“They don’t necessarily understand it, so we can help them,” Meger said. “So they’re looking at their budgets and their debt, whether it’s a line of credit or a credit card. They’re going to ask, ‘what’s my interest rate? What is it costing me? How can I get it refunded? and they tell their banks about all the good things they need to do to help weather this storm.
Depending on what the bank says and what their debt looks like, Meger said some people may eventually have to look into a consumer proposal or bankruptcy, but that’s not the end of the world.
“A lot of times life happens and you can’t control things. We couldn’t control the pandemic or people were laid off for long periods of time or your salary went down or you have a problem with health. A lot of these things you can’t control, but a lot of people will wear it like they’ve failed and it’s not a failure at all. You just have to find the right person to help you.
The Consumer Debt Report for 2022 showed that nearly three in ten people in Saskatchewan feel pessimistic about their finances, most often those on low incomes and those burdened with debt. According to Meger, the real problem is waiting too long to deal with it.
“Debt can seem like a bumpy road with no end. Bankruptcy can be a bumpy road with an end and sometimes that’s what you need. Move on, learn from everything that happened and more far.
According to the report, the main lesson learned by Saskatchewan residents as a result of the pandemic has been the need to save urgently. Meger suggests that two or three months of income is the minimum amount a person should have saved.
“If you’re eligible for those GST credits or an income tax refund, have them go to a separate bank account and you’d be surprised how quickly it grows.”
Other lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for young Canadians, have been controlling the cost of living, keeping debt levels low and sticking to a budget.
On Twitter: @princealbertnow