Saving for retirement is hard. It's even harder for those managing student loan bills.
All in, student debt reached a record $1.5 trillion this year, according to the Federal Reserve. And that debt burden has taken a heavy toll on many Americans' nest eggs.
Right from the start, college graduates who have student debt have about 50 percent less in retirement plan assets by the time they reach age 30 compared with those who have no loans, according to research from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
"This result suggests that young graduates consider the simple existence of a student loan — rather than its size — to be a constraint on their 401(k) saving," the research said.
A separate report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute also found that loans prevent younger workers from saving for retirement and result in lower 401(k) or defined contribution plan balances down the road.
The average balance was $53,638 for the families without a student loan versus $32,987 for families with a student loan, EBRI found.