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How Resuming Student Loan Payments Affects Sponsors

Starting August 29, student loan payments will be back on after a 3-year pause.  What does this mean for plan sponsors? As employees prepare to, once again, deal with the financial burden of student loans, sponsors have an opportunity to help lessen the load and ensure retirement contributions don’t fall to the wayside.

One way employers can do this is by implementing an optional change laid out by the Secure Act 2.0. This provision allows employees to continue receiving retirement matching benefits from employers while forgoing retirement contributions to focus on repaying student loans. These payments would be treated as retirement contributions, meaning employers would match them based on the plan design features already in place. This provision wouldn’t cause any unnecessary extra work for sponsors. Employers can rely on an employee’s self-certification to ensure the loan payments are being made and can continue matching contributions based on the same vesting schedule. For most student debt holders, this provision could save years of lost retirement savings.

Not only does the implementation of this program benefit employees’ finances, but it can also be cost-effective to employers. First, the contributions being made under this provision are contributions that would have otherwise been made if the employee was still contributing to the 401(k). Therefore, this student loan aid approach is more cost efficient than most other approaches. If the employer were to add a new student loan benefit program, it would result in additional costs for the employer. For example, student loan repayment dollars given directly to employees are still treated as taxable income, whereas 401(k) contributions are not taxable. Tax advantages like this are generally hard to come by within typical student loan repayment benefits.

NOTE:  Because this is an optional feature, most recordkeeper providers will be focusing on implementation of the mandatory provisions of the SECURE Act 2.0 delaying the opportunity to add this feature.

Towards the end of August, employees will be scrambling to find ways to balance student loan payments with their current savings contributions. The adoption of this benefit would support employee participation in retirement plans, despite overwhelming student debt, and would serve as a competitive advantage when it comes to recruiting and attaining employees.





For any further questions, please do not hesitate to email Wellspring Financial Partners at info@wellspringfp.com or call 1 (844) 203-2402. This material was created to provide accurate and reliable information on the subjects covered but should not be regarded as a complete analysis of these subjects. It is not intended to provide specific legal, tax or other professional advice. The services of an appropriate professional should be sought regarding your individual situation. A proud member of RPAG.

Wellspring Financial Partners, LLC does not provide tax or legal advice. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

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