PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 36

FINANCIAL WELLNESS | STUDENT LOAN DEBT
Take a Load Off
Employers help workers burdened with student debt
A
s the Joe Biden administration
extends the moratorium on federal
student loan payments until
January 31, 2022, employers are continuing
to add student loan assistance to their
benefits plans.
Fidelity Investments estimates that
44 million Americans owe a combined
$1.67 trillion in student debt, and workers
are urging the federal government, as well
as their employers, to assist in paying down
the balance, according to the Society for
Human Resource Management (SHRM).
Student loan repayment assistance
was the benefit second only to financial
wellness that plan sponsors said they
consider implementing in the next year
or two, according to a study by Ramsey
Solutions.
" Employers understand that student
loans also affect [one's] ability to save
for retirement and live a full financial
life, " notes Amanda Hahnel, director of
emerging products at Fidelity in Boston.
Not only are workers struggling financially,
they are also mentally and emotionally
stressed from carrying debt, Hahnel
says. Because these employees apply
substantial energy to lowering that debt,
they fall behind in planning for future, lifechanging
events such as raising a child or
buying property, she observes.
" Student loans are a financial stressor
for millions of Americans, and when you
take a holistic financial picture, you are
often looking at what you can afford to do
or not do, " says Hahnel. " These people
spend a significant amount a month on
36 PLANSPONSOR.COM August - September 2021 Art by Karlotta Freier
student loan debt. "
Student loan assistance benefits have,
therefore, expanded in recent years with
the widening attention being paid to the
issue and the growing number of young
adults taking on student loans. Now, more
corporations and institutions offer student
loan assistance or repayment programs to
workers struggling with debt, Hahnel says.
At Sony Corp. of America, the company
sends monthly contributions to eligible
participant-borrowers' loan servicer.
Sony, which won 2021 PLANSPONSOR
Plan Sponsor of the Year (PSOY) in the
Corporate 401(k) Greater Than $1 Billion
category, also offers financial wellness
tools that may aid with loan refinancing
and help employees receive loans for children's
schooling. Some of the company's
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PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021

To Ensure All Are Well
2021 PLANSPONSOR National Conference
Equipped for Anything?
The Security of Savings
Take a Load Off
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - Cover1
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - Cover2
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 1
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PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - To Ensure All Are Well
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 17
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PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 19
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 2021 PLANSPONSOR National Conference
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PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - Equipped for Anything?
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 31
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 32
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 33
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - The Security of Savings
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 35
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - Take a Load Off
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 37
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 38
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 39
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 40
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - Cover3
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