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BDO Edmonton

616 - 10216 124 Street
9897 34 Ave NW
Edmonton, Alberta
T6E 5X9
Phone: (780) 424-3434

Student Debt and the FOMO Effect

How will the ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ or FOMO impact the amount of personal debt accumulated during an individual’s time as a student? The answer will be different for every student but FOMO experiences such as travel, parties, concerts, and other social events exist everywhere for students. Post-secondary education is expensive; it’s a fact of life for students in Edmonton and across Canada and many students will graduate with substantial student debts. Is it possible to enjoy the post-secondary experience while still prioritizing debt reduction?

Millennials, especially students, are one of the most plugged in generations making it no surprise that they are highly affected by FOMO. FOMO in Millennials is largely driven by viewing experiences that are shared on social media by their friends and family members; such as trips, concerts, parties or even just dining out at restaurants. For those participating in the experience the satisfaction of posting to social media can help elevate the experience by receiving likes and comments from peers. For those on the viewing end of the experience it creates an emotional response now known as FOMO which can range from envy, jealousy, sadness, anxiety, or even disappointment.

In a recent Canadian survey, it was discovered that of the respondents in any age group 64 per cent had experienced FOMO, with 68 per cent of Millennials surveyed indicating they had made a reactionary purchase (potentially taking on additional personal debt), and 54 per cent stating that content viewed on social media has inspired them to live a more extravagant lifestyle.

Living an extravagant lifestyle as a student while being financially responsible about debt can be challenging for most students. Generating open discussions around FOMO and personal finances is important. Students should be able to speak freely without the fear of judgment. They should also understand that relying on credit to not miss out on experiences can have detrimental effects on their finances in the short term and long term.

Encouraging students to talk about FOMO and financially responsibility can help remove the stigma around discussing personal debt. Open discussions also provide the opportunity to educate students about debt relief options that are available to them. Conversations about the effects of FOMO might even generate ideas for enjoying FOMO experiences on a budget.

Experiences are an important part of the post-secondary education but they should not be a driving factor in increasing student debt. Sometimes an event or activity is just not affordable for everyone, and alternative options to do something together can be found.

The positive memories of a great experience won’t last long if paying for the experience results in financial difficulties. By developing good spending and saving habits students can learn that you can still have memorable experiences without going further into debt.

We’d love to hear from students that are experiencing FOMO and how they are dealing with it responsibly at a financial level; join the discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #LetsTalkFOMO.

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