Charné van der Walt runs an independent fee-based firm called "Lemons into Lemonade Financial Planners CC" in Stellenbosch. She has been in the financial services industry since 1991.
I just got a job and I graduated but now I want postgraduate degree. The salary I get every month to support my family (I'm the breadwinner) is too small and I am thinking of getting back to school part time so that I can get a better job somewhere. Is this a good idea or should I first pay off my student loan?
I won't be able to give you direct advice on this website because I need to do a full budget analysis before I can give advice. However, I can give you a few general tips.
If your current income is not enough to support your family with, then you may have to be careful to add new expenses such as study fees unless you can get a bursary for your studies or not pay for it. Or, remain in your current job and work hard to try and build up your record of work experience either to get a promotion where you are now or to get another better-paying job.
Also I do not know what amount your study loan is and what you are paying off each month but it may be linked to the interest rates. Remember that the interest rates are increasing soon and then your loan payment will also increase automatically. If you pay very little off your loan, then you may want to consider to pay off more if you do get a better-paying job to settle your loan quicker than what you're allowed to.
Even if you get more income a month, it remains a risk to have too much debt at any time.
I'm not sure if doing your postgraduate degree will open many more doors for you and it may then be a good option to pursue close to your degree.
In general it is better to get rid of your debt first so that you are better prepared for any situation and once paid off, you can continue to save that amount that you used to pay off on your student loan.
If your studies can wait a while, then you can also continue to save that amount every month after your loan was paid and pay your postgraduate degree in cash or with a much smaller loan.
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