The range of courses available is more than ever before. You can study circus skills, surf science and horology (its ok – I’ve looked it up – it’s about studying err, time). But money management doesn’t seem to be a popular subject. Which is a shame because we all need it! Ideally, we will hit University with a school lesson or 2 under our belt, or with some parental advice ringing in our ears or some personal experience of dealing with the proceeds of our weekend job. But don’t bank on it.
Myself and many of my contemporaries were blissfully unaware of the seductive powers of a student loan hitting our bank account. Nor were we prepared for the marketing techniques of mainline banks looking to recruit (ensnare?) potential future high-earners to their ranks. Of course you can have an overdraft. 6 banks present at Fresher Week – elementary maths – 6 overdrafts.
Now of course it would be scandalous to homogenise students into the caricature image of constantly loaded, beer swilling, kebab eating late teenagers, but let’s face it - the independence and camaraderie can have its own intoxicating effect. And the termly loan that seemed so impressive in week 1 can all but disappear in week 3. Many a week 4 starts with a letter home for the first time.
Well – my experience may be well off the mark for man. But the dangers are there. Managing money for what could be the first time can be a challenge. Budgeting and planning sound boring but do make sense. Seeking financial advisor from the one bank we choose to go with may help. And learning lessons from past mistakes essential.
And what if we do leave at the end of it all with much more than our student loans company debt to worry about. Then again we need to learn fast about options and possibilities. It may be that the early years of earning from a job do need to be spent in resolving some or all of those debt issues. Many 20-somethings find they have too much debt to handle and are able to come up with a plan to ort these out whilst they still have plenty of time left to build for the future.