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Is it Better to Save for Retirement or Pay Off Student Loans? – Doug’s Quiz Corner

Posted by Doug Hutchinson | CFA®, Director of Research and Trading

July 20, 2018

Determining Priorities When Saving for Retirement and Paying Off Student Debt

Consider this Scenario:

Your friend Stanley has recently completed college and has just started a new job. Stanley has $40,000 in student loans to pay off at an interest rate of 7%. Stanley’s starting salary at his new job is $50,000 per year. Additionally, his employer offers a 401(k) match of 2% of salary.

Stanley understands the importance of saving for retirement and would like to save as much as possible toward his future. Stanley also understands that he is $40,000 in debt and he would like to pay off his student loans as quickly as possible.

He isn’t certain how he should prioritize his budget though, and he’s heard a lot of conflicting advice.

When he asks you, what would you recommend: Should he focus on paying off his student debt before investing for his retirement? Or should he save as much as he can toward retirement before paying off his student loan debt?

What is the probably the best way to prioritize investing versus paying off student loan debt?

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Doug's Quiz Corner Saving for Retirement student loan repayment strategies