Canadian Seniors Increasingly in Debt

Most young Canadians start to plan for their retirement not long after joining the workforce, and this is an excellent idea. However, there is no way of knowing what obstacles life will place before us that can derail our carefully crafted plans.

A distressing number of Canadians are going through life in debt and while seniors don’t make up the highest proportion, their debt load tends to increase more year over year because of their fixed income. We all know how interest compounds and just makes the hole that much deeper.

That can mean some tough decisions. A few hardy individuals try to eek out a living on only their government pensions. Of course, these are inadequate for just about anyone who has no debt, let alone somehow who has to make monthly interest payments.

Debt (and debt collectors) can introduce a great of stress into a person’s life. We all know that prolonged stress is not good for the physical or mental well-being or an otherwise perfectly fit person. Now imagine being over 60 and battling issues like mobility, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Here stress can go from an unfortunate occurrence to a potentially deadly one.

Bankruptcy is always an option, but one that is far from problem-free. Many seniors don’t even want to admit they have money problems because it seems like a major failure to go through that much of your life and not be able to enjoy a worry-free retirement. In some cases, their children don’t even know until the situation has reached a critical state. Sadly, seniors are making up 30% of the bankruptcies in this country.

Not all hope is lost, however. Seeking help from family and friends, as well as the professional assistance of a financial planner can reveal some light at the end of the tunnel.

Welcome to Canada! Don’t Forget to Bundle Up!

Disclaimer: I am not a meteorologist. However, as someone who has lived in Canada their entire life and made it through more than 50 winters, I feel well-qualified to write on the subject of how to survive the cold months here. Winter has been on everyone’s mind lately as the eastern seaboard is going through one of the bitterest cold snaps on record.

So, without further ado, here is some advice for those just about to experience their first Canadian winter:

Bundle Up

Seems like a no-brainer, right? However, if you are new to this climate, you may not realize just how many layers you need to be comfortable (and functional) when the mercury dips this low. Bulky winter coats are not exactly fashionable, but concerns over appearance tend to quickly fall by the wayside when you can’t feel your fingers or toes.

Gloves and Boots

Speaking of extremities, proper winter boots are a must. These not only keep you warm but also provide the necessary traction so that you don’t end up slipping and falling.

Gloves with the proper insulation are also a must-have. Depending on what you are doing outside, the bulkier the better. However, you may have to compromise some of the warmth if you need a pair that allows you to use your hands with any level of dexterity.

Scarf

Bigger is better here. Choose one that will fully cover your mouth and nose (don’t worry – you can still breathe!) because inhaling freezing air is not the least bit pleasant. Winter is also hard on the skin, so a good-sized scarf will also keep you from looking all weathered and dried out.

Ear Muffs

Once again, you won’t find these in any fashion Must Have lists, but they are definitely a must-have in Canada. You will be amazed by just how cold and painful your unprotected ears will feel once subjected to even a few minutes of winter wind. Toques help, but earmuffs seal the deal.

Happy Winter! (Don’t worry – it should be over in only about 3 ½ months)