It’s not just personal debt that has climbed to record levels. The companies offering to help you with massive debt are also proliferating.
Call them debt-settlement agencies, debt-solution providers or whatever you want. Their names are plastered on bus shelters and newspapers, and call out over the airwaves and the Internet. Unregulated, it’s almost impossible to get a true sense of how big the industry has become but, based on the amount of advertising dollars being spent, it’s growing.
“This was a nonexistent category and companies have sprung up. Companies and services spring up because there is a consumer need and you have to tell consumers you are offering the service,” says Sunni Boot, chief executive of Zenithoptimedia, adding the top advertiser in the category is estimated to have had a 10-fold increase in spending over the past year.The debt-to-income ratio has reached a record high of 148% in the third quarter in Canada, Statistics Canada says, putting Canada ahead of the US. Consumers are looking for answers to get out of their credit mess.
Click here for the full Financial Post story.
Everyone says we should be saving more money. But what’s the point?
You don’t need a calculator to figure out that, with inflation in Ontario at 3.4% and banks at best offering 2% interest, your nest egg could actually be shrinking.
So what’s a saver to do? Is there a way to rebalance the scale so you can build wealth rather watch it bleed away?
It’s doable, experts say. But it takes a strategy, discipline and a determination to make your money work for you.
Click here for the full article in The Star.
Making changes in a New Year is an old topic that is reborn every January. While some tips still hold water, there are many inspiring and positive strategies toward seeing your finances in a new way.
These habits are not only possible to implement at any income bracket, but they also make sense. (For more, see Financial New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep.)
Click here to read the Globe and Mail article.
Some things really do come for free, including your credit report.
I swear, I’m not making this up. I’ve done it myself and all it cost me was a stamp.
I have written twice recently about the importance of regularly checking your credit report for signs of fraud. Credit reports are available free of charge from two major Canadian credit bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax.
Each time I’ve put “free” and “credit report” in the same sentence, I’ve been flooded with calls and e-mails from frustrated readers who’ve been unable to navigate past the ads for the paid reports that the credit bureau websites offer. These more detailed reports will show you your credit score, but they are not free. (TransUnion charges $9.99.) Likewise, if you want to see your report instantly, you can order it online, but even without the score, there’s a price for the convenience. (At Equifax, it’s $15.50, or $23.95 with your score included.)
Click here for more from the Globe and Mail.