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What Debt Advice Would Your Grandmother Give You?

The world has changed (a lot!) since your grandmother’s time, but her debt and money advice still hold true today. And, since International Women’s Day is this month, we thought it would be fitting to honour the women in your life who probably learned a thing or two about money. Their collective wisdom can empower you to take control of your own finances.

Do women face more financial challenges than men?

In the GTA, affordability is a concern for many. Whether it’s the high cost of housing or finding gainful employment, many millennials are priced out of the market and forced to find alternative living arrangements.

For women in particular, affordability can be an even bigger issue due to a few factors:

  • Childcare costs in the GTA are some of the highest in the country. Paying for childcare can mean most of your paycheques are simply not enough to cover all your other expenses. This can be especially true for single mothers.
  • According to our Affordability Index, women are more likely than men to struggle with costs of transportation, housing and other essential costs.
  • Statistics Canada shows that women earn less overall, in lower paying occupations than men. Also, they’re more likely to work less hours in order to care for children or other family members.
  • Women are more likely than men to carry a heavy debt load.


What money and debt advice can the previous generations offer?

Sure, your grandmother might not relate to your piles of student debt and maxed-out credit cards, but your grandparents’ generation likely learned a lot about living within their means, saving up and enjoying retirement. Here are some ways you can include these practices in your own life, and improve your financial literacy while you’re at it!

  1. Live within your means. Even on a lower income, we all make excuses for things — whether it’s going to the movies, drinks after work or a Spring wardrobe shopping spree. The point is, if you can’t afford it, don’t do it. And, even if you can afford those things, it’s important to keep your spending in perspective by keeping an eye on your long-term goals. This will keep you from splurging on impulsive items. Use our budgeting worksheet or download a budgeting app to keep you accountable.
  2. Deal with your debt load. Your grandparents probably didn’t look too fondly on borrowing money. While some debt such as student loans, a mortgage or car loans can be unavoidable, that high-interest credit card debt is eating into your income every month.

Here’s some debt advice: Either reduce debt on your own or ask for help. If you’ve tried a few debt repayment methods and you feel like you’re getting nowhere, speak to a debt professional such as a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) who can help you get back on the road to recovery. Start by comparing some debt repayment options using our online calculator.

  1. Save for a rainy day. Not just one rainy day, save for all your rainy days and unexpected expenses by starting an emergency fund The only way to stop relying on debt is to have some money in reserves for when you need it most.
  2. It’s never too early to think about retirement. Our grandparents knew that saving early was the only way to ensure they had a good retirement. What’s really concerning is that women especially report being unprepared for retirement — which is why it’s important to make it a priority sooner rather than later. Speak to a financial advisor or your lender about how to set up an RRSP and start investing in your future.
  3. Earn more, save more. While you’re young, now is the time to increase your income and save up as much as you can. Whether you take on a side gig or part-time work, make sure you’re banking the extra.


Has your grandmother given you debt advice or money management advice in the past? This month, why not pay her a visit and ask her what money wisdom she can share with you?

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