Debt Confessions: Talk Honestly and Get Help With DebtFeb 12, 2018
Do you talk with your partner about finances, and have you found a need to get help with debt? If so, you’re not alone. The good news is that most couples in Canada, roughly 8 out of 10, have discussed their debt load with each other according to our most recent financial poll. Having an open and honest dialogue with your partner about your finances can help you support each other as you strive to reduce debt.
Consumer debt has steadily been on the rise in Ontario and across Canada. Despite this issue becoming more prevalent, many people still avoid having a discussion with their partner about debt. In fact, one third of Canadians rarely or never discuss their finances with their partner.
What else did our recent poll reveal about partners and their finances?
- 2 out of 10 couples have never discussed their individual debt loads
- 6 out of 10 wish they could change at least one of their partner’s financial habits, and 22 per cent of them would like to change three or more habits
- Millennials are more likely to talk finances and debt early in their relationship than Gen Xers or baby boomers
- Nearly half of Canadians with high debt loads have hidden financial secrets from their spouse or partner
What steps can you and your partner take to reduce debt?
Everything starts with a conversation, even if your finances are handled separately. If you are carrying consumer debt, you’ll want to let each other know.
This conversation shouldn’t be limited to your plans to reduce debt. You can also discuss your long-term financial goals, retirement goals, and anything else that might be relevant.
After having an honest discussion, work together to start building a plan to handle your finances and debt moving forward. Will you continue to keep your finances separate? Could it make sense to combine them in order to pay off debt faster?
Either way your plans should include:
- Building a monthly budget (don’t forget to revise it regularly)
- Tracking how you spend your money with an app like Mint or Wally
- Finding ways to reduce costs each month
- Researching methods to pay off debt faster (here’s a two methods to try from Money We Have)
Don’t be afraid to get help with debt
After talking with your partner about your finances and building a plan to reduce debt, you might discover that you could use some help. That’s OK. This can actually be a great step in beginning to build a better financial future.
Professional debt relief options can enhance the efforts you are making at home to reduce debt. A debt consolidation loan can turn many different monthly debt payments into a single one. Credit counselling can help you develop a budget and learn new spending habits, and a consumer proposal or bankruptcy can alleviate significant debt problems.
It never hurts to get a better understanding of how each debt relief option can benefit you or your partner. You can speak individually or as a couple with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee in Barrie, who can explain all of these options in detail to you.
Do you have your own #DebtConfessions to make? Make it a priority to talk openly with your partner or spouse about your finances and try getting help with debt.