Struggling with student loan debt? You’re not alone. According to statistics from the Federal Reserve, Americans owe more than $1.4 trillion in student loan debt. That’s nearly double what they owe on credit cards. More than 40 percent of Americans have student loans, and 11 percent of them are in delinquent status on those obligations.1
If you’re struggling to pay off student loans, saving for retirement may not be at the top of your priority list. After all, you may have years or even decades until retirement. You might feel urgency to pay off your student loans before you begin saving for the future.
That approach could be a mistake, however. While retirement may be years in the future, it’s important to remember that you could spend decades being retired. That means you’ll need enough savings to fund 20 or even 30 years’ worth of living expenses.
According to a recent study from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, the median retirement savings for millennials is $31,000.1 While that may be a good start, it’s well short of what many millennials will need to fund a long and enjoyable retirement.
Millennials will face a number of challenges that previous generations didn’t face. The first is longevity. Life expectancy continues to increase. The medical industry is rapidly developing new treatments, services and technologies. It’s possible that millennials will live longer than any previous generation. If so, that means they’ll have to fund more years of retirement, which means they’ll need more savings.
There’s also the fact that millennials have to shoulder much of the burden for funding their retirement. Previous generations could rely on employer pensions, but that’s a benefit that has largely disappeared. Social Security benefits could also be reduced in the future if the program’s funding issues aren’t resolved. Personal savings could likely be the primary income source for many millennials in retirement.