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With 1 in 3 couples claiming that debt is a major source of stress, Vancouver debt expert, Licensed Insolvency Trustee Blair Mantin of Sands & Associates joined Global News BC to share some professional Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to managing debt in a relationship.

Watch the clip below, and read on for more information:

Here are some key Do’s and Don’ts that can help your relationship withstand the financial stresses of life.

DO:

1. Communicate: Set aside time to talk about the current state of your finances (shared and separate).

  • Be honest with your partner about your financial situation!
  • Each partner may have a different level of financial literacy – don’t be intimidated if you feel overwhelmed.
  • Start to make it real by writing things down.
  • A shared budget can be an excellent tool to ensure monthly over spending does not turn into a bigger issue over time.

2. Share some financial intimacy: This piece of advice will vary depending on where you are at in the relationship and how much you are willing to share (again, honesty is our recommendation).

  • Assuming you and your partner are both prepared to be open about your finances, one way to start the conversation would be for each person to pull their credit report, to review together.
  • Credit reports can be accessed for free once a year, and we have a free credit report request form here.
    • This is also a great way to ensure your credit report is accurate, and that you have not been a victim of identity theft.  With so many data points on literally every adult in Canada, it’s rare to see a credit report that wouldn’t benefit from at least a little cleaning up of old or just plain wrong information!

3. Understand what you owe and what you don’t owe: Many people believe that when you marry someone, you marry their debt.  This is 100% false!

  • There is no automatic liability that spouses assume just by being married.
    • For example, if I owe the bank $10,000 and I get married, the bank is not suddenly able to collect from my spouse for a debt that is clearly mine.
  • Unless you have cosigned a loan with your partner you are not responsible.  Keep this in mind before you consider paying off the debts of one spouse with the assets of another.  You may be giving the creditors a greater return than they could otherwise achieve, at the expense of the financial health of the couple.

DON’T:

1. Play the blame game: If there are financial difficulties.  Regardless of the problem, the most important thing is what you do about it!

  • There’s nothing to be gained by blaming a financial problem on one partner or the other.
  • There’s much to be gained by working together to understand how the debt problem arose and what can be done to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future.
  • Money is a sensitive subject for many people and starting to throw in blame and shame is likely to just make things worse.

2. Suffer alone or in silence: Debt help is out there!

  • Most people have no idea the options that are available to deal with their debts.
  • If you find yourself overwhelmed, don’t suffer in silence.
  • A Licensed Insolvency Trustee will meet with you at no charge to help you find a way forward.

At Sands & Associates, we understand that asking for help with financial difficulties can be uncomfortable and overwhelming.  We also understand that money problems can happen to anyone at any time, so we aim to make your experience with us as stress-free and straight-forward as possible, with no judgment!

Book your free debt consultation today, and find out how you can get a financial fresh start.

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