Which Comes First: Student Loans or Retirement?

People go back and forth debating whether or not to save for retirement or pay down debt. Both are financial priorities and while it is possible to put some money towards both, some people want to know whether or not to concentrate on one or the other.

In “Here’s why you should make paying off your student loans a priority over saving for retirement,” Washington Post finance columnist Michelle Singletary writes:

 “If you’re struggling under the weight of student loans — human behavior being what it is — pay off the debt as soon as you can before the cost of living the life you want takes precedence over getting rid of that monkey on your back.”

Some people hear finance experts say not to stress over student loans if the interest rates are low and feel it is okay to not put more towards the debt. They also hear the advice that you’ll come out better in the end investing more money sooner rather than later. Singletary theorizes that consumers hear that and figure they don’t need to make erasing student loan debt a priority but instead of actually investing they just spend and realize years later they haven’t made much progress towards getting rid of student loans.

It can be tempting to look at student loan debt as just another bill, paying off the minimum. Or perhaps even deferring the debt when times get tough. All the while, the interest accumulates and the debt doesn’t go away. As the article notes, some people manage to drag their student loan debt with them throughout their adult lives.

People hear all kinds of financial advice from experts and from friends and family. It can be tough to sort out what actually makes sense. This is why you can find a Fee-Only financial planner you trust to work with you to create financial stability and hopefully wealth you can pass on to the next generation.

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©Bring Clarity to Your Finances. Which Comes First: Student Loans or Retirement? is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances

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Claire Emory, MBA, CFA, CFP®

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