Asking for help when you find yourself struggling with something is always challenging, but when there’s money involved too? It can be almost impossible. Everyone stumbles and falls from time to time, and it can cause you a lot of unnecessary pain and hardship if you don’t let yourself open up and reach out to others in times of money trouble.
Here are some tips on teaching yourself to overcome your pride so you can ask for help when you need it.
Admit You Have a Problem
This can be the hardest part of the entire process, but it’s arguably the most important. Just like with an addiction, admitting to yourself that you’re in over your head and have money trouble is the first step towards financial recovery. As hard as it might be to acknowledge, you yourself know intuitively that you can’t afford to both pay off your debt while keeping yourself afloat.
Force yourself to open all of your bills, to check all of your online banking statements, and to sit down and get practical with your budget. How much can you realistically afford to put towards your debt each month while still having enough leftover to keep yourself fed, sheltered, and able to get around?
Remember You’re Not the Only One
As hard as it might be to believe, it’s not just you. Almost everyone has had some serious money trouble at least once in their life. In fact, insolvency has risen by 10% in Canada in 2015 alone with nearly 56,000 cases of bankruptcy being filed in the time between July 1st, 2014 and June 30th, 2015. That is a lot of debt spread out across a lot of people. The important thing to remember is, you’re not the only one going through this situation and there are systems in place to help you. You just need to let yourself seek them out.
Open up to Someone you Trust
Carrying the burden of debt is almost always heavier when you’re hiding the truth from everyone else. It’s isolating and scary and can cause you to stop being able to see your situation objectively. If you’re married or in a serious long-term relationship, you should absolutely tell your spouse or partner about your debt if you haven’t already. Not only is keeping it to yourself dangerous, but it’s also incredibly unfair as it’s likely a problem that will affect your partner as well.
If you’re not in a serious relationship, then some other options of people to talk to are your siblings, a parent, a close friend, (and if you’re a religious person) even a spiritual leader at your church/mosque/synagogue etc.
If there’s no one in your life you feel close enough to to talk about your debt with (or you know that telling them won’t help relieve your anxiety but will likely make it worse), another option is to call a crisis line. This is especially important if your debt is affecting your mental health. Two examples of lines you can call are the CAMH crisis line in Toronto or the Mental Health Helpline (which is open to anyone in Canada).
Do Your Research
Learn what your options are. Look at reputable sites online, call your bank to discuss your options, ask anyone you know who’s had debt problems before what suggestions or tips they might have, and most importantly – don’t let your fear guide you. Before you make any decisions, think it over very carefully and ensure the primary force behind your choice is logic rather than anxiety.
Depending on how severe your debt is, you might have to enter into a consumer proposal or bankruptcy. As scary and daunting as both of those sounds, remember that they’re not the end of the world. Both will give you immediate relief if you’re being hounded by debt collectors and while it’s certainly not an easy choice to make, proposals and bankruptcy are wiped off your credit report after 6 or 7 years.
Definitely think both options over very carefully before committing to either because once you’ve started the process you’ll have to see it through (though you will feel an immediate easing of the burden you’ve been carrying for far too long).
Remember that money trouble is not only common, but something most people will face at least once in their lives. Still feel like you could use some outside council? Fill out our online application here.