Planning for Post Secondary (3 Minute Debt Break)

2022-08-02

Lifestyle Debt

Post-secondary education costs money. Depending on the program, sometimes a lot of it.  But there are steps every student can take to prepare for these costs and minimize the future financial impacts of pursuing a higher education.

A mother using a laptop in kitchen with teenager

Approaching a post-secondary education can feel overwhelming if you don’t have significant savings to rely on. Even with supplemental funding and any money Mom and Dad may have set aside, a combination of student loans and employment income may also be necessary. Begin planning as early as possible for what your anticipated costs will be and how you will afford them. Remember, it is never too late to start thinking about how you will manage the cost associated with a post-secondary education. 

There are important questions to consider. Like, will you stay home or move away for school? Different schools have different programs and learning opportunities. You’ll need to weigh the potential cost savings of staying in town and living with family for free or reduced rent against the benefits of moving elsewhere. 

Another important consideration is knowing what costs you need to budget for. Many students aren’t aware of some of these costs until they receive an acceptance package from the school or attend their first orientation session. Here’s what you should expect to budget for, at a minimum. Tuition, residence, books, transportation and parking, health insurance, and groceries and meals!

In addition, you’ll want to budget for spending money so you can have fun and fully enjoy the post-secondary experience. There are lots of sporting and recreational clubs on campus, plus opportunities to socialize and make new friends. But, like all things, there will be a cost attached to these extracurricular activities.

Once you know the costs and you want to minimize the amount of debt you take on, it’s likely you will still need a small amount of student loans or a student line of credit to make the numbers work. There’s nothing wrong with borrowing money to better yourself — but keeping this to a minimum and aiming to pay off any debts as soon as possible will position you for future financial success. Make sure that you are fully aware of ALL the repayment options for the different types of financial assistance you have received.

Many students are understandably shocked by the difficulty of repaying their loans on an entry level wage. While it may seem like you have nothing but time and income growth ahead of you, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the perils of adulthood. Planning your realistic financial prospects and goals ahead of time gives you a head start to save, plan, and budget accordingly for your reality four to five years in the future.

 

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