November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada, which means 30 days of raising awareness and giving Canadians new information they need to self-educate on any misunderstood financial topics. At Ratehub.ca, we like to think we’re always providing the information and tools you need to better understand how mortgages work. As a team, however, we all have some interest in personal finance as a whole, and often share our financial successes (and failures) with one another.
We also always keep our eyes on what other companies are sharing, this time of year. Last week, we found that one non-profit debt counselling agency, Consolidated Credit Canada, had done a survey and released an infographic with the results – and you know we love a good infographic! Their question: what was your lifesaver moment? Meaning when did you know you could get out of debt? This got us talking…
If you’ve followed our Editor Cait’s story at all, you know she was once maxed out and, therefore, had no choice but to get into debt repayment mode. Her rock bottom was having only $100 in her chequing account and needing to make it last for six weeks. As a result, she couldn’t afford to pay rent and had to ask her parents if she could move home for a few months. At age 25, she admits this was not her finest moment… but it looks like Cait wasn’t alone. According to this study, 28% of consumers say their financial rock bottom was being unable to pay their rent or mortgage on time.
Fortunately, Cait took advantage of living back at home for those few months. She started tracking her spending, stuck to a tight budget and managed to wipe out $10,000 of debt while she was there. Her lifesaver moment though: the day she paid off her first $5,000. “That’s when I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I think I can do this’.” And she did. Cait used that early momentum and paid off close to $30,000 of debt in less than two years, then fully funded a six-month emergency fund and now makes regular contributions to her retirement savings. Go Cait!
When did you know you could get out of debt?