Are You Headed Towards Bankruptcy or Is There a Better Way? #FLM2018

With interest rates rising in Canada, with apartment rental rates skyrocketing in Toronto, many of us are taking on more and more debt. Less saving is getting done.  More and more Canadians are spending on things that don’t really matter. Are you headed towards bankruptcy or is there a better way?

Sometimes you need to look at the numbers

In this world of hustle and bustle, where many of us have a full-time gig and at least one side hustle to pay the bills many Canadians have no balance in their lives.  We are eating out more. Grabbing more coffees in cafes. Did you know the average Canadian family spends $300 on eating out or on take out? How much are you spending and could it make a difference in reaching your long-term goals? Are you able to reach for your dreams?

A number of years ago, I had racked up a huge sum of consumer debt. I declared bankruptcy. I am asking a hard question. Are the spending choices you make today leading you are towards bankruptcy?  Are you one step away?

Take a hard look at where you are spending. Have you ever tracked your daily spends for a month? It can be an eye-opening experience. Simply write down every penny you spend for a month. It may lead you to make some changes.

Invest in Your Financial Well Being

Sow seeds that will make you money smart.

Many years ago I started Common Cents Mom as a place where my readers could come and get smarter about money. I even started the very first personal finance chat in Canada. Now there are many resources. One of my favourite resources, one that helps everyday Canadians is actually put out by the federal government.

If you want to get a handle on your spending habits, learn more about money, use a budget calculator perhaps for the very first time, learn about the differences between a TFSA and a RRSP, and learn about your rights and obligations when it comes to financial institutions, this site gives you the resources that you need.

This week the theme is all about good habits, one of the best habits you can have when it comes to financial literacy is to have a budget and stick with it. It is a foundation ground that you can build on. Financial literacy is important not only for your well being for that of your family and the economy. The more we know the more we can invest in our futures.

Eight years ago, I started talking about financial literacy. I talked about my bankruptcy and through the #Cdnmoney chat encouraged Canadians to get money smart. That is still my goal. I was proud to participate in the first Finacial Literacy Month in 2012 and every year especially in November, I share ways for you to get money smart.

We all need to understand this financial ecosystem and how even our little spending choices can make a difference.

Let me know if you are participating and watching for the #FLM2018 hashtag and what you are learning.

 

 

Mode Media

What Bloggers Should Do After the Bankruptcy of Mode Media

It is the morning after. This time yesterday I had an Ad Network. Today I don’t. Mode Media filed for bankruptcy yesterday. For many bloggers we have lost a major source of our  monthly income. For me, my ad network generated about 25% of my monthly income from ads on the sidebar to creating and sharing original content here on my blog.  Per our creator contracts we were paid 120 after we did the work.  Bloggers did not and will not get paid for work done since April.

I shed a few tears last night and ranted but today is a day for action. Many bloggers need to be taking action today.

Mode Media

So what should bloggers who were with Mode  do today? 

  1. Screen cap your losses. You can still log into Insider. I did so just before writing this. Screen grab your dashboard and financial reports. You will need these in the days ahead.
  2. Remove the ad network from your blog. This was easy enough for me to do.
  3. Start shopping for a new ad network. There are several out there that are good.
  4. Keep all documents and email trains you had with Mode. You can file a claim in the bankruptcy case with the trustee. They will send you the workout document. You may get 20 cents on the dollar and you will wait for it for months if not over a year. As well, you will be able to take the loss as a loss on your tax return. This means this year you will pay less in taxes. This is why proof of monies owed is so important right now.

What should all bloggers do? 

  1. Remember blogging is a business. In business there are losses. Things happen. Sometimes you don’t get paid. It is the unfortunate cost of doing business. This is the second time this will hit me hard. The first was when Target left Canada.
  2. Diversify. Never have all your creative eggs in one basket.
  3. Treat your creative sites like businesses and sources of income, because they are.
  4. Build direct relationships with brands. This means have business cards at the ready when you are at any event, Talk to the company reps and forge relationships directly. Here in Canada, I have had conversations with CEO’s, Vice Presidents, and CMOs at leading brands simply by doing my homework. These relationships did lead to paid work. Have your media kit and business cards at the ready. Don’t have yours ready? Get them done.

For us who worked with Mode Media, it has a huge impact. I can see the losses hurting many. For some, blogging is their only source of income for an entire family. Take out the revenue from the ad network and the quality of life is affected. We will get through this though as I have realized us bloggers and creative types are resilient. We band together and make things happen, that is a good thing. This morning it is about taking the deep breaths and taking action.

 

 

 

How Far From the Brink are You?

An emergency department sign.

I was reading the newspaper with my tea this morning, yes, I am old fashion like that when I came across an IPOS Reid survey that scares me. For as long as I have had this blog I have shared my story of debt and how hard it is to rebuild after debt destroys your life. It’s hard, it takes work, it takes time. One simple emergency and things change.

A new poll stated that many Canadians are less than a paycheque away from being able to pay their bills in fact many where already there. That should scare you. I know it scares me. Many are on the road to bankruptcy. They see bankruptcy as an option. Bankruptcy doesn’t change habits. It doesn’t change mindsets. Emergencies happen, they are a part of life. I have lived through divorce, fire, flood and hurricane.

I know of more than one who declared bankruptcy only to have to declare it again within years. Why are we allowing ourselves to live so close to the brink? Many Canadians live with no savings and live paycheque to paycheque. I was one for many years. It’s a scary place to be. You have no safety net. You are not prepared for any emergency.

As a nation, we are a nation of debtors. Us Canadians carry the highest debt load in the G7.  We believe because of the low interest rates we can afford more, need more. We no longer save for what we want, we go and buy it and then worry about the payments. We buy furniture, clothes, travel, cars, education all on credit. What does it all this credit do to us. It makes us slaves to those we owe.

Have you ever stopped before you bought on credit? before you took that deserved trip? bought that pair of shoes? took that night out? They all have ramifications if you don’t have the money in the bank.

Getting out from under your debt load takes hard work. It takes taking a step back and seeing how close to the brink you really are. It takes realizing you made a mess and being willing to clean it up. It means being willing to do the work. It may mean some major life changes. I know for me it did.

If you are in consumer debt, figure a way out, stop spending your tomorrow. I know for me it meant being real about my debt, it meant hard conversations, it meant making choices and realizing I really did want a better tomorrow and I would make sacrifices today. Do you know how close to the brink you are?

Things like seeking a professionals help are ok, so is building a nest egg of savings to keep you away from the brink. Build an emergency fund. Start with a $1000 in the bank that is there for emergencies, and build from there. How do you get that first $1,000. Most who have huge consumer debt loads, have stuff. Sell some of it or get a part time job or create a secondary flow of income. Do the hard stuff to get where you want.

Trust me it takes time and energy to move away from the brink but it is worth it for the peace that comes.

Back in the Writing Saddle

I am back in the saddle to speak. I have been taking a blogging break for the last 3 months..

Much has gone on. There have been some radical changes in my life and that of my tween daughter.

Some who follow me know I got ill and went bankrupt all in the same month. I will say this having 2 battles on your plate well is energy draining so it was time for this mom to take some time for me and well get my head,heart and body working together. I went into cocoon mode for the most part.I think every mom may need cocoon mode once is a while. For me I think there were many emotions tied up deep inside me. My body, heart and mind needed down time: recovery time. There were battles inside my head that needed to be won. I think that when it comes time to actually declare bankruptcy there is this guilt that goes with it. I think the stress came out in my body. I know there were voices in my head saying “How could you not of done better”. The lies one mind can perpetuate!

For me there was nothing really of done any different: I had felt this weight for many years too long. Since my days of owning 11 homes and a ranch with my now exhusband, I have often felt why did I walk away from wealth and into a world of debt and struggle. I had to battle my own head and realize the strength I did and do have as woman, mom and friend.Have any of you ever thought this is simply not good enough?

It is a tape that played in the back ground of my mind for way to long.

There is no sin in messing up. Can I say that again? There is no sin in messing up. It is what you do after the fact that matters most. What are you going to do with your life right now in this moment that makes you smile. What can you do?

So what am I doing:

  • For me I had to make some radical moves this included a move back to Toronto my hometown. This was a practical choice for me as I want to access the best Aspergers care for my tween and network with other parents of Aspie kids.
  • As for my bankruptcy I am keeping a budget journal. In less than a year I hope to be free and clear, and really given that second chance.
  • I am taking time every day to pray more than once and connect with God..for me I need that peace that simply comes from falling on my knees in prayer.
  • I am writing a private journal of gratitude that I keep each night.
  • I am looking for way to help in my community as I find when you help someone else up your problems always seem to diminish in size.
  • I am coming back to writing. I will be posting regularly as writing is something I love to do.

When life hits those bumps what do you do?

For me I am doing some reinventing and some strengthening both are good things. If any of this hits home perhaps we can encourage each other.