4th year full time business student living at home
Monthly living expenses of $1,000
Monthly earnings of $900
Working 15 hours part time per week
Expected OSAP upon completion of university: $20,000. Kavith will be able to pay this off immediately with the money he has saved from his internships.
As a first generation Canadian, Kavith has a good sense of what hard work feels like. Throughout his childhood, he heard how his parents escaped civil war to come to Canada. He spent years watching them slowly build a better life; they worked overtime to put food on the table, spent time studying in order to get better paying jobs and tightly managed their money to make ends meet.
This combined with seeing some family friends struggle during retirement encouraged Kavith to think about money and personal finance in a unique way. Driven to be secure and stable, Kavith first read The Wealthy Barber in high school and then Wealthing like Rabbits. He started to get hooked on personal finance.
In Grade 10, Kavith’s house was broken into and he felt firsthand “how volatile and insecure everything was”. This motivated him to take control of his financial future. He read as much as he could and entered into a national financial literacy contest, emerging as a winner on the national stage. He saw what other youth were doing and found that motivational.
Like most high school students, Kavith began thinking about post secondary education. He started to understand the costs. He knew that he could get OSAP but wanted to be proactive. He worked as hard as he could to get his grades up. He spent about 5 hours a week thinking about what he was good at and looking for scholarship and contest opportunities. He applied for and competed in a number of opportunities and was ultimately successful in securing $45 000 in funding for school from more than 10 separate providers, with awards ranging in value from $100 to $30 000.
In order to manage his costs, Kavith decided to live at home and commute to campus 1.5 hours each way for a total of 3 hours a day. Given this commute, Kavith realized that he could only manage a part time job if it was on campus. He started researching on campus jobs using his university’s Career Centre website and learned that he could apply for jobs once he was accepted and start working once he was a student. He ended up applying for and securing on-campus employment, which he has retained for the past three years.
On a day-to-day basis, Kavith diligently manages his money. He has a budget with all his costs yet tries not to look at the cost of necessities on a day-to-day basis. He works 15 hours a week, saves a large majority of what he makes and is hoping to be able to pay off OSAP when he graduates.
With an interest in personal finance, Kavith decided to study business and thought about being a financial planner. He has done well, had two internships in this space and has been offered a full time opportunity when he graduates. He attributes this to the time and effort he put into connecting with others.
Kavith recognized the importance of relationships and the valuable knowledge that you can get from others. As such, Kavith spent about 10 hours a week in his first and second years researching careers, identifying interesting people, reaching out and making time to connect with them. This has been very beneficial to Kavith, opening new doors he would not have expected.
Unfortunately, the financial planning industry is not what Kavith had imagined. He feels that it is too focused on sales and not on the work of truly enabling people, which is what he is interested in. Given this, Kavith is feeling that he will take some time to build his way towards other opportunities. This means that he may be turning down a job upon graduation driven by the desire to do work he is passionate about.
Kavith has researched and learned about a variety of career paths. Given his education and experience, he feels confident in being able to find an alternative opportunity. He is also grateful for the resiliency that living at home with his family will provide during the transition.
Looking at his years in university, Kavith knows that he has probably missed out on some of the social aspects but feels that for him, the stability and resiliency is well worth the cost. If he were to give advice for high school students, it would be to realize the tradeoffs between saving and living in the moment.
From a systems perspective, I think of how we might enable everyone to have a better sense of the total costs and tradeoffs associated with various expenses.