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Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Holiday Spending

680 CJOB, Winnipeg’s news talk radio, Hal Anderson recently invited Creditaid’s, Brian Denysuik to join him on air to help get people through the holiday spending season. Brian provides advice on how not to overspend including a few tips on how to create a “Save to Spend” holiday plan to help alleviate stress and avoid going into debt this holiday season.

Listen to the discussion below.

Help Your Debt, Help Your Health

As more studies are done on the correlation between physical and financial health, one thing has become crystal clear: the more affluent you are, the better your physical health is likely to be. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, social and economic status “seem to be the most important determinants of health”.

Help-your-debt-and-healthThere are a number of reasons for this. The obvious is that people with higher incomes are likely to be better educated about their health, and have better access to nutrition and medical services.

There’s also the emotional toll that a debt load can bring to an individual and a family. No matter what your level of income, if you’re carrying significant debt, it will weigh on you. When that debt load gets out of hand, the collection calls from creditors and the “balancing act” of weighting credit card and loan payments against the necessities of life can produce high levels of stress, which will have an impact on your health. Credit card debt is the most significant detractor, because it’s the most available and carries the highest interest cost.

For Manitobans struggling with debt, the first steps to recovery are the most difficult. You must analyze your budget, and take a detailed look at your obligations and their accompanying interest rates. From there, you need to create a realistic payment schedule, one that allows you to take care of your family’s needs while reducing the amount you owe.

At Creditaid, we understand the physical and emotional toll that spiraling debt can have. When you contact us, we’ll do our best to help you by offering counselling regarding your debt situation, management of your debt, and look at a consolidation strategy when appropriate.

Contact us anytime online or by telephone at (204) 987-6890. We can help you take those important first steps toward a healthier, debt free life.

Changes Are-a-Comin’

‘I’ve always wanted something really cool like this to happen!’ That’s what I excitedly exclaimed to my ‘twenty something’ buddy as we prepared for an emergency landing into the Toronto Airport. We were thrilled to be along for the ride. We were young.

We landed without incident, but what youthful carelessness to actually revel in a dangerous moment.

Proverb says: ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ A lot of folks wish for some kind of change – in their marriage, in their jobs, where they live. When separating, or thinking of separating or negotiating the terms of your separation, be careful. Things can change. And this can apply to the parenting plan you and your ex and the negotiator put together.

Try to stay flexible about the future to enable you to address possible changes in circumstances. Two biggies are changing jobs and moving out of province. For example, a couple might have a legal agreement with a Parenting Plan that states he gets the kids each July at the old family cottage, while she gets them all of August in the city. They live in Brandon, Manitoba and he has just been laid off but accepted a new job at lower pay in Estevan, Saskatchewan, three hours away. His new employer won’t give him that same vacation time he enjoyed before so he doesn’t have the freedom of a month at the cottage with the kids next summer. But she has already made plans for that July, having committed to her own kayaking holiday off Vancouver Island. To further complicate things, the Parenting Plan was based on the expectation of a certain level of spousal and child support. She feels undermined by his change of circumstances – she has already pre-paid for the kayaking holiday and part of her ability to afford it was dependent on the spousal support payments. On the other hand, he didn’t willingly lose his job and hoped to replace it with something even better with even more pay.

People can change their minds and their agreement but it does require consensus. A big ‘but’ is ‘But what if one side insists on the existing agreement? What if she pushes for compensation for her outlay of cash for her holiday? And what about the kids and those two summer months? What happens there?’ I don’t have the answer, but an overly rigid plan can be suffocating. The reality is, they need to compromise. It is likely his spousal support and even child support payments will be adjusted downwards to reflect his lower income. Perhaps he can make some contribution to the pre-paid holiday, which she now can’t afford nor has that time free to go. As to what to do about the summer, not sure I’d want to be in the same room when they discuss it, but one way or the other they will figure it out. [I am letting him off the hook too easily, I know; surely he could have discussed this with her and the kids before committing to the new, not so great job out of province. But maybe he was desperate, maybe he had no choice].

Life is full of changes: some too hot, some too cold, some just right. The Goldilocks zone of being just right is where you want to be, but more often than not, like picking your parents, hard to accomplish. Plans emanating from separation and divorce should not be handcuffs, albeit, many feel the obligations for payments, which are just that, financial payments. If they are ‘court ordered’, well, you’re outside the Goldilocks zone, and unfortunately traditional divorce attracts court orders. A mediated divorce can be more flexible while still leaving the party in greatest need with a leveraging stick if need be. I am not advocating delinquency, but if you both start with a cooperative approach you can better handle inevitable changes in circumstance. And often times it’s the one in greatest financial need that requires the flexibility.

Another big change can be re-marriage or ‘re-partnering’ as I have heard it described. One of the divorcing couples entering a new relationship can send ripples, even waves, across what were reasonably calm waters. The kids too can find themselves rising and falling with the waves. One of the things we caution couples in the midst of the process, is to avoid new relationships and if they are already in one, to keep it more or less to themselves. But once the dust has settled, hearts expand and that leads to dancing and …well you get the picture. And why not? Love makes us happy. In fact, when I have a couple going through the process, I can usually tell which of two have someone else already in their life – they usually smile more – and I know that at least one of these folks is, if not really happy, at least sort of happy, and will therefore be a little more focused on getting the work done. I do feel sorry for the lonely one though – dejected, perhaps feeling still in love with their departing spouse, wondering if the pain will ever go away. There really isn’t a plan that can address re-partnering unless it’s tied to spousal support. For example, they might agree that spousal support ends if the recipient remarries but that’s more to do with financial issues than Parenting. One couple agreed not to introduce a new partner to the kids for at least a year, but outside of that, when your ex finds someone, and especially if it involves your kids in any way, you’ll have to adjust your thinking. The wise one on the mountain says you need to be happy for him/her. That little broken hearted egomaniac on your shoulder will suggest other actions.

The main take-home message about divorce related plans, be they Parenting or otherwise, is: it can cut both ways. An old professional mediator in the investment business told me that he thought a good deal was when neither side was thrilled with the terms. Maybe a bit too dreary but something to keep in mind when dealing with family.

Originally published by Fairway Divorce Solutions.

Divorce is a painful process and the traditional adversarial system can make a painful process even worse. Fairway Divorce Solutions® is changing the way divorce happens by providing families with a safe and comforting environment where they can make well-informed decisions. People leave The Fairway Process™ with A Clear Road to a New Life®. Our job is to bring you and your spouse to resolution. The traditional process of divorce is daunting, expensive and stressful. At Fairway we work with you every step of the way to avoid uncertainty, unnecessary conflict and expensive litigation. Working with both amicable and conflicted couples, Fairway has brought thousands of couples to resolution, helping them move on in a positive and productive way. Reduce cost, reduce stress, preserve assets and protect the kids — contact us today by calling (204) 414-9181 or visit us online at FairwayDivorce.com

Scared to Pick Up the Phone?

Do you panic every time the phone rings? At Creditaid, we help people take back control of their lives. Many of the people we have helped have been where you are today – too scared to answer the phone or check the mail when it is delivered, missing out on spending time with family or friends for fear of spending money that you don’t have. Life is too short to live in constant fear – it is time to take control, and start living your life again. Call to speak to one of our qualified counsellors who will walk you through each step of the way to becoming debt free – whenever you’re ready, just give us a call at 204-987-6890.

Do you worry when the phone rings?

Do you toss and turn at night, worry every time the phone rings or hesitate to check the mail for fear of seeing more bills? It’s time you start living your life again. Call us today.

Visit Us Today

The New Year is fast approaching – and it’s a great opportunity to take some time to think about what you would like to accomplish in 2014. If getting your finances back on track is on your list for the year, take this opportunity to drop by and see one of our counsellors.

We are available today and tomorrow –

Monday December 30th  9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday December 31st 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Have a wonderful holiday season!

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