the New York Times calls "the most obsessively tracked pop culture franchise in the world" actually be too popular? For some millennials, maybe.

According to a recent survey commissioned by LendEdu, 11 percent of polled student loan borrowers said they were "more stressed" about "Game of Thrones" than they were about repaying their loans. Eleven percent (perhaps the same 11 percent) also worry more "about going out to maintain an exciting social life" than about becoming debt-free.

Likewise, 17 percent of millennials prioritize being able to binge-watch Netflix over paying their loans, and 27 percent put travel first.

That's something, considering that more than 44 million Americans have taken out student loans, and their debts add up to a collective $1.4 trillion.

According to the survey, though, the vast majority of millennials are on the right track. Nearly 87 percent said they would prioritize using their money to repay their student loans over upgrading their wardrobe; 85 percent would prioritize their loans over investing in the market; and 84 percent would prioritize their loans over buying gifts for a partner or loved one.

Sixty-eight percent would prioritize their loans over saving for retirement, and 66 percent would prioritize their loans over buying a car.

Student loan debt is a "steep hurdle staring down many young Americans," according to the survey. "After graduation, many student loan borrowers are put into a great predicament.

"They can focus solely on repaying their debt and neglect other important aspects of life, like saving for retirement or buying a house, or they could put off repaying their student loan debt … and watch as the interest on their student loans accrues into a mountain."

There are smart ways to tackle loan payments, Shannon McNay of Student Loan Hero tells CNBC Make It.

"Utilize benefits such as income-driven repayment plans to help you until you get on your feet. If you're on an income-driven repayment plan and follow your plan's instructions to the 'T,' you could be eligible for forgiveness after a certain amount of payments have been made.

"Generally speaking, paying off student loans is a marathon," she says. "Although it's nice to think about knocking them out in a few years, that's not always possible. But that's OK."

After all, former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama didn't pay off their loans until their 40s.

"You took on debt to gain more opportunity," McNay says. "Focus on that."

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