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

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

Keaton Wildeboer, of Lacombe, participates in the Westerner Championship Dairy Showcase at Westerner Park on Thursday. More than 150 cattle will be on display at the event, which continues until Saturday, carrying on a tradition started in 1954. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Western Canada’s first dairy showcase since last fall begins in Red Deer

Western Canada’s first dairy showcase since last fall is currently being held… Continue reading

Car thief opening stolen car doors. 
(Black Press File Image)
Idling vehicles attracting thieves, RCMP warns

About one-third of stolen vehicles left idling unattended

Police reveal a collection of drugs, cash and guns seized in an April 2016 bust. One of the men charged was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday.
Advocate file photo
Red Deer man sentenced to 27 months for role in “dial-a-dope” operation

RCMP Priority Crimes Task Force broke up drug operation in April 2016 after four-month investigation

Red Deer RCMP say a 30-year-old man faces sexual charges against a teen. (File photo by Advocate staff)
RCMP’s downtown traffic stops lead to charges

Two traffic stops conducted by Red Deer RCMP officers on bike patrol… Continue reading

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.	Kenney is isolating at home after one of his ministers tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Alberta premier isolating after minister tests positive for COVID-19

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is isolating at home

Seats in the waiting area of domestic departures lounge of Calgary International Airport are seen with caution tape on them on June 9, 2020. The Alberta government says rapid COVID-19 tests will soon be available at the Calgary airport and a United States border crossing so travellers coming into Canada don't have to quarantine for a full 14 days.<br style="box-sizing: inherit; color: rgb(209, 210, 211); font-family: Slack-Lato, appleLogo, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: common-ligatures; background-color: rgb(34, 37, 41);">The pilot project is to start Nov. 2 and will be voluntary. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
COVID-19 testing option to be tried at Calgary airport, U.S. border crossing

COVID-19 testing option to be tried at Calgary airport, U.S. border crossing

FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, file photo, signage is pictured at a Walmart store in Oklahoma City. On Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, Walmart filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government in a pre-emptive strike in the battle over its responsibility in the opioid abuse crisis. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
Walmart sues US in pre-emptive strike in opioid abuse battle

Walmart sues US in pre-emptive strike in opioid abuse battle

FILE- In this Feb. 19, 2019, file photo, children line up to enter a tent at the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children in Homestead, Fla. Despite efforts by the Trump administration to improve communication to track children who are separated from their families at the border, the process is still vulnerable to error and information sharing between agencies is inconsistent, raising questions on the accuracy of current data, a watchdog reported Thursday. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
Judge urges US to help find parents deported without kids

Judge urges US to help find parents deported without kids

Police officers detain a protester at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos, Nigeria, Wednesday Oct. 21, 2020. After 13 days of protests against alleged police brutality, authorities have imposed a 24-hour curfew in Lagos, Nigeria's largest city, as moves are made to stop growing violence.( AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Nigerian president leaves protest shootings out of speech

Nigerian president leaves protest shootings out of speech

FILE - Audrey Strauss, acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, points to a photo of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell during a news conference, July 2, 2020, in New York. Transcripts of interviews lawyers conducted with Maxwell, the ex-girlfriend of the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, should be released as soon as possible, a judge ordered on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska said the transcripts of two days of depositions in 2016 of the British socialite and related documents along with the deposition transcript of an anonymous accuser should be released publicly as soon as is practicable. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
Epstein ex Maxwell denied getting Prince Andrew sex partners

Epstein ex Maxwell denied getting Prince Andrew sex partners

Kevin Drew, right, and Pearl Wenjack give a tribute to the late Gord Downie at the Juno Awards in Vancouver, Sunday, March, 25, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Gord Downie’s brother Patrick on the ‘peace’ he hears on new album ‘Away is Mine’

Gord Downie’s brother Patrick on the ‘peace’ he hears on new album ‘Away is Mine’

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino listens to speakers during a news conference in Ottawa on October 2, 2020. A much heralded program that would give permanent residency to some asylum seekers working on the front-lines of the COVID-19 pandemic has yet to accept a single application. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Promised path to residency for “Guardian Angel” asylum seekers yet to open

Promised path to residency for “Guardian Angel” asylum seekers yet to open

Rogers Communications CEO Joe Natale speaks to shareholders during the Rogers annual general meeting in Toronto on Friday, April 20, 2018.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Rogers says its progress in Q3 shows it’s on right track in tough environment

Rogers says its progress in Q3 shows it’s on right track in tough environment

Most Read