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How to proceed (student)?

4918 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  camhard
So, I've been watching my money, and trying to invest for a number of years now, but thought I would ask your opinions on what to do.

I recently turned 19 and am going into my third year of university (plan on going on to do a master degree - probably 2-3 more years after undergrad). I live at home during the summer (have so far at least) but on campus during classes.

I have money in a few mutual funds (2 equities funds and one balanced), though was forced to take a significant amount out this winter, basically when prices were at their lowest, so I lost some on my initial investment. I took out $4000 of my total $7000 initial (total money put into all 3 funds). I do have the option to use some RESP money, though I took a bit of that out this winter as well and am now left with a value of around $11 000. I don't have a car, or anything else that really has a steady draw of money, aside from school.

How should I proceed to hopefully stay debt free, at least through undergrad, and be prepared for after school? I'm considering short term, or even intra-day trading, though I know this usually eats up a significant chunk of cash during learning, and is by no means a reliable way to make money (I figure it would be best to start learning asap though). Any suggested reading or other ways of learning? I also came up with the idea yesterday that it might actually be a good idea to apply for a student loan right now. The idea would be that I would still pretend that I was paying for school (i.e. put the entire cost away), but be able to keep as much money currently in investments where it is, in an effort to reduce impacts of the current lull, or maybe even continue to increase its value. It is my understanding that payments are not required until after graduation, so just before I start incurring interest, I could take all the saved money and pay off the entire loan (I have to look further into how payments/interest work with student loans). I'm also not sure if I would be able to continue having zero payments through my second degree, or if I would have to pay them off, then start again for the more expensive grad school (for which I need a lot, as I would like to study in the US).

I just feel pretty overwhelmed, as I'm barely covering my schooling without a loan, without money for travel or other programs, etc. Grad school will be even harder. Then, I would like to buy a home asap after graduation, but, especially wanting to live in Vancouver (or maybe New York), that doesn't even seem like something I could dream of affording for an extremely long time.

Any suggestions? Where should I focus my learning (e.g. day trading, real estate investment, etc. I don't know)? I'm guessing with my minimal capital, I can't really gain anything from trying to develop some passive income.

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It sounds like your about to try and get student loans by "pretending to be in school" which is probably not such a good idea especially if they audit you (and states on the application that they can). How much they give you is dependent on how much you make and how much you have.

I managed to get through undergrad and graduate school thus far debt free. It was not through investing and making a pile of quick cash because of my investments, but through working in the evenings while going to school and by saving whatever I could. I personally think trying to put money into the stock market when the money isn't even yours is a VERY bad idea as you may need that money for school, and if lost, will hurt you even more.

As someone else noted, and I agree with: money that is invested in the market should be money that you don't NEED until the long term.
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