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by Tim St. Vincent

Debt. Have you ever wondered where it comes from? Have you ever wondered how your money manages to vanish right before your eyes? Do you run out of money before you run out of bills to pay? You aren’t alone; 50 per cent of working Canadians report living from pay to pay – that is half of Canada!

This can be especially tough for new arrivals. They may not be familiar with credit and debt, nor realize that they are two very different things. Credit really costs you nothing, debt, if not used properly can cripple the smartest of people. Credit becomes debt the very second it is used.

Discussing debt is the last forbidden topic. Almost anything else is acceptable; 50 per cent of parents would rather talk to their children about sex than money. There is an idea out there that people having problems managing debt have lower paying jobs or lower education. Maybe that’s why we don’t like to talk about debt, but nothing could be further from the truth! It doesn’t matter if you are making minimum wage or over $300,000 a year; nobody is immune from debt. It is far too easy to spend more than we make.

The solution to debt is to learn the basics of money, credit and debt management. We spend too much effort on wealth accumulation and not enough on debt management. Without a more equal balance between the two, your wealth will collapse around you. A definite sign that you are having problems is when you start making minimum payments on debt. It is never too soon; it is never too late, to start addressing any debt challenges in your life.

The Credit Counselling Society is a non-profit organization that focuses on helping people who are having challenges with their debt. We have certified Credit Counsellors who will help you build a budget and understand all of your options. As a non-profit organization we aren’t here to sell you anything. We don’t loan money; we help people manage their money problems. One way we can help is with a Debt Management Program (DMP). With a DMP we work directly with your creditors towards reducing the interest rate on your debt to 0 per cent.

The Credit Counselling Society works with those from all walks of life; some clients are on government assistance, some are professionals making over $300,000 a year. Last year over 66,000 Canadians decided to reach out to Credit Counselling Society for assistance with their debt. If you feel stress about your debt, you are definitely not alone. Debt is in all of our lives to one degree or another. Let us help.

If you need our help, we are here for you. All your information is held in strict confidence.

Tim St Vincent is a retired CFP and is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance with the Credit Counselling Society (CCS), a Non Profit organization. If you wish to contact the Society for further information or to attend a webinar, please call 1-888-527-8999, or

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