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How to Set Debt Relief Goals Tailored to You in 2017

Have you given thought to your debt relief goals for 2017? Holiday spending can quickly de-rail a budget, leaving you shocked when January bills begin to roll in. Millennials especially should be putting thought into debt repayment and financial goals for the upcoming year based on their own needs and individual situation. Now is the time to look ahead to the upcoming year and set purposeful financial goals that can guide your spending, saving and investments all year long.

Innovation is key for millennials in Canada

A growing number of millennials are working two or more jobs to make ends meet, but also to feed their creative passions. Far from the lazy, entitled stereotype, millennials have adapted to Canada’s changing economy and debt crisis by finding freelance work, part-time work and using it to their financial advantage. This is also the case with their financial goals. Although many millennials still covet the Canadian dream of a home, marriage and family, many more are embracing their freedom to travel and carry their jobs with them.

Setting financial goals based on your lifestyle

Student loans, housing and living expenses can be expensive, especially when working part time. In larger urban areas, these prices can be even higher for millennials just starting out, so it’s important to have a plan. Creating SMART short, medium and long-term goals can help give you a guideline based on your own needs and a target to work toward. Here’s how to begin:

  • Make a list of your short, medium and long-term priorities. Are you hoping to travel, start a family or own your own home? Take time to ask yourself the tough questions without influence from friends, parents or employers. Think in terms of one year, five years and 10+ years. Use this Financial Goal Calculator to get you started.
  • Create a budget that can easily be referred to often. Without a budget, you can’t make your goals a reality. Use our budget to delegate money each month toward your goals. How much will each goal cost? Will you need to earn more money to realize some goals? What is the time-frame of each goal? Money management apps like Mint and Wally can help.
  • Open a savings account or TFSA and start paying yourself first. Begin with a rainy-day or emergency fund that will provide financial buffer for unexpected expenses. Automate your savings to make it even simpler to save.
  • Make existing debt a priority within your budget. Canadians report that existing debt may be holding them back from setting financial goals and saving money. The sooner you reduce your debt the more money you’ll have to reach your goals. This may require speaking to a debt professional who can talk to you about debt relief options including credit counselling and debt consolidation services, or answer your consumer proposal questions.

The timeframe in which you reach your debt relief and savings goals depends on your values, financial situation and commitment to seeing your goals become reality. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada can further help you improve your financial knowledge and give you the tools to plan each life event using Your Financial Toolkit. For saving, United Way’s Small Change app can help you form better spending habits each day and bank the savings.

 

What are your debt relief goals for 2017? Share your ideas with others on Twitter by searching #LetsTalkDebt #BDOdebtrelief



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