Toronto’s individual tales of descent into debt have their own distinctive culprits and narratives of lost financial security and lessons learned via hard knocks. Like Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, they’re often same-structured stories of debt that have interchanged and uniquely staged their own players. The same general paths into an ocean of red ink rarely vary from one household to the next.

As Toronto’s average household debt continues to mount as it hasn’t in years, we think some understanding is overdue. After all, we’re all only spinning our wheels – from our counselors to our clients – if we settle for only treating symptoms and leaving the disease to rise again.

Let’s analyze, briefly, the most common causes of the Greater Toronto Area’s must frustrating debts…


If we were to split hairs, this would be two root causes in one. Alone, they’re plenty damning as it is. Combine them, and some people never stop perpetuating the cycle.

Low income can’t always be helped. Sometimes, bad things catch us unaware and with no means at all of averting them, be it a pay reduction, layoff, a disabling injury, or any number of other circumstances. In others, our income is just a result of our choices – for better or for worse.

That already insufficient paycheck becomes even more of a restraint on our happiness when it meets with a failure to rein in spending after a shift in income. We begin to see our divestment from a perhaps more comfortable lifestyle as one more dig from life at us, just more salt in the wound.


There are few causes more wasteful or quietly crippling.

Many compulsive gamblers struggle with realizing just how much they’re losing, especially when it’s often so easy to find others willing to profit off the compulsion by extending conveniently timed loans. Worse, casinos are built to intoxicate, from tantalizingly low-cut dressed and short skirts on pretty cocktail waitresses to the absence of windows, clocks or even watches on dealers’ wrists in order to conceal the passage of time.

In the end, though, it comes down to the thrill of “hope” – that idea that the next spin could be “The Big One,” that anyone is “due” to win, or that you have an unheard-of “system” that’s utterly foolproof.

“The House” always wins. Always.


The end of a marriage is almost always traumatic. It only gets worse between the legal expenses of duly dividing up property and any custody rights to children, calculating and contesting spousal support, and one party having to vacate a residence for a new one.


It doesn’t always feel like spending: it feels like you’re getting whatever you’re buying for “nothing” because nothing is actually coming immediately out of your pocket. Before you know it, you’ve run up a bigger tab than you can pay off entirely the next month.

Luckily, this is one of the most avoidable roads to the red.


These are just a few of the most commonly heard tragedies. Luckily, they’re stories that have unwritten endings, and a few ways to have some “creative input”….


Talking about money doesn’t come easily, especially with family and loved ones. When we find ourselves in deep, deep fiscal holes, shame starts to fester. We feel as though we’ve let our loved ones down. Those same people who care about you could be the ones that see you more clearly than you see yourself and can help you lay out a realistic strategy for spending within means and saving gradually.

  • SAVE

Do it a little bit at a time. Honestly think – don’t dwell – on the emergencies that could befall you if you suddenly needed a three-to-six-month cushion of living expenses. That’s when you start to “pay yourself first” so that you’ll always be ready, should those circumstances arise.


We realize that none of this is necessarily as “easy” as it sounds. That’s why we’re not just here to help you consolidate your debt into one affordable monthly payment.

Quite the contrary, actually. At the same time that we help organize your debts into manageable piles, we want to help you learn how to avoid debt for the rest of your life. It can be done. We can help. We want to help. Contact us today for a no-cost consultation.