Finances causing student stress

(Graphic by Adele Palmquist)

According to a study recently done by Sun Life Financial, a majority of Canadians, from 18 to 80 years-old, are all stressed about two primary factors in their life: money and work. Coincidentally, it seems that one problem can be blamed for the other.

The stats are as follows: nine out of ten respondents from ages 18 to 24 are stressed about money and work, and 80 per cent of people from ages 24 to 44 feel the same way. In addition, the 3,113 people that took Sun Life’s online survey felt they had more pressure on them than the previous generation when it came down to a job.

Sandy Delamere, the vice president of human resources for Sun Life Financial Canada had several thoughts on why the stress levels were at the level they were.

“I think Canada’s economic recovery is interesting in that it’s driving higher stress levels, especially in young Canadians, but I would say across the board,” she considered. “I also think that the employment status of Canadians has an overall impact on health. We’ve also got underemployment at high levels.”

She continued, “On the flip side, what we’re finding is that reinforcing those that are working full-time, it actually has a very positive effect on overall health.”This is the second time the study has been done.

“The reason we do this is to get some perspective on understanding the health of Canadians and to try and draw out and get an understanding on what’s on the mind of Canadians and how it relates to health,” she added.

Zach Dayler, the national director of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), reflected on why students might have been facing higher levels of stress.

“I think that’s not really a surprise. If you look at some of the other trends, for example, household debt, credit card debt, those other sorts of things, the pressure that places on somebody,” he said. One of the major criticisms he made was the high cost of education.

“The obvious question is school [and] the cost of education; whether the university or college is too expensive,” he said. “When you look at the value proposition and what people [graduates] are forecasted to make and what not, the business case I guess could be made.”

However, Dayler still acknowledged that the high costs of education may place limits on accessibility.

Overall the studies show that people are stressed about one important thing: paying for education and its associated costs.

Dayler stated “They know that they have to go to school; they know that they’ll get the loans; they know that they’ll get the private line of credit. It’s dealing with that, and going through and graduating. And that’s not ideal.”

The consensus seemed to be simple: prices are too high, and jobs are too few. Dayler concluded, saying “We need to make sure our schools, our governments, our communities, are all prepared to help everybody with these financial strategies, whether they be constructing budgets, or whether they be tips and tricks.”

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