Top 10 reasons people don’t see credit counsellors
by Tim St Vincent
Last month I talked about the Top 10 reasons people don’t see credit counsellors, but I only got through the first five reasons. (See the January 16, 2018 issue.) So here are the next five. If you missed the first five reasons go online and read them first – no cheating! Hope you enjoy the read!
“It’s too restrictive, I don’t want to lose control of my money.” If someone is coming to us who is spending money as if they are making $60,000 a year, but they really only make $40,000 a year, yes, they will find the budget restrictive at first. But they need a budget that is going to restrict them when they are spending at a rate that is 50 per cent more than they are actually making! Sometimes, a budget can be restrictive, but most often we find that people have enough money for their needs, their challenge is that they are spending beyond their needs, and are spending to satisfy their wants. That is where we come in to help them spend smartly. You won’t lose control; you make all the decisions. We want you to spend your money. Money is meant to be spent and enjoyed. We just want to help you spend it in a way that allows you to meet your needs and many of your wants without your having to face any financial hardship.
“It’s too much work!” There is no delicate way to put this – it is even more work to file for bankruptcy. Too many people are afraid of the amount of work it will take to fix their financial issues. To be honest, it isn’t that much work. See a reputable credit counsellor, provide them some information, work on a budget and, if needed, enter into a debt management program. That is about all there is to it. It is a lot more work to avoid the issue and later file for bankruptcy. Often this really comes down to people are scared. Not of the work, but of the truth. They are scared to face the truth that they are in trouble, and need help. They shouldn’t be scared of the truth.
“They will think I am stupid or foolish for being in this situation.” Not at all. Remember at the start of this article (see Part I) where we talked about feeling embarrassed? Remember where I mentioned that 50 per cent of the country is having problems managing their debt? We have clients come to us from every background imaginable. From day labourers, to doctors; from accountants (yes, accountants) to janitors; from lawyers and nurses to people who haven’t finished high school. We have people from all education and income levels; from those who go to a food bank to those who make over $300,000 a year. Nobody is stupid or foolish or immune to financial difficulty; it could happen to anyone – including me! There was a time when I paid debt with debt, when I was denied a credit card. All it takes is one issue to push someone and they can see the problem for what it is, or for them to run and hide from it until it overtakes them. It is never good to run and hide from a problem. Fortunately, I was able to see my problem and take steps to correct it. But you can’t fix something if you can’t admit it is broken.
“I have lost track of my debts. I don’t even know everyone I owe money too.” This should be among the least of your concerns. We can help you review your situation and identify all of the people you owe money to. It isn’t really that hard. From there we can figure out how to help you. Do you need a budget to get things back under control? Do you need a bit of help in learning more about how debt and credit work? These are all things we can help with.
“Has anyone been counting” That is only nine items. I promised a Top 10 list! Well, to be honest, I don’t know of any other reasons why someone wouldn’t reach out to a credit counsellor if they needed help. So I have a challenge for you. If you need some help (and who doesn’t these days), contact me through the Pilipino Express and let me know your fears and concerns. Let me know what has caused and is causing you to not ask for some help. Maybe I can provide the help that you are reluctant to ask for.
Debt is in all of our lives, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It is all about what we do about it. Debt and credit, tool or trap – that is up to you. If used correctly it can be a valuable tool that can help you throughout your life. If abused, or accidentally used incorrectly, it can be a trap, but even then, we can help you escape that trap.
Tim St Vincent is a retired CFP and is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance with the Credit Counselling Society, a non-profit organization. If you wish to contact the society for further information, assistance or to attend a webinar, please call 1-888-527-8999 or visit www.nomoredebts.org or www.mymoneycoach.ca.