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College Debt – Is It Really Worth It?

College debt is a major problem in North America. In 2010, the average student loan in North America has surpassed the $25,000 mark.  American students alone have a combined student loan of approximately $1,000,000,000,000 dollars.  But in reality,  $25,000 of student debt is quite manageable; however, what is disturbing is why it takes the average post graduate over 7 years for students to pay off their student loans. I think there is something else lurking in the background here.  Fact is, students just do not learn how to manage money and as a consequence, have trouble paying off their debt or saving money for their schooling.   However, there are three things you can do to prevent or eliminate your student loans, including:

Don’t accumulate any student loans

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The easiest way to not have a student loan is to save up for school and pay for it before actually going to school.  However, the problem with this is that it actually you to save money – and very few young people have been taught to save money.  In my honest opinion, this method is the way to go.  Working before going to school will help you appreciate actually going back to school and show you how little money you earn if you do not go to school.  Also, you will mature tremendously by being exposed to many different people in the workforce.

The trick to this is that you actually need to save money, if you don’t do this, you’ll never get to go back to school.  This requires self-sacrifice and ensuring you do not get tempted to get that new iPhone, mountain bike or high heels if you’re a chick.  Before I went to school, I worked for two and a half years and had amassed $32,000 for school.  However, I still took out student loans but only had about $12,000 after I graduated.  I paid it off about a year after I finished school.

Don’t buy what you don’t need

One of the hardest things to do is to resist the urge to buy things that you do not need.  However, that is exactly what needs to happen if you need to do in order to save money to accumulate the money for school.  In an age where teenagers want everything, it is very hard to resist the temptations of the products and services and the social pressures from friends and sometimes family.  However, learning to resist what you don’t need is needed to for you to succeed.  But this doesn’t mean just saving money for school but also for a person to build their character.

Don’t get a useless degree

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There is something to be said about somebody that has passion for what they do – it is definitely important.  But, in this world, unfortunately, money is also very important.  You need it for almost everything you consume or do.  So while it would be nice to be an actress, there aren’t a lot of people that make money doing it.  For the one you see on TV, there were 15,000 that were turned down.  That can be said for other “careers” like hockey player, marine biologist, fashion designer, psychologists, artists, etc.  There just aren’t many people that make money on them.  Be focussed on what you want to do and complete as much research, including asking yourself: What kind of job it is in the beginning of your career and near the end.  What does a typical graduate start at and what is their mid-career pay?  Many of the careers that are listed above sound interesting but can end up just giving you a lot of student debt.

Bottom line is that some of the debt that has been accumulated by students could have been prevented if they had a clear goal about what they wanted to go to school for.  However, since many young people are unsure, they take courses that they either do not finish or change half-way through their degree.   You will pay yourself dividends by ensuring that the program or degree you take is high in demand, pays well and makes you feel satisfied.

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