The Toxic Effects of Debt

Amidst a world of consumerism and credit, it’s no surprise that debt has become a leading concern for many individuals. In particular, Canadian citizens find themselves in a precarious situation, with personal debt levels hitting record highs. This article aims to dissect the toxic effects of debt, providing insights on how to identify, manage, and navigate through the financial quagmire.

Understanding the Debt Landscape in Canada

According to data from Trading Economics, Canadians’ personal debt rose to an alarming 174.05% of gross income in Q2 2019. This statistic is the highest ever recorded, painting a dire picture of Canada’s financial health.

Similarly, data from Environics Analytics indicate a national debt service ratio of 8.4%. This ratio represents the proportion of net income spent on interest payments. In certain high-stress areas, this figure skyrockets to a staggering 22%, indicating that a significant number of Canadians are grappling with severe financial stress.

Recognizing the Red Flags

So how can one identify if they’re sinking in the quicksand of debt? There are several warning signs. These include:s

  1. Disturbed sleep due to financial anxiety.
  2. Robbing Peter to pay Paul by using one credit card to pay off another.
  3. Bouncing cheques or constantly operating in overdraft.
  4. Maxing out credit cards or encountering non-sufficient funds charges.

Moreover, conflict over finances with your spouse or partner can also signal that debt is taking a toll on your life.

Identifying the Root Causes

The root cause of mounting debt can often be traced back to a lack of financial literacy. Financial literacy isn’t something magically bestowed upon turning 18 or receiving your first credit card. Many individuals live beyond their means, leading to a society accustomed to minimum payments.

The 2018 CPA Canada Canadian Finance Study revealed that 23% of respondents planned to carry over credit card debt to the following month. Additionally, 39% of participants admitted that a sudden increase in interest rates would affect their ability to service their mortgage and other debts.

The Shame Factor

Debt isn’t just a financial issue; it’s a psychological one too. Canadians are often hesitant to discuss financial issues, leading to feelings of embarrassment and shame. This, in turn, discourages them from seeking help, exacerbating the problem.

There are three main financial pitfalls:

  1. Lack of budgetary control.
  2. Absence of savings.
  3. Living beyond one’s means.

Seeking Help: What You Need to Know

Many individuals in severe debt often fall prey to unscrupulous companies claiming to provide financial assistance. These companies are often unqualified as financial advisors or receive kickbacks for referrals to alternative financing agencies.

Legitimate credit counselling agencies are required to be certified and operate within specific parameters. If you’re seeking financial assistance, it’s crucial to ask the right questions:

  • Who are they?
  • How are they paid?
  • Are they accredited?
  • How are their people trained?
  • Is someone receiving a kickback or payoff for referral?

Debt: The Silent Killer

Like a silent, insidious mold, debt can quietly grow, infecting every aspect of your life. The constant stress of worrying about money, financial security, bills, and relationships can have severe physical and mental health effects.

Calling in the Professionals: BankruptcyCanada’s Licensed Insolvency Trustees

When debt becomes a serious issue, it might be time to call in professional help.

The Road to Recovery

Our team can help you formulate a debt restructuring strategy. Depending on your unique situation, this could involve debt consolidation, a consumer proposal, or another form of debt settlement. We aim to reduce your debt by up to 80% and help you regain your financial health within five years while also assisting in rebuilding your credit.

The Takeaway

The toxic effects of debt are far-reaching and can have severe implications for your overall well-being. Recognizing the signs, understanding the causes, and knowing where to seek help can pave the way to financial recovery and peace of mind.

Find Your Personal Debt Relief Solution

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are here to help. Get a free assessment of your options.

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