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Part 2: Three simple tips to keep debt in check
November is Financial Literacy Month, a good time to take stock of your financial situation and work on ways to improve it. One big concern most people have is the level of debt they have and what they can do to keep it under control, and even get out of debt.
Patricia White, executive director of Credit Counselling Canada, suggests the following three techniques for keeping debt in check.
1. Track expenses
It all starts with tracking your expenses, says White. If you have a good understanding of where your money is going, then you have a better idea of where you can cut back. This is something anyone can and should do – whether you’re in debt or not. Here’s how to do it:
It’s often the little things that throw expenses out of whack – it could be your morning double-double from Tim Hortons, your Friday ice cream cone, or the gym membership you’re not actually using.
White encourages sticking with this system. Even if you slip up and throw out a few receipts, don’t worry, she says. Just keep going.
2. Calculate your net worth
This is something White says many people have never done, but it’s extremely helpful in determining where you stand financially. What you do is compare how much you own with how much you owe. It’s that simple.
Make a list of everything you have, such as a savings account or pension, and if you own any assets, like a house or car, note what they would sell for. Then make a list of everything you owe, including any amounts owing on those assets. Do this on a monthly basis. Then ask yourself, “Am I progressing the way I should be progressing, or am I falling behind?” White says.
There are templates and tools that make this very easy to do, such as easyfinancial’s net worth calculator.
3. Talk about money
White can’t stress this point enough. “Budget,” like “diet,’ is a reviled word, but talking about financial challenges is a crucial step in getting control of them. Talk to your partner, your parents, your children. Don’t just ignore problems and hope they will go away. And if you’re concerned about anything to do with your finances, seek help from professionals who can help you get back on track.
Besides peace of mind, there are other benefits to keeping your debt level in check. White cites as an example a former client, a young single man with limited income who did not have good financial examples set for him. His goal was to buy and fix up a car for himself – but it seemed like an impossible goal, given his financial situation.
She took him through the steps of tracking his expenses and discussed a timeframe for him to achieve his goal. When the cost of the car was broken down into weekly or monthly amounts he could realistically save, White says, “the light bulb just went off in his mind.”
“He was like, ‘I can do this.’ He went from something that was totally inconceivable to completely doable.”
Next up on Tuesday November 22nd: A foolproof guide to building strong credit
Related: Part 1: How much debt is too much debt?
Author: Sarah Munn
We know the fine print can be painful, but we believe it's important you have all the facts!
easyfinancial offers a variety of financial services including personal loans, and mortgages. easyfinancial is a division of goeasy Ltd., the leading full service provider of goods and alternative financial services that improve the lives of everyday Canadians. goeasy Ltd. is listed on the TSE under the symbol 'GSY'.
* easyfinancial offers secured personal loans in all provinces, excluding British Columbia, Manitoba, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon.
CREDIT SCORE IMPACT
While having a loan and honouring its obligations can help build credit, too many loans may be seen by potential creditors as an increased risk, and failure to meet repayment obligations will result in a negative report to the credit bureaus, which would reduce your credit score. Please borrow responsibly.
Loans from easyfinancial do not automatically renew. Customers have the option to request an increase to their loan after paying down a percentage of their current loan amount and maintaining good payment history. Such a request would be subject to the company's standard underwriting rules.
easyfinancial offers personal loans from $500 to $25,000 with terms from 9 to 120 months. The APR is between 19.99%-46.96%. Secured personal loans may be subject to provincial fees upon funding. NSF (non-sufficient funds) payments will be assessed a $50 fee in addition to fees charged by the customer's financial institution.
easyfinancial contacts customers in arrears as soon as possible through various means including, but not limited to telephone, email, postal mail and SMS. easyfinancial may work with third parties to assist in collections activities.
LOAN PROTECTION PLAN
†Loan Protection Plan is underwritten by American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida (ABIC) and American Bankers Life Assurance Company of Florida (ABLAC) under Group Master Policy Number EF012017, EFL012017, EF082017 and EFL082017.
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The complete terms, eligibility, benefits, limitations and exclusions are contained in the Certificate of Insurance.
Purposes for which goeasy Handles Personal Information
goeasy collects and uses personal information for purposes limited to those which are related to its businesses, which include providing household furnishings, appliances, and home electronic products to its customers under lease agreements, staging services, mortgage brokerage services and financial services. We collect personal information primarily from you, for instance through applications and supporting documentation you provide. We may also collect personal information about you through your ongoing interactions with us, from references, employers and other financial institutions you have identified in your application as well as credit bureaus and other third party sources. For example, we may collect personal information from credit bureaus for the purpose of locating you to collect outstanding debts. In connection with loan agreements, we may also collect personal information from credit bureaus in order to verify your current and ongoing creditworthiness and other information you may provide to us.
We may collect and use personal information for purposes such as, but not limited to, the following:
Personal Information goeasy Collects
goeasy limits the amount and type of personal information collected to that which is necessary for our identified purposes, and we collect personal information by fair and lawful means.
Personal information that we collect includes:
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goeasy may disclose personal information in a number of circumstances, including:
In addition to the above, personal information may be shared between our affiliates or subsidiaries (including those located in the United States) for internal audit, management, billing or administrative purposes including defending and bringing legal actions.
In the course of fulfilling the purposes described above, goeasy may transfer your personal information to service providers, including affiliates or other third party organizations or individuals retained by goeasy to perform functions on its behalf, such as marketing, data processing, customer service, office, security, collections, insurance, financial and taxation services. When personal information is transferred to service providers, we use contractual or other means to ensure that a comparable level of protection is provided. Some of our service providers may be located outside Canada and will be subject to applicable legal requirements in that country including lawful requirements to disclose personal information to government authorities in certain circumstances.
If you are a resident of the Province of Quebec, you understand that we may transfer your personal information to a third party based outside of the Province of Quebec, or store it outside of the Province of Quebec, the handling (including the disclosure to third parties) of that personal information will be subject to the laws and regulations applicable in that jurisdiction and you consent thereto.
goeasy may also use and disclose personal information in connection with the proposed or actual financing, securitization, insuring, sale, assignment or other disposal of all or part of our business or assets (including your loan or lease and any agreement to which it relates), for the purposes of evaluating and/or performing the proposed transaction. Assignees or successors of our business or assets may use and disclose your personal information for similar purposes as those described in this Policy.
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goeasy may establish and maintain a file containing an individual's personal information for the purposes described above, which will be accessible at our offices. Individuals have the right to request access to or correction of their personal information that is held by goeasy. Requests must be made in writing, addressed to goeasy's Privacy Officer as per the contact information set out at the end of this Policy. We will respond to written requests within a reasonable time. Copies of records containing personal information may be subject to a fee. If this is the case, goeasy will inform the individual of the amount of the fee in advance. We will use our best efforts to ensure that personal information is as accurate, complete and up-to-date as necessary for the identified purposes. If an individual successfully demonstrates the inaccuracy or incompleteness of personal information, we will amend the information as required. If we refuse access to personal information or disagree with an assertion that information held by us is incorrect, we will provide a written explanation for such refusal and a description of our complaints procedure should an individual decide to challenge such written explanation. An individual's right to access or correct personal information is subject to applicable legal restrictions. To prevent fraudulent access to the personal information stored by goeasy, we may take reasonable steps to verify an individual's identity before granting access or making corrections.
goeasy's Websites and E-Mail Communication
goeasy does not guarantee the confidentiality of any communications made by you via e-mail or otherwise through our websites. If you wish to provide information of a confidential or sensitive nature to easyhome, please contact us directly by telephone at 1-866-823-3279 or easyfinancial at 1-888-502-3279 to arrange for delivery/transmission of such information by secure means.
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In certain circumstances, as permitted or required by law, we may collect, use or disclose personal information without the knowledge or consent of the individual. These circumstances include but are not limited to: personal information that is publicly available as defined by regulation; where collection is clearly in the interests of the individual and consent cannot be obtained in a timely way; where disclosure is made for the purposes of collecting a debt owed to us; or to comply with a subpoena, warrant or court order.
Inquiries or Further Information
Privacy Officer, goeasy Ltd.,
33 City Centre Drive, Suite 510
Mississauga, Ontario, L5B 2N5, Canada
If you are not satisfied with our response to a privacy-related matter, you may contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada at 1-800-282-1376 or at www.privcom.gc.ca. or in Alberta or British Columbia, your provincial privacy regulator, as applicable.