Whether you’re nearing or already into your retirement years, the cost of a college education likely has weighed or is weighing heavily on your mind. You may have had to make up for lost time while building your retirement account after funding your own or your children’s education. Or you may be wondering how your children or grandchildren will afford college.
According to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, 52 percent of Americans are at risk of not having enough money saved for retirement – thanks at least in part to an average student debt load of $18,000. The outlook is even more daunting for recent graduates; the average level of debt among the class of 2015 is $35,000.
Starting out with so much debt immediately after graduation can greatly hinder the amount your children or grandchildren can save for retirement. Federal student loans usually put borrowers on a standard 10-year repayment track. That’s a decade of payments that could have been put into a retirement account to grow. As if that wasn’t difficult enough, research suggests the average bachelor’s degree holder will take up to 21 years to pay student debt.
The higher student debt levels today’s young people face may force them to delay retirement well past the traditional retirement age. Millennials’ debt burden already has them buying homes later in life and waiting to start families. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average age for having a first child today is 26.3, compared to age 22.7 in 1980.
To help ease your child’s or grandchild’s future student loan burden, consider saving for their education in a qualified 529 Plan or a Coverdell Education Savings Account. If your loved one has already graduated, think about giving them some financial freedom through gifting strategies to help with their loans. With thoughtful planning, we can help your loved one avoid the potential burdens excessive student loans may cause so they can enjoy life beyond college and ultimately their own retirement as well. Contact Jordan Dechtman, Denver financial planner at 303-741-9772, email him at Jordan@JordanDechtman.com, or visit our website www.JordanDechtman.com to schedule an appointment.