Looking for help with debt? Don’t be afraid to ask questions
The first and the most important rule when seeking debt help? Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Unfortunately, for many Canadians, their reluctance to ask questions and a lack of confidence in their financial literacy is actually creating barriers for them to receive the debt help that they need.
According to a new survey from the Financial Planning Standards Council:
- 41 per cent don’t feel confident talking about their finances
- 34 per cent realize they need help, but don’t ask because they aren’t sure how to ask the questions they need answers to.
- These statistics are even higher with respondents who are younger and/or are in the lower income bracket
“Asking questions about your finances isn’t a sign of lack of intelligence or weakness; it’s a sign of strength and a sign of someone who is committed to taking charge of their finances. In the process of asking for help, you will learn about your finances and get the proper tools you need,” says Jeff Schwartz, Executive Director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.
Your mantra is “knowledge is power”
Don’t let your barrier to financial success be one that ultimately resides in your head. Embrace the belief that ‘knowledge is power” and that the only way to move forward with your financial life is to seize that power.
“There are no wrong questions when learning about your finances. The only “wrong” move here is to let your insecurity about financial literacy hold you back,” says Schwartz.
Find an ally you trust
It’s important to choose a financial advisor, debt counsellor or other financial professional that you trust. It is essential that you work with someone who has your best interests at heart. Don’t be shy about asking the professional that you’d like to know about their credentials.
A financial professional that truly has your best interests at heart will be invested in your financial literacy as a central part of helping you to reach your goals. When you’ve got a comfortable relationship, you know that you have an ally on your journey to reach your financial goals, which will give you the confidence to speak up if there’s something that you don’t fully understand.
The snowball effect of knowledge
Finances may seem a little daunting, especially if the information is brand new to you. Understand though that as you begin to learn more about your finances, there is a bit of a snowball effect. The more you learn, the more you will be able to learn as you grasp more and more concepts. It’s all about getting started.
Break it down
Financial literacy covers dozens of topics, products and tools, which can seem overwhelming if you are trying to learn about “all things financial”. Start by breaking down topics into subjects that are most relevant to you.
For instance, if you’re trying to pay down debt and have substantial credit cards, learn about how credit cards work and how to read your statements. Become educated on things like APR and debt consolidation options for your credit cards.
Adopt habits of financial confidence
As you gather more financial knowledge, move forward with turning some of these concepts into tactics to manage your finances. Start with setting goals. Learn about budgeting tools and automatic savings tools that can help you to achieve those goals.
We’re here to help you learn about your finances and your options so you can take control of your life. Call one of our trained credit counsellors at or visit our free online debt analysis .