(TORONTO, ON) – What a difference a year makes. Alberta household debt levels have exploded over the past year, according to a new BMO report.
Here’s how Alberta stacked up in comparison to the rest of the country –
AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD DEBT
Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, is concerned with the figures:
“Albertans are facing serious consequences if they continue to increase their reliance on debt,” warns Schwartz. “We have all seen the roller coaster economy in Alberta, a sudden job loss or reduction in income could seriously impact their ability to service their debts.”
The study also focused on what kind of debt Albertans were carrying –
- 50% have credit card debt (national average: 52%)
- 53% have mortgage debt (national average: 43%)
- 17% have student loan debt (national average: 15%)
Consolidated Credit offers the following tip to Alberta residents who are struggling with these suffocating debt loads:
- Attack debts automatically: Utilizing automatic payments to service debts can be an effective way to pay off what you owe. Taking the thought process out of paying your bills will allow you to stay on track and avoid missed payments.
- Pay more than you have to: If you can afford to, start making increased payments to help pay down your debt. Directing extra money you have towards your debts will help get you out of debt faster, and lower the overall interest charges you will pay.
- Budget and spend wisely: Make a plan to get out of debt by creating a detailed budget. Track every nickel you spend and be frugal with your purchases. Look for deals and discounts and refuse to purchase items you don’t need. Make budgeting and saving money a hobby and a habit.
- Change your lifestyle: If your current lifestyle has forced you to accumulate tens of thousands dollars of debt, it’s time for a change. Downsizing your home, selling your second car or even reducing your cable package will allow you to direct more money towards paying off your debts and becoming debt-free!
- No new debt: The easiest way to avoid debt is to live within your means. Avoid acquiring new debt when you are already dealing with the burden of old debt. Now is not the time to increase your credit limit or apply for a new credit card. This will only make the problem worse and lead to an extended financial struggle as you try to become debt free.
“Debt is suffocating. It’s hard to escape from it, but not impossible,” says Schwartz. “Following a budget, spending wisely and making changes to your lifestyle are all simple ways you can fight back against debt, and win!”
About Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.:
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada is a national non-profit credit counselling organization that teaches consumers about personal finance.
For more information or to request an interview with Jeffrey Schwartz, please contact:
Eric Spence, Public Relations Coordinator, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc., T: 416-915-7283 ext.1041, C: 416-731-5588, F: 416-915-5200, E: [email protected]