Being in debt similar to a toxic relationship, says new survey

By The IJ Staff | August 14 2018 01:30PM

Photo: Freepik

A new national survey from Credit Canada has found that 47 per cent of Canadians with debt believe it has a negative impact on their lives, creating negative thoughts and actions similar to being in a toxic personal relationship.

The Dysfunctional Debt Survey a Leger poll sponsored by Credit Canada, a non-profit credit counselling agency, asked respondents “How has debt impacted your life?” Twenty-seven per cent of those with debt suggested it “prevents them from going out,” while 19 per cent said it leads to “loss of sleep.” Other significant results include: 15 per cent said they “avoid social gatherings” due to their debt and 15 per cent said their debt “makes them unmotivated to pursue goals.” The survey also found that eight per cent of respondents avoid relationships altogether because of their debt.

Feelings of frustration

When asked “How does your current debt level make you feel?”, 53 per cent of respondents with debt had negative feelings. One quarter responded debt makes them frustrated and one-in-five feel like they are “never moving forward.”

The survey revealed that some of the negative feelings provoked by debt include feeling depressed (17 per cent); embarrassed/ashamed (12 per cent); guilty (10 per cent); like a failure (9 per cent); hopeless (9 per cent) and worthless (4 per cent).

“As Canada’s longest-standing credit counselling agency, we’ve seen time and time again the negative impact debt can have on people’s lives and their relationships,” said Laurie Campbell, Credit Canada CEO. “It can lead to isolation, depression, frustration, and loss of overall morale, which can ultimately affect mental health. But the takeaway here is that there is hope. If you develop a plan to tackle debt, you can realize your financial potential. And you don’t have to do it alone. There are professional resources available, like free debt counselling through non-profit credit counselling agencies.”

Break up with debt

This month, Credit Canada launched a campaign to encourage Canadians to break up with their debt. The campaign includes a website with resources including free debt counselling sessions to provide initial relief and ongoing wellness. Credit Canada says its message is threefold: “you are not alone, you can overcome this, and don’t let your debt define you.”