Are Cambridge Residents Blasé About Debt?

by J. Douglas Hoyes

If your car broke down and you had to come up with $2,000 within the next 30 days to fix it, could you?  That’s one of the questions we asked over 1,000 Canadians in the first ever Hoyes Michalos/Harris Decima survey of Canadian’s attitudes towards money and debt.  The good news is that 55% said “sure, no problem”.  The bad news: 15% would require 2 months or longer to get the money, and 7% said they couldn’t come up with the money no matter how much time they were given.

We then asked “how would you come up with the money?”  Many people said they could raise at least some of the money with cash on hand or in the bank, but when we asked them to list the top three sources of money, 92% of Canadians said they would consider some form of borrowing.

This survey was conducted across Canada, but I suspect that the results in Cambridge would be similar.  Debt is now a normal part of our lives.

If I had a time machine and could travel to Cambridge in 1950 I know what I would find: most residents would have a few dollars tucked away for emergencies (in a shoe in the closet, or perhaps in the sock drawer).  No-one had a credit card or a line of credit, so only one strategy would work in a financial emergency: cash.

Today we don’t think we need to save, because in an emergency we can always “put it on our credit card”.  That’s true, but what would happen if you were maxed out on your credit card and couldn’t use it?  Then what would you do?

That’s the question I want you to consider today.  If you lost your job, or were off work for medical reasons, or had some unanticipated expenses, and you couldn’t borrow, what would you do?  Of course the obvious answer is that we should save money, but when we asked the average Canadian said they were only saving half as much as they would like to.

Before you reach a crisis, do what you can to cut expenses and save money.

If you are already in over your head with debt, reducing debt should be your priority.  I can help.   Give my office a call in Cambridge at 519-622-3773, or use the e-mail form at the side of this page to send me an e-mail, and let’s get started making a plan to reduce your debt.


Douglas Hoyes is the co-founder of Hoyes, Michalos & Associates Inc., Ontario's largest independent personal insolvency firm, and the trustee responsible for the Hoyes Michalos Cambridge office.

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