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Four Benefits of Having Student Loans
Student Loans Aren't Just a Problem in the United States
Student loans is a growing problem and not just in the United States, where student loan debt is over 1 trillion dollars. Let’s take a look at the top four countries with student loan debt. Calculations are conversions from that countries currency to USD.
Canada: $20,114 USD
Australia: $22,000 USD
United Kingdom: $30,800 USD
United States: $30,000+ USD
It is worth noting that some countries have laws in place to restrict how much an individual can take out and delays of repayment for financial reasons. Canada, for instances, doesn’t require repayment on loans until an individual has a salary of $25,000 CAD a year.
Entering the workforce with debt, even a little, can be a problem. I found myself in that boat when I graduated a I worked three part-time jobs until I got my first full-time job. Once I did, I started paying off my student loans that came out of deferment and have been paying them for the past three years.
Now I could list a hundred reasons why student loans are bad. I’ll also be the first to admit that I was a teenager at the timed made dumb money mistakes and didn’t take school seriously. While good with money (I paid as much as I could with part-time jobs and did pay 2/5 years through scholarship) and made good grades, I could’ve done better if I was more mature. You live and learn.
As time has gone on, I have been able to find positives in having student loan debt. The negatives do outweigh the positives, but sometimes positive lessons have to come from negative situations. Below are three ways that student loans can give you better financial sense
Better Money Management
Before student loans, I was good with money, but after having them I started to take a better look at my finances. However, student loans have a minimum payment every month, forcing me to create a strict budget to incorporate that amount. A dollar had more value when I knew that a couple dollars would pay interest on a student loan for the month or mean I was closer to not owing someone else money.
When I realized what my student loans were going to be like, I stopped buying ‘stuff’ that I didn’t need. My friends would often buy new books almost every week at bookstore price when the same book could later be found discounted, online or better yet, at the library. I’ve saved so much money over the years by being a minimalist and finding ways to borrow things for free through the library, amazon etc.
Student loans motivated me to excel in my career. When I got my first full-time job I was making a more money than I had been with my part-time jobs and it was a salary, not hourly wages. Still, when friends took trips on school breaks, I found myself saddened that I couldn’t afford those things because that money was going to student loans.
After 2 1/2 years of gaining an impressive skill set and fostering a growing dislike for where I lived, I applied rigorously to jobs in a city I enjoyed. I wanted to be able to travel and be debt free, but working at that job would take way too long. Long story short, I scored a better paying job and was promoted within three months, giving me my first classroom teaching job and a fantastic salary. Money is certainly a strong motivator!
Knowing How to Pay Off Debt
There’s a saying that goes ‘you’ll always be in debt’. It’s true, but we can control some of the debt we have and we should know how to free ourselves from it. When I first started paying off debt, I just paid a couple dollars over the minimum. When they weren’t going down fast enough, I researched ways to make them go away faster. The result was the debt snowball method (if only I knew of it sooner!) This has changed the way I pay my debts and I’ve seen huge results.
Also, it has taught me how not to go into debt again with my masters degree. Hard work is worth it for the freedom of being debt free!
Student loans continue to be a problem in several countries and unless something drastically changes, they will continue to be a burden on young and older professionals. I personally know many people in their 30s and 40s who are still swamped with student loan debt. Sometimes there are no alternatives. There can be pros from what debt teaches you and the above applies to any debt, not just student loans.
If you’ll excuse me, I have a debt to pay to get one step closer to freedom.
Compton, J. (2017, February 17). How The World's Top 5 Nations in Education Handle Student Loan Debt. Retrieved September 22, 2017, from https://www.sofi.com/blog/how-top-countries-university-education-handle-student-loan-debt-repayment/
© 2017 Alexis