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The long-term consequences of student loans Clients who have $30,000 in student loan debt would have missed as much as $325,000 in investment opportunities in their 401(k) plans, based on data from LIMRA. Young workers have better retirement prospects if they contribute to defined benefit retirement plans, but such a program is accessible only to 10% of workers below 30, according to LIMRA's Secure Retirement Institute. "With Gen Y being in defined contribution plans, the time for them to really get ahead is in their 20s and early 30s, but if they have a huge student loan, they really can't do that," said Michael Ericson, an expert with the institute. –CNBC

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