When student tuition fees increased at the beginning of 2015, a national debate was sparked concerning the value of loans extended to aspiring graduates. While some suggested that such fees were extortionate and not in line with the quality of the education they would receive, for example, others celebrated the flexibility of the repayment terms and the fairness of the system as a whole.
The consequences of student loans are hard to ignore, however, especially with reports now suggesting that the notion of adults living at home with their parents will become the norm by the year 2025. More specifically, nearly one-third of graduates aged under 35 will find themselves living back at home within the next decade, as the rising cost of property and the burden of student debt makes the cost of independence too much to bear.
Can Graduates avoid the student loan trap?
With an estimated 3.8 million 20 to 34-year olds likely to be living with their parents after graduation, there is clearly an issue that needs to be addressed. The question that remains is who should shoulder the burden of negating the impact that student loans place on individuals once they enter the world of work?
While some may place the responsibility elsewhere, there is reason to believe that students themselves should take steps to take control of their financial destiny and negate the consequences of costly tuition.
So how can today’s generation of cash-poor students achieve this lofty aim? Consider the following ideas: –
Budget, plan and embrace the concept of mind-mapping
While this may sound obvious, the pressures of studying and the rigours of campus life can make it difficult to consider complexities such as finance. This is crucial if you are to minimise the impact of student borrowing, however, as budgeting can help you to save as much of your money as possible and make future repayment easier.
If you are new to budgeting, however, you may want to consider a technique known as mind-mapping. This is widely used in modern business, as is essentially a visual representation of your thoughts and decision-making process. By highlighting the triggers for impulse buys and recording your spending decisions on paper, you can begin to see where money can be saved and change your behaviour as a consumer. If all fails you can always refinance your loan. Refinancing means that you take out another loan from a private lender with much better rates, and with it pay off your original loan. Sometimes parents take out loans for their kids. They are easier to get, but parent plus loan rates are usually much higher. It would be a good idea to refinance it or merge it with other loans to get better rates.
Alongside accurate data concerning incomings and outgoings, this can help you to budget your income and optimise its impact.
Consider short-term Borrowing where appropriate
Occasionally, you may need to take on a manageable, short-term debt in order to cope with larger, long-term liabilities that are accumulating interest. While this should be done with caution, if used responsibly then short-term lending can deliver financial relief and help you to regain control of your income.
There are two key stages to achieving this. The first is to understand the nature of short-term lending, which is unsecured and generally subject to a slightly higher level of interest than normal alternatives. It must also be repaid within a fixed time to avoid charges, so it is usually best served when clearing unexpected, one-off bills rather than supplementing an existing lifestyle.
The next step is to identify a provider, with some such as Smart-Pig standing out. This was the first short-term lender to be verified by the FCA in the UK, which in turn means that it offers peace of mind and a viable solution to customers.
Consider selling a marketable skill or product
Not only there an estimated 1.4 million freelancers in the UK, but many of these have sought to embellish their earnings by securing an additional source of income. This is something that may appeal to students with an entrepreneurial or aspirational bent, while it also has the potential to boost your savings potential over time.
While studying must remain the primary focus for students, those who are proactive, determined and organised can at least create some time to invest in lucrative activities. Whether this revolves around the initiation of a part-time venture, marketing a core skill on the freelance market or investing in passive income streams (such as financial market investment), the key is to participate in carefully selected and structured activities that deliver a return.
Just be sure to make your decision wisely, while research specific markets to determine whether there is a viable demand or opportunity to generate income.