November is Financial Literacy Month and here at FSGV, we believe that all British Columbians should have access to tools and knowledge to feel empowered about finances.
The theme for Week Two is “Managing Debt” and to get some practical advice, we spoke to FSGV financial expert, Billie Sinclair.
Billie Sinclair is an experienced financial strategist who is passionate about helping families manage their debt, master the art of money management, and save for the future. Billie has worked in the financial industry for over 20 years and provides free financial tips, strategies, and resources for anyone who is struggling to manage their money.
Here’s what Billie has to say about managing debt and how to feel in control of your debt situation:
The idea of “debt” has a lot of negative connotations. Where does that stem from, and should people fear debt?
Spending money (buying things) is so easy when using debt (credit cards). It is easy to lose track of how much we’ve spent, until we receive the bill. The negative connotations typically come from past experiences, when people felt the strain of repaying the debt that was too easily acquired. Rather than fear debt, they should be careful to look at their income first and spend accordingly.
What tools exist to build a healthy relationship with debt and finances? Can you recommend a process for managing a budget that includes debt?
Creating and using a Spending Plan is a first important step we can take to increasing our awareness of our inflow and outflow of funds. Evaluating our expenditures and reducing our use of credit cards are other valuable actions we can take.
Are there any misconceptions about debt or the best methods of reducing debt?
The most common misconception about debt is that it can be managed, and paid off, easily. The only way to pay off debt is to 1) make regular payments; and 2) stop using to debt to fund a lifestyle.
As inflation rates rise, how can people feel more in control of their monthly budget?
Without increasing income, any budget will become lopsided as costs or expenses rise. People can focus on actions that will increase their income, as well as become more conscious of their spending patterns (eg. Being honest about the cost of eating out and take-out).
The FSGV Financial Empowerment program helps people gain confidence about their financial literacy, access government benefits, and make the most of their money.