How Much Money Should You Be Earning?


The Summer Finance Blogoff 2012

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How much money should you be earning?

Vanessa from

 I realize, right off the bat, that this post does have a subjective element to it. Different people have different circumstances and different problems that need to be addressed. However, a discussion while out with some friends the other night fascinated me and I am curious to see what my fellow PF bloggers have to say on this subject.

My friend claims that, aside from tuition, $10 000 is the amount a student should earn while in university. This figure was met with outrage as my fellow friends insisted that the number be lower — no one can earn $10 000 while studying full-time, they reasoned. I, of course, sat quietly and listened.

Those who know me well know that I am a workaholic and that I love earning and saving money. I think that the lowest amount of money I’ve earned in a single year was $13 000 and that was way back when I was 17. Usually I hover around the $20 000 mark.

So, what does it take to earn $10 000 a year in Canada? Well, our minimum wage is $10 an hour and our summer breaks are 16 weeks long. Some simple math brings up a figure of $6 400 for a full summer of work (this is, of course, assuming minimum wage, which, is a foolish assumption if one is studying a high-demand subject like engineering).

Working backwards, the ‘missing’ $3 600, when spread over the 36 other weeks of the year, requires a student to work a mere 10h a week to gross $10 000 in yearly income.

Does this mean that my friends are really, honestly unable to work 10h a week while studying? Do they have that much of a social life or that much homework? Unfortunately, I don’t think so. I think that my friends, like many Canadians that I study with, are a bit lazy or misguided when it comes to having a part-time job.

Personally, I feel that having a part-time job would benefit students. It would teach them how to manage their time and how to manage their money. In addition, it would give students a bit of work experience to bring into the real world after graduation as well as allowing them to test out different jobs/skills to see what they enjoy or are good at (ie, I’ve learned through part-time work that I’m a horrible salesperson).

What do you think? Do you find that $10 000 is too high, too low or just the right amount that a student should be earning while studying?

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One Response to How Much Money Should You Be Earning?

  1. Good points. When I was earning both my educations (just graduated again) I worked full-time through both of them. In the UK I can’t recall what I was earning but likely minimum wage. In Canada I was working in my field of study so I was making alot more than minimum wage after some time.
    I know some students who stay up all night chatting on the internet, or going out partying and sleep all day or any chance they can when they are not doing the above or in school. Is this our future? Should there be a balance, YES! If students can’t learn to balance their life while in University how in the world will they do it when they land that professional job. It’s time to wake up, put booze and partying on the back burner and concentrate more on our futures! Great post. Cheers MR.CBB

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