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Money worries are often a daily stress for people struggling to pay off debt and can have serious impacts on day-to-day life. Blair Mantin, President of Sands & Associates, BC’s largest firm of Licensed Insolvency Trustees dedicated to consumer debt aid, joined CTV News to share some expert advice on dealing with debt, tips for making a debt-free plan, and where British Columbians can seek qualified professional debt help.

Watch the clip here and read on to learn more expert advice for dealing with personal debt:

Why is it Important to Get Out of Debt?

Debt can cause a real strain, financially and to our personal selves. Here are a few key reasons why clearing your debt is important:

Debt-Stress is Real Stress

Licensed Insolvency Trustees work every day with people who are looking for support in dealing with their debt and express how overwhelming their debt-stress is. BC Consumer Debt Studies have consistently found that the impacts of debt can be considerable, including causing individuals to:

  • Constantly worry about their debt.
  • Have degraded self-esteem.
  • Feel alienated and alone, even straining family and other important relationships.
  • Experience health impacts, including anxiety, depression, sleeping poorly, heart problems and more.

The emotional toll of debt – overwhelming stress – was how almost 7 in 10 people polled in a recent BC Consumer Debt Study said they knew their debts were becoming a problem.

Debt is Expensive – for You and Your Future-Self

  • Day-to-day costs of living are high as it is, and any time you carry a balance on credit that comes with costs too (interest charges, financing fees and more) – making debt outright unaffordable, especially if it becomes long-term.
  • What’s more, the funds going towards the cost of your debt are taking money away from your future self, hindering your ability to save – and make the best use of your future income.
    • Think of all the different ways you could use even a few extra hundred dollars a month now!
  • Many people also express feeling as though being in debt hindered them from pursuing milestones like starting a family or purchasing a home.

Can I Get a Mortgage After a Bankruptcy or a Consumer Proposal?

Getting Debt Under Control

Once your debt is under control this can help you to:

  • Stop the nagging thoughts about debt and remove the strain this worry may be causing to your peace of mind, physical health, and relationships.
  • Have space to enjoy more of what you want (to do or to have), without feeling guilty.
  • Focus on the future and other financial wants, needs and goals.

Tips for Making Your Debt-Free Plan Work

To have a successful debt-free plan you need to make sure your monthly payments are manageable, and that they will allow you to make progress in your final goal of being debt-free – consider the following:

Get Your Budget Onboard

Budgeting isn’t about restricting yourself – it’s about being in control of your money, prioritizing and decision-making. Your budget doesn’t have to be complicated to work well either.

  • Start by mapping out your income and where/how it’s going to be spent, then keep close track on where it’s actually spent so you can compare planned VS actual and adjust your plans from there.

Is a Consumer Proposal Right for Me?

Avoid the Minimum Payment Trap

To make progress paying off debt you have to pay more than the minimum required payment each month, since most of that payment simply services interest charges. If you can only afford to pay the required minimum monthly payment (or close to it), this is a warning sign of a debt problem.

  • Seeing your debt balances remain almost the same every month despite making payments – and accumulating more debt on credit accounts are two other common signs of debt trouble.
  • Look for the “minimum payment warning” on your monthly credit card statement to see how long it will take you to fully repay your balance if only minimum payments are made each month.

Ideally you want to plan to have your (non-mortgage) debts paid off in five years or less, but you need to be realistic in how much you can pay each month, otherwise you may just end up in a constant borrow-repay-borrow cycle to meet your daily living expenses.

It’s important to understand that You Have Options!

  • Connect with a BC Licensed Insolvency Trustee to explore solutions that can help you, including debt repayment plans that don’t require ongoing interest or financing fees, and other benefits like protection for your income and assets.

Don’t Procrastinate Seeking Debt Help

Many people put off seeking professional debt help because they feel heavy responsibility for their debts or embarrassment or shame reaching out for help. We understand it can feel difficult to take the first step of talking to someone about your personal financial matters.

You Owe it to Yourself to Get Debt Help

As much as you value your financial commitments, you and your wellness are invaluable and irreplaceable. If debt-stress feels ‘normal’ stop and take a closer look at your situation. Many people don’t realize they are stuck or going further in debt because they keep their accounts paid up or have a high credit score.

Whether you already know debt is affecting you, or you want to find out about options to get better organized and future-focused, connect with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee for qualified support in understanding your situation, and a debt-free plan that works for you.

You deserve support and to live your best life, free from the overwhelming stress of debt.

For non-judgmental advice and a plan to be debt-free, book your free, confidential debt consultation with a caring Sands & Associates expert today.