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3 Websites That Will Help You Learn How to Reduce Debt

Knowing the ins-and-outs of finances can be intimidating. A recent survey by Tangerine suggests that only about half of Canadians would consider themselves knowledgeable about personal finances. That lack of financial literacy can lead to financial problems. If you need to reduce your debt, consider making financial literacy a part of your short-term goals. Learning more about money management can help you plan for and achieve your long-term financial goals.

There are a number of good web resources that focus on financial basics, and bust some myths that might be holding you back. To put that new-found knowledge to good use, there are also some resources and tools that can help you create long-term financial goals, like deciding how to pay off debt in 2017.

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) leads a national financial literacy initiative and provides information and tools to improve consumers’ financial management skills.

The FCAC provides details on how to budget in a way that balances the need to meet monthly living expenses, build an emergency fund, save for retirement, and avoid debt.

There are also strategies to pay down debt. The FCAC explains that making at least minimum payments is necessary to protect your credit. However, if your budget allows, setting a timeline in which to pay off your debt comfortably but quicker is beneficial to your overall finances. Once your debt is paid off, you should consider closing the account or getting rid of the credit card to avoid debt overload in the future.

If you’re looking to learn about debt options, the FCAC provides clear but detailed explanations. It’s important for individuals to understand that there are several options to review — a consumer proposal, for instance, is a formal procedure that a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) is qualified to present on your behalf. If accepted, you may be able to pay a percentage of what you owe to creditors over a designated timeframe of no more than five years. This option can help you remain financially accountable while still managing to meet your regular living expenses and other financial obligations.

Get Smarter About Money

The website Get Smarter About Money discusses what financial goal setting looks like, and how to define them for yourself, based on your own budget and goals. The intention of financial goal setting is to develop specific and measurable goals that are realistic (in terms of timeline and your current financial state) so that you can begin to make financial decisions that support the best quality of life and financial health possible. The site also profiles real consumers’ experiences with goal setting and financial decisions, such as paying down debt and saving for retirement.

Practical Money Skills

Practical Money Skills offers financial literacy resources that are suitable for all ages, from young children to adults. Credit and debt, savings and spending, and life events are covered. There are dozens of calculators that can help you imagine the implications of your financial choices, such as taking on an auto loan, saving for retirement, budgeting for a baby, or repaying student loans. There’s even a calculator that shows you what it would take to save a million dollars. For kids, there are interactive games that teach them about counting money, or making financial decisions from a virtual bank account.

You can reduce debt more easily when you understand your finances and financial choices. Learning how to budget, reduce debt, or increase your savings are financial goals that you can achieve by dedicating some time to reviewing helpful online resources.


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