For some, the financial obligations of a credit-fuelled December can bring forth a very sober reality of the year ahead. For a few, it is unfortunately the continuation of a downward spiral.
Credit comes in many forms but was introduced primarily as a way to purchase something today and pay for it later. It still does that but the wide acceptance of credit, along with the myriad of choices, perks and benefits mean that both rich and poor utilise credit often for very different reasons.
Used properly, credit can be a good thing. It can be used to obtain assets that can appreciate (such as real estate or securities) or to expand a business. Those who use credit irresponsibly become enslaved as payers of debt.
It’s not just something that affects millennials. As your credit score improves (likely with age, earnings and assets) the higher your potential to borrow well beyond your means. The country’s highest bankruptcy rates are for those 59 plus.
In our modern society, we have come to expect that we are entitled to the same things as our neighbours regardless of our incomes. But borrowing to keep up with the Joneses is a poor strategy for accumulating wealth.
Suffice to say that if you are in a hole and it’s getting deeper – stop digging. Talk to those that you owe. Seek their counsel. You will come to find you are not alone. They’ve helped others and maintain professionalism and ensure confidentiality.
Don’t panic but do act. Seek, ask and learn with an aim to improve in 2017.
I’ve met many a rich person that faced much worse. None got where they are today without good money habits.
Murray Callaghan is a Certified Financial Planner with 15 years’ industry experience. He partners with external portfolio managers and insurance providers. Reach him at 250.286.9968 or visit his website at www.crwealthmanagement.ca.