by Jeff Knutson
Every summer, Canadian students are left with little time to relax as they balance finding a seasonal job, saving money and preparing their personal finances for another school year.
According to a recent survey, 58 per cent of Canadian students between 16 and 24 years of age are currently in some form of paid employment. Often in seasonal or part-time positions, many put their paycheques toward everyday expenses and social activities. However, three-quarters of working students are also saving a portion of their earnings.
“It can be very difficult for young people to get ahead,” says Jeff Knutson, branch manager at Envision Financial’. “Having a part-time job as a student is great way to earn a little cash, develop some independence and learn about money management.”
Of those students who are setting money aside, almost eight out of 10 are saving for tuition. Knutson says this is an intelligent option.
“With the cost of tuition steadily rising over the last decade, it has become increasingly important for those who don’t want to be saddled with a large student loan to save for their education,” he says. “For many, this means summer is the prime time for working and putting a little aside to cover a portion of next year’s school fees.”
While many students work through the summer months and try to establish some form of financial independence, the reality is that many students still rely on their parents for help.
“I’m sure many parents would love for their kids to be financial independent, but the reality is many people need financial help well beyond high school graduation,” says Knutson. “For example, 40 per cent of parents pay their children’s cellphone bills while their children are enrolled in post-secondary education.”
Knutson continues, “If you’re a family with the benefit of time on your side, you should explore options like registered education savings plans that could earn grants to help support your child’s education. For students that have already been in the workforce, exploring options such as Lifelong Learning programs can be beneficial as they allow students to borrow from an RSP for education purposes.”
“The more young people can learn – and the earlier they learn – about the real cost of living, the better prepared they will be for life on their own,” Knutson adds. “The best way to prepare your children is to be a role model by practicing good money management, teaching your children about the principles of savings and budgeting and being educated about the financial tools you have at your disposal.”
Jeff Knutson is the branch manager at Envision Financial’s Ridge Meadows location in Langley.