Last week I posted my comments on the survey my firm hired polling organization Harris/Decima to do for us, in my post on In Canada, High Debt is the New Normal. The survey generated lots of discussion, including a blog post by Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada entitled Don’t Let High Debt be Your New Normal. Here’s a quote from the Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada post:
Consolidated Credit’s challenge comes as a reaction to a new Harris/Decima poll that finds most Canadians are quite comfortable with using debt as a financial strategy in the face of unexpected costs.
“The number of Canadians who say they wouldn”t be able to raise $2,000 to cover unexpected costs is astounding,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director at Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc. “The loss of a job, a change in income or an unexpected illness could be disastrous for these Canadians. With no savings strategy in place, the slightest shift in economic conditions will cause these people to fall off the financial cliff.”
I agree that any unexpected financial life event can be disastrous if you don’t have a savings plan, and that was a comment I made in the numerous press interviews I did on the subject last week.
So what’s the solution?
First, as Pattie Lovett-Reid, CTV’s Chief Financial Commentator, said in her blog post that we spend to feel better, but can money buy happiness? we should all realize that excessive spending is not the answer. Reducing our monthly spending is the first place to start. If you can reduce your expenses and allocate more to your debt, you may be able to get out of debt yourself.
If your debt is too large to manage on your own, professional help may be necessary. Talking to a credit counsellor is one place to start, or you cancontact a consumer proposal administrator or bankruptcy trustee for a no-charge initial consultation.
There is no doubt that we are carrying a lot of debt, so the sooner you make a plan, the more likely you are to be living debt free.