By Sandra Wolverton, BIA Insolvency Counsellor
People often come to me after months – sometimes even years - of struggling with debt. Often, the stress has brought on health issues, caused them to miss work and even contributed to family breakups and job losses. Even with a fulfilling career and steady income, unmanageable debt is a massive burden to bear.
Debt Stress is Exhausting
Perhaps we don't always think of our debt as a literal weight that is constantly holding us back and sapping our energy. But that is precisely what it is and does.
Imagine you're wearing a backpack. For every $1,000 you owe, that's five pounds added to the bag. So, if you owe $5,000 in debt, you'd be carrying an additional 25 pounds on your shoulders.
Most people can carry between 15 and 30 pounds around for a short while without too much trouble. But how tiresome would it be to lug that around all day, every day for months and sometimes years on end? How long could you manage before it started affecting your performance at work, energy at the gym and the quality of your relationships?
Here's the thing though: The average Canadian owes more than $20,000 in non-mortgage consumer debt. That's 100 pounds in their backpack – or the equivalent of giving a 13-year-old child a (seemingly) never-ending piggyback ride. Most people would feel run down after a couple of hours. It's no wonder we have a pandemic of exhaustion, depression and illness among long-term debtors.
Debt Stress is Contagious
If you're feeling overwhelmed by your own debt problems, also consider the effects it's having on your family. Do you feel like you're constantly saying no to the kids? Or feel guilted into saying yes, even though you can't afford it?
When was the last time you could have a meaningful experience with your loved ones – enjoying a night out at the bowling alley, going camping or attending a sporting event – without worrying how you'd pay for it or adding to your existing debt burden?
Your loved ones know you better than anyone. You can try to hide it and put on a brave face – but they know when you're worrying. They can feel your stress and overwhelm. You don't intend it to, but not their wanting to put any extra pressure on you simply adds to the weight in their own backpacks. And with that comes the same issues of despair and exhaustion you know all too well.
Debt Stress is Curable
The good news is you and your family don't have to carry that weight alone. There are several resources available to help you shed it for good.
During a Free Confidential Consultation, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee will review your financial situation and discuss your options. If you qualify for a Life-Changing Debt Solution, such as a Consumer Proposal or Bankruptcy, your trustee will help you weigh the costs and benefits of each, so you can consider the best path for you and your family. If you would rather pursue a different strategy, they can also help you develop effective budgeting techniques, connect you with other debt-relief resources to get you moving in the right direction toward a financial fresh start.
It's time to let go of that heavy burden you've been carrying. Put the spring back in your step and return to living a healthy, happy life by defeating your debt for good.
Where are you on the Debt Scale?
Do you know your position on the MNP Debt Scale? This helpful self-assessment will help you understand the severity of your debts and whether you may benefit from one of MNP's Life-Changing Debt Solutions. It only takes five minutes and may be the head start you need to achieve the debt-free future you deserve.
Based out of Victoria, Sandra Wolverton is an Estate Manager at MNP Ltd. To learn more about how MNP can help, contact our local office at 1.877.363.3437 or toll-free at 310.DEBT (310.3328).
This article was originally written for, and published by, MNP. To view the original post, click here.