Black Press file photo

Black Press file photo

New Year a good time to assess personal finances

Poll shows half of Albertans anxious about incoming holiday bills

For some, the New Year will be greeted with a financial hangover.

“Pressure mounts right before the holidays and that’s when people are most tempted to borrow money from a payday lender or really over-extend themselves on credit cards,” says Donna Carlson, a Red Deer insolvency trustee with MNP Ltd.

“The extremely high interest rates on these types of credit can trap them in a cycle of debt that will be impossible to get out of.

“We’re bombarded by a flurry of sales and ‘buy now, pay later’ offers but what might seem like a small purchase or look like a great deal on Boxing Day isn’t really a bargain if you end up carrying them on credit.”

A recent poll conducted by Ipsos for MNP found half of respondents admitted feeling anxiety over the pending arrival of holiday bills. About the same number already had buyer’s remorse and regretted how much they forked out over the holidays.

Perhaps not surprisingly, half of poll respondents had getting their finances back on track topping New Year’s resolutions lists.

The survey of 2,154 Canadians interviewed online uncovered some numbers that ring alarm bells for those dealing with people struggling with debt.

As many as 27 per cent admitted to paying only the minimum balance on their credit card. For lines of credit, the number is 20 per cent.

Fifteen per cent said they borrowed money they cannot afford to pay back quickly and 16 per cent put a major purchase on their credit card without paying it off right away.

One in five respondents admitted to being lured by Black Friday and Boxing Day sales. Just over one in 10 said they bought something on credit that allows delayed payments.

For those who are concerned about their household finances, the best advice is to get on it right away, said Carlson.

“There’s no time like the present — new year, new ideas, new budget,” she said.

She advises those looking to straighten out their finances to put it down on paper to get a clear view of where you stand and how to deal with future expenses.

“One of the bigger things I hear from people is that ‘I didn’t realize how much it added up to. I didn’t realize what my budget was.’”

Building a solid financial footing means planning ahead for life’s financial curve balls — the unexpected car repairs or the property tax bill that may have slipped one’s mind.

“Budgeting for those ahead of time on a monthly basis if you can is a lot easier than trying to budget for it all out of one month.”

For those who feel they are drowning in debt, declaring bankruptcy should not be the first option. It is often better to put together a debt repayment proposal with help from a professional.

Times have been hard across Canada. The Superintendent of Bankruptcy, which keeps bankruptcy statistics, has detected an increase Canada-wide.

“Normally, over the last three years you see the spikes in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland — the oil provinces — but in October this year it was right across the country,” said Carlson.

Canada has the highest debt levels of the G-7 countries, and Alberta usually leads the nation in debt levels and insolvencies have increased in this province over the past three years.



pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ChristmasFinances

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dwayne Buckle, 40 of Red Deer finished a 1,638-kilometre walk, in honour of his family. The 12-week, 82 day-journey wrapped up in Port Hardy, B.C. on Monday. Facebook photo
Red Deer man completes 1,638 km hike for cancer research

Dwayne Buckle, a Red Deer firefighter returned home Friday after his 12-week journey

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveres to Canada are being delayed because of complications at their European distribution facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Delays of Pfizer vaccine delivery to impact Alberta’s vaccination plans

Alberta has administered 74,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far

Two inmates at Bowden Institution have tested positive for COVID-19. (Black Press File Photo)
2 Bowden inmates test positive for COVID-19

A pair of inmates at Bowden Institution have tested positive for COVID-19.… Continue reading

Salons and barbershops are able to open on Monday, the Government of Alberta announced this week. (Photo courtesy Pixabay)
Red Deer salon owner “relieved” business can re-open next week

The owner of a Red Deer salon says she’s “definitely relieved” her… Continue reading

Red Deer Valhalla Pure Outfitters owner Darren Schaedeli has seen a significant increase in those looking to tackle winter experiences. Some are trying their hand at "hot tent camping" as he did in the West Country several weeks ago.
Photo contributed
Central Albertans enjoying the great outdoors this winter

Stir crazy and beach-deprived central Albertans are embracing the great outdoors this… Continue reading

Lesser Slave Lake UCP MLA Pat Rehn. (Facebook)
Updated: Jason Kenney kicks Lesser Slave Lake MLA out of caucus

Pat Rehn will not be permitted to run for UCP nominations

One way to get infloor heating is with electrical cables installed underneath ceramic tiles. Here DITRA-HEAT cables are snapped into an uncoupling underlay that goes down before tiles. (Photo by Robert Maxwell)
Houseworks: Heating a basement under renovation

Q: Will DITRA-HEAT electric infloor heating be enough to make my finished… Continue reading

Super Valu has experienced an increase in demand for products such as toilet paper as people prepare for the coronavirus. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Hints from Heloise: Stock your closet

Dear Heloise: If this year has taught me anything, toilet paper, wipes,… Continue reading

Manchester United's Tobin Heath celebrates scoring against West Ham United during the FA Women's Super League match at Victoria Road Stadium, London, Sunday Oct. 18, 2020. (John Walton/PA via AP)
Double 1st: Man U men, women leading 2 leagues, play champs

Double 1st: Man U men, women leading 2 leagues, play champs

A group of Buffalo Bills fans from Toronto pose for a photo while tailgating in the parking lot of New Era Field before an NFL football game between the Bills and the New York Jets, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, in Orchard Park, N.Y. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Adrian Kraus
Being unable to attend Bills playoff games due to pandemic pains Canadian fans

Being unable to attend Bills playoff games due to pandemic pains Canadian fans

FILE - Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant runs the bases after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning during a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Cleveland, in this Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, file photo. Bryant is among roughly 125 players who entered Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, eligible to exchange salary arbitration figures with their teams. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
Lindor, Bryant, Bellinger, Seager get big-money deals

Lindor, Bryant, Bellinger, Seager get big-money deals

Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash points during the third quarter of the team's NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in New York. (Brad Penner/Pool Photo via AP)
More NBA games off, as league continues struggles with virus

More NBA games off, as league continues struggles with virus

Washington Capitals' Jakub Vrana (13) is congratulated for his goal during the second period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Vanecek makes 28 saves in NHL debut, Capitals sweep Sabres

Vanecek makes 28 saves in NHL debut, Capitals sweep Sabres

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Collin Delia (60) makes a save after Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18) fell down during the first period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Stamkos, Palat lift Lightning over Blackhawks again

Stamkos, Palat lift Lightning over Blackhawks again

Most Read