Overwhelming Personal Debt? What You Can Do NowOct 23, 2018
The overwhelming sense of not knowing how to tackle your personal debt can be very stressful. Where do you start? It’s a roadblock that is affecting how affordable life is for many Canadians, especially Atlantic Canadians.
According to our new Affordability Index, 74 per cent of people in Canada carry personal debt. The average non-mortgage debt sits at about $20,000. Our Index also reveals just how many Canadians are not only struggling to afford daily essentials, but also finding it difficult to prepare for significant milestones like buying a home, having kids and retirement.
It’s clear that affordability is an issue across the country, but Atlantic Canada struggles the most.
- Nearly four-in-10 Atlantic Canadians don’t have enough money to buy what they need (vs three-in-10 Canadians).
- Atlantic Canadians are more likely to say groceries, housing costs, transportation costs, utilities, clothing and saving for a major purchase are a struggle to afford versus their neighbours in Quebec.
- Compared to British Columbia, Atlantic Canadians are more likely to struggle to afford the cost of clothing and saving for a major purchase.
- Compared to the Canadian average, Atlantic Canadians are more likely to say they’ve delayed paying off credit card debt over the past two years because they couldn’t afford it.
We know that affordability is an issue and personal debt is a major contributing factor. But, what can you do about it? Focus on reducing your debt.
Less debt means less money each month going towards pay it off. In turn, this frees up funds to help you afford the things you need. Sounds simple, but how do you do it when you’re dealing with overwhelming personal debt?
Start by focusing on what you can control
All sorts of factors that are out of your control contribute to the rising cost-of-living in Canada. Try to focus on what’s close to you and what you can control, such as your daily spending habits and your monthly budget.
If you’re not using a budget, you’re only doing yourself a disservice. If you don’t know how to get started with a budget that’s okay too. We’ve got you covered with some budgeting resources and our budget worksheets.
Next look at where your money goes each day. A financial tracking app like Mint or Wally can help automate the process if you’re not the pen-and-paper type. From there you can identify opportunities to cut spending on items that are not absolutely essential. That money can be put towards savings or debt repayment.
Don’t hesitate to get debt help
When you’re feeling overwhelmed by personal debt there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting help. The stress it causes not only impacts your wallet, it can take a physical and mental toll on your body.
There is help available to deal with debt problems and there is no shame in asking for help. Regardless of whether or not you speak to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, a credit counsellor or a financial advisor.
Debt relief options such as a consolidation loan, a consumer proposals and bankruptcy can help alleviate the stress and feeling of being overwhelmed by personal debt. These options will also assist in creating more flexibility within the income you are earning to make daily life more affordable now and definitely in the long run.
Don’t wait. There’s no bad time to ask for help with your debt.