What to Do if You’re Struggling with Student DebtOct 18, 2017
If you thought student debt was just a young man or woman’s problem, you’re wrong. Graduates in their 20s and 30s face debt loads in the thousands. A recent BDO poll found that Canadian grads under 40 who are still paying off student debt, owe an average of over $16,000.
If you’ve been out of school for a while but still have lingering student debt, there are resources that could help.
Make a commitment to pay your student debt
Finding a job in your field, building seniority, and making ends meet — young professionals have a lot on their plate. Paying down your student debt can sometimes fall to the bottom of your list. Especially if you don’t have any help paying it off like some fortunate employees.
Don’t let that happen.
Debt is one of those problems that doesn’t take care of itself. It doesn’t get better over time unless you continue to work away at it. In fact, depending on your interest rate, you could increase the life of your loan by years if you avoid actively reducing it.
For not-so-recent graduates, there can be a greater number of obstacles between you and repaying your student debt. If you have a mortgage, vehicle payments, other active loans, or a family to support, your money is being spread thinly.
Take a look at these options for helping you get out of student debt.
Speak with a professional
Sit down with a debt help professional in your area to learn about several options at once. A Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) can review your finances with you and identify if there are informal options (like budgeting or a debt repayment strategy) or formal options (such as a consumer proposal) that could help.
Sometimes student debt is difficult to repay because it’s only one of several financial responsibilities you have. Think about structuring your debt differently — or learning more about student debt relief offered by the government.
There are different ways to consolidate debt, but getting a consolidated loan through a bank might help you pay off your student debt. Reducing your overall interest paid frees up money to make larger principle payments.
The Government of Canada offers a Repayment Assistance Plan that may reduce or eliminate payments to help with your student debt.
If you’ve been affected by B.C.’s recent or current forest fire situation, the government also provide a fast-track application process.
Don’t be discouraged if your student debt load is higher than the national average. The BDO poll found that B.C. grads under 40 have, on average, over $25,000 in student debt still to repay. The longer debt exists, the greater the financial burden is over the lifetime of your loan. Find a resource or solution that suits your situation and you can eliminate your student debt for good.