Personal finances are just that – personal. It can be difficult to “bare your soul” to another and it can be especially difficult to be totally honest with those you know well and see you all the time.
Many clients have told me that their Dad or sister or best friend have tried to help them with their finances but it didn’t work out well (that's how they ended up coming to see me!). A common issue was often around values and those closest to them judging how they spent their money.
Most find it difficult to tell their Dad they smoke five packs of cigarettes a week or admit to their friend they go out every week with other friends. Or that they have gotten into the payday loan cycle.
My nephew has asked me questions about budgeting and debts but he doesn’t feel he can do a financial assessment with me, so my help is limited to the basics and generalities. I do the best that I can, including suggesting he book an appointment with a certified credit counsellor.
A certified credit counsellor is an unbiased professional who knows all the ins-and-outs when it comes to managing debt and money, and who will give you all the facts and what your best options are. We don’t judge because we’ve seen and heard it all, and we know that no one is immune to debt, and sometimes things happen beyond our control. A credit counsellor is like that best friend you can talk to about money, who will give you a straight and direct answer, but the best part is that they’re not your best friend.
I did have a good friend as a client once, as she didn’t feel she could go to the agency in her area for personal reasons. I agreed to help her and we set ground rules, including that we wouldn’t discuss her program during our personal calls. She successfully completed her program, but it was easier on us when she was no longer a client.
So why is it easier to be honest and forthright with a certified credit counsellor?
You tend to be more honest about your finances, your financial failures, etc. with someone you don’t know personally.
You are less afraid to ask questions that you feel others may feel are “dumb”.
You are less afraid to admit to the errors you have made or your lack of financial knowledge.
You don’t feel you need to justify your expenses – especially the more flexible ones like eating out, clothes, etc.
You feel there will be less judgements made about your expenses, debts, assets (or lack of assets).
You don’t have to sit across from your credit counsellor at family or social events and feel embarrassed about what they know about your finances.
I have had clients tell me it was empowering for them to be able to tell their family they had been successful in taking control of their finances. They got high-fives instead of lectures.
Your information will be treated with respect and confidentiality. Your whole family won’t be told that “Cathy can’t budget.”
Your credit counsellor will look at your situation and will review options that are available to meet your needs. These could include a Debt Consolidation Program, budgeting assistance, information about workshops or referrals to other services.
When you schedule an appointment with one of our certified credit counsellors, you can expect to be treated with respect and your information will be kept confidential. And you can receive help in achieving YOUR financial goals – not your Dad’s or friend’s goals. I suggest starting below with a free debt assessment.
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