No More Secrets: Time to Confess to Needing Debt HelpFeb 21, 2019
We all know that secrets can spell trouble for romantic relationships, yet many of us are keeping something from the loves of our lives: our debt level. And often, it’s difficult to be honest with those we love if we aren’t being honest with ourselves, first. Debt can be difficult to face, but if you need debt help, confessing your needs to yourself first is critical.
If you have a financial secret from your partner, you’re not alone. Our 2018 Debt Confessions Poll found that 30 per cent of Canadians have at least one financial secret.
Canadians are hiding their spending habits, credit card debt, expenses and even income from their partners, and that’s often because having debt can make people feel anxious, ashamed and out of control — especially if that debt is overwhelming.
Why it’s important to first be honest with yourself about debt
At $28,155, Albertans carry the highest average consumer debt in the country.
That’s a significant amount of money. Even if you owe less, it can be extremely stressful worrying about how you’re going to pay it back.
That stress and worry are going to impact all aspects of your life, including your relationship with your partner. And worrying in secret doesn’t change the situation.
Start the conversation, whether you’re the one carrying the debt or you’re unhappy with how your partner is handling money. Know that facing debt is the first step to regaining control of your finances, whether they’re separate or shared.
Begin by looking honestly at your level of debt, and how it might be impacting your life together. Talk about your short- and long-term financial goals and how you’d each like to handle debt. Once you become honest with yourself about your debt level, you’ll be able to develop a plan for how to get rid of it.
Creating a plan will help you get rid of debt
The good news is that we live in a time when there are tools for managing debt at our fingertips.
Calculate how long it will take you to pay off your credit cards with our debt calculator and use our budget calculator to create a balanced budget that you’ll be able to maintain moving forward.
Remember that your plan needs to feel doable. Some people are comfortable with the idea of putting a stop to all unnecessary spending for a year in order to get the peace of mind of being debt-free. Others would feel deprived. Choose methods that work for you and your partner.
Learning from others who have tackled debt is a great way to find new tools for your financial toolbox.
Check out Krystal Lee’s blog, Give Me Back My Five Bucks, for some ideas. Krystal started her blog to keep herself honest and accountable when it came to her spending. Her blog about how she was a financial train wreck takes an honest look at how debt impacted her emotional and physical health, and her relationship with herself and others. If you’re looking for a push to be honest with yourself about your own debt, it’s a good place to start.
Handling overwhelming personal debt
If debt still feels overwhelming after talking it out and trying to create a plan, you’ll benefit from meeting with a professional.
A Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) understands how you’re feeling and offers debt solution services, taking you through your options so you can decide what’s right for you.
Often people worry that talking to an LIT is going to be uncomfortable. But the truth is, you’re uncomfortable now, either because you’re anxious about the debt you’re carrying or you’re concerned about your partner’s financial habits.
Talking to an LIT relieves the anxiety because you finally get everything on the table and realize that you have options.
There is always a way out of debt
There’s no need to hide the fact that you need debt help. People don’t get into debt because there is something wrong with them. Getting honest about your debt is your first step to getting rid of it forever, and developing a new, healthy relationship with money.
What financial secrets do you worry your partner is keeping? Tell us on Twitter. #LeaveDebtBehind #LoveAndMoney #DebtSolutions