WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Recent college graduates with outstanding student loans will be in the work force longer to pay down debt and build a nest egg, a new study found.
Students who graduate in 2015 will be working until age 75, online financial advisor NerdWallet found. They will be working three years longer than 2012 graduates and 13 years longer than the current average retirement age of 62.
An average student loan debt of about $35,051, coupled with rising rent costs, is making it harder for millennials to get ahead, the study found.
"The student loan crisis is not only affecting new graduates' immediate financial situation, it's making their retirement prospects dwindle," says Kyle Ramsay, investing manager at NerdWallet. "Based on our findings, higher loan payments have the potential to reduce nest eggs by 32 percent. That's nearly $700,000 in this scenario."
About 43 million Americans owe an estimated $1.2 trillion in student loan debt. Of that, about $103 billion is in default.
The NerdWallet study found student loan debt has gone up $5,500 since 2012, the last time the group studied retirement rates. Financial advisors say the best way to combat this is to make larger monthly payments and put more toward savings.
There are ways to make this easier:
Live with parents -- Nerdwallet said millennials who live at home until age 25 may be able to retire five years earlier, at age 70.
Use employer matching -- Grab all the 401(k) matching dollars offered by employers.
Prepare for problems -- Set up an emergency fund with three to six months of living expenses.
NerdWallet's calculations are based on a 23-year-old new college graduate, earning a median starting salary of $45,478 per year with $35,051 in student loan debt.