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How to Benefit from Real-life Student Debt Experience

Feeling anxious about the what-ifs of your future finances and student debt is normal when you’re a university or college student. But you have more control over your future than you think.

A new BDO poll revealing Canadian graduates’ biggest regrets about student debt offers you the opportunity to learn from the generation who graduated before you.

Work now, play later

If movies and TV tell us anything about being a student, is that it’s “supposed” to be a time of life experiences, lessons and parties, most of which come at the expense of students’ well-being and bank accounts.

But real-life Canadian graduates under 40 say that if they could go back, they would do it differently.

Their advice to future university and college students? Be willing to make financial sacrifices while you’re in school.

Looking back, many grads between 21 and 39 would have reconsidered some of their choices.

  • 30 per cent of Canadian grads who had student debt said that they wish they’d lived more frugally, and used a budget while in school.
  • 1 in 4 graduates said they should have tried harder to avoid credit card debt, bank loans and lines-of-credit. Putting discretionary spending on a high-interest credit card, or taking on vehicle payments, would be challenging for anyone on a fixed income. For students with no employment guarantee after graduation, repaying that debt might seem impossible.
  • Almost 30 per cent said that they would have worked more hours at a side job while they were in school to help make ends meet.
  • If they could do it again, one in five grads with student debt would have avoided taking on so much — borrowing less than what was offered.
  • Almost 10 per cent of graduates said that they should have applied to a local college or university so they could have lived at home.

    The freedom of living alone for the first time can be irresistible. But since over a quarter of grads with student debt said they had to move back home at some point to keep their costs down after graduation, over-stretching your finances while you’re in school could guarantee you’re moving back home after graduation.

  • Almost one in 10 grads also said they would have completed a two-year degree instead of a lengthy — and more costly — four-year program. In most industries, there are no guarantees of high wages for graduates, and in many cases shorter programs out-pace longer ones in terms of wages.

If you’re in school now, graduation might feel like a long way off. But the reality is, when that day comes, your debt will be waiting. Take the necessary steps now to reduce your overall debt load before you graduate.

What’s the best student debt advice you’re received? #DebtSolutions #StudentDebt #StudentLoanDebt



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