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Study estimates millennials can’t retire until age 73

By Walter Hamilton
Los Angeles Times

The average millennial graduating from college today will not retire until age 73 because heavy student-loan debt will prevent them from saving enough money for an earlier retirement, according to a new study.

The typical graduate has a “seemingly manageable” $23,300 in education debt and a median starting salary of $45,327, according to the analysis by financial website NerdWallet.com. In general, millennials are people in their 20s or early 30s.

Despite their decent salaries, the average millennial has to earmark roughly 7 percent of earnings toward student loans. By the time the college bills are paid, the average millennial will be 33 years old and have only $2,466 saved for retirement, the study says.

Including foregone savings, student debt will cost the average millennial $115,096 in “lost” retirement savings, the study concludes.

“While retirement is certainly not impossible, for most it will have to wait until their early to mid-70s – over 10 years later than the current average retirement age of 61,” the study says.

The lack of savings puts great importance on 401(k) retirement plans, especially matching contributions that companies give to employees. Contributions could make up half of a millennial’s total retirement savings, according to the report.

And given that their current life expectancy is only 84, millennials might not have much time to enjoy their later years.

The upshot, according to the report: “Retirement isn’t hopeless, but it will be difficult.”

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