This millennial is paying down her student loans while her employer funds her 401(okay): It 'doesn't feel actual'

This millennial is paying down her student loans while her employer funds her 401(okay): It 'doesn't feel actual'


When Amber Steeves began working at Verizon nearly 15 years in the past, she did probably the greatest issues you are able to do once you begin a brand new job. She enrolled in the company’s 401(k) program to start saving for retirement.

“I used to be by no means financially secure, and that was a aim,” she tells CNBC Make It. “OK, now I’m working, I must be sensible about my cash,” she remembers telling herself.

Steeves began at Verizon proper after faculty. Around the identical time, she additionally began making month-to-month payments on her student debt, which was lower than $15,000 when she graduated. Though she balances her debt funds and retirement financial savings nicely now, it wasn’t simple at first, she says.

“I used to be working paycheck to paycheck after graduating faculty and hitting the job market through the 2009 recession,” Steeves says. “A couple of instances on and off for about six years, I needed to ask for choices corresponding to reducing my month-to-month funds or a short lived forbearance as a result of sudden life and monetary circumstances.”

Verizon affords workers a 6% match on retirement contributions, which Steeves says she has been taking full benefit of “since day one.” But now Steeves, who works as an lodging workforce member on the firm, has the chance to get much more out of her worker advantages. 

This previous December, Verizon introduced it could start providing 401(k) matching for student loan payments.

“It felt like April Fool’s, I didn’t imagine it,” she says. The firm, like many others, had a tuition help program in place, however Steeves says she typically joked with colleagues or associates at different corporations about their employers providing a profit for academic debt. 

“[It] nonetheless form of would not feel actual, regardless that I’ve signed up for it, I’ve it prepared,” she says. “I actually cannot put it into phrases as a result of I’ve by no means heard of an organization providing any such profit earlier than.”

Getting essentially the most out of her advantages

Verizon workers are eligible to enroll within the firm’s Secure Your Future plan as early as their first day. The plan permits workers to earn the complete 6% employer 401(okay) contribution by making student mortgage funds, making their very own 401(okay) contributions or a mixture of the 2.

That means an worker may put 3% of their wage towards student loans and three% towards their 401(okay) and obtain a 6% 401(okay) contribution from Verizon. Alternatively, an worker may put a full 6% of their wage towards their loans and nonetheless obtain a 6% employer contribution to their retirement financial savings.

Enrollment was simple, Steeves says, and she or he’s utilizing one other worker profit, monetary teaching, to make sure she’s making the very best choices to satisfy her long-term targets.

She at the moment contributes greater than 6% of her wage to her 401(okay), however hasn’t made a closing determination on how a lot she’s going to allocate to her debt and her 401(okay) shifting ahead. She’s leaning towards prioritizing her debt for a while to repay her loans.

“I believe this is the primary time I felt good in 15 years since graduating in relation to focus and a plan to repay these loans,” she says.

Steeves hopes the Secure Your Future program will assist her meet her aim of paying off her student loans within the subsequent 5 years. Both this system itself and the platform she makes use of to navigate it have been useful, she says, as a result of it is helped her visualize and set up what she must do to satisfy her targets.

“I feel extra assured now,” she says. “I feel a lot clearer.”

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