Rank #1: 190 – The 80/20 Rule of Money Management
Money management is hard. That’s why so many people don’t do it. Over the years at many credit counselling sessions with clients I’ve explained budgeting, and spreadsheets, and budgeting apps, and lots of other techniques to manage money. Some of my clients love the process of recording every transaction. Others, not so much.
So, what can you do if you want to keep track of your money, but don’t have the time or the inclination to keep a spreadsheet or spending journal?
By cheat, I don’t mean “act dishonestly”, I mean “avoid something undesirable by luck or skill”, like eating healthy to “cheat” getting sick.
On today’s podcast I give my thoughts on how to manage your spending without a budget, and I explain how the 80/20 rule, known as the Pareto principle, can be used in all areas of money management, and in life.
Apr 21 2018
Rank #2: 227 – Getting Out Of Debt Requires A System, Not Just A Goal
Every financial guru says that achieving success starts with setting a goal.
I disagree. While there is some benefit to setting goals, you are more likely to achieve success if, instead of focusing on goals, you have a system. I discuss goals vs systems on today’s podcast. Listen or read the transcript below.
This is our first episode of 2019, and I’ve got a question for you: how did you do with your New Year’s resolutions last year? How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions this year? If you’re like many people, you’ve probably already given up.
If your goal is to get out of debt or to save more money, you might be a little frustrated knowing another year has come and gone without improving your finances.
So what if your goal this year is to get out of debt? Or save more money? What’s the best way to achieve any goal?
The answer may be to not focus on the goal at all, but instead to create a system to reach that goal.
Today on Debt Free in 30, I want to explain why, in most cases, systems are better than goals.
Jan 05 2019
Rank #3: 19 – Clean Up Your Debt Mess
Our first guest is Gail Vaz-Oxlade who says it’s time to “stop whining about being in debt, you had your fun, you made a mess, now it’s time to clean it up, get busy.” She provides a four step plan for cleaning up your debt mess.
In our second segment Ted Michalos returns, and we consider the case of Mary and Joe, who have a good income, but have more debt than they can ever hope to pay off on their own. We discuss how a consumer proposal can help them clean up their debt mess.
Their options for dealing with debt, but it takes a plan, and the sooner you start, the sooner you will be debt free.
Jan 10 2015
Rank #4: 51 – BEST OF SHOW: Clean Up Your Debt Mess
For the month of August we are rebroadcasting our most popular shows.
On today's rebroadcast we talk with Gail Vaz-Oxlade about how to build a repayment plan to deal with your debt before it reaches the tipping point. If however you find that you are looking at years and years to pay back your debt then you may need to consider other options.
We also talk with Ted Michalos, bankruptcy trustee and co-founder of Hoyes, Michalos about how a consumer proposal can help you get out of debt while avoiding the need to file for bankruptcy.
Aug 22 2015
Rank #5: 107 – LIVE: Everything You Were Afraid to Ask About Debt
For the first time ever Debt Free in 30 broadcast LIVE on video, over YouTube. The response was fantastic. We asked our listeners to leave us questions through sound clips, email, twitter and Facebook in advance of the show and took questions during the show. Doug Hoyes and Ted Michalos answered as many of those questions as we could during the webcast.
We talked about debt, consumer proposals, car loans and mortgages. We even had a “celebrity” question.
The full video is also available on the Hoyes Michalos YouTube Channel.
Sep 17 2016
Rank #6: 236 – Take The Blame And Shame Out Of Debt Repayment
In over 20 years helping Canadians eliminate their debt, I've yet to hear a single client say they chose to have debt problems. Debt accumulates over time and then it becomes an even bigger problem when you lose your job, become ill or get divorced. But for many of my clients, despite knowing that the cause of their money troubles was beyond their control, they still blamed themselves for their financial woes.
So, how does one overcome self-blame to achieve debt relief? Today we talk with Shannon Lee Simmons, author of Living Debt-Free: The No-Shame, No-Blame Guide to Getting Rid of Your Debt about how negative feelings towards debt can create more debt and strategies that can put you in the right direction when dealing with your debt.
Mar 09 2019
Rank #7: 111 – Why You Should Never Loan Money To Family and Friends
We all want to help when someone is in trouble. But helping someone out of financial trouble can come with unexpected costs and consequences. It is for that reason that I strongly advise against ever loaning money to family and friends.
On today's show we hear three stories:
- Mabel is a widow who chose to help her adult son who was struggling financially after a divorce. In the end, Mabel ended up maxing out her own line of credit and was having trouble keeping up with her own rent and debt payments.
- Larry loaned his son money for a down payment on a new home. Unfortunately, Larry's son separated from his wife who received the house as part of the separation agreement. Larry's down payment went to his son's ex-spouse.
- Amanda's parents gave her the 5% down payment she needed to enter the housing market. Unfortunately Amanda quickly found out she couldn't keep up with the bills associated with her new house. Maintenance, a job loss and a flooded basement resulted in her selling the home for less than she owed including some additional credit she incurred trying to keep up.
What's common about all these stories we heard on today's podcast is that in each case, loaning money to someone to 'help out' ended up with very bad consequences for everyone involved.
There are plenty of reasons not to loan money to a friend or family member:
- If they don't pay you back, you could jeopardize your relationship.
- Other family members may expect the same treatment or become resentful if you are seen to be favouring one child with money over another.
- If you have to borrow money yourself, this can lead to your own financial struggles, even your own bankruptcy if you are not repaid.
- You may be enabling bad spending behaviour by bailing your friend or child out, rather than forcing them to deal with their money problems on their own.
Sometimes the best help you can give is no help at all. However if you do want to do something, ask yourself these questions first:
- Can you afford it? I recommend gifting money over loaning them money. That way you only gift money you can afford. Also, if there is no obligation to pay it back, there is less of a chance that the gift will create friction between you. If they pay it back, you will appreciate the gesture and the friendship will last.
- Are you really helping? Again, this goes back to enabling bad financial choices. If your child can't afford to maintain their new home, you are doing more harm than good. If they know they can turn to you for a loan, they will never learn to save or live within their means.
Oct 15 2016
Rank #8: 4 - Credit Counselling – An Open and Honest Conversation – Heather Cudmore
Heather Cudmore is a credit counsellor with Mosaic Counselling and Family Services, a program of Carizon Family and Community Services in Kitchener, Ontario, and on today's show we discuss credit counselling.
Who does a credit counsellor work for? Is it true that they are just a collection agency for the big banks? What does it cost? What are the fees?
Isn't a debt settlement better and cheaper? What about other options?
Answers to those questions and a lot more on today's show, and in the bonus segment Heather shares lots of practical advice for getting the best deal on a loan, and much more.
Sep 27 2014
Rank #9: 125 – How One Man Retired Debt-Free at Age 48
If you are like most Canadians, you dream of a long and enjoyable retirement. Is it possible to retire early and achieve that by the age of 48? While it is an anomaly, my guest today did just that.
Bob Lassaline worked for 30 years and retired when he was 48 years old. He is 80 years old today, so he has been officially retired for longer than he was employed.
How did he do it? Full details are in the podcast.
Jan 21 2017
Rank #10: 61 – Scary Debt Stories
As a trustee in bankruptcy, I meet with people every day who are struggling to pay off their debt. In the finance world, it's not uncommon to hear shocking stories from clients about threatening calls from collection agents or how they got into debt in the first place. On today's show, I'm joined by Hoyes Michalos bankruptcy trustee, Howard Hayes, collection agent Blair Demarco-Wettlaufer, credit counsellor, Nicole Olsen from Fitness Financial in Windsor and bankruptcy trustee at Hoyes Michalos, Rebecca Martyn from our Windsor and Leamington offices to hear some of the scary stories that they've heard over the years.
Oct 31 2015
Rank #11: 130 – Yes, We Have A Payday Loan Crisis
We have a crisis and it's called payday loans. At Hoyes Michalos we believe payday loans are a real problem because all too often they create a vicious cycle of debt. We also don't believe that recent efforts by the Ontario Government have been enough to deal with the hidden truth behind payday loans: already indebted Ontarians are borrowing multiple payday loans, from multiple payday lenders at the same time, and this is contributing to a record rate of payday loan induced insolvencies.
How we know this is because every two years we analyze data from actual insolvencies to find out why someone files insolvency. We call this our Joe Debtor study. Part of our study includes a detailed dig into payday loan use by Joe Debtor so that we can isolate the behaviour and profile of the average insolvent payday loan user.
Our data points to four startling findings:
- 1 in 4 insolvent debtors had at least one payday loan at the time they filed a bankruptcy or consumer proposal.
- The average insolvent payday loan borrower has 3.4 payday loans with total outstanding balances of $2,997.
- Payday loans make up 9% of borrower's total unsecured debt of $34,255
- An insolvent debtor with payday loans owes 121% of their MONTHLY take home pay in payday loans.
Full details on the show with Doug Hoyes and Ted Michalos.
Feb 25 2017
Rank #12: 50 – BEST OF SHOW: Gail Vaz-Oxlade – Why are you in Financial Trouble?
Gail Vaz-Oxlade is one of the most popular financial experts for a reason. Her no holds barred approach is based on one consistent message: You need to be the one to take action to take care of your debt problems.
You may criticize the bank, the credit reporting agency or payday loan companies but at the end of the day you have to be able to identify that you are too deep in debt and need to do something about it.
types of debts that most often trigger deep financial problems include credit card debt, high interest financing loans, payday loans and misused lines of credit. In our rebroadcast of one of our post popular podcasts, Gail calls these types of debt 'callable debt'. She recommends you focus any debt repayment plan on this type of debt first, and for good reason.
This is the type of credit that can be taken away at a moment’s notice. The bank can cancel your credit cards, your line of credit and demand immediate payment. If you don't have a good credit score this could leave you struggling and at risk of bankruptcy.
In the bonus segment Doug Hoyes discusses his experience on reality TV.
Aug 15 2015
Rank #13: 206 – REBROADCAST: How to Pay Down Massive Debt
It’s the month of August, and we are replaying the most downloaded episodes from the past season of Debt Free in 30.
This episode was inspired by all of those personal finance bloggers who love to write stories about how they paid off a massive amount of debt in a short period of time. That’s great if you have a massive income and can do it, but what if you can’t?
That’s the topic on today’s rebroadcast, so please enjoy our take on a Realistic Approach to Paying Down Massive Debt.
Aug 11 2018
Rank #14: 67 – How To Deal With Depression & Anxiety Over The Holidays
The holidays are known for being a time of happiness and joy. But for those struggling with depression, anxiety or loss, the holidays can be a difficult. Our guest today is Theresa Karn, Manager of Clinical Services at Carizon Family & Community Services in Kitchener, Ontario.
Attempting to create the perfect holiday experience and living up to expectations set by yourself and others can lead to stress, sadness and even depression.
On today’s show we provide practical advice for identifying and dealing with depression and anxiety.
Dec 12 2015
Rank #15: 247 – Managing Your Second Biggest Expense: Food Budget
For the average Canadian family, their largest monthly expense is their rent or mortgage payment, and unless they have a very expensive car, their second biggest expense is often food.
If you have a limited income, how can you manage your food budget effectively?
Is it possible eat healthy without breaking the bank?
On today’s show we welcome Heidi Pola, a Registered Dietitian who gives practical advice on how to eat healthy and save money.
May 25 2019
Rank #16: 207 – REBROADCAST: Which Debts Should You Pay First?
For the month of August we are replaying the most downloaded podcasts of the past year; not surprisingly, the first two rebroadcasts were about debt, and so is this one.
Originally broadcast back in January, on this podcast Ted Michalos and Doug Hoyes answer the question: which debts should you pay first?
Should you knock off the small ones first, or go for the high interest rate ones first? Does it matter if the debts are secured, like a car loan or mortgage, or unsecured, like a credit card?
This is a short podcast, less than 18 minutes, but that’s all we needed; I have strong opinions on this topic, which I why I addressed this in both chapter 18 and chapter 19 of my book, and Ted also has no shortage of opinions, so here’s a rebroadcast where we answer the question what debts should you pay first?
Aug 18 2018
Rank #17: 11 – Turning Debt Problems into Hope – Chris deVries
Today’s guest is Chris deVries, a former banker who provides personal financial counselling to people of all ages. He advocates a straight forward approach to resolving money problems, and on today’s show he gives many practical examples of strategies to deal with debt issues.
He discusses the importance of knowing where your money goes, and then taking steps to save money. He gives practical examples, including a strategy to reduce cell phone costs.
Through his many years of counselling Chris has worked with many people in what appear to be hopeless situations, but he believes that despite how serious a situation may appear, there is always hope.
Nov 15 2014
Rank #18: 129 – Burn Your Mortgage with Sean Cooper
Sean Cooper returns to the podcast today to talk about his new book, Burn Your Mortgage, to be published on March 1, 2017. Sean worked up to 80 hours a week for many years to save for a down payment, and then he managed to pay off his mortgage in less than four years. He held a mortgage burning party that was covered by the CBC, and that's where the fun began.
Some people applauded his frugal lifestyle, but others said that it's not realistic to work that hard just to pay off a mortgage quicker, earning him a lot of online haters, which is where I got involved in the story when I was interviewed by the CBC in a follow up article. I believe that some of Sean's strategies will work for some people; the key is to listen to his ideas and apply what you are able to do, given your financial situation. As Sean Cooper says, the starting point is "setting a goal, because for so many people what keeps them from being homeowners is they're not able to come up with that down payment."
On today's show Sean Cooper talks about his new book, talks about the on-line haters, and provides advice on how to "burn your mortgage".
Feb 18 2017
Rank #19: 249 – The 5 Stages of Debt
You’ve heard of the five stages of grief; today Scott Terrio returns to discuss the 5 stages of debt, with examples from the people we meet with every day.
Stage 3 (Bargaining) is where we can make the most mistakes; stage 4 (depression) is where most people are when they reach out for help, and stage 5 (acceptance) is the most important stage to get a fresh start.
Lots of client anecdotes on today’s show!
Jun 08 2019
Rank #20: 71 – 4 Easy Steps To Save Money Each Week With Nicole Olsen
The weekly trip to the grocery store is a big expense for a family, so saving money on food can go a long way. But how do you save money? Is the only way to save by clipping coupons and buying no-name brands?
There are other strategies, and on today's show, Nicole Olsen, the Financial Literacy Program Director for Financial Fitness in Windsor and Sarnia, Ontario, joins us back on the show to share her smart shopping tips.
Jan 09 2016