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School’s Cool but Debt Sucks!

May 4, 2016
Does the thought of doing your taxes make you want to cry? Are you unsure of what a credit score is? Mogo's Financial Fitness Coach, Chantel Chapman, is here to answer your financial questions!

Mogo is a financial tech company that’s transforming the way Canadians access their money, control credit, and ultimately, get out of debt. Think of it as #FinancesWithBenefits. Unlike the big (scary) banks, Mogo takes a different approach by being convenient, simple, and above all, transparent. They’re the only ones in Canada who offer a full spectrum of rates, so they’ve probably got an option for whatever you need and for how excellent or not so great your credit application is (BTW- if your credit sucks- you better be following this series!). Basically, they’re doing to the banks what Uber is doing to taxis.


In our new #AskAnAdult series, Chantel Chapman, Mogo’s Financial Fitness Coach (and real-life adult), answers your most pressing financial questions! She’ll whip you (and us) into financial shape! This week, Taylor Reynolds, asks:

“I’ve been using OSAP while in university and I am starting to stress about how much my debt has been racking up. What are some tips you have when it comes to paying it all off?!

Hey Taylor! First of all, you need to change your perspective on your student loan debt and not feel so guilty about it. Sometimes you need to borrow money in order to purchase an asset and to get yourself ahead in life. Education is an asset. It’s not like you borrowed to pop bottles at the club! Don’t forget, you don’t actually have to pay it off until 6 months after you’re done school, so this means you’ve got 6 months to get your shit together quick!

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Photos by Dani Reynolds

If you’re concerned about how big your debt is, get a side hustle and start paying it down early. If you have ANY credit card debt, you’ll want to get that under control ASAP before you start worrying about the student loan debt. Otherwise you’re coming out of school with both credit card and student loan debt.
Student loan debt is the cheapest debt you can have and you get an income tax credit too. Always pay off your other debt first cause that’s gonna cost you more. Oh yeah and you’ve got 9.5 years to pay off your student loans so if you can only make the minimum payment for a while, that’s okay when it comes to student loans. Obviously once you start making more chedda- you can pay more towards this debt. I would hope that the more you spend on school means the more you can potentially can earn one day.

“You’ve got 6 months to get your shit together quick!”

 

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Basically, you gotta budget and not rack up anymore debt especially when you’re done school, because you’ll have this new thing to pay off that will eat up some of your income.

So, to sum it up…

1 .Get a job
2. Budget
3. Don’t rack up credit card debt
4. Don’t ball out at the club and waste your money

If you do all of the above, you should be in a position to make your student loan payments!

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“I’ve heard that credit cards with a cash back feature can be great when dealing with tons of student debt….but a “cash back” feature almost seems too good to be true. Would you recommend them when you have student loans to pay off?”

 

Good question! You could use a cashback credit card to get cash to pay off your student loans BUT only a small amount of SUPER responsible adults can handle this. Credit cards use rewards programs to lure you in, so if you think that you’re smart enough to play this game and win, then do it. 10 million Canadians carry credit card debt so it’s pretty risky. Also, some cards have an annual fee, what’s the difference between how much cash you get back versus how much you’re paying for the annual fee? Sometimes it’s worth it, sometimes it’s not.

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If you trust yourself to put a balance on the card, pay it ALL off every month and not get screwed, go for it. It’s free money. But if you can’t say no to Yeezys or if you swipe your card irresponsibly like you’d swipe on Tinder in a new city, then do not go for cashback. The average credit card is 19.99%. Student loans are 5% max. You do the math.

Check out Chantel’s interview with Shaq, Nicole Arbour, and other celebs on How to Adult!