Tag Archives: student finances

Understanding Millennials Financial Stress

1/15 Understanding Millennials  

Hi George: We spoke for a minute after your radio show with Phil Johnson today and you asked me to email you.

I am a 23 year old full time university student and I am on a full ride scholarship. I also work a part-time job and am lucky that it pays well. I have lived with my girlfriend, who is also a full time university student that serves on her weekends and volunteers once a week at KGH, in a modest apartment in downtown Kelowna. I am a millennial and I understand a lot of the frustration pertaining to the “zombies” of my generation.

I guess the issue I have is that I, like many other people my age, can only tread water and hope not to drown in financial debt. There is no way you can go to school today without access to a computer and internet. On top of paying for schooling, you have rent, utilities, food, insurance, gas, cellphone bills (another necessity in today’s world – and not the millennial’s fault) and so on.

If you do the math; a full time student spends 15 hours in class and is recommended to spend an additional 3 hours studying outside of the classroom which adds up to 45 hours/week of studying time. In addition, to keep a roof over your head, your belly full, and your vehicle that is required to transport you throughout your erratic schedule, you will have to work at least a 40 hours/week at minimum wage.

It is also recommended the average person gets 8 hours of sleep per day, or 56 hours/week. So we are now at 141 hours of our week dedicated solely to studying, working and sleeping while we only have 27 hours left to kill.

Hopefully you can fit all your driving, grocery shopping, cooking, eating, exercising, banking, personal hygiene, volunteer work, and maybe, just maybe, you will have the time to put your feet up and prey you don’t have any emergency expenditures. 

Now I cannot speak for all millennial’s, but the fact that I am on a full ride scholarship and still contemplating taking out a student loan frustrates me, and when I hear people on the radio commenting on how spoiled and lazy all of us millennial’s are, it frustrates me even more.

If you have any financial advice I would appreciate hearing it, and again, I apologize for the breadth of this email, but I thought you may be intrigued by a 23 year old’s perspective on why the majority of us millennial’s are broke.

A BIG thanks for your note. It’s so well written and thought out AND accurate! Sure wish I could magically insert your email into my book today!

You’re right that millennials get labeled. It’s mostly off US surveys of various degrees of quality and accuracy. In the next year or two, “you” will outnumber baby boomers so the world, including myself, really ought to be a little more careful in the generalizations. Thank you thank you! For every stereotypical millennial there are vast numbers of superstars and future leaders such as you.

Not sure when you’re done or if you read the Money Tools chapter If you’re about 25 or younger, but DO start thinking about the critical year after grad as outlined in there.

Nope, you can’t save right now. Reality sucks but it’s about financially treading water – of surviving and not thriving. And that’s you with a full scholarship, never mind the 90% or so that don’t have that “luxury.”

Do NOT let the need for some student loans depress  you! I know there’s really no such thing as “good” debt, but there is “better” debt on the proviso it’s not around for a decade. Everything in life is a trade-off and you’re not looking to use it for a three week Europe holiday. Just knowing that you hate doing it makes you more financially responsible than the vast majority of the world. Better sleep, less stress, a small cushion “in case” is worth using some student loan money!

The BIG goal, even if it’s funded with student loan money, as reasoned above, is to have a month of expenses in a savings account for any emergency. It’s fine if that’s half your savings, half your girlfriend’s for the time being. It’s worth the reduced stress and just knowing the next “emergency” will then be more of an inconvenience…

George Boelcke – Money Tools & Rules book – yourmoneybook.com

College and University Grads: Hold Off Spending For One More Year

Student loan debt in Canada is over $14 billion. It grows at over $1.2 million a day and adds 360,000 students a year, and tons of that $14 billion is saddled on people who are graduating this year.

College and University students should be well familiar with the phrases ‘short term pain for long term gain,’ and the concept of delayed gratification.

That’s because they usually don’t have much of a life, and certainly not a lot of money. They were just smart enough to get a degree and live like a poor student, for the benefit of a better income, with more education, down the road.

The downside is that some of the most broke people are those aged 25-35. That delayed gratification all ends, for most of them, with their first paycheque after graduation.

Usually, however, that poor student life tends to end immediately when they start getting a paycheque and spend like crazy – because they now have some actual disposable income. In fact, THE most broke grads, for the next decade, are lawyers, doctors, and pharmacists. Their income is generally significantly above average and they spend way beyond that.

But delay the big spending spree of the cool plasma TV, the new car, a ton of clothes, and the good furniture for a year. If you can live like a poor student, and keep that mindset for one more year, you’d be amazed what happens.

If you spend like you did in school for one more year after graduation, you’ll clear up at least half of your student loans. If you didn’t have any, you’ll have a savings fund of $10,000 to $15,000 in just one year. For anyone with student loans, they’re not something you really want to have around for the next two decades. It’s pretty depressing to have to send that payment each month, year after year after year. Get on with it and get it over with. 10-year old pizza isn’t very attractive. Neither is a 10-year old debt.

It’s a life-changing decision you can only make once: Take on rent, car payments, a bigger credit card balance, the usual work-related expenses, AND the hangover of the student loans, or press the spending pause button for a year. If you choose the former, ask some grads from the last few years what financial stress is like. If they’re honest with you, it’s not a place you want to be for the next decade or longer. But it’s always a choice.

Ease yourself into the world of big-time spending. It’s not your job to turn the economy around in the next few months. If you delay that need to spend like crazy for another year, it’ll be so worth it. If you don’t, I guarantee that years from now, you’ll tell your kids to do exactly what I’m suggesting to you right now.