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How to Keep Learning About Money Management and Debt Relief

It’s a line you may hear in married couples’ vows: how learning about each other helped their bond grow stronger. Just like a partnership, learning more about your money — where it’s going, how to strengthen it through savings — educating yourself on money management and debt relief can make for a happier, less stressful life!

This is especially important for members of the “sandwich generation”. According to Statistics Canada figures from 2016, 28 percent of Canadians now put themselves in this camp — a generation supporting both their adult children and their ageing parents. For this generation, becoming more financially literate can work threefold. It can not only help your consumer debt, but it’s also information you can pass on to the generations before and after you, helping to relieve the financial pressure on everyone in your “sandwich”.

So, how can you get started with these boosts to your financial literacy? Here are a few resources to start with.

Check out FCAC resources. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has an excellent portal for learning more about money and paying off debt. You can start with their page on “planning to be debt-free”, which lists your to-do list in a step-by-step fashion.

It also explores possible pitfalls, such as the possibility of rising interest rates and the impact of that on consumer debt. Just as importantly, it provides next points of contact — who you should talk to in-person to learn more about debt relief.

Manage spending in new ways. Money stress can come in different ways, but the constant feeling of having fallen behind can really hang over someone. To combat this, try a new measure for thriftiness, something that can put some excitement into your goals to reduce debt.

The financial blog And Then We Saved has a couple of small methods for doing so. One more drastic tactic is a spending fast, in which the writer shares her story about cutting debt down while only spending on necessities. There are also small things you can do every day: like saving your budget by lowering food waste in your family’s household.

Learn about debt relief with an expert. Finally, one of those in-person meetings you can have to boost your financial literacy is to talk to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT). This is especially the case if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your debt. An LIT can take a look at the full picture of your debt and prescribe solutions that would fit best. They can also explain how formal solutions like bankruptcy and a consumer proposal work, including the timeline of repayment and the impact on your credit score.

By learning more about how to reduce your personal debt, you can build a stronger bond with your money. You can also pass on your learnings to your parents and kids, creating new priorities through open communication about finances. This way, you can all work toward a common goal — rather than quietly holding the burden for debt relief.

Do you have other tips for sandwich generation parents trying to boost their financial literacy? Join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #LeaveDebtBehind, #FinancialLiteracy, and #SandwichGeneration.

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