One in four people now has some amount of student loan debt, with the current borrower owing an average of $37,000, according to according to CNBC. Given the proliferation of student loan debt in the United States, there’s a good chance that some of your employees are impacted by it.
If your employees are feeling this burden, your company might be suffering as a whole. The Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) cites several studies that point to the trickle-down effect student debt can bring to the work environment, including high-levels of employee stress, physical health problems, lack of productivity and increased absenteeism.
While you can’t wipe your employee’s financial slates clean, you may be able to help them take control of their student loan debt by offering access to a quality student loan refinancing program with a variety of lenders.
Here’s everything you and your employees need to know about student loan refinancing to ensure a successful program.
Determine their level of financial literacy
Offering employees access to a student loan refinancing program can offer financial, emotional and psychological benefits, but it’s important to teach employees how to use a tool like this to their advantage. Despite the fact that nearly half of all Americans between the ages of 18-34 have student loans, most don’t understand the nature of the debt, how it works, or what it costs them, according to the third installment of the National Financial Capability Study, conducted by the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC) at the George Washington University School of Business. For example:
- One out of the five survey respondents didn’t know whether their monthly loan payment amounts were determined by their income.
- Just 33% of the respondents knew that their debt could double in less than five years, simply due to compounding interest.
Before diving into the topic of student loan refinancing specifically, look to survey your employees to determine their financial literacy surrounding basic personal finance topics like debt and interest. (The GFLEC offers a number of free financial education resources you could implement into workplace financial wellness programs).
Connect employees with resources who can help them select the right refinancing option
Encourage employees to trust a source like Gradifi Refi to connect them with a lender who can help them select the right refinancing opportunity, based on their specific loans and the different features and benefits that federal and private student loans offer. Partnering with additional groups who can help your employees better understand how to manage their student loan debt along with their other financial goals and needs can also help them feel empowered to take control of their financial lives.
Show them exactly how student loan refinancing could benefit their bottom line
Regardless of how well-versed your employees are in personal finance, some messages don’t resonate until they’re demonstrated in cold, hard cash. Encourage employees to “run the numbers” on their debt as they consider refinancing student loans so they can see the true impact the decision could have on their bottom line. For example, an employee could use the calculator at FinAid.org to compare the costs of carrying a $30,000 student loan balance for two decades (the average amount of time it takes a person to pay off their student loans, according to CNBC). If their loans currently carry a 12% interest rate and they are approved to refinance into a 10% interest rate, they’ll see that means paying $10,000 less in interest rate charges over the life of the loan.
Beyond money, employees may also experience personal and professional benefits taking control of their debt. The Center for Financial Services Innovation reports that one out of three Americans say their financial anxiety interferes with their professional lives to the extent that it limits their workplace productivity, and increases absenteeism and health-related concerns.
Design programs that extend beyond millennials
Student loan refinancing is often considered a “millennial option”—but younger employees aren’t the only people impacted by student loan debt. In fact, the AARP reports that the number of people who are aged 60 years or older and have student loan debt quadrupled between 2005 and 2015. Whether the debt is associated with their own education or the result of co-singing for a child or grandchild, student loan debt can hinder anyone’s ability to save for retirement, or work towards other important financial goals.
Student loan refinancing programs can help your employees reduce the financial strain in their lives, and you can play an important role in empowering them to take control of their financial future. When your organization commits to helping employees understand how to best use a student loan refinancing program to their advantage, it’s a win-win for both of you.