I haven’t read the book of the same name [Confessions Of A Shopaholic] by Sophia Kinsella, but boy is the motion picture one of my favourites. There should be no logical reason for this – the scary thing of this book/movie is that it is much too real and hits close to home for many Canadians.
A quick background on Confessions Of A Shopaholic: Rebecca Bloomwood has some of the most beautiful things you can think of – clothes, shoes, makeup and even a home. The problem is that she can’t afford it and pays for it by using her credit cards, borrowing from one card to pay another (which is illegal to do in Canada), then using the available balance to buy her pretty things. She has no qualms of lying to explain why she can’t pay back her debts (her excuses are quite ingenious), until her job, writing for a finance/money management magazine, has her facing her problems, especially when her best friend’s wedding forces her to choose between what she wants and she needs, and her debt problems follows her to her national televised show1,2.
Debt is no laughing matter – in a recent survey performed by Global News and Ipsos Poll (in December 2017), the average Canadian owes 8 539.50$ in debts (not including mortgages) and of that number, only 19% are worried that they should pay down the capital of their owings. We should take heart – this survey did determine that 46% of respondents declared not having any debts whatsoever3, which is still encouraging considering Canadians as a whole owe more than 609.6 billion dollars (an increase of 4% compared to last year) in household debt4 .
I’ll admit I’m part of that 54% of Canadians that have racked up debt in the previous years from simply not understanding what debt is and how credit cards work. Truthfully, too many inquire about credit cards, get approved for a predetermined amount and go trigger happy buying stuff. Don’t believe me? Listen to just how well Rebecca Bloomwood discusses what and how shopping makes her feel:
However, after the intense feeling of joy and euphoria that comes with shopping, or even finding out that you were approved for that loan, credit card or long term financial solvency plan dissipates, comes the frightening realization of what happens when you lose your financial stability and come face to face with creditors? 49% of Canadians live pay check to pay check, balancing one juggling act after another telling themselves that eventually, everything will work out and they’ll get a handle on their payments. 6% of homeowners are forced to file for insolvency, now finally realizing that their debts have caught up to them4. Rebecca Bloomwood might not have her dream job- heck, here’s a woman who dreams of fashion grandeur with a huge company but lands in a financial magazine writing about money (irony), but even with all her success, her debt caught up to her in the worst possible way [note: skip to 3mins32s until 5m20s, and please ignore the low quality, it was the only one I could find]:
So when do you stop and realize that you’ve hit rock bottom? That it’s time to get informed of what being financially responsible means? Do you wait until your debt catches up to you or do you educated yourself now before it’s too late? The good news is that there are options. There are ways to get stable even when the situation is at its lowest. Denying your debt or your current situation won’t help nor will it make it go disappear.
The good news is that F.A.C.E.S. is developing a new Financial Literacy Innovative Program – there to help you manage your money, help you budget your pay checks with your current situation and there to help you understand money. It doesn’t matter your age, nor your social status – the richest of men or the poorest of them all can find themselves with absolutely nothing if you don’t act upon it today to make a powerful change.
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