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’Cause a nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore

by Sofia Gay March 27, 2012 0 comment

Debt. It’s that spidery little tingle-inducing word—and not the good kind―that comes just before a shudder suppresses that thought. Yet with so many of us facing it due to blindingly high-rising tuition, it’s a nearly inescapable part of student life.

And sometimes, yes, it does lead to the move back in with folks. Which is not the end of the world, in a certain aspect. But with moving out being one of the hallmarks of independence and freedom, having to live with mom and pop and maybe even—shudder—sharing a room with a sibling? No thanks.

It’s a situation in which more and more people are finding themselves, and they’ve even been ascribed a catchy name: Boomerang Generation.

That’s where Rob Carrick’s How Not to Move Back in With Your Parents comes in. This handy book provides a wealth (mind the pun) of information on everything you never thought you’d be interested in learning—RESPs, credit loans, budgeting and insurance.

Carrick brings over 20 years of experience, having penned previous tomes on finance and writing a column in The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business section. But more importantly, he provides frank advice and instruction on subjects that the average student may understand as much as, say, alchemy. “You’ll find no lectures here, just clear and unbiased guidance,” he writes. Thank God.

He moves from subject to subject with ease, with chapters touching on determining whether you can afford university, how to repay a student loan and a section dedicated to weddings and starting a family. Also included are case studies from real students to illustrate some of the chapters, as proof that even that pesky $28,000 loan can be paid back without booking a room under a bridge.

Carrick’s tone is authoritative and reasonable throughout the book, infusing a sense of calm into even the direst of situations. Yes, he says, it’s possible that you will fuck up, but there are ways to fix things and even prevent awful situations. His simple language is a godsend, as he writes the way many professors tell you to write your essays—as if your audience doesn’t know anything about the subject (and let’s face it, a lot of people don’t).

In the end, Carrick acknowledges both sides of the argument concerning the struggle of recent graduates. While he says the grads fuel the problem because “they aren’t helping themselves as much as they could be” (i.e. they worry too much about being able to afford things they want now without thinking about the future), he rightly argues that older generations who grumble about young people expecting everything to be handed to them don’t take into account the many obstacles in the way: a job market that’s thinner than Kate Moss’ waist, the crippling cost of post-secondary education, rising house prices and a plethora of other factors.

Whether you’re graduating this spring, putting the finishing touches on your first post-secondary year, or if you’ve ever broken into a cold sweat reading your credit card statement, Carrick’s book will put things into perspective. You may have to move back in with your parents at some point—but hey, it’s okay.

Rob Carrick’s tips on saving money while you study

1.      Rent your textbooks from sites like BookMob and BigMama

2.      Trade your study table at Starbucks for the library

3.      Drink at home instead of the bar

4.      Avoid pesky ATM fees—use your bank’s machine

5.      Bike or bus whenever you can

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