Christmas Spending Adds to Debt Woes

Christmas Spending Adds to Debt Woes

This past Christmas, 33 per cent of Albertans went over-budget on their holiday spending, adding $800 dollars of credit card debt, according to a recent poll by FP Canada.

According to, Jeremy Clark, president of CH Financial, a Calgary-based financial planning firm, the percentage of Canadians is par for the course, however, he warns of accumulated debt, which not only strains wallets but psyches. 

“The first time people have gone over budget, and it goes on credit cards, lines of credit, etc, which are paid off over a long period of time, if at all,” he said. ” The problem is twofold because it creeps up on you. There’s a financial implication, but also a psychological implication, as well. The more debt you have and if you’re not servicing that debt, it’s less likely that you’ll get another credit in the future.”


Clark said that the average Canadian spends anywhere between $1,500 to $1,600, however, he said that not all credit card purchases are luxuries. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, many more people are using their credit cards for the necessities of life.

“People who are sliding further into debt; a lot of it not holiday spending. It’s everyday spending. That also has a lot to do with inflation creep,” Clark said. “There’s a really weird dichotomy in Canada right now, where you have a portion of people sliding into debt and other equal portion of people doing really well. That’s the impact of COVID.”

So what can one do if your credit card purchases are already stacking up? 

“I think it’s good to use credit cards wisely that and that does mean paying them off every month. The interest rates tend to be quite high on credit cards, compared to a line of credit.”


Clark cited that credit card interests can vary from 15 to 20 per cent, and even if you’re making minimum payments, paying off your credit card can take years.

“When you look at credit cards, and you look at how easy it is to get them and how easy was to get many of them; that’s a really tough debt to pay off,” he said.  “If you look at those credit card statements, and they say at the current rate of payments, if you’re making the minimum payments, it’ll take you like 28 years to pay this off.”

There are also ways to pair down certain spending habits. Clark mentioned the story of a client of his that would go out for coffee several times a day and would spend anywhere from 35 to 50 dollars on her lattes and snacks. When she was asked if she gets any enjoyment out of her frequent trips to get coffee, she admitted it was more of a habit. These types of habits, whether it be coffee runs or ordering take out several times a week, if minimized can have a long-last positive impact. 


“If you look at what you would spend at the grocery store and made your meals and then what you’re spending on even moderately priced takeout, there’s a difference there for sure and those expenses really add up.”

But if you’re still having a hard time avoiding SkiptheDishes or DoorDash, you can also harness the advice and expertise of a financial planner. According to FP Canada, “69 per cent of Canadians who work with a financial planner expect to begin 2022 with $0 credit card debt.”

“I want to be clear, it doesn’t mean that we’re browbeating people or forcing them into our way of thinking. We’re trying to look realistically at their situation and say, ‘what are the trends? What can we do about it?’ And let’s have a path forward,” Clark said.

In Alberta, the average credit card debt is $4,568 per borrower, while the average consumer debt (non-mortgage) is $40,619.


Read article from Cochrane Now

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We’re looking for aspirational clients who require the whole spectrum of financial services because managing the whole is how we’re able to deliver unbeatable value – it’s our “secret sauce.”If this describes you, let’s set up a meeting andget to know each other.

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I just want to say we have been with your team since 1993, and we have never had any bad advice. The investments you set up for us during this time has paid for university education for our two granddaughters and provided a significant monthly income for us to augment our pensions.

We are with you for the long run and are not going anywhere. Jeremy has told us that at these times the numbers tend to scare you, but you haven’t really lost anything if you don’t panic and sell.

Ken M, Calgary

With CH Financial since 1993

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When I became a client of CHF it was a real game-changer as I was going through a very difficult time both professionally and personally.

I went through a divorce and the loss of a job and a parent, all within a 12-month period. While it was very tough to deal with at the time, I was reassured by the fact that the team at CHF had my back and really cared about me and what I was going through.

Looking back now, I’m not sure how I would have managed without the support of the CHF family.

Jeremy and his team were there every step of the way to help me navigate my way through the complexities of a divorce and inheritance. They got me back on track both financially, as well as emotionally.

I have now been a client of CHF for over 10 years and thanks to their expertise, I know that my family will be well taken care of for many years to come. I am now in a position where I don’t need to worry about money thanks to a solid financial plan.

I would highly recommend the CHF team to others going through life-changing and difficult situations as your financial partner.

Linda, Victoria

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As an investment industry professional, I am constantly on the go and maximizing my peak career earning years in my 40s. With travel and work commitments I am very limited for time to spend with family and do the things I love to do and chose CH Financial to allow me more freedom and lifestyle balance.

Being in the investment industry my whole career and an extremely busy professional, I know I could probably do a good job at managing my money as I work in the industry after all while I rely on and trust the CH Financial team that they will take care of the details, both growing my assets as well as taking care of every aspect of my financial situation, including my tax, investments and insurance, they simply take away the stress of having to worry about it all and help me to navigate the complexities for me so it all meshes together and importantly saves me valuable time and headaches.

At the end of the day, the reality is I truly value my time and the opportunity cost of my time and would rather hire the best in the industry so ultimately my wife and I can do the things that we love to do, have more leisure time, relax and enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, exploring new countries, hiking in the mountains and volunteer work.

Since engaging CHF more than 5 years ago we have enjoyed significant growth in our investments but more importantly, we have peace of mind and sleep much better at night knowing the team at CHF has our financial back and anything financial they will take care of for us.

I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending the team at CHF to other career-focused busy professionals who really value their time and lifestyle balance.

Kevin & Sharron, Calgary

Financial industry professionals

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Prior to joining CH Financial as a client, I had been partially managing our investments and using a bank-owned broker for many years, with moderate success. When we became clients of CHF, I quickly realized how little I knew about the complexities of managing investments and the importance of seeking out the best specialists in the industry to assist with my family’s full financial picture.

Brian and the team at CHF encouraged us to take an introspective look at our assets and expenditures and even helped us implement a comprehensive budget. The team really stepped up to take care of all aspects of our financial picture, including portfolio design, CH Financial introduced us to a lawyer who took care of everything for us, estate planning and tax, while helping us simplify our financial affairs.

Being of the sandwich generation my wife and I spend considerable time caring for our surviving parents and our grandkids, so

freeing up valuable time is essential to allow us to do the things we love to do. The team at CHF takes care of the details and today my wife and I enjoy a comfortable, stress-free financial situation.

Over the years as a client of CHF, both our portfolio and wealth has grown exponentially, more than we could have ever imagined. Now that we are both happily retired, having the CHF team in our corner helps us to sleep better at night knowing that our somewhat complex financial puzzle is being looked after by a team of people that really care, as opposed to being treated like a number by a big bank.

I would have no hesitation in recommending the CHF team to others looking for a superior financial home in Calgary and a safe place to invest your hard-earned money.

Ian C, Calgary

Comfortably retired thanks to CH Financial