How Do You Know When Things Are Bad?
How do you know when you are in trouble financially and need to take drastic steps to correct the situation? Here are some signs:
1. You are living beyond your means - your expenses are greater than your income.
Using credit to pay credit. For instance a credit card to pay another card.
No money management. You really don't know how much you make or how much life is costing.
No budgeting of financial plans.
Personal issues, like illness, separation or divorce, family distress.
Taxes not filed or paid.
Avoidance - not wanting to admit you're in trouble.
Creditors increasing collections actions.
Co-signing or not understanding what you are signing.
If you have several of these, then you may be a candidate for some financial help. The good news is, help is out there!
What To Do When Things Get Bad
If you are in over your head, you may want to talk to one of the not-for-profit associations that help you get control of your finances. Two that my clients in Alberta have used are the following:
From their website, this is what Money Mentors do: "Through a number of services, we help families and individuals recover from financial crisis and move forward. From credit counseling and money coaching, to retirement planning and community financial literacy, we’re creating a healthier financial future for the entire province."
Money Mentors can help with consolidating your debt, creating a plan to go forward, and managing your money better. It can involve some sacrifices, including not using credit - at all - for a period of time. But it can be well worth it.
Credit Counseling Society
From their website: 'The Credit Counseling Society is a registered, non profit service for consumers. Since opening 25 years ago, we have helped more than 850,000 Canadians solve debt problems, manage money better, and learn about credit.'
Both organizations are similar, although Credit Counseling Society also can help with bankruptcy - a topic for another newsletter.
NOTE RE INCOME TAXES: Just a note that these organizations may not be as familiar with Canada Revenue's potential actions as your accountant, especially if you have own a company. So you may want to keep your accountant involved in the process.
The Courage to Make Changes
It can take a lot to ask for help. But the relief can be unbelievable. If you need help with your finances feel free to talk with me. Together we can help you decide whether you need help, and if so, ease the process of getting it. Just remember... we're all in this together.