When it comes to those with student debt, the side hustle, otherwise known as making more money, appears to be the main motivation and goal of 2018 according to a recent OnePoll survey run by College Ave Student Loans, a prominent education loan lender.

This annual survey looks at financial goals, future planning, and the tax impact that student loan debt has on individuals. The survey was completed by 1,000 U.S. adults that are ages 18 and up. In this year’s version, the top three financial goals for respondents were first and foremost earning extra income, then building up of an emergency fund, and finally, saving for retirement. In essence, all of these involve building wealth.

“The College Ave Student Loans survey highlights that people are focused on building a stronger sense of financial security by increasing their income and overall savings,” stated College Ave Student Loans CEO Joe DePaulo. He continued, “However, a strong financial plan for 2018 includes a good financial balance – saving, increasing your income, and paying down debt.”

This should come as no surprise. 63.5% of respondents reported that student loan debt was not affecting how they were spending this holiday season. Instead, they were looking ahead to next year as a way to increase their overall financial wellbeing through greater income and savings. Interestingly, the survey revealed some interesting facts around financial planning.

Within this survey, 50.5% of respondents stated that their student loan was not affecting their retirement goals. However, 42.9% did state that their student loan debt is affecting their homeownership ability. This coupled with 49% of respondents stating that their student loan debt is the most stressful debt to own, showcases the student loan concerns of the public.

What the Fed’s Interest Rate Hike Means for Student Loan Borrowers

So, what does this mean for those who are struggling with student loans? These types of surveys allow financial institutions, and lenders to know the struggles you are facing in terms of repayments and overall debt. With these responses, it could spur changes in the financial sector, but that would be a lofty outcome from a simple survey.

Realistically, these surveys showcase the struggles that all student loan borrowers face. However, it shows that despite half of respondents noting that student debt was very stressful, the majority of people are not letting it affect their day-to-day buying habits. Although it should be noted that student debt is affecting larger purchases and future concerns such as home ownership or retirement.

For those who are struggling with student loan debt, College Ave, the prominent private loan lender, suggests three things to keep in mind. First, you should get a copy of your credit report and make a plan on how to best increase your credit score. Secondly, you should pay a little more down on your debt then the minimum, especially on your student loan to save money in the long-term. Finally, you should consider how to best utilize interest rate reductions to help lower the overall loan you are actually going to pay out over its lifetime.