A major causes of stress in Canadians and what you can do to tackle it

We all know maintaining our physical health by eating right and exercising lowers stress levels. But physical health isn’t the only thing at risk – especially for students.

One of the major causes of stress in Canadians is financial health (according to the 2014 Sun Life Financial Health Index), and student life can be quite expensive.

To get your financial health (which is just as important as your physical health) in check, have a go at this quiz extracted from Prodigal Sons and Material Girls (Wiley & Sons, 2003):

1. Do you currently carry a balance on a credit card?
2. In the past year, have you ever paid only the minimum due on a credit card?
3. Is your mortgage [or rent] payment more than 30 per cent of your annual household income?
4. Are you currently behind in paying any of your bills?
5. Do you own or lease vehicles whose total sticker price exceeds 50 per cent of your annual income?
6. In the last year, has money caused tension in your relationships?
7. Have you adequately protected yourself with disability and life insurance?
8. Do you follow some kind of a budget?
9. Do you save ahead for large expenses, like a vacation or home upgrade?
10. Do you have specific financial goals?

Scoring:
For questions 1 to 6, give yourself one point for each “no” answer.
For questions 7 to 10, give yourself one point for each “yes” answer.

If your points total less than 8, you probably need to make some changes to improve your financial health.

To give you some ideas on alleviating financial stress, this previous blog post on financial planning offers tips and tools for creating a monthly budget. A budget is absolutely vital if you want to figure out what you have and where you need to cut back. Here are some more money saving tips for students. Students also have access to a wide variety of loans and grants, so if you haven’t already, read up on financial assistance offered by Ashton College. Immigrants to Canada can also apply for assistance through programs such as the Lilian To Bursary, which just recently Ashton College’s Dayakshi Iyer was a recipient.

There’s a saying: “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is today.” If you’ve been neglecting your finances or avoiding having to do a budget, set aside some time today to do it. Your future (and financially healthier) self will thank you for it.

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