Student loans will hang over your head until you finally pay them off.
Depending on which statistic you look at, across Canada the average student loan balance upon completion of post-secondary education is between $13,000 and $27,000 (http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2012/08/17/student-debt-survey.html). That’s IF you have enough financial support to cover the rest of the average $20,000 – $60,000 tuition and living costs for a 4-year program.
Even scarier – the average student will take 10 (http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2012/08/17/student-debt-survey.html) to 14 (http://business.financialpost.com/2012/09/04/student-debt-average-payback-takes-14-years/) years to pay off those loans!
Not surprisingly, student loans are a huge cause of stress. If you graduate at 23 and take the average time to pay back your loans, you won’t be finished until you’re between 33 and 37. Most people are married, have a home, and at least one child by the time that happens. Getting married while still being weighed down by your student loans is an awful way to start off your lives together. Buying a home or having a kid is even harder.
Why Does it Take So Long?
Rising tuition costs, expensive text-books, forced meal-plans, and higher interest rates all combine to force students to borrow more and more, and slow down the rate that they can pay it back.
It takes young adults so long to pay it back because they were never taught how to deal with debt – how to make a plan, make it a priority, and focus until it’s gone.
For many young people, paying off their student loans simply is not a priority, and that’s because they’ve fallen for THE LIE.
The Student Loans Lie
In your last year of high school, as you’re filling out entrance exams and trying to decide what you’ll major in, student loans are an afterthought. Signing up is easy – it’s basically free money. Four years is a long time and besides, the only reason you’re not making a lot of money NOW is because you don’t have a university education.
As soon as you graduate, you’ll be able to do all those things that real adults do, like wear a suit, drive a nice car, buy a house, and travel the world – and none of those people have to worry about student loans right?
The student loans lie is that you’ll never have to work hard to pay them off. They’ll never be a real burden to you because you’ll be making so much money you won’t notice the payments.
As anyone who’s EVER paid off their student loans will tell you, they WILL affect your life and they WILL follow you around to the ends of the earth until you take care of them.
How To Pay Off Your Student Loans
Answer 1: NOT all at once.
Answer 2: Piece by piece.
This is the hard truth: paying off your student loans will take time, patience, and discipline. Debt repayment has to be a priority for you. Student loans do not fit in some magical category where they don’t count as debt. If you owe money to Home Depot, Mastercard, and your student loans, they all go into the same pile.
The good news is you treat them like any other debt: no extra planning required!
Break your student loans down by lender or institution and add each row into your debt list. If you list your debts by interest rate, figure out the interest rate you’re paying for your student loans and enter them in the right spot. If you’re trying the debt snowball method, put them in your list according to the amount of each.