Independent Financial Expert, Alvin Hall answers parents and students’ questions on how to survive the financial pressures of university life. New research reveals almost a third of 17 – 25 year olds starting university in the autumn will live at home to save money. A quarter of students-to-be believe that the economy is so bad that getting into debt is inevitable and a third think that soon the costs of going to university will outweigh the benefits.
Susan Bookbinder: Hello and thank you for joining us today for this Student Finance web chat with Lloyds TSB’s Student Banking. Now I’m joined today by person’s favorite independent financial expert Alvin Hall, by Caroline Brady from Lloyds TSB’s Student banking team and by recent graduate and Emma Waldron. We have plenty of emails coming in from you and we’re pleased to welcome a number of students to be here to discuss their financial queries with Alvin, Caroline and Emma. So let’s have a look and see if we can announce that some of your queries. Now first, the question that has been sent to is actually address to you Alvin, what would you say all the important things to remember when you're trying to stick to a budget? Alvin Hall: You need to determine upfront what is going to be the maximum amount you can afford to spend each week or month. Some people get lump sums in at the beginning of the term or periodically throughout the term. You need to regularize that money all over the course of the term so that you do not run out before the end. Know every week or every month the maximum you can spend. A friend of mine in university did the most amazing thing at the beginning of every week. He would go to the ATM machine of the cash point withdraw his weekly cash allowance and keep it in seven envelopes in his drawer and that’s the way he controls himself. Susan Bookbinder: Now that’s very controlling, so you’re melting away that did you do exactly the same thing? Emma Waldron: I have friends that do exactly the same thing, I didn’t do it myself but one of my very good friends did exactly the same thing, take out the amount that you’re going to have for that week and don’t go away spending. Susan Bookbinder: What would your advice be to students who are after all managing their money for the first time? Caroline Brady: Go in to a bank, talk with them and use your bank as a financial advisor. Don’t feel reluctant going to bank also, you find that a number of banks actually including are sales. We have what is called like savings, saving safer guides go on to them look at tools that they advised to you and help you to pre-plan and budget. Male: Emma, respectively could you say that consensus among students was that despite the debt that you do come out with and the money that you have to repay it’s always worth it in the long run? Emma Waldron: I would certainly say that. The things test me to that is the fact that most of my friends investing have gone on to do further education. Out to the bottom line to students within my college and about five who have gone on to find jobs. Everyone else is staying to do most is PhD’s, PGC’s thing like that. So even though they perhaps are ready in some amounts of debts they’re still prepared to keep on learning. Sort of getting in to yet modest but because they feel that in a long time it’s getting to be worth it. Susan Bookbinder: Let’s have another question from a member of our audience. Male: As a student, you can borrow so much money from student’s finance and things like that and you’re already for drafts. What’s the incentive to save money for after university to help stop paying your loans back? Alvin Hall: You worry about saving as you are ending your university career and start thinking about repaying your loans, that’s the time you think about it. But in their early days, it’s going to be very hard to say it really is. There’s no magic pill. I say to you don’t fall under the pressure of say, “I have to get a property land; I have to do this immediately” when you graduate from university. Your first thing is to get your career solidify and your earnings potentially in place. Susan Bookbinder: Well, thanks to all of you and our audience for some great questions and I do hope that our panel of financial experts had given you some good tips and advice for your financial future. Before we go, Alvin what would your top five tips be for planning your financial futures as a student. Alvin hall: Number one, strike the right balance don’t make your budgets so tight that you feel constraint because then you’ll just swing over and go into a spending bend. Get the balance right so you feel happy and satisfied. Number two, be your own person, if you are with a group of people who are going out and flashing the cash and over spending, you don’t have to do it. When you start running out of money or you feel you’re under pressure just say I’m a little short. I guarantee you somebody else among your group of friends will feel the same way and will appreciate you’re having drawn a line in the spending. Live like a student, as a student you get discounts on your banking services, discount at stores, car is in vouches that give you discount. You use them all because it expands the purchasing power of your money. Be savvy, read the details of your over draft, your bank account, any credit card that you may have so that you get the deal that is most suitable for you and be cash happy. When you go out at night, Friday night, weekends with friends put all of the amount of cash in your wallet that you can afford to spend and when that money is just about gone, say goodnight and head home because remember, you can have a great time in two or three hours. You don’t have to stay out to 3:00 in the morning. Susan Bookbinder: Thank you Alvin, many thanks for that. They’re all some great tips that the parents and the universities go as out that. And for those of you, who want more information, don’t forget to check out www.LloydsTSB.com\student for advice, support and financial know-how. Good luck at university. You’ll have the time of your life.