Student loans

July 18, 2021

Is student debt preventing you from getting on with your life?

The transition from adolescence to adulthood is already being delayed, with young people taking longer to marry, buy a home and have children, but large student loans can slow the process even further.

The dead weight of student loan debt has been referred to as “the anti-dowry” in certain circles. And this anti-dowry is getting larger and more burdensome, with students who took out loans graduating with an average of $27,000 in debt last year.

Unlike a dowry, which in some cultures helps a young couple get set up in life, a stack of student loan debt is a millstone preventing many young people from getting on with their lives, maintains researcher Allan Carlson. 

This may mean boomeranging home with parents for years, or forestalling any kind of serious relationship with a potential life partner (let alone marriage), he adds. And, when they do eventually find that partner, that debt is often top of mind prompting delicate conversations about just what to do about it

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June 04, 2021

Yes, Virginia, even financial planners can get in over their heads

One time Montreal financial planner Tahnya Kristina has a confession. While working for a bank after graduating from university, she managed to rack up $50,000 in debt in just a few years.

In other words, she was a financial mess, something she had to hide from just about everybody. After all, no one wants to take financial advice from someone who can’t even manage their own money.

"I couldn’t talk about my debt with my co-workers and family because I was ashamed that especially given my career choice — I couldn’t manage my money responsibly," she says.

And things got worse before they got better.

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March 13, 2022

Deducting student loan interest not as easy as it seems

Post-secondary students enjoy some of the most generous tax credits available. And even though they generally can’t use them right away, they’re allowed to carry forward unused amounts for the future when they’re earning more money.

Alternatively, they can transfer credits to a spouse, parent or grandparent, advises Cleo Hamel , a senior tax analyst with H&R Block Canada.

Full-time students can claim $400 per month and part-time students $120 per month. The number of months you’re allowed to claim is indicated on your T2202A Form.

Your tax return is for the calendar year though, so if you attended school from September to December, your T2202A Form will indicate four months. And you can claim partial months if you started late or finished early, Hamel says.

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January 29, 2022

Tuition and teens: why saving makes cents

The younger generation has grown up with a confused sense of their own needs and wants. We get a skewed sense of the necessities of life from advertisers who target us to buy, buy, buy. But when is it enough? Has this generation lost the ability to understand the value of a dollar?

As the holes burn deeper into the teenage pocket, the daunting costs of post-secondary tuition are also on the rise. Statistics Canada reveals a dramatic 15 per cent increase in average Canadian tuition fees since just 2008 ($5,581, up from $4,747), with medicine and law-related degree programs peaking well over $10,000 per year.

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Will Canada mimic U.S. government's student loan forgiveness program?

Recent graduates trapped under a mountain of student loan debt and worrying about interest rates rising in the future may wish they lived across the border.

Under certain circumstances, the U.S. government will forgive the remainder of your federal student loan debt if you work in the public sector or for a registered nonprofit for 10 years and make your payments on time.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is open to indebted students who become police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians or public school teachers, for instance.

And they're still not satisfied. Those who haven’t paid off their student loans overwhelmingly want those loans forgiven by their lenders, according to a recent survey released by online research firm,

In this country, however, you're expected to pay it all back -- unless you're in the medical profession, that is.

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January 16, 2022

How much of your child's college costs are you willing to cover?

Few financial decisions a parent makes are as significant -- or as expensive -- as figuring out how much to pay for a child's education.

993663_graduation_capAnd with tuition costs rising faster than the rate of inflation, and more and more students graduating with staggering loan debt, it's a decision that can create financial and emotional strain for even the most  affluent families.

Recently, Morningstar Advisor quizzed investors on how much of their child's college costs they paid or plan to pay and why. Readers shared stories about how they funded their children's educations and just how far they were willing to go to help them get ahead.

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January 07, 2022

Do you have an effective debt repayment plan in place?

Managing debt is never easy, especially for students and recent graduates, many of whom are financially inexperienced. If getting a handle on your debt load is one of your 2013 resolutions, you’re in luck.

ReadyForZero is a free service that aggregates and tracks all of your debts and creates a personalized plan for repayment to get you out of the hole as quickly as possible.

This debt payoff software is built on four major points: Plan, Pay, Track, and then Relax.

You input all of your debts, interest rates, payments, and accounts. The company helps you put together a plan to pay off that debt as quickly as possible and then to track your progress.

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...