Recently my pastor has been talking more about financial responsibility as it relates to debt. He gave some good advice on his blog last week about dealing with debt if you find yourself sinking into it. I’ve decided that I wanted to share some of my own advice on this blog, not necessarily for those who find themselves in more debt than they should be, but more for young people who have their whole futures ahead of them. I want to remind them that they do not necessarily have to spend most of their adult lives in debt. There are things they can do that give them a good chance at paying off their debt quickly once they get into it. I hope this advice will allow them to keep a less stressful existence than many other people, and give them more freedom to serve God with their money.
Today’s advice is don’t go into debt for college. As difficult as saving for college may be, saving for a house and multiple vehicles for your future family can be even harder, because unlike college, your parents probably won’t help you out and you went get preformance-based grants from wealthy philanthropists.
Here’s some things you can do to help make it through college without debt:
1. Get a job in highschool. The sooner the better. Work summers. I know that it’s hard to get a part-time job in this economy, but give it your best shot. Don’t be afraid to work when your friends are partying. Do it out of love for the family you plan to have some day.
2. Get a job at college. No matter what your courseload is, most of you should be able to make the time for 10-20 hours of part-time work if you really want to.
3. Study hard to get the best grades you can in highschool. The better grades you get the more funding will be available to you. Nobody, including your parents, want to give money for you to go to college if you don’t deserve it.
4. Don’t go to the most expensive college. Depending on your major, it might not make too much difference for your future which college you go to. Yes, everybody wants to attend the best school, but many people who attend the good schools don’t even study and take advantage of their opportunity. The important thing is to study hard wherever you’re at.
All these rules have exceptions, but you should try to follow them if you can. For instance, if you are going to be a doctor, it may not be realistic for you to get out of school debt-free. Still, in that case, you should be careful not to take out any loans until you are confident that you can graduate with the degree that you are taking out money for. If you do manage to make it through med school you will probably have no trouble paying off your debt.
Anyway, these are just a few quick thoughts I had. Feel free to critique them in the comment section.