Does Personal Debt Make Affording Daily Life a Challenge?Oct 21, 2018
Three-quarters of Canadians have personal debt. Three-in-10 don’t have enough money to cover their basic needs. And more than 50 per cent are living paycheque to paycheque. These are just a few of the results from our inaugural Affordability Index report.
We wanted to know how Canadians are coping with everyday expenses, long-term goals and debt. It’s clear from the results of our survey that a significant number of Canadians are facing difficult financial challenges.
How are Canadians faring from coast to coast to coast?
- Those living in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario are more likely to feel their debt load is overwhelming than the rest of the country. British Columbians and Quebecers are less likely to feel overwhelmed.
- Atlantic Canadians are struggling more than the average Canadian to cover the costs of their basic needs.
- Compared to Canadians living in other provinces, Quebecers are the least likely to say day-to-day necessities are a struggle to afford; especially when it comes to housing and transportation costs.
It’s true that where you live will affect the cost of day-to-day necessities, but unless you pick up and move, many of those immediate costs are beyond your control. And regardless of where you call home in Canada, it’s clear that personal debt can negatively affect your ability to afford what you need in life.
How are different generations faring?
According to the Index, Canadians under 55 (millennials and Gen Xers) are more likely to struggle to afford the basics and more likely to carry heavier debt loads. Factors like the cost of post-secondary education, climbing housing prices and rising daycare costs are contributing to higher household debt.
We know that personal debt makes daily life more challenging. Here’s what you can do.
Start a conversation
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed because of your debt, you’re not alone. One of the best (first) steps you can take is to start having regular conversations about your financial challenges with family and friends. You’ll find that almost everyone faces some sort of financial hurdle at different stages in life. Open communication helps to remove any stigma around the topic of money problems — which can help remove any reluctance you might feel about seeking debt help.
One practical step that can help make daily life more affordable
Using a budget is a tip always worth repeating. Your budget is the tool that will help you track your spending and expenses, tackle your debt and stick to savings goals. Find a method that works for you. Choose an app like Mint or Wally, an online budget calculator or a budget spreadsheet from a personal finance site like Squawkfox.
What to do if you’re feeling overwhelmed with debt
Seek debt help. It can’t be any simpler than that.
A Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) offers a no-obligation, no-cost initial consultation. He or she will review your finances, learn more about your situation and explain all debt solutions. You’re not obligated to move ahead with any solution, but a discussion about the debt relief options available to you can prove invaluable.