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How to Change Your Mind about Debt

The way you view your debt can have a big impact on your finances in 2018.

There’s a reason why New Year’s resolutions are so popular — the new year brings opportunity for change. But it doesn’t always take a sweeping resolution to bring about change.

Why not open yourself up to the possibility of taking a new perspective towards your debt? A new outlook can play an important role in helping you reduce your debt load.

Debt is a part of life for many Canadians — the average household debt load in Canada continues to climb quarter after quarter, year after year. Yet, according to a recent Manulife survey, only four in 10 Canadians are comfortable with their debt load.

It can be easy to fall into certain habits or patterns when it comes to debt. What are some common thoughts around debt that you can reframe to help you tackle your debt in 2018?

“I am not making any progress on paying off debt, so what’s the point.”

It may sound like a cliché, but paying off debt is a marathon not a sprint. More often than not it will take some time, and that can sometimes be discouraging. Try adjusting your mindset to look at the big picture. Set small and large goals when it comes to reducing debt. Use the small goals to help you celebrate achievements on the path towards your biggest goal of becoming debt free.

“I feel alone when it comes to dealing with debt.”

It’s possible that friends and family could be dealing with challenging debt loads too. Try starting a conversation about finances and debt with someone you trust. Knowing that others are dealing with the same challenges can help you deal with your own debt. If you don’t want to speak with friends or family, seek out the advice of a debt help professional, like a credit counsellor or Licensed Insolvency Trustee.

I don’t make enough money to pay off my debt.”

More income can help you pay off debt, but it’s important to remember that it’s not the only solution. Have you looked at your daily spending habits or household expenses? Making small changes in either of these areas can have a major impact on your ability to pay down your debt. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Track you spending with an app like Mint or Wally.
  • Challenge yourself to cut out $10 of spending each day, which could mean $300 more each month for debt payments or savings.
  • Review your monthly budget regularly to make sure you are not spending more than you earn.

“I can’t ask for help with debt.”

Let’s talk honestly. If you can’t find what you are looking for in a store, you ask a clerk or manager. If you are unsure of how to start a project in school, you speak to the teacher. If you’re not feeling well, you see a doctor. It’s no different when it comes to debt.

You can find all kinds of trusted resources online – the FCAC website is a great place to start. Or you can speak with a credit counsellor or Licensed Insolvency Trustee. You never need to feel ashamed or intimidated about asking for help with your debt.

“Debt relief is only for people with major debt problems.”

The truth is, there are debt relief options that can help you regardless of how big or small your debt load.

If you seek help sooner rather than later, debt problems can often be resolved by changing spending habits, cutting expenses, prioritizing debt repayment or consolidating debts together.

If your debt load is unmanageable or overwhelming a consumer proposal or bankruptcy may be the right solution — but these options are only explored after looking at all other possibilities.

Your mindset is important when you’re paying off debt. Make 2018 your year of changing your mind about debt — one new habit, new strategy or new goal can make all the difference.

Share with others on Twitter using #DebtSolutions and #NewYearMotivation one thing from this blog that might have just changed your mind about debt.

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