Home Blog SAVE Plan Financial Advisors: Understanding the Benefits of the SAVE Plan for your Clients

Financial Advisors: Understanding the Benefits of the SAVE Plan for your Clients

While university degrees traditionally open doors to career opportunities and wealth accumulation, today many Americans graduate college burdened by overwhelming debt.

Enter the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan, a new federal student loan repayment program set to revolutionize debt management for many borrowers. Financial professionals who grasp the intricacies of this transformative program can gain a competitive edge in attracting and retaining high-potential, early-career clients. In this article, we’ll delve into the SAVE Plan, highlighting its key features and benefits, and introduce a potent new tool, Finology Software, designed to empower advisors in addressing their clients’ college financing and debt repayment needs.

The SAVE Plan: Easing the Student Debt Burden

In recent years, high levels of student debt have hindered many young adults from pursuing traditional investment and wealth-building strategies, such as home ownership, retirement savings, and even setting aside funding for their own children’s education. The SAVE Plan, which began rolling out in 2023, stands out as the most borrower-friendly income-driven repayment (IDR) plan ever introduced by the U.S. Department of Education. It guarantees to halve undergraduate loan payments compared with existing IDR plans, preventing borrowers’ balances from growing if they meet required payments. Additionally, it protects a significant portion of a borrower’s income for essential needs, providing much-needed financial relief.

Key Features of the SAVE Plan

  1. Enhanced Affordability: Under the SAVE plan, individuals earning less than $15 per hour are exempt from making any payments. Those earning above this threshold will save more than $1,000 annually compared with other IDR plans.
  2. Seamless Transition: The SAVE plan automatically replaces the Revised Pay-As-You-Earn (REPAYE) plan, currently the most generous IDR option for most federal loan recipients. Existing REPAYE plan participants will seamlessly transition to the SAVE plan with no action required.
  3. Increased Protection: Borrowers will see the amount of income protected from payments rise to 225% from 150% of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guideline amount. This change makes more than a million additional low-income borrowers eligible for a $0 payment.
  4. Interest Relief: Monthly interest not covered by the borrower’s payment is no longer charged under the SAVE Plan, preventing loans from growing due to unpaid interest.
  5. Simplified Calculation: Married borrowers filing taxes separately no longer have to include their spouse’s income in their payment calculation, simplifying repayment plans.

Future Benefits of the SAVE Plan

Upon full implementation in July 2024, borrowers will experience even greater benefits, reducing both monthly and lifetime payments:

  1. Undergraduate Loan Payment Cut: Payments on undergraduate loans will be halved to 5% of incomes above 225% of the Federal Poverty Level, down from 10%
  2. Forgiveness for Low-Balance Borrowers: Borrowers with original principal balances of $12,000 or less will receive forgiveness after 120 payments, equivalent to 10 years of repayment.

Improving Repayment Navigation and Protecting Borrowers

The SAVE Plan addresses common pitfalls and challenges faced by borrowers during repayment:

  1. Automatic Enrollment: Borrowers going 75 days without making a payment will be automatically enrolled in the SAVE Plan if they have previously consented to disclose their Federal tax information.
  2. Access to IDR Plans in Default: Borrowers in default will gain access to the existing income-based repayment (IBR) plan, lowering their payments and providing a faster track toward forgiveness.
  3. Credit for Certain Deferments and Forbearances: Borrowers will receive credit toward forgiveness on certain deferments and forbearances, eliminating obstacles in the repayment journey.

Estimated Impact of the SAVE Plan

The SAVE plan is expected to bring substantial positive benefits for future borrowers compared with the existing REPAYE plan, including:

  1. Reduced Total Payments: Borrowers will see a 40% decrease in total payments per dollar borrowed, with the most significant reduction benefitting low-income borrowers.
  2. Savings for Graduates: A typical graduate from a four-year public university will save nearly $2,000 annually compared with existing IDR plans.
  3. Support for Teachers: First-year teachers with a bachelor’s degree pursuing Public Service Loan Forgiveness will see a two-thirds reduction in total payments, saving more than $17,000.
  4. Debt-Free Community College: Approximately 85% of community college borrowers will be debt-free within 10 years.

Considerations for High Earners

It’s important to note that, unlike REPAYE, the SAVE PLAN is uncapped, potentially leading to higher monthly payments for those earning close to a six-figure income. High-earning individuals should consider whether remaining enrolled in the REPAYE program makes better financial sense, and, if so, they must re-enroll before the July 1, 2024, deadline.

Introducing Finology Software: An Important Tool for Advisors

The SAVE Plan represents a game-changing opportunity for student loan borrowers. Its enhanced affordability, simplified repayment, and debt relief options are poised to transform the lives of countless individuals pursuing higher education.

In the ever-evolving landscape of college financing, staying informed and equipped is crucial for financial advisors seeking a competitive edge and new ways to attract high-potential, early-career clients.

With Finology Software, advisors can access an innovative set of tools to help streamline the client loan data onboarding process, create automated analytics, track progress towards completing specialized programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), and simulate the lifecycles of federal income-driven repayment plans such as the SAVE Plan, offering clients real, calendarized projections based on their specific, personalized data.

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