As Canadians celebrate their 150th birthday this weekend, they should be careful about spending on anything other than a celebratory drink.
If you can’t afford to pay for the festivities, you could end up paying a price for it.
The cost of the alcohol alone can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost wages and lost income.
And as the Canadian economy slows down, the impact is even more pronounced, said Paul Chodas, chief economist at RBC Dominion Securities.
“The cost of a few drinks can add a significant amount to your total,” said Chodos, who advised Canada on how to avoid and handle debt during a recent trip to Washington.
“A lot of people are spending $100, $150, $200, on the holiday party, but they’re not paying back what they owe.”
Debt debt is the ultimate consumer debt, said Choda, who specializes in personal finance and has studied the issue for more than 25 years.
For every dollar spent on a holiday party or other holiday expense, there are two or three dollars left over, said a senior policy analyst at TD Bank.
That can add hundreds or thousands of extra dollars over the next few years.
Debt has become the biggest problem for Canadians in recent years.
According to data from Statistics Canada, the number of Canadians with debt rose to an all-time high of $3.8 trillion in the year ending March 31, 2016.
The average debt owed per person has grown to $1,566, according to Statistics Canada.
Even if you do get to celebrate with friends and family, it’s still a bad idea to pay it back, said Ben Baucom, senior economist at Bank of Montreal.
Debt is a form of consumer debt and it’s a form that is going to be a burden on people’s ability to pay down, Baucon said.
“It’s going to take up a lot of their disposable income, a lot more than they can afford,” said Bauconsaid in an interview.
Banks, mortgage lenders, credit unions and other lenders can help you get rid of debt, but only if you’re willing to pay the debt back, Bausch said.
If you’re not prepared to pay back debt, there’s no point in paying it off, said Baudelaire, who advises Canadian banks and credit unions on how they handle credit card debt.
If a debt becomes uncollectable, you can put it off indefinitely, she said.
Baudelaires, who works with banks on debt collection, said she would recommend that Canadians consider reducing their holiday spending.
“That’s one of the best ways to ensure that you don’t put a burden onto people,” she said in an email.
“You can’t get a refund for spending a holiday with friends or family that you’re already going to miss.”
Baudellaires, a graduate student at Simon Fraser University, said it’s important to remember that a lot can happen between now and the end of the year, and that you should keep an eye on your bills.
Debts are going to continue to rise in the future, so don’t ignore them.
You can still make good use of the holidays by keeping an eye out for the signs of debt or to get advice on how best to avoid it, said the senior analyst.
Some of the most expensive things to pay off are your mortgage, car, student loans, and even the mortgage on your home.
Mortgage debt has increased by more than 30 per cent over the past year, according a report by the credit-rating agency Moody’s.
Credit-card debt has grown by about a third, as well, and student loans are on track to continue increasing.
Canada is on track for an even bigger debt load in 2021, according data from the Conference Board of Canada.
That means the country will face an average $1.5-billion increase in the amount of debt owed each year.
That’s expected to rise to $3-billion in 2022 and $4-billion by 2024.
On top of that, the average Canadian household is expected to spend $2,800 a year on credit cards and other debt, up from $1-billion a year in 2020, according the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
That means that if you don: spend the minimum amount, take on more debt than you’re comfortable with, or use a credit card that you can only use to pay your bills, you might be left with more debt in the near future.
According to Bank of Canada data, Canadians who are paying off their credit cards with cash, or using a card with an automatic repayment, are the biggest losers in the economy.
This year alone, Canadian consumers have paid off about $30-billion of their credit card debts, Baudellaire said.
The average debt paid out each year in Canada is now $