Dealing with Financial Concerns as a Student
For many people, money worries are the greatest source of stress – more than work, personal health, and relationships. In fact, research shows that 48% of Canadians have lost sleep because of financial worries. This trend of financial stress does not only affect working adults. In a survey conducted in 2020, about 70% of Canadian post-secondary students were very, or extremely, concerned about their financial status.
There are many sources of financial stress for students, including but not limited to:
- Managing housing expenses for the first time
- Paying for tuition
- Living paycheque to paycheque from part-time jobs
- Struggling to save money for short and long-term goals
Financial stress also impacts our mental and physical health. According to the government of Canada, those dealing with financial stress are:
- 2x more likely to report poor overall health
- 4x more likely to suffer from sleeping problems, headaches, and other illnesses
- More likely to experience relationship strains
If you feel this way, remember: you are not alone. Financial stress affects working Canadians of all income levels and age groups, and it is not easy to manage your finances, especially if you’ve never learned about financial literacy.
What is Finacial Literacy?
Financial literacy is a person’s knowledge and application of personal finance concepts such as budgeting, investing and managing their finances. This includes planning what to do with your money, paying off debt, tracking spending, retirement planning and more.
What are the benefits of having financial literacy?
Other than protecting your mental and physical health, being financially literate have many other practical benefits, some of which include:
- Better Decision-Making: Financial literacy empowers you to make informed decisions about your money, leading to better purchasing choices with each paycheque.
- Impact on Future: Personal finance decisions as a young adult can significantly influence one’s future, such as student debt, car purchases, credit scores, and more. Achieving long-term financial security starts with learning about how to manage your finances!
- Consumer Rights: Understanding your consumer rights protects you from fraud and predatory lenders. Financial literacy can help you shop around financial services to avoid high-interest rates, bad credit, and poor purchasing decisions.
Learning how to manage one’s finances can be a stressful experience. Many people are introduced to financial literacy after they’ve already made significant purchasing choices. If you feel overwhelmed or shame about how you have been/are managing your finances, try to be kind to yourself and remember that financial literacy is a lifelong journey!
Below are some resources to begin your learning:
- Mac’s Money Centre: Provides free education on paying for school, budgeting, debit vs. credit, taxes, money coaching, and more.
- Government of Canada: Provides free education on how to manage finances and the various savings accounts offered by the government.
- Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada: Provides free resources on financial literacy through publications, worksheets, surveys, and more.
- A list of popular books on personal finance: many of these books are available for rent at McMaster or the Hamilton Public Library.
- A list of popular podcasts on personal finance
If you would like to access mental health support:
- Student Wellness Centre Counselling and programs
- 905-525-9140 x27700 to book an appointment
- Navigate here to register for programs
- Tao: Online mental health education with 150+ video sessions, free for McMaster students
Sources:Life Events, Stress Management