Debt Advice That Will Help You Take Control of Your FinancesMar 19, 2019
In the spirit of International Women’s Day this month, we want to encourage women throughout Nova Scotia: take ownership of your finances! Find the advice, tools and resources you need to face your financial fears and chart your own financial course.
What does it mean to take ownership of your finances? That will depend on your situation.
If you have a spouse or partner it can mean making sure you take an active role in managing the family finances. If you’re single it can mean confidently addressing your money problems and creating financial goals for your future. For women of any age or income level, it can simply mean growing your financial literacy to help you make informed money decisions for yourself.
We know from our research on debt and affordability that women across Canada face unique financial challenges:
- Women are more likely to struggle with housing and transportation costs than men.
- Women are more likely than men to carry heavier debt loads.
- Over half of Canadian women surveyed admit they’re poorly or terribly prepared for home ownership, retirement, financial emergencies and having children.
According to the Statistics Canada report The Economic Well-Being of Women in Canada, the financial gender gap still exists.
- Even though women’s financial contributions to the family income have significantly increased, they still account for a smaller portion of the family income compared to men.
- Women are more vulnerable to low income than men due to wage inequality despite similar experience and credentials.
- Women are overrepresented in low-paying occupations.
- Women are more likely to take time away from work to care for children, elderly, or disabled family members.
Debt Advice #1: Knowledge builds confidence
If learning about money and debt management is a goal for you, there’s a wealth of financial literacy resources available online. If paying off debt is a priority, learn about different debt reduction strategies. If you need to keep better track of your spending, search out advice on how to create (and stick to) a budget.
Here are some quick links to a variety of financial literacy resources that can help you expand your financial skill set:
- The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada offers advice on a wide variety of financial topics from budgets to credit card debt and more.
- Our blog articles discuss a multitude of different debt-related topics including student debt, consolidation loans, and other debt advice.
Debt Advice #2: Learn from the experience of others
You’re not the first person to deal with debt and you won’t be the last. The good news is there are lots of women out there who have made it their mission to share success stories on how they got out of debt, how to live a minimalist lifestyle and other great financial advice that you can put to use yourself.
Here are three of our favorites that we recommend you spend some time with:
The Wallet Diet: Going from $35,000 in student debt to now enjoying the rewards of a minimalist lifestyle and traveling the world, Christine writes a financial blog that covers finance and lifestyle topics with practical solutions to help you do the same.
And Then We Saved: Anna Newell-Jones focuses on helping women get out of debt. Check out her free guide on how you can pay off your debt and be financially sustainable moving forward.
Always Save Money: Rubina Ahmed-Haq has a passion for helping others both as a financial reporter with some of Canada’s top news outlets and through her website. This website includes personal finance blogs and podcasts that include debt advice, how-tos and more.
Debt Advice #3: If you’re feeling overwhelmed it is absolutely okay to ask for help
Talking with friends and family about money — and especially debt — has always been a bit of a taboo subject, but it shouldn’t be. If you have a question about how to do something at work, you ask a colleague. If you have a question at school, you ask the teacher or a fellow student. Why should dealing with debt problems or money issues be any different?
Having a conversation with a trusted family member or friend can erase the feelings of isolation that often accompany debt challenges. If you’re not comfortable speaking with family and your debt is overwhelming, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee will sit and listen to your situation and then provide meaningful recommendations on how you can take control of your debt.
The most important thing to remember is that it’s okay to talk about debt, and it’s also okay to ask for help if you need it. You don’t need to go through it alone and the debt advice you might receive may prove to be far more valuable than you ever may have thought.
When it comes to #WomenAndMoney, what are you doing to take ownership of your finances? Share with other women your favourite tips to #LeaveDebtBehind and improve #FinancialLiteracy.