If you are carrying debt, you are likely already well aware of the impact of financial stress. But have you stopped to think how your debt is affecting your children? Debt hurts the whole family.
“Unfortunately, the stress of debt isn’t just isolated to parents. Even if you aren’t discussing your finances directly from them, debt stress spreads lots of silent cues, and that stress is felt by everyone in the family,” says Jeff Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.
“What’s more is that your debt load today may be interfering with your ability to plan for your child’s current well-being and financial future. This is all the more reason to spend within your means and to avoid accumulating damaging debt,” says Schwartz.
Before you reach for that credit card, here are some points to consider.
Debt impacts the whole family
It’s not just about stress either. If you are struggling with debt, you aren’t able to focus on other financial goals, which may include saving for your child’s future. When you think about it in that context, it is worth spending today at the cost of your child’s future tomorrow?
Another way in which debt can affect the whole family is that parents may find themselves working very long hours in order to service their debt. That can cause another layer of stress, with household duties usually falling to one parent entirely as well as very little time together as a family, which is damaging.
Financial habits are learned early
Speaking of setting your children up for financial success, you are their first teacher when it comes to the important life lessons around money. The attitudes that you have around spending, saving and credit will most likely be mirrored by your children as they grow into adults.
Recognize that you have a unique opportunity to give your children some of the most important tools that they will need to be successful in life by living good financial habits yourself.
Resist the pressure
Parents often feel a certain amount of pressure to “keep up with the Joneses,” especially when it comes to buying things for their children. You may feel guilty about not buying things for your kids, especially when you feel like “everyone else has it.” This is often justification for credit use.
It can be hard, but the greatest gift you can really give your kids is to spend within your means and to stick to your own personal financial plan. Forget about the Joneses.
Financial success= life success
There is much more to life than having money, but numerous studies show that a child’s success in school in many ways hinges on financial success in the home. There is a certain sense of security that comes from a financially sound home, which is translated into a child’s ability to succeed out of the home.
And being financially successful doesn’t mean being rich. It means having a good household budget that supports your financial goals.
Look for alternatives to credit
No question, raising a family is expensive, but the answer to making ends meet is not to whip out the credit cards to pay for expenses. You’ve got to consistently be creative in finding ways to make your household budget stretch further, like smart shopping, including savings in your budget and cutting out impulse spending.
Is your debt load causing problems for your family? Are you worried that your family’s future is plagued with debt? It doesn’t have to be this way if you take action to pay your debts down today. Call one of our trained credit counsellors at or get started with our online debt analysis.