The Cost of Debt Shame

Most Canadians have it. Most Canadians are embarrassed by it. And yet most Canadians refuse to talk about it. Any guesses as to what “it” is? Debt! Consumer debt, corporate debt, even the nation’s debt.

It’s all over the news and social media, and it continues to be a key and growing concern for our economy. Nevertheless, very few people are comfortable enough to discuss their individual financial situations. In fact, many find it to be one of the most taboo topics around.

In a 2017 Money Matters report, 68% of Americans said they would rather talk about their weight than their finances. In another article, it was revealed that 69% of parents would opt to talk to their teens about sex over investing, and 44% said they would rather discuss death, politics, or religion than a loved one’s personal financial situation.

Silence Isn’t Always Golden

While it’s understandable that the topic of money woes can be uncomfortable (or even downright painful), the secrecy and shame surrounding debt make it harder for individuals to reach out and ask for help. The long-term consequence of silence and inactivity aren’t pretty:

  • Money is the number one topic couples argue about and the second leading cause of divorce. Check out our latest blog on this topic for more.
  • Anxiety, sleeplessness, stress and depression are common by-products of financial hardship. Many studies acknowledge the strong link between financial health and mental health. In fact, one report claims that 41% of Canadians rank money as their greatest stress.
  • Finally, not asking for help – and learning how to work towards greater financial freedom – can cause debt to grow, the aforementioned problems to worsen, and the vicious cycle to continue.

Find Your Voice & Ask For Help

If you’re quietly struggling and secretly overwhelmed with debt shame, here are some things to consider:

  • You aren’t alone. The average Canadian owes about $1.70 for every dollar of income he or she earns per year. Knowing your friends, family and neighbours are in similar situations may help to alleviate the sense of shame and isolation that debt can cause.
  • Say goodbye to shame & move on with your game. Everyone is dealing with their individual challenges, which are, in fact, opportunities to learn, grow, improve and curate the life you want to lead. If you’ve made money mistakes in the past, you have the insight you need to correct course for the future.
  • Hiding your debt won’t make it go away. While it would be wonderful for money trees to magically grow in backyards, financial strife doesn’t generally resolve on its own. Planning, budgets, goal setting and hard work are typically required to overcome debt. Keeping it a secret can make it harder to reach out and get the help you need.

While we don’t advocate sharing sensitive financial information with everyone, we do believe that asking for confidential, judgment free professional help  is a brave way to forge ahead and find the personal solutions you need to achieve a debt free tomorrow.