· Consumer debt in Canada at the end of Q3 of 2023 was $2.4 trillion, an increase of $80.9 billion from the same time the year before;
· The average non-mortgage consumer debt in Saskatchewan is $22,098 per resident, which is higher than the national average of $21,013;
· Delinquencies (missed payments on mortgage and other types of debt) are up 16.78% in Saskatchewan.
What to Consider When Creating Your Financial Plan
Your financial plan is essentially your road map – to take you from where you are to where you want to be. Some things to consider when creating your plan include:
· Where are you now in terms of income, expenses and savings?
· What have been your recent financial challenges? Successes?
· What are your financial goals? Think short term and long term.
· What is your current level of debt? How are you handling the payments?
· Do you have a functioning household budget in place?
Your Most Important Money Management Tool
I have said it before, and I will say it again — your budget is your most important money management tool. It really is the best way to help you meet your financial goals. If you already have a budget, review it and make sure that it still makes sense for your situation. If you do not have a budget and need some help getting started, some things to think about are:
· All sources of income (paycheque, GST, Canada Child Benefit etc.)
· Basic monthly expenses
o Categorize based on actual spending
o Distinguish between fixed and variable
o Remember the small expenses
· Your financial goals – use the S.M.A.R.T. method
· Debt repayment requirements
· Savings and emergency fund
Consult a Professional
If you have set financial goals and aren’t sure how to reach them, you may want to think about reaching out to a professional. If you are concerned with savings and investing, you may wish to speak with a financial planner. If you are looking to consolidate your debt, you may wish to speak to your bank. If you want to find the appropriate debt solution, reach out to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. Make sure to do your research when seeking out professional help.
The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy just issued a consumer alert in November 2023 regarding debt relief scams.
Debt relief scams target indebted individuals often claiming to be able to provide insolvency options, and often charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars on services that a Licensed Insolvency Trustee like BDO Canada Limited would provide for free.
If you are having trouble making ends meet each month, finding the right debt solution can help. Visit the BDO Debt Solutions website for more information, or call 1 855 BDO DEBT to book a free, no obligation consultation.
Jasmin Brown is a Senior Vice President overseeing the insolvency practice in Saskatchewan. She is committed to providing creative and practical debt solutions with empathy, understanding and professionalism to help people overcome their financial difficulties.