To Help Employees Save for Retirement While Tackling Student Debt
February 25, 2019 — HARTFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV) has announced an innovative new benefit for its employees that takes the tough choice out of paying down student debt or saving for retirement. With The Travelers Paying It Forward Savings Program, payments by eligible U.S. employees toward their student loans will qualify for the company’s 401(k) Plan “matching” program.
The new program will help tackle two of the biggest financial challenges Americans face today: getting out from under the burden of student loan debt and building healthy savings for retirement.
“We have the most talented workforce in our industry and benefit immeasurably from the education and expertise they bring to their work,” said Alan Schnitzer, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Travelers. “Yet many of our colleagues all too often struggle to save for retirement because student loans weigh so heavily on their finances. Investing in their education shouldn’t stop our employees from investing in their future. We are promoting a standard of employee care that enables them to do both.”
Student Loan Debt Tops $1.5 Trillion
According to the Federal Reserve, student loan debt in the United States reached more than $1.5 trillion at the end of 2018. Starting to save early is key to a healthy retirement fund, yet the Fed’s latest Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households noted that 41 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said they had no retirement savings. The report also highlighted that 42 percent of those who attended college, representing 30 percent of all adults, have incurred at least some debt for their education.
As part of its leading benefits package, Travelers currently has a “matching” program for employee contributions to 401(k) accounts. Beginning in January 2020, when The Travelers Paying It Forward Savings Program takes effect, student loan payments will also be taken into account when determining the company’s 401(k) contribution.
Employees, including those who are not in a position to contribute at all to their 401(k) accounts because of student loans, who participate in the new program could accumulate tens of thousands of dollars in their 401(k) accounts over a decade, which could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars at retirement. That demonstrates the importance of starting to save for retirement early in order to realize the benefit of compounding returns over time. Travelers hires thousands of employees each year under the age of 35, most of whom have college degrees and many of whom have advanced degrees.
“This program is truly life changing for those of us who are chipping away at our debt and still trying to build for our futures,” said Sasha Kashalapov, a user experience designer who joined Travelers in 2018 with a degree in visual communication design. “It speaks volumes about how a company that cares about its employees invests in their personal well-being and success.”
Blake Perry, a claim manager at Travelers, said, “In a long list of initiatives I’ve seen Travelers implement to support and invest in employees during my nine years with the organization, I believe this is among the most impactful of them all. I look forward to participating fully!” Blake joined Travelers in 2010 and has a degree in political science as well as an advanced degree in law.
To learn more about careers at Travelers, please visit www.travelers.com/careers.
The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV) is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Travelers has approximately 30,000 employees and generated revenues of approximately $30 billion in 2018. For more information, visit www.travelers.com.