Category Archives: Debt Management

School’s Out, Time to Pay

SchoolsOutGraduating school, whether it’s high school, College or University should be one of the most exciting times in your life. Post-secondary education is a milestone which should open doors to your new future. You spent years putting in hard work with late night study session, writing papers and finishing assignments and you should be proud.

Now, as you’re walking up to accept your diploma to the applause of your friends and family, instead of celebrating, all you can think about is the task of paying off your student loans. According to the National Student Loan Centre, it takes an average of nine years for Canadian students to pay off their student loans. With the average student debt around $25,000, it is becoming more important to create a plan for repayment.

It can be overwhelming to think about what you owe, to whom and how you’ll repay it while still having a life. We’ve put together some suggestions for your plan:

  1. Determine Who You Owe
    You may not even know what you owe and when it is due. The first step in the process is to determine who you owe money to.
  2. Read the Fine Print
    Some people are aware of the grace period when it comes to student loan repayment however the interest on the federal portion starts on day one of graduation.
  3. Compare Interest Rates and Rank Loans
    Each student loan has a different interest rate and payment schedule. Be sure to compare all the loans and the fine details to determine which loan to start with. Obviously start with the one with the highest interest rate.
  4. Create a Budget
    It’s easier than you think; it’s not as scary as it sounds. Go through all your accounts and look for regular expenses. Go six months back at a minimum to ensure you capture quarterly payments. From there you can map out monthly, quarterly and annual bills to give you a clear indication of what you have left to spend and what you can put towards your debts.
  5. Pay Yourself First
    Once you have secured employment, review your budget again and slide that debt payment up. Most students don’t make adjustments to their repayment plan in relation to their income. For bonuses and tax returns, as tempting as it is to spend it, you are better off making a lump sum repayment.

Long story short, repaying debt takes sacrifice and compromise. In order to retain your sanity and life quality, decide what you can and can’t live with and be reasonable with yourself. Chip away at it and celebrate your successes instead of wallowing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, from your family or reach out to us. We’d love to help.

Struggling with Finances? You’re Not Alone

Financial StressWhen you’re sitting at the table shuffling through a stack of bills, or you’re scared to check your email for fear of finding new bills, it’s easy to think you’re all alone.  It’s natural to become overwhelmed and believe there is no way to dig yourself out of your current position. This type of thinking plays directly into your perception of yourself and your self-worth.

Manulife has been studying the link between health and wealth since 2014. What they’ve found was in 2015, financial wellness was connected to productivity. In 2016, it showed that 40% of Canadians are financially unwell. I guess you’re not so alone after all… Continue reading

Divorce Debt and Next Steps

Financial Planning due to divorceWe’ve covered how to financially survive a divorce and dividing assets, now it’s time to get down to the brass tacks – debt. Some couples come into a marriage with debt, as we talked about in one of our blogs “So You’re Getting Married”, and some couples accrue debt during their marriage. Either way, when a marriage comes to an end, that debt must be dealt with.

One approach to addressing marital debt is to pay it off before filing for divorce. This requires a couple who can speak candidly to each other regarding this topic as well as two people who are willing to accept that debt is generally mutually created and accept joint responsibility. More often than not, this situation is just not a reality. Debt is quite often a major instigator of marital breakdown. Continue reading

Why Is Credit So Easily Accessible?

CTV-video-screenshotDoug chatted with CTV’s Morning Live to discuss a growing problem with students and credit being so accessible. Students particularly are graduating with more debt and have no idea how to deal with it. Institutions are focusing on future earning potential. Learn how a Financial Planner can help secure that.

 

A painless way to cut back on expenses

Buying a new carWith the current economic uncertainty, many people are looking for ways to reduce expenses. A relatively painless way to reduce your monthly expenses is to have a second look at the way you’re managing your debt.

Over time, most of us take out a variety of loans for different purposes. These can include things like credit card debt, car loans, home renovation loans and, of course, the mortgage. And if you have more than one loan, you’re most likely paying a different interest rate on each loan. One of the easiest ways to reduce your monthly interest costs is to consolidate your debt at the lowest rate. Typically, your lowest-rate debt will be a loan that is secured by an asset, such as your home.

If you have sufficient equity built up in your home, consider switching to a product that allows you to access your equity, such as a home-equity line-of-credit. Then, use this line of credit to repay your higher-interest loans. In this way, you’ll be bringing all of your debts together into a single account, at a single rate. Some line-of-credit products even allow you to track debts separately within the account so you can continue to keep track of interest costs and repayment separately. Not only will debt-consolidation save you interest but it will make it easier for you to keep track of what you owe and how you’re progressing in paying it down.

Reducing your monthly expenses is one way to deal with economic uncertainty – and it doesn’t have to be painful. By borrowing smarter you can reduce your interest costs and increase your cash flow each month.

If you’d like to learn how to reduce your monthly interest costs, give me a call and I can discuss some options with you.