Monday, 26 September 2011

Dealing with Debt and Depression

Facing an insurmountable amount of debt can cause an incredible amount of stress and in some cases the stress can lead to depression. On the opposite end of the spectrum, stress and depression can cause individuals to stop paying their bills.

On, Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards cites (amongst the most common causes of depression) situations like difficult life events, loss, change, or persistent stress.

Martha Manning (therapist and author of “Undercurrents”) describes depression this way: “Depression is such cruel punishment. There are no fevers, no rashes, and no blood tests to send people scurrying with concern. Just the slow erosion of the self, as insidious as any cancer”.

Major financial problems result in individuals not honouring their obligations to creditors (most people want to pay their bills) and having difficulties maintaining their standard of living and providing support to their families. Many people who own homes find themselves in this very situation.

Those who struggle with depression and have more bills than they have money sometimes try to ignore the problem, hoping that it will just go away. Debt will not go away by itself.

When debt goes into default and creditors start trying to collect their money, phone calls and letters can cause personal anguish and embarrassment at work. Even high income earners who accumulate an unmanageable amount of debt may feel like the financial problem cannot be overcome.

If you are feeling depressed about your debt, you will feel much better if you come up with a plan to deal with it. This will empower you to begin working your way out of your financial situation. The first things to consider are:

1. How much in unsecured debts have you accumulated?

2. Have you badly damaged your credit?

3. Do you have the ability to make your minimum monthly payments?

If the answer to question number one is “more than $8,000”, the answer to question number two is “yes”, the answer to question number three is “no” and you know you have equity in assets, you may be relieved to hear that you could achieve immediate debt relief through a Federal Government program.

If you still have decent credit and some income, you may have other options to deal with your debt. Even when experiencing a financial crisis, it makes the most sense to speak with a Financial Advisor about your options.

You see, no matter how bad things may appear to be, there is almost always a solution. Many debt solutions enable individuals to get out of debt by creating a single and manageable monthly payment. This monthly payment is affordable and helps protect assets like your home and car.

Just as debt does not go away by itself, in many cases depression doesn’t either. Remember that your health and happiness come first so make it a priority to take care of it. There are more resources than ever for individuals who are battling depression. CAMH offers an abundance of resources and information. You can also speak with your family doctor and ask for a referral to a therapist.

If you would like more information about dealing with debt and depression, please contact Michael Goldenberg at DebtCare by calling 1 (888) 890-0888 or by visiting

Monday, 19 September 2011

Deal With Your Debt Before a Layoff – Ontario May Lose Manufacturing Jobs

While the Canadian economy is in better shape than many of our international counterparts, the strength of our Canadian dollar continues to be a concern for the manufacturing sector.

Due to the economic instability in Greece, Europe and the US, and a strengthening economy in Canada, our dollar has continued to hold strong. A strong Canadian dollar means the cost to manufacture and import products from Canada is more expensive. Over time, a strong dollar causes organizations to reconsider their Canadian manufacturing operations.

Between 2008 and 2009, 250,000 manufacturing jobs were lost in Canada. Some experts have speculated that the strong Canadian dollar could result in a second wave of layoffs in the manufacturing sector.

The Canadian job market isn’t what it once was. As recently as 15 years ago, “The Canadian Dream” was to get a job with a good company, work hard for 25 years or so and then retire with benefits. No one believed in that dream more than the thousands of GM employees who lost their jobs in 2009, some after many years of service and pension contributions.

The job landscape has changed. Many companies now hire employees on a contract or consulting basis and have a much higher turnover ratio than what was seen in the workplace in years past. Some employers have capitalized on the news of the troubled economy, trimming their workforces without even making it on the news.

So what can you do if you work in an industry that is impacted by the economy and have a strong feeling that a layoff may be in your near future? Get your financial house in order!

You have many more financial options available to you while you are still employed. Take a good hard look at your finances, your budget and your debts. If you owe debt that is more than you can pay in full in the near future, consider a debt consolidation loan. You will have a better chance of getting approved for a consolidation loan if you are employed. Once laid off, you will likely not qualify, as most banks require applicants to be gainfully employed. A debt consolidation may be a good choice to deal with debt as it usually results in a reduction to monthly payments creating a greater cash flow.

Look for ways to trim your budget then add those savings to any cash flow you have already created by consolidating or paying off your debts. Start to bank that money immediately. Try to bank as much money as possible so that if you are laid off, you have a safety net while you wait for employment insurance or find another job.

If you have been laid off, cannot manage your debt and have not been able to get approved for a debt consolidation loan, you may have other options. The Federal Government has introduced programs that provide immediate debt relief and protection to those who cannot pay their debts. For more information about dealing with your debt before a layoff, please visit

Monday, 12 September 2011

Divorce Debt Can Cause Major Financial Problems – There are Solutions for Divorce Debt

Households that include a married couple that are both working and earning a decent income, are often able to accumulate assets and debts faster than a single individual or a family in a single income household.

When marital problems surface, the stakes are high, particularly when children, assets and debt are involved. Some instances see all of the debt in the name of one spouse (in some cases even when he or she is not the primary income earner in the household). Also, when a separation occurs, assets become tied up until the terms of the separation can be determined.

When a couple separates, both spouses will experience a major change to their financial situation. Especially if the choice is made to live in separate dwellings, at this point their cost of living will increase or even double.

In more accelerated situations, couples have already divorced and a determination has been made as to “who” will be responsible for “what” debt. In these cases, dealing with the debt for a single income family can create a harsh reality and an almost impossible situation. This is particularly true if the party who is held responsible for paying most or all of the marital debt also has to make support and/or alimony payments. This is one example of a situation where a financial restructuring may be warranted.

If things get ugly, no one wins, and this presents many challenges.

If you are in the process of a separation or divorce, you don’t have to go to a divorce lawyer or attend divorce court to negotiate with your spouse. There are family law lawyers that specialize in mediation and collaborative law; they help people come to an agreement on contentious issues, without going to court.

If you are separating or divorcing, have accumulated marital debt, will not be able to pay it living independently and own a home, it will be in your best interest to find a way to work with your spouse. This could enable you to refinance joint assets such as your home, to raise proceeds to deal with debts and hire legal representation to help you and your spouse work through the separation or divorce.

One major mistake people often make when separating or divorcing, is that one or both spouses will stop paying divorce debts until it is determined “who” will owe “what”. This is the worst thing to do. Even if you are having a dispute over your debts, it is important to maintain at least the minimum monthly payments on any credit that you have signed off on.

Letting your divorce debt destroy your credit will impair your options when moving forward independently. On the other hand, if you are left with debt and have absolutely no ability to pay it, you may have to seek out other options to help you deal with your divorce debt. The solution could include a debt consolidation, financial restructuring or even financial protection.

The best thing to do if you are separating, divorcing or have divorced and are dealing with divorce debt is to contact a Financial Advisor. One who will look at all available financial scenarios to come up with a strong financial strategy so you can come out of your divorce on a sound footing. For more information about solutions to divorce debt, please visit

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Unemployed and In Debt – How to Cope With Debt When You Lose Your Job

If you have found yourself unemployed and in debt, it can literally take your breath away. What will your priorities be? What payments will be made when push comes to shove?

These are tough financial choices that are intensified if you have children (or a family), debt, own a home, or if a business is involved. At this point the stakes become higher, and the last thing anyone wants to do is ruin their credit or worse, lose assets they have worked their whole life to gain.

These tough financial decisions can be the source of incredible stress, which can often lead to illness. When change happens in our lives, especially change that is out of our control, it is easy to find our lives consumed with stress. It is easy to start ignoring your bills, which is always the worst thing you can do.

The best thing you can do to empower yourself when a job loss occurs, is to not sweat what you can’t change. Instead, get into the most positive state of mind possible, set personal goals to create awareness and then work through your list.

Here are some examples of goals you may set for yourself to find ways out of a financial crisis caused by unemployment:

If you qualify for employment insurance with Human Resources Development Canada, apply for it immediately. It can take time to be approved and the sooner you apply the better (whether you think you have found a job or not). You can always cancel it if you are presented with a job offer.

Create or refresh your resume. If you need help, you can turn to organizations such as JVS Toronto. JVS is a non-profit organization that helps people find jobs. They offer free career counselling, help with building a resume and offer support when preparing for a job interview.

Use Social Media platforms, like LinkedIn, to source job opportunities online.

Don’t apply only for jobs that are posted. Think outside the box. Make a list of companies that you would like to work for and reach out to them. Often large organizations have positions available that are not being advertised.

Take a good hard look at your budget and finances. Financial Counselling is something else that is going to be a vital resource. Not “Credit Counselling”, not “Debt Counselling” but “Financial Counselling”. A skilled Financial Advisor can look at your entire financial profile, make recommendations and find the resources that you will need in order to deal with your debt and restructure your finances, while you are bringing in less income. For more information about how to cope when you find yourself unemployed and in debt, please visit