How to hold a debt conversation with your family?

Regardless of the composition of your family, ignoring family finances or accumulating debts can have an impact on each member. Launch an annual family reunion this month for Financial Literacy Month. This meeting brings together all family members to discuss topics such as spending behavior, household budget and debts, if any. It offers the opportunity to present the situation to the whole family and to discuss plans and objectives for the future. For families who have debts, this annual meeting also makes it possible to discuss debt solutions, from strategies to be implemented yourself to official solutions such as the consumer proposal.

The meeting makes it possible to approach debt in an open environment. According to a 2015 CCO survey, only half of Canadians are honest with their families, friends and co-workers about their finances. The reason: they don’t want to worry those they love.

Here’s a way to have open and honest discussions about finance in two different family contexts.


Families with some adult children living at home

More than millennials live in family homes these days. An annual family reunion may provide an opportunity to discuss the possibility that the adult child living in the home may pay rent, time he intends to stay and other household contributions he may make. The two parties will be able to discuss the debt and the financial pressures they face. If you or your child are worried about your accumulated debts, it would be good to schedule another meeting, but this time with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (SAI) to discuss debt solutions. An SAI can explain all of your options, from budgeting to formal solutions like consumer proposal or bankruptcy to debt consolidation.


Couples with children

Couples with children

Newly married couples, in particular, should take the time to establish some basic rules and goals for spending, budgeting, emergency funds, and retirement.

Talking about your debts as a couple is also important. Even if the subject is unpleasant, quickly exploring debt solutions can avoid having to file a consumer proposal or declare bankruptcy afterwards. Do some research online or schedule a meeting with an SAI to explore debt relief strategies. The role of a trustee is not only to administer consumer proposals and declarations of bankruptcy. He will explain all debt solutions to you, including debt consolidation, debt management plans and credit counseling.

Although money is sometimes an emotional subject to discuss with the family, it is important to keep the conversation going. Open and honest discussions about things like spending, saving, and debt can help ensure that your family members are all working towards the same financial goals.