Even when struggling, Canadians fear asking for help with finances

A sizeable share of Canadians say their finances have worsened in the last year but asking for assistance is the last thing they want to do

Even when struggling, Canadians fear asking for help with finances
Steve Randall

Getting help when financial matters are out of control is vital, but many Canadians would avoid that at all costs.

A new report from the Credit Counselling Society (CCS) shows largely negative associations with reaching out for financial help, especially among younger Canadians.

Those aged between 18 and 34 say that doing so would make them feel inadequate (27%), out of options (43%), helpless (26%) or like a failure (27%).

The research reveals that those with the highest debt loads feel the worst about asking for help, even though they may be suffering negative impact on their mental health from the constant worry about finances.

Scott Hannah, president & CEO of the Credit Counselling Society, is urging those with financial problems to seek professional help.

"You do not need to feel ashamed about your situation," Hannah says, firmly. "You do not need to be afraid to ask for help. Trusted and professional help is available often just a phone call away."

Worsening finances

In its 2023 Consumer Debt Report, CCS has found that barely a month into the new year,  two-in-three Canadians carrying non-mortgage debt had to take actions like drawing from savings (41%), using credit instead of cash (36%), and cutting back on savings (35%) to manage the rising cost of living.

Three-in-ten Canadians reported feeling pessimistic about their financial situation and very few feel fully optimistic.

But even as struggles intensify, 6 in 10 respondents said they didn’t expect to make a change in lifestyle if inflationary pressures continue.

"It's alarming to see how much financial pressure Canadians are facing this year," added Hannah. “With the cost of essentials increasing the way they have; a significant number of people are running out of options when it comes to making ends meet."