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Prioritize Your Job's 401(k) Benefits Over Their Offers of Student Loan Help

Source Date: 
Friday, January 5, 2018
Categories: 

Americans are shouldering around $1.48 trillion in student loan debt, and around 70% of college students who earn a bachelor’s degree borrow to attend college, according to research from Oliver Wyman, a consulting firm that focuses on banking. An employee benefit that’s gaining popularity could help ease that burden, but it may not be as good of a deal as employees think.

Employers like Aetna, Fidelity, and Penguin Random House now contribute money to their employees’ student loan payments each month. The payments are structured differently at each company: some are lump sums, like $100 per month toward the principal repayment, while others are capped at a certain amount per year. Other companies offer a matching contribution, like a traditional 401(k). It may not seem like a ton of cash, but that $100 per month payment makes a huge difference, as Oliver Wyman reports:

“What I would like to do... once I take care of all my kids' student loans, is buy a red 1965 Mustang and fully restore it.”
– Mike Quigley
The road to success is always under construction
– Lily Tomlin
“This would be a much better world if more married couples were as deeply in love as they are in debt.”
– Earl Wilson
"If we don't change direction soon, we'll end up where we're going."
– Irwin "Professor" Corey
"There is scarcely anything that drags a person down like debt."
– P. T. Barnum
"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood."
– Marie Curie
"Bankruptcy laws allow companies to smoothly reorganize, but not college graduates burdened by student loans."
– Robert Reich