Firms Team Up to Offer New Student Loan Repayment Benefit

The program allows eligible employees to reallocate shares of their retirement plan contribution and company match towards student loan debt.

Retirement planning and investing firm FOCUS4Financial (F4F) has teamed up with Thrive Flexible Matching to offer a new employee student loan repayment benefit.

The Thrive Flexible Matching student loan debt solution looks to combine an employee’s contribution and employer match from the company’s 401(k) or 403(b) plan, allowing eligible employees to reallocate shares of their retirement planning contribution and company match towards their student loan debt, according to F4F. Once adopted, workers can control how their retirement funds and company match are allocated, either exclusively towards their retirement savings or student loan debt, or a combination of both.

The total amount available for the employer match is governed by the company’s existing retirement plan. There’s no increase to an employer in terms of the dollars currently allocated toward matching benefits. For example: if the current match is 1:1 up to 5%, it will still only match the dollar amount of that percentage regardless of how the employee chooses to distribute the funds. Thrive processes and applies payments to the student loan.

Thrive says employers can deploy the Thrive Flexible Matching program without requiring any amendments to their underlying retirement plan documents or changes to their existing retirement plan vendor relationship. The program operates as a non-Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) “side-car” benefit to a company’s existing 401(k) or 403(b) plan and is free of any fiduciary conflict.

“Helping employees lower long-term debt while simultaneously saving for a secure retirement is the best of both worlds and aligns with our overall objective of improving retirement planning outcomes,” says Bob Malcolm, principal at FOCUS4Financial.

More information about the solution and the firms’ partnership can be found here.