Is it wise to stay home and pay off my student debts?

student debt Asian graduateI WANT, I WANT, I WANT


Ah, the student debt fever doesn’t hit until school is done and reality hits the young adults of today. End of the school year 2014 is quickly approaching which means many graduates will be free from their education but not from their student debts.

Today’s post is based on a question in the CBB mailbox from a student fan who was looking to me and all of you for some advice on what he/she should do after University because of student debt load.

It’s funny how many people when given lump sums of money or money in general will live in the moment especially if they don’t have any savings to back them up.

The feeling of happiness that money brings to most people overrides anything that will happen after the fact such as paying it back.

I know a friend of ours who year after year gets in a financial bind and has to get a loan from whoever is silly enough to give it to them.

In the months leading up to actually finding someone to give them a loan to pay off their debt they are miserable, have no money and complain about having no money to pay debts off so they need to find a loan.

The minute they find a loan it’s like their entire world does a 360 as if they won the lottery. No, you still need to pay that money back. Once they come off their cloud loan 649 and the bills come rolling it the cycle starts all over again.

You can attribute the same feeling at Christmas time when shoppers are raiding the malls with credit card in hand, the fancy shiny decorations, Christmas lights etc. take over their brains and they shop until the credit card is maxed out.

It’s not until January hits that they come down from that cloud and realize, what have we done?. The miserable, depressed people come back to earth and have to find a way to pay down credit card debts.

There are no two ways around debt whether you accumulate it as student debts or after school. When students go to University and College they are bombarded with deals from credit card companies and store credit cards. Why? They know they are vulnerable and why not start them off on the wrong foot?

University and College students and credit card debt go hand in hand. It makes some students feel like adults with prestige to whip out a credit card but to be honest, I’d say having cash in the bank would make me feel better than saying charge it.

If they are silly enough not to understand how to manage money then you can bet someone will swoop in and say hey, we’ll take advantage of that. Are they really taking advantage though? Not really.

It’s up to the student to know how much student debt they can afford to accumulate and what they hope to do after to pay back that student debt. Living life with terrible credit if you can’t pay back your loans is not a place you will want to be in especially when you have the means to control that debt accumulation by simply not spending money on crap.

I’m not sure if parents go over any type of life lessons before the kids head off to school, especially when it comes to money but my advice to any parents out there, do it.

If you are parents who are deep in debt yourselves and have no idea where to start financially find someone who can help not only yourselves but your children. Maybe you need financial motivation and for many that involves a kick-start by someone going over their financial history and telling them where they are going wrong.

The best thing you can do is teach your children that accumulating OSAP loans is one thing but digging themselves a grave with credit card debt buying booze, clothes, and stuff is another.

Sometimes it’s hard to come off that cloud when you are in school because it’s a long ride sometimes years. What is the average student loan debt? 

I can’t tell you that number but for most students who go to College and University they are coming up with enough OSAP student loan debt that may just take them years to pay off if they pay the minimum payments.

Sure you can pay your OSAP loans off faster but that’s only if you have the cash to do it. Don’t assume that after University you will be making a 6 figure income either, time to wake up.


Student debt


My reader wants to know if he/she should stay home and pay off their student debts before venturing out into their own apartment to live life as an adult.

My answer would be if your parents don’t mind then go for it. If they are willing to help you get your student debt under control and you are committed to getting rid of that student debt as fast as possible then accept that offer.

Life isn’t going to run away, and if you meet the love of your life than they should understand why you are still living with your parents. If they are financially savvy themselves they will support your efforts to get rid of any debts before moving forward in the love and relationship departments such as moving in together or marriage.

Living with your parents is not a bad thing to pay off student debt but you also don’t want to take advantage of your parents. Remember that your parents have bills to pay and have to go to work every day as well.

Nothing in life is free. Not everyone is lucky to have parents to pay for their education so they are left with OSAP loans and other student debt to pay off.

This is a great time to put that budget into play especially if you never used a student budget when you were in school. A budget will save you financially if you aren’t able to keep afloat on your own.

You can download my free excel budget spreadsheet to get you started and read my 10 step budgeting series to give you an idea of where we began with our budget.

There are people who don’t need a budget but for many a budget is a life saver. Without a budget we wouldn’t be where we are today in terms of our debt-free status and net worth.

If your parents ask you to pay for a bit of rent or food then oblige because if you don’t pay them you’d have to pay someone else. They are not being mean they are teaching you life lessons. Trust me when I say it will benefit you down the road.


Moving home


I moved back in with my parents for a while at one point in my life before I moved to Canada and I paid them rent but I also did some renovations for them around the house.

I’m a handy guy and I love renovating spaces in homes. Think of ways you can help your parents where they might have to hire someone. If you have the skills they are looking for they may just hire you like my parents did.

I bartered my skills to pay off living with them even though I didn’t have any student debt to pay back. When I went to University I paid my way without any student debts by working in the summers and throughout the school year. I was frugal with my money even though I wish I had used a budget but I still made sure I didn’t waste it.

This is also another option for students especially if you can find a part-time job that is flexible with your school hours. The faster you can get rid of that school debt the fast you can get on with your life without having the burden of debt hanging over your shoulders.

Student debt doesn’t have to be scary unless you make it scary by accumulating more than you need and not doing everything you can to pay it back.

Stop thinking you need to live the dream when you are done school because for most that never happens. It has nothing to do with being uncool if you live with your parents. Who cares? You will be the last one laughing if you have little to no debt when you venture out on your own.

Even if you don’t have the option to move back in with your parents, rent a room if you have to instead of an apartment. Whatever option costs you less to pay down your student debts, think about that option.

Know what is right for you and think clearly because these debts may affect the rest of your life or a good chunk of the years where you should be building wealth.

Keep your goals in place and you will walk many miles longer than those who think they must have the house with the white picket fence, boats, vacations, clothes etc before their financial time.

How did you pay off your student debts fast? Did you move back with your parents? What advice would you give to this student reader?




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  1. I have thought of this before. I knew I could live with my parents for free, but honestly it wouldn’t be that great for me. It would be worse on my self-esteem and drive. I am very independent and don’t have the best relationship with my dad, who does not work. From an emotional standpoint, it would be worse. It really depends on your relationship with your parents and what you want out of the situation.

  2. Our oldest went into the military after high school which meant he was living in shacks(barracks) for that time. But every chance he got he came home here, and when he got out he came home. He was in no condition to be on his own at that time given that he got out on a medical with depression. He is still here, pays rent and helps out around the house.
    The younger boy is still here as well, trying to get a job the last while and he will likely stay here after as well.
    Our daughter went to college and we signed off on a student line of credit for her as OSAP turned her down flat. At one point she was told she was making too much money to qualify. She was working retail and this was shortly before Christmas. The line of credit gave her $6500.00 a year and she used that for both years in college on top of the money she made working while in college. She stayed in London afterwards as she was offered a job to start in Sept after graduation. One of her field placements was with the Y as an Early Childhood Educator and she so impressed the people there she got the job at a new center that was opening.
    With their father not being well I appreciate the help I get form both boys!! It’s been everything from cutting the lawn, shoveling the driveway, helping with groceries, and so on. If something needs to be done here I call on my boys. If I have to take their father to emergency for some reason I know I can drop everything and just go. Things will get done for me. All three of the kids are there for me emotionally and for the support I need to help their father. Having the two boys at home works for us right now and having their support makes a lot of things so much easier for me…..

  3. I’m a bit mixed on this. While I think it is great to want to prioritize student loans, I don’t think it is necessarily fair to expect to be able to move home and live rent free or at a very low rent. I guess I would tell my children to figure it out on their own or to plan in advance! Plus, given student loans here in the states, to fully pay off an average loan, a entry level employee would have to live at home for 2+ years to save that kind of cash!

    1. Well that’s where the parents either say yes or no… there should never be expectations. In my wife’s culture there would be no questions … they would say yes without question. My parents would do anything to help me out in life and allowed me the same but I paid rent. I was fair as i know that they have bills as well. Many kids are living at home into their thirties just to pay off loans. It all depends on debt comfort level, amount of debt, emergency savings and whether you have parents who will allow you back. The other option like i mentioned is to rent a room or move in with friends where it’s cheaper.

  4. It’s definitely a balancing act. There are obvious and not-so-obvious pros and cons to staying with your parents. It’s important to compare those to the amount you’ll be saving by not living elsewhere.

    Of course, if you do it, act immensely grateful for staying, of course. Offer to pay your fair share (presumably, your parents will say no to this), be a good tenant (good advice regardless of where you live), and don’t spend frivolously on things and trips so that it’s clear you’re not saving on rent just so you can have fun in other aspects.

    1. I’d rather put money back in my parents pockets than pay the mortgage for someone else by renting a room or having roomates.

  5. I wanted to comment on this because it’s something I definitely took some flak for from friends and coworkers by living with my parents for awhile after college. For me, it wasn’t necessarily a solo decision as my parents took out parent loans to help pay for my schooling. My dad wanted me to get myself financially stable so I could pay my loans off in his name quickly, and for once I actually took his advice and am so thankful for it! I lived with my parents for about 2 years after I graduated (it’s been 5 years) and I now have a paid off car, paid off student loans (that were in my name), and am now tackling the loans in my parents name and expect to have those paid off within a couple years. I had a lot of student loan debt (about $100k). I’ve got my financial life pretty well sorted out, and have a plan to continually make it better, so for my family, me moving home was the best financial decision for all involved!

    1. Kudos to you Christine. Who cares what anyone else thinks, it’s your life. They don’t have to walk it, live it or pay your bills. You did the right thing and now your smiling. Good for you!

  6. I moved back home after school. I didn’t have enough of a goal set ahead and got comfortable. Moving back was great, I paid rent, bought groceries, helped around the house and was there for my mom when she needed me the most. Only drawback is I had to make myself move on when I was financially ready as she and I had gotten too comfortable together. If you move back, my biggest suggestion is to have a goal to have the debt paid off and a timeline to move on and start a new life.

    1. I agree that there should be a plan and some sort of a timeline involved. It may not go as planned but at least you worked something out. You do want to get out on your own at some point. Good for you Angela.

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