(TORONTO, ON) – It’s fair to assume Canadians are feeling stressed about their budgets. Household debt is near all-time highs. We can’t afford to retire. We are drowning in debt and skimping on tuition savings in order to put our kids in hockey!
“There is a tremendous amount of pressure on Canadian bank books,” says Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada. “People are doing what they can, but they are falling short of goals and have to go into debt to get by.”
But how much debt is too much debt? At what point are you going to stop treading water and start drowning? In an informal survey, Consolidated Credit recently reached out to Canadians and asked about their “Lifesaver Moment” – the points when they knew they were at financial rock-bottom:
- 28% said they weren’t able to pay rent or their mortgage
- 32% said their lowest point was borrowing money from friends and family
- 13% knew they were in trouble when their credit card was unexpectedly declined
If some of these cases sound familiar, don’t feel alone. Even some of Canada’s brightest financial minds have been there. To mark Financial Literacy Month, we asked Canadian financial bloggers to talk about their financial lows and how they got back on track.
“I was going into my second year of university. I might have had $10 to my name, my spending was out of control and I didn’t care about anything,” recalls Janine, founder of My Pennies My Thoughts, a leading Canadian personal finance blog based in Alberta. “I remember not being able to pay for a full tank of gas and almost being in tears, I realized something had to change, and I couldn’t keep living like this.”
Sarah, from When Life Gives You Lemons, Add Vodka, recalls a similar story: “I will say that when I was 18, I got my first credit card, and, as many 18-year-olds with ‘free money’ do, went a little crazy. One day and I noticed that I had wasted almost $200 on interest, which would have afforded me a textbook or a portion of a course.”
The husband and wife behind Canadian finance staple Canadian Budget Binder were simply too passive with their budgeting.
“We always tried to spend less than we earned but we were never motivated” says the anonymous Mr. CBB. “We designed our budget spreadsheet that helped us get control of our finances. We finally saw the numbers that changed the course of our savings plan and led us to be mortgage and debt free before we reached the age of 40.”
These stories show that where there is a will, there is a way to get out of debt. Sometimes you need a helping hand, and Consolidated Credit is happy to provide free financial education resources and credit counselling to Canadians in need of a lifesaver.
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:
Jacob MacDonald, Public Relations Coordinator, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc., T: 416-915-7283 ext.1041, C: 647-390-5253, F: 416-915-5200, E: [email protected]