This piece was originally published at CNBC.
Already, many Americans are financially unprepared to exit their working lives. As the outstanding student debt balance in the country swells – with more people holding more debt —retirement is just further at risk.
Recent research shows how student loans can force people to forgo saving for their later decades.
For example, by the time college graduates reach 30, the ones without student loans are predicted to have double the amount saved for retirement as those with them, according to a study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
Further, people with education debt have lower 401(k) balances than those without it, according to data out this month from the Employee Benefits Research Institute.
“Student loan payments are crowding out retirement,” said Maggie Thompson, executive director of Generation Progress at liberal think tank the Center for American Progress. “The magic of compound interest is working on the side of the lender.”