Debt is the new normal right? We talk to hundreds of current post secondary students and high school graduates every day and the outlook seems to be getting bleaker and blear. I mean, there’s no way you could get through university without debt. And not just student loans either. You’ll also have to pay for food, transportation, computers, and cell phones. Not to mention that university isn’t just about learning in class, it’s also about learning about yourself and life. So you’ll need some money for beer, because the amount of beer you drink correlates directly to how well you learn about yourself and life.
Most of us swallow this lie – I certainly did. The lie is that student debt is so normal, you shouldn’t even worry about paying it back.
The Great Myth Of Job
When you’re still in school, it’s easy to justify borrowing money. You’re young, and there’s no way a student job could pay for school. Just borrow the money and when you graduate, you’ll get A REAL JOB that will magically solve all your problems.
It’s not hard to see why this myth prevails. As a student, you might be pulling in $10,000-$20,000 a year at a part-time job (if that). A base salary of $40,000-$60,000 would be life-changing. Paying off all your loans then will be simple, so why even worry about it?
That’s the great myth of JOB: A job will solve all your problems.
I’m here to tell you not to fall for it. Pay attention to the news and to anyone you know in the workforce. Jobs are hard to find, and well-paying jobs are even harder to find.
To solve this many people go back to school – to upgrade their qualifications, their earning power, and, of course, their debt. Of course this can quickly lead to a real spiral of debt and credentials as students everywhere come out of their post-secondary cocoon, see their debt “shadow” and scurry back into the warm confines of the ivory tower where creditors can’t get to them as easily.
Take Control Now
Here’s a secret – paying off debt is hard. Regardless of your income or your amount of debt, paying it back requires long-term discipline and planning. Don’t assume you’ll just walk into the bank with a bag full of money and pay everything off in one day – that’s not how it’s going to happen.
Debt repayment is a habit, and it’s one you should start developing now. Whether it’s $20 a week, $100 a paycheque, or just some birthday money, the discipline of paying back your debt will stay with you even when all the numbers are larger.
Simplify Your Debt Repayment
One of the biggest challenges with debt repayment is understanding who to repay and when. With credit cards, car loans, other loans, and student debt, just knowing how much you owe and to who can be overwhelming.
- Combine all debt payments into one payment
- Work within your budget so your monthly payment is manageable
- Get rid of calls from creditors
- Potentially lower interest rates
- Simplify your budget and take control of your life
Take Stock And Take Control
Panicking won’t help, and neither will ignoring the problem. This is a mistake that many young people are making these days. Whining to your buddy or getting the sympathetic ear of a journalist won’t make your problem go away (although admittedly a reasonable amount of venting is healthy in the short term. Take stock of your situation and take control – your future is worth it.