If you’ve ever received an envelope in the mail with “PAST DUE” written on it in large, red, bolded lettering, you know that there’s a certain feeling that rears its head: “don’t look,” says a certain corner of your brain. “Ignore this! It will go away!” Listening to that voice is almost guaranteed to land you in a tough situation – and new figures from a major Canadian financial institution show that Canadians are increasingly taking charge of their financial futures with savvy planning and control over their spending.
A new study by the Bank of Montreal has revealed thatÂ 13% of Canadians have avoided glancing at their incoming statements or bills altogether. While 88% of Canadians said that they would like to better the state of their finances, a full third (31%) said theyâre not willing to make the sacrifices to do so.
The little brain-gremlin telling you to put your debts out of sight and out of mind couldn’t be more wrong. Avoidance is not a strategy: every day you avoid the problem of debt, its effects compound. The best way to fight back is to start a routine – a set of little things you can do each day to start working your way back to a better financial position. The effects of positivity are just as exponential as those of negativity.
“Without healthy routines it’s easy for people to develop a negative relationship with their financial situation, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to change things for the better,” said Christine Canning, Head of Everyday Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal.
It looks as though Ms. Canning’s advice is starting to take hold. According to the BMO report, more Canadians are making saving a habit by using a fixed savings plan that includes monthly contributions. In fact, one-in-three Canadians (31 per cent) have a fixed savings plan in place heading into 2015, a year-over-year increase of 19 per cent. The same report also shows some of the most egregious habits that Canadian consumers are striving to kick, including overzealous/impulsive spending and lack of longer term financial planning.