Skip to Content
Commentary

Can Workers Tackle Student Loans and Retirement?

As this debt increases, research shows that less is saved for the long term. But employers, and lawmakers, are acting to help.

Student loan debt has become much more prevalent than it once was, with aggregate debt increasing by 400% from 2001 to 2016, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve. This reality coincides with the rapid transition away from defined-benefit plans to defined-contribution plans, particularly for younger workers, and it appears to be a drag on workers' ability to save for retirement. Aware of the reality, employers are beginning to deploy programs that allow workers to receive their 401(k) match by paying off their loans--which could help those with student loans simultaneously save for the future.

Researchers who have studied student loan debt find a strong association between higher levels of student debt and lower retirement savings. For example, the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that median defined-contribution retirement account balances were almost 40% lower for people who had student debt than those who did not. (This statistic only compares people with college degrees to each other; the gap narrows slightly as overall balances fall among those with some college but no degree.)

Transparency is how we protect the integrity of our work and keep empowering investors to achieve their goals and dreams. And we have unwavering standards for how we keep that integrity intact, from our research and data to our policies on content and your personal data.

We’d like to share more about how we work and what drives our day-to-day business.

We sell different types of products and services to both investment professionals and individual investors. These products and services are usually sold through license agreements or subscriptions. Our investment management business generates asset-based fees, which are calculated as a percentage of assets under management. We also sell both admissions and sponsorship packages for our investment conferences and advertising on our websites and newsletters.

How we use your information depends on the product and service that you use and your relationship with us. We may use it to:

  • Verify your identity, personalize the content you receive, or create and administer your account.
  • Provide specific products and services to you, such as portfolio management or data aggregation.
  • Develop and improve features of our offerings.
  • Gear advertisements and other marketing efforts towards your interests.

To learn more about how we handle and protect your data, visit our privacy center.

Maintaining independence and editorial freedom is essential to our mission of empowering investor success. We provide a platform for our authors to report on investments fairly, accurately, and from the investor’s point of view. We also respect individual opinions––they represent the unvarnished thinking of our people and exacting analysis of our research processes. Our authors can publish views that we may or may not agree with, but they show their work, distinguish facts from opinions, and make sure their analysis is clear and in no way misleading or deceptive.

To further protect the integrity of our editorial content, we keep a strict separation between our sales teams and authors to remove any pressure or influence on our analyses and research.

Read our editorial policy to learn more about our process.