SHREVEPORT, LA. (KTAL/KMSS) — A new survey reveals that 66 percent of employees are experiencing significant financial pressure due to the resumption of student loan repayments.

The study from the Nationwide Retirement Institute (NRI) found nearly 17 million Americans over the age of 45 have student loan debt and 61% are saying the resumption has negatively impacted their long-term planning and financial stability.

NRI reported the reinstatement of student loan payments has ‘substantially damaged employees’ financial stability and ability to save for retirement.’

Younger participants aged 22-34 said their top concern is not having a safety net like social security there when they retire; and are more likely than those 45+ to be concerned about potential layoffs and student loan debt.

One in four employees now expect to retire later than they planned to a year ago. NRI reported retirement delays raise the cost of salaries and benefits which impacts the ability to hire new talent, and affects employees’ mental health.

Across all ages, the cost of healthcare (insurance premiums, deductibles) and the impact of the rise of inflation were among the top two concerns.

Student Loan Debt Stress

The participants included executives, business owners, financial professionals, and full-time workers who have access to 401(k), 403(b), 457b, or a government-defined contribution plan ranging from 22 – over 45 years old.

85% of survey participants agreed that their employer offered to match their loan repayments for their retirement savings.

On the Nationwide Retirement Solutions website, they state, “It’s impossible to ignore the long-term financial impact student loan repayments can have on employees across all generations. The good news is SECURE 2.0 Act now allows employers to provide matching retirement plan contributions based on the amount of an employee’s student debt repayments — a provision Nationwide advocated for and is excited to further innovate on,” said Eric Stevenson, President of Nationwide Retirement Solutions.