Taking Social Security, Paying Student Debt: Financial Planners Weigh In

Ross Levin, the founder of Accredited Investors in Edina, Minn., considered Ms. Keyser’s question. The Keyser family is right on track with their current plan, one they have created mostly on their own, Mr. Levin said, especially given the pressures parents of college students face juggling their needs with their kids’.

“I want to stress how anxiety-provoking it is to try to balance trying to put your kids through college and saving for retirement,” Mr. Levin said. “It’s not good planning to jeopardize your own financial security.”

As Ms. Keyser has noticed with her parents’ and in-laws’ needs, Mr. Levin has also seen that many people underestimate the assets they will need should they become infirm.

“We notice with our clients that one of the most financially stressful things is caring for your aging parents,” Mr. Levin said, adding that he encourages clients to put their retirement first, because their own financial stability as they age is a gift to their children.

“You can borrow for education, but you can’t borrow for retirement,” he said.

So, Mr. Levin says, if the couple can continue to fund the 403(b), they should, and they should feel good about that choice. He said he would steer them toward their children’s taking out a student loan, since that would preserve the couple’s financial flexibility. They could always help repay the loans, if they chose to.

“They are being unnecessarily hard on themselves,” Mr. Levin said, since the pensions help achieve a steady income stream, which is one of the more difficult aspects of retirement. “They’ve been really thoughtful — they have pensions, they have 529 plans, they have personal investments. They are doing everything right. My advice would be to actually celebrate the choices they’ve made.”

Image and article originally from www.nytimes.com. Read the original article here.