How to take control of your finances once and for all

Most Canadians can admit that debt is scary and often hard to get rid of. January is a great time to look at your fiances and decide what you should do moving forward. Finanical planner and author Shannon Lee Simmons is here with us to share her tips on how to give your financial lives a fresh start!

Reframe your debt

Talk about motivation- Most people fail at their debt plans because of scare tactics (high interest rates). This can be scary but only motivates for so long. You need motivation beyond the math, that's how someone sticks to a plan longer than 3 months.

Create your debt map

At first it's hard to do, but you can’t take action until you know what you’re dealing with. This is especially important when you have debt in different places at once. 

Sample debt map

  1. Make a list of all your debts
  2. Confirm how much is owing for each account
  3. Confirm the minimum payment for each debt
  4. Confirm dates when payments are due
  5. Make a debt map grid
  6. Prioritize your debt (ie: high interest first)
  7. Calculate total debt
  8. Calculate totally monthly min payment

Create a debt game plan

  • Lower the rate & consolidate
  • Pay in lump sums
  • Stack & swap! An example of when you want to pay off debt with the lowest amount owing first to free up the minimum payment.
  • Explain how you want to stop the cycle of debt by freeing up more spending money for yourself, then get back to prioritizing the high interest payments
  • Pay off emotional debt

Check out Shannon Lee Simmons' book Living Debt-Free here for even more great tips.