Student loan debt is the enemy of many millennials, but it’s becoming a problem for some older Americans, too. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, recent data shows that between 2012 and 2017 in more than three-quarters of states, the total outstanding student debt held by borrowers over age 60 increased by more than 50 percent. For many of these borrowers, this student loan debt is money borrowed for their children’s or grandchildren’s educations.
No matter your age, it can be hard to know which to prioritize – paying off student debt or saving for retirement. Although it’s tempting to throw money at debt first and put off saving, building your retirement funds early can help you earn more with years of compound interest – in other words, it’s important to start or continue saving now.
Here are a few ways to save for retirement even while paying off student loans.
Rein in spending – Evaluate your current spending and identify areas to cut back. Food and entertainment costs can often be reduced with minimal impact. Funnel your savings toward retirement and loans.
Automate it – Make the process easier with “auto-pilot.” Employer-sponsored retirement plans automatically deduct money for your retirement savings, so you save without having to think about it. If your employer provides matching contributions, contribute enough to earn the full match. You can also automate loan payments. Some lenders lower your interest rate when you do!
Take advantage of tax breaks – When you make contributions to tax-deferred retirement savings accounts, such as a 401(k) or a traditional IRA, you can lower your taxable income.* Plus, your retirement savings can grow faster with tax-deferred compounding.
With a lower taxable income, you’ll have less money going to taxes. Put that extra cash toward paying your debt. You’ll enjoy additional tax benefits when you claim a student loan interest deduction of up to $2,500 on your tax return, if you’re eligible.
Allocate extra funds – Put any money outside your regular paychecks – a tax refund, bonus or other windfall – directly toward student loans or retirement savings.
For help determining the best savings and payment plan for you, request a free consultation with an investment professional at Hanscom Investment Services. For details visit www.hanscomfinancialservices.org or call 781-698-2236.†
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* Taxes will be due at ordinary income tax rates upon withdrawal from a traditional individual retirement account (IRA) or employer-sponsored retirement plan. Premature withdrawals (generally, those made before age 59½) may be subject to a 10 percent tax penalty, too (does not apply to 457 plans).
†Securities and advisory services are offered through LPL Financial (LPL), a registered investment advisor and broker-dealer (member FINRA/SIPC). Insurance products are offered through LPL or its licensed affiliates. Hanscom Federal Credit Union is not registered as a broker-dealer or investment advisor. Registered representatives of LPL offer products and services using Hanscom Investment Services, and may also be employees of Hanscom Federal Credit Union. These products and services are being offered through LPL or its affiliates, which are separate entities from, and not affiliates of, Hanscom Federal Credit Union. Securities and insurance offered through LPL or its affiliates are:
Not Insured by NCUA or Any Other Government Agency / Not Hanscom Federal Credit Union Guaranteed / Not Hanscom Federal Credit Union Deposits or Obligations / May Lose Value