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3Q has a lot of cool perks: free lunches and snacks, unlimited PTO, dog-friendly offices (where possible – sorry, Chicago 3Q!), fitness reimbursement, cell phone reimbursement, company-sponsored outings, work from home, flex hours, etc. These are often cited as reasons people love working at 3Q, myself included. In my case, I love the PTO, WFH, and flex hours because they give me the freedom to fit work around my life when needed, and not the other way around. And who doesn’t love free food?
We also have more traditional benefits, like a 401k plan with a 4% company match, but that doesn’t seem to garner quite as much excitement – in fact, our participation rate in the plan has generally hovered around 60%. This always perplexed me. Why isn’t everyone putting at least something away for retirement? Even $25 a paycheck would be better than nothing. And why would an employee give up the chance for what is essentially a 4% salary increase, if you get the full match?
It turns out one of the reasons employees don’t contribute to a retirement plan is because they are saddled with student loans, and extra income from their paychecks has to go towards paying down that debt. Recent studies have shown that 42% of 18-29 year olds have student loan debt, and the average debt per borrower has climbed above $35k with the most recent graduating class. With 65% of our employees aged 30 or younger, we know that a lot of 3Qers are dealing with significant student loan debts.
That’s why I’m incredibly excited about the newest benefit we’re rolling out for 3Q: an employer subsidy on student loans. Any full-time 3Q employee with student loans can register for the program and receive a monthly subsidy that goes directly to their student loan principal balance. The amount of the monthly subsidy increases per year of service with 3Q – a way for us to further recognize those who have been a part of our continued growth and success.
Our hope is that by helping our employees pay down their student loans more quickly, we’ll enable them to start thinking about other important investments , like saving up for retirement, buying a car or home, or starting a family; taking a dream vacation; or just feeling relief from watching the balance on their student loans inch closer to zero.