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An American financial giant gets real about student loan debt

(BUSINESS NEWS) There’s no doubt that student loan debt is one of the biggest obstacles the millennial generation faces, but now companies are stepping up to help out.

student debt grads

Millennial force to be reckoned with

If there’s one thing about Millennial culture taking over the workforce, it’s that personal evolution is wrapped in every aspect of the business model. Because the generation promotes social accountability, progressive employers are stepping up and doing their part.

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They have to. Otherwise, they’ll be left hat in hand, wondering why the best talent is passing them by. And in 2017, with new business ventures popping up at an astounding rate, having the best people is imperative if you want to compete.

Caring culture

Caring about your team has become a priority in the culture of the working world. It’s nice to see companies embrace the idea of a holistic work environment and move away from 17-hour workdays that offer a blurred vision of what benefits could be. Instead, we are seeing progressive employers go above and beyond, and it’s awesome.

One of the more impressive stories popping up in the category of “next level company” has gotta be New York Life.

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Despite their status as the biggest insurance provider in America, New York Life is paying it forward with taking employee care to the next level.

They’re going above and beyond the simple notion of “office perk” and offering something incredible: student loan repayment.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Working with Austin’s Student Loan Genius, New York Life has launched a program offering up to $10,200 over five years for eligible employees. They will also provide loan advice and planning tools, pay down plans and contributions toward the life of the debt. This will also count for the children of current employees, too.

Talk about investing back into your people.

This is not a move by New York Life to plan for a “theoretical” future of uncertainty, but instead, they’re working to solve the problems of this moment – the right now. Acknowledging that “right now” is the X-factor in today’s marketplace is a brilliant move because without doing so, companies aren’t addressing the elephant in the room: most of their people owe money to Uncle Sam or Sallie Mae. It’s an inescapable fact of the workplace environment that most of the folks sitting at one of the “good jobs” are likely drowning in loan debt.

Chain reaction

Considering that Bernie Sanders ran an entire campaign on college being too expensive, which one of the main pillars was the insanity of student debt, this move by New York Life works to practically combat the problem and the others it causes.

That $150 per month back into their employees’ pockets covers half the monthly health care cost for the average American.

It’s also enough to buy a $27,000 nicer home, or finance a car.

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Taking this whole thing up to an even spicer degree is that New York Life is offering their benefits from the moment new employees sign on the dotted line. No waiting period or anything, because any new employee will tell you, that whole 90-day trial thing is the definition of the suck.

On brand

The student loan repayment move works well with New York Life’s commitment to personal growth and a deeper level of education. One of the cornerstones of the company has been their proactive response to college, taking extracurricular classes, and moving up the corporate ladder.

New York Life has maintained an education assistance program for a long time now, so with the both now balancing out the personal growth category, it’s a bold move to acquire and retain the top talent they are looking for.

Taking care of the people

These moves alongside companies like Atlassian, who offer 100% covered health care for employees and their families, set themselves apart from the pack. Apple has nap rooms, and Facebook has chef-catered, healthy food, Slack gives employees $150 a month for personal wellness, and Lyft gives it’s team free rides anywhere.

These perks are just some of the newest ways businesses are telling their teams they care about their lives and want them to thrive.

Another one of the big perks is centered in the idea of work/life balance is allowing for mothers to take eight weeks off with their new babies, while fathers get six to meet their new kids, too. More and more top-tier companies realize people coming back to work immediately after the birth of a child aren’t focused and fulfilled, and instead, more likely to look for a company with a more progressive family focus.

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These are the kinds of perks millennials are after, the one’s that matter.

By adopting a perk like student loan repayment, it puts New York Life in the bigger conversation of companies doing more.

Treating people like people

One of the biggest trends to emerge in the last few years is the idea that treating your employees just as special as customers is critical. New hires want to see core values and how a company executes on them. By working with Student Loan Genius and offsetting some of the costs an employee has in their back pocket, New York Life is going to make waves in the insurance space. A lot of folks will check out their careers page if only to get a glimpse of possibility.

Higher site traffic, higher retention rates, and happier employees. Not a bad tradeoff for helping pay for someone’s undergrad Russian art history class back in 2004. New York Life for the win.

#NewYorkStudentLifeLoanGenius

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Written By

Robert Dean is a writer at Adia and The American Genius. He is a writer, journalist, and cynic. His most recent novel, The Red Seven is in stores. Currently, he’s working on his newest novel, Tragedy Wish Me Luck. He also likes ice cream and panda bears. He currently lives in Austin. Stalk him on Twitter.

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