People go to school and get an education for uncountable reasons. Everyone wants to be literate, communicate effectively with others, and be respectable members of society. If anything, everyone thirsts for success in life, and one of the ways to achieve success in today’s life is to get a proper education. But regardless of how apparent it is, the importance of education has received blows from multiple directions for the longest time. Question marks have come from critiques and applauders alike. Though not always, a majority of the highly successful people in any society or community are made of individuals with tertiary education. More often than not, a larger percentage of these individuals are graduates with a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree if not higher. But it is not unusual to find many of these highly-regarded individuals struggling with debt and drowning in other forms of financial anguish. This then begs the question, are graduates set up for financial failure by the system? Let’s take a look at a few pointers to try and decipher this. Personal Finance as Part of the Curriculum Whether you’re a graduate or you never stepped in class past grade eight, one thing is for sure. The modern world requires you to be sharp and keen about every cent that goes in and out of your wallet. Personal finance management is a universal requirement in the world of financial success. This is why many states in the US are shaping personal finance IQ for their students through various concerted efforts with the federal government and private sector. In countries like Norway, the ministry of education and research covers all the costs and tuition fees for students partaking in higher education from public institutions. Private institutions are also available for accelerated courses and popular fields of study. But are graduates fully baked and prepared for the harsh economy that awaits them in the real world where they don’t depend on guardians for their financial wellbeing? What Research Says If you pursue a finance-related course before or after graduating high school, you’re a lucky person. You may have higher chances of being financially successful several years after your studies. The benefits are even more pronounced when pursuing higher education. If they can get a loan to fund an associate or bachelor’s degree, most people grab the opportunity. Apart from the national government and non-profit organizations, even banks and micro-lending institutions provide higher education loans these days. But are students really well-prepared to make the best use of these future financial burdens? The financial portal Lan for deg recently had their financial advisors conduct a survey among people in the age bracket 18-30. They asked about basic personal finance topics and the results were not as surprising as anyone would think. One of the popular inferences was as follows: “we still do not do a great job in educating people about money.” While 72 percent of the participants reported they wished they’d learned more about personal finance in school, almost 25 percent did not know how interest rates on loans worked. Read the full study here (in Norwegian). The Burden of Student Loans It’s a great thing how governments around the globe offer student loans and grants to enable students from underprivileged families to pursue and complete their studies. These initiatives help create equality in the education sector, allowing learners to pursue and accomplish their dreams regardless of their family’s background, economic, or social status. Education is expensive, so parents are also a primary beneficiary of these schemes. At the end of the day, the student is haunted by the mistakes of their parents or their own. If you closely followed the 2020 US presidential elections, you noticed that student debt was a big issue throughout the campaigns. Second, only to mortgage debt, student debt took one of the largest pies in the chart of household debt in the entire nation. The Problem with Student Debt: Student loans are necessary, and there is no debate about that. But there is one huge problem. Students are introduced to the culture of borrowing or owing money before they even know what it is like to earn their own cash. Moreover, student loans are usually more forgiving than most types of conventional loans out there, such as personal loans, mortgages, and credit cards. Once they complete their studies and secure employment, it is not unusual for some individuals to be reluctant toward making loan repayments on time. Moreover, a student loan burden can affect your mental health as much as it can mess up your mentality towards borrowing. Just the thought of having these loans can itself be overwhelming, plus they reduce your financial freedom and control of your personal finances. What Research Says Student debts have been a common concern of economic importance in many nations. For instance, graduates financing student loan debts are considered less likely to start a business than loan-free graduates. If the sentiments of expert financial advisor Scott Pedersen from Holland, Michigan are anything to go by, paying off student loans early is a good thing. But it reduces available capital to start or grow a business. Other ways student loans can affect the economy include the following: Reduced consumer spending Affects retirement savings Lower homeownership rates (perk or flaw?) Individuals find it harder to accomplish life milestones Economically benefits lenders, universities, and investors more than students or beneficiaries In other words, it can be quite difficult to become a successful entrepreneur as a student or recent graduate if you have a pile of student loans to worry about. You may have to think outside the box or improvise unimaginably to earn a stable income if you don’t get a decent job after completing your studies through a student loan program. In all honesty, you can’t completely blame the education system for any financial woes after graduating high school, college, or university. After all, education is supposed to enrich your knowledge while helping you grow your skill. It is meant to nurture your talent and expand your horizons of success in this highly competitive world. If you’re not so lucky to pursue a course or program that covers financial management from a personal or business perspective, it is advisable to get one when you can. You could also utilize the endless free resources available online to improve your financial wellbeing and success as a graduate.