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Don’t delay tackling household debt problems

Writing down debts and costs good way to start finance fix
Alberta insolvency and bankruptcy filings last November were the highest since March 2020. (Black Press file photo)

For some, the new year will mean taking a hard look at their finances.

In Alberta, insolvency filings last November reached their highest level since March 2020, suggesting many people will be under financial pressure in 2023.

MNP senior vice-president and bankruptcy trustee Donna Carson said those who are being weighed down by debt should look at all their options before deciding on the best course to take.

“When someone is struggling with debt there are options we can take a look at,” said Carson, who is senior vice-president in MNP’s insolvency and restructuring group and oversees Calgary and central Alberta regions.

Carson said she often recommends people write down what they owe, who they owe it to, what the interest rates and minimum payments are and any other relevant information. The idea is to get a clear picture of your finances so you can begin to look at the best ways to manage them.

MNP also recommends people take a close look at their finances to see how well they could manage if their costs continue to increase.

Many analysts believe the Bank of Canada has another interest rate in store, which will add to mortgage and loan costs for many.

In its Consumer Debt Index released last October, MNP stressed that those facing financial pressure should not see going to a licensed insolvency trustee as a last resort. Getting a financial fresh start sooner rather than later usually pays off.

Carson said another piece of advice she often gives people is to not pay for essentials on credit.

Putting things such as groceries and gas on your credit card only adds more costs to next month’s budget unless you are able to pay off your credit card balance in full.

“If you find yourself putting your essentials on credit, not only does it throw your budget out of sync, you are now adding the cost of interest on to it.”

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