Crushing student loans. Debt that seems unlikely to ever quit piling up. John Hailer, Former Business Leader at Natixis, has been a vocal proponent of student loan forgiveness in both his professional and personal life. The current Chairman of Diffractive Managers Group, having previously served as CEO of the Americas and Asia Division for Natixis Global Asset Management, John Hailer is uniquely focused on how a rising tide can lift all boats – financially speaking, of course.
Let’s narrow our focus to better understand the impact that crushing student loans can have on our personal and professional lives before exploring how Former CEO of Natixis John Hailer has taken the initiative to help those under his guidance.
Current State of Student Debt
It has long been the story that college debt is part-and-parcel of paving the way to a better future, career, and potential retirement. Unfortunately, as times have changed and student debts have occurred, this is no longer the case. Instead, as John Hailer points out in an interview with Boss Magazine, crushing debt has created a massive burden on the working population.
According to a report studied by former exec at Natixis John Hailer, more than half of U.S. students in 2022 were left with student loan debt, a number that stands second only to mortgages for homes. In addition to this sad factoid, John Hailer revealed that private and federal student loan debt equaled more than $1.75 trillion, averaging up to $30k per borrower.
Over the past decade, student loan debt has risen by nearly $79 billion every single year. As a result of this rising and debilitating debt, consumer spending, lower credit scores, lower rates of housing ownership, and fewer new business owners are all bearing the brunt.
An Entire Generation Impacted by Student Debt
While working for over a decade as the CEO of Natixis Investment Managers, Hailer was uniquely focused on the impact that debt had on consumers and future generations.
Through an annual survey within Natixis’ system, Hailer learned that nearly a third of millennials were looking at student debt as their top reason for not participating in any retirement plans. Hailer said, “It meant one-quarter of our working population was saving nothing for retirement because of the excessive debt burden of student loans.”
To better address the issue within his own company, Hailer helped to introduce a student loan repayment benefit in 2016 which sent $10,000 to full-time employees who had been with the company for at least five years while possessing a Federal Stafford or Perkins Loan. Natixis saw employees embrace the initiative.
Hailer said, “We did this as a company because it was the right thing to do. And it quickly became a competitive advantage that played a big role in both employee retention and recruiting.”