Blue Monday – How to overcome the financial blues

Blue Monday is a name given to a day in January claimed to be the most depressing day of the year. This year, Blue Monday falls on January 15th and the following 30 days are also known as the saddest time of the year.

A national survey commissioned by the Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) released on Blue Monday revealed that more than half of Canadians (53% to be exact) are already feeling financially “blue”, with the younger generation especially struggling.

The key question in the survey asked Canadians when it comes to their finances, what makes them particularly depressed this time of year. The most common responses showed that:

* One in five has a credit card balance larger than their savings account.
* Younger adults (ages 18-44) are especially “blue” about finances this time of year (68% versus 41% of those over 45).
* One in four Canadians don’t have funds to escape the winter storms through a vacation.
* In only two week’s time, 6% of Canadians have already broken their financial new year resolutions.
* 21% of Canadians over-spent during the holidays.

Blue Monday and the month that follows doesn’t need to be the saddest time of the year. Those Canadians with a solid financial plan that is updated regularly feel significantly less stressed and depressed about their finances at this time of year. There are professionals out there who can help you build a plan to can tackle debt loads and get your finances in order. Getting back on track can be achieved following a few simple steps:

1) Don’t Panic & Don’t Delay – Your finances may feel overwhelming but the best thing you can do is to face them head on. The sooner you start the better!

2) Take Stock of Your Situation – Where are you now? What do you owe? What interest are you Paying? Gather a comprehensive summary of your entire financial situation.

3) Set Your Goals – Once you have a firm grasp on your current situation, it’s time to set reasonable, measurable and attainable goals to work towards.

4) Build a Plan – A comprehensive plan will assess the information you’ve gathered to reduce interest that you’re paying, clear off debt more quickly, build retirement savings and insure that you’re protected if the unexpected happens.

5) Monitor Your Progress – Keep track of your spending and compare it to the budget that you’ve created, check to see if your debt is reducing on target and conduct an annual review of your investment portfolio to adjust contribution levels if needed.

Instead of sticking your head in the sand this Blue Monday, take charge of your financial well being and seek out the help of a financial planning professional if needed to ensure that next January finds you in a better place. You deserve financial wellness in 2018 and there is no better time to start than today.