How to Gain Financial Confidence Through Personal Debt HelpMar 15, 2019
Feel like you’re falling behind but don’t know where to turn? Getting help for your personal debt is good strategy for improving your financial confidence and taking back control of your money.
Women are contending with a lot of financial demands these days. This month, in light of International Woman’s Day, we wanted to take some time to help women find the resources they need to feel confident making money decisions while putting their financial literacy first.
Women and money: the challenge of affordability
Just a few months ago, BDO’s Inaugural Affordability Index poll found that many Canadians are struggling to afford basic necessities, repay their debt and save for the future. Some of our findings however, were unique to women and what they find most challenging:
- Retirement: 69 per cent of Canadians say it’s challenging to save for retirement. However, women are nearly 10 per cent more likely than men to have a harder time saving for their retirement years.
- Personal debt: 52 per cent of women (vs. 45 per cent of men) are likely to be carrying heavy personal debt loads.
- Basic essentials: 43 per cent of Canadian women struggle to afford necessities such as transportation costs. In addition, more than half of women report being unprepared for home ownership, financial emergencies or having children.
Personal debt help and financial confidence: what’s the connection?
Whether you’re single, married or in a relationship, it’s important to realize that your level of involvement in your household finances plays a major role in your financial confidence.
For instance, taking a backseat on financial decisions such as the household budget or major purchases can lower your financial confidence. On the other hand, contributing to household finances and taking control of household money decisions can improve your financial literacy and improve your confidence.
Statistics show that people with higher financial literacy have lower personal debt overall.
Here are three ways to get more involved:
- Swap financial duties. Do you manage the day-to-day expenses such as groceries and childcare while your partner manages the budget? Swapping your financial roles might give you both a new perspective. If you’ve never played an active role in household budgeting, use our budgeting worksheet to map out all your expenses. Communicate with your partner to see which strategies work best for them, but don’t be afraid to implement your own.
- Take an honest look at your personal debt. Your debt can keep you feeling stuck and unable to plan ahead. Take this month as an opportunity to turn things around and make a plan. First, go over your debt balances and add them up using our debt calculator. Then ask yourself:
Am I keeping on top of monthly payments?
Am I adding more to my debt balances rather than paying them down?
Am I unable to afford essentials due to paying off debt?
If your debt feels like an overwhelming obstacle in your life, you can break the cycle. If you have high-interest credit card debt, try using the debt snowball or debt avalanche method to pay off those balances quicker.
You might also consider using debt consolidation to combine your balances into one monthly payment and save the interest charges. However, if you’ve tried many methods and can’t seem to make progress, speak to a debt professional such as a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) about how you can find personal debt help. An LIT can help you find the option that suits your needs and your budget. Check out a few of those options using our debt repayment calculator.
- Make savings a non-negotiable priority. As a woman, it’s sometimes hard to put your needs above the others in your life. However, thinking about your future isn’t selfish, it’s essential. Adding to your savings will allow you to plan ahead for small, medium and long-term goals, and also those unexpected things that come up in between. Start adding to your savings by setting up automatic, recurring withdrawals that align with your paycheques and watch your savings start to grow.
To keep up with your goals, follow Kerry K. Taylor at Squawkfox for personal debt help and money advice. You can also connect with us on Twitter to hear more personal stories. Search the hashtags #LeaveDebtBehind #IWD2019 #DebtTips