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THE INC. LIFE

The Amazing Things Millennials Would Give up for Help with Student Loans

The stress of debt can cause your employees to sacrifice.

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BY Suzanne Lucas - 09 Jan 2019

millennials vs student loans

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Student loans hang over the heads of 44 million Americans, with debt running well over a trillion dollars. It's a huge concern and those who took out this debt will do just about anything to pay it down.

Self-Lender surveyed 1000 Americans between the age of 18 and 34 and found out that 60 percent of them were willing to give up at least one perk in exchange for help paying down their student loans. The results:

  • 23 percent would give up working from home, making it the most disposable benefit
  • 29% of women would give up working from home compared to only 18% of men
  • 20% of younger millennials (ages 18-24) would give up paid time off compared to only 12% of older millennials (ages 25-34)
  • 15 percent would give up 401k matching
  • 14 percent would give up paid time off
  • 6 percent would give up health benefits.

These numbers seem to indicate that a student loan repayment program can be an attractive benefit and something you should think about. That said, student loan repayment programs only benefit a portion of your workforce and you should be aware of that. Someone who didn't take out loans for school, or who already paid off their debt, should not be given a smaller benefits package in favor of those who do owe money.

While I'm in favor of better salaries rather than debt repayment assistance, it is true that money specifically designated for debt repayment can seem quite attractive and help lower stress. Debt can cause a tremendous amount of stress, and employees under stress will never perform as well as those who feel financially secure.

Remember that student loans aren't the only form of debt your employees may be carrying. Offering help with medical debt or even mortgages may be something you wish to look into--a general debt repayment help rather than simply a student loan benefit. That way all your employees will benefit.

Regardless of the fairness, though, debt repayment benefits are popular with your younger employees, and as Gen Z enters the workforce, they will likely favor such benefits as well.

But, don't literally cut vacation and healthcare to help employees pay down debt. The last thing you need is miserable burned-out employees drowning in medical debt.

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