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How to Fix Your Rocky Relationship with Debt Relief

We all know that a good relationship starts with a foundation of trust. As a couple builds trust in each other, that relationship can blossom into something lifelong. For the millennial generation, though, building a relationship with money may not be as easy as building one with a significant other. The foundation is rocky — so what can you do to speed up debt relief and fix it?

Like a bad relationship, statistics show that money is causing stress and mental health problems for Canadians.

A recent Manulife Bank survey on personal debt found that 37 percent of Canadians were “always” stressed, anxious, or worried about their debt load. That load is growing for the younger generation too, as a TransUnion study from 2018 found that borrowing by millennials and “Generation Z” increased by 12.6 percent — compared to 4.3 percent for the larger population.

If your debt is rising along with the average millennial, anxiety can bleed into other aspects of your life (yes, even your real relationships).

In order to stop this anxiety and fix your rocky relationship with personal debt, make it a priority in the short-term to reap long-term benefits. Much like a counselling session can help a relationship by making it a priority in a busy life, taking time out of your day to review your debt and come up with new tactics for paying it off is a short-term use of time that will pay off down the road. By creating a strategy to pay off debt, you can more quickly achieve financial goals like retirement, saving for real estate, and more.

How can you do it? These two tactics are worth a try for someone wanting to get creative in how they fix their relationship with money.

·        Start with student debt. One of the biggest hurdles for millennials who have gone through post-secondary education is student debt. The average graduate in Canada now leaves school with around $22,000 due to pay off, which really impacts independence. It can be hard to get motivated and stay motivated when it comes to student debt, but a success story can help. This podcast from finance expert Jessica Moorhouse explains how one of her friends paid off his $35,000 student loan while pursuing a career.

You can also check out the resources available on the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) website for paying off student debt, including a calculator.

·        Change from an avalanche to a snowball. Another way to stay motivated when paying off debt is to change strategies. While an avalanche pays off your debt with the highest interest first, a snowball might be better for someone who craves “quick wins”.

This strategy emphasizes paying off smaller debt loads first — credit cards, small lines of credit — so you build a positive feeling and motivation to keep going. Not unlike keeping a conversation going to improve a relationship!

By trying these or another new tactic, you’re putting your money first — choosing to prioritize it when things are busy. Just like doing so in a relationship, this move will pay off down the road, as you work on debt relief to achieve your financial goals.

Have a short-term tool you want to share about dealing with debt? Join the conversation on social media, using the hashtags #LeaveDebtBehind, #DebtConfessions, and #Students.

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