What should you do when a life event leads to debt?

Life often throws curveballs that can land us in financial hot water. From unexpected job loss, medical emergencies, to separation or divorce, such events can lead to a mountain of debt. But when such financial turmoil strikes, what should you do when a life event leads to debt? This article provides insights to help you navigate these choppy waters.

When Life Happens: The Debt Dilemma

Financial distress often comes hand in hand with major life events. The unforeseen circumstances can push you to rely on credit, creating a spiral of debt. Whether you’re dealing with job loss, illness, or divorce, every individual has a unique debt story. This section shares real-life debt narratives and strategies that can help you plan for the unpredictable.

Financial Wellness: The Importance of Being Prepared

Financial wellness is a crucial aspect of overall wellbeing. The lack of financial literacy skills can often lead to unmanageable debt. A common thread among many individuals struggling with debt is the lack of financial education during their formative years.

Case Study: The Struggles of Young Parents

Consider the case of a young couple who found themselves grappling with debt during back-to-back maternity leaves. The reduced income during this period, coupled with the lack of financial literacy skills, led them into significant financial difficulty. The couple wished they had been taught about budgeting, credit, and financial planning at a young age.

Where to Find Help?

If you find yourself in a similar situation, don’t hesitate to seek help. Credit counselling agencies offer free budgeting classes and can guide you through a suitable financial plan. Websites such as the FCAC’s website and CPA Canada offer a wealth of information to enhance your financial literacy skills.

Navigating Debt after Divorce

Marital separation can significantly impact your financial wellbeing. It can be especially challenging if you find yourself single with young children and minimal financial support. Often, credit becomes a means to cover basic needs.

Case Study: Single Mother’s Journey Towards Financial Freedom

Consider the instance of a woman who, after raising three children on her own, found herself dealing with accumulated debt over many years. After understanding her situation, a solution was found that gave her a fresh start. Every debt situation is unique, and it’s essential to find a solution tailored to your needs.

Dealing with Debt after Loss

Serving as the executor of a deceased relative’s estate can be challenging, especially when you discover they had serious debt issues. During such times, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) can explain all available options for dealing with the estate’s debts, while respecting the wishes of the deceased loved one.

Case Study: The Executor’s Dilemma

In one case, a woman found herself dealing with her father’s significant tax debt after his death. As an executor, she was unsure how to fulfill her father’s last wishes while dealing with the Canada Revenue Agency’s obligations. By using the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, she was able to resolve these issues.

The Unemployment Conundrum: Job Loss and Debt

Job loss can lead to financial stress, especially in a challenging economy. Unemployment often results in individuals accumulating debt to survive. However, there are several debt-relief options available to help you manage your debts effectively.

Case Study: Surviving Debt After Job Loss

For instance, consider the case of individuals who lost their jobs at a casino, the largest employer in their region, due to the pandemic. These individuals had to rely on credit to sail through the pandemic, leading to significant debt. However, by seeking professional help and exploring various debt-relief options, they were able to find a solution that fit their needs.


Life events can often lead to debt, but it’s essential to remember that there are always options and help available to navigate these financial challenges. Whether it’s seeking financial literacy resources, exploring debt-relief options, or engaging professionals like Licensed Insolvency Trustees, you can find a way to manage your debts and achieve financial wellness. What should you do when a life event leads to debt? Start by understanding your situation, seek professional advice, and explore all available options to find a solution that fits your needs.

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