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National Retirement Risk Index

Planning for Retirement: The Growing Impact of Student Loan Debt on Retirement Security

Originally published February 2016

The National Retirement Risk Index (NRRI) is published by the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College, and measures the percentage of working-age households at risk of being unable to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living during retirement. With student loan debt becoming much more prevalent among recent college graduates, the latest NRRI research addresses the impact that higher amounts of student loan debt could have on future retirement preparedness.

The NRRI is produced utilizing data from the Survey of Consumer Finances. In addition to other household finance information, this survey provides detailed data on student loans. In particular, the survey data show a dramatic rise not only in the percentage of households taking on student debt in recent years, but also in the average amount borrowed.

The NRRI research finds that households that have student loan debt are at a much higher risk of not being able to maintain their standard of living in retirement. Further, when the NRRI is projected using recent, higher student debt levels, the CRR finds a significant jump in the percentage of households that will not be on track for a secure retirement.

Prudential is the exclusive sponsor of the National Retirement Risk Index.




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