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Jeffrey Schwartz

Executive Director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada

Jeffrey Schwartz is the Executive Director of <a href="http://www.consolidatedcredit.ca/" rel="nofollow">Consolidated Credit</a> Counseling Services of Canada and President of the Credit Association of Greater Toronto (CAGT). Consolidated Credit is a national non-profit credit counselling organization that teaches consumers about personal finance through web-based budget and debt analysis tools, financial literacy community outreach programs and in-person or telephone counselling. CAGT is a non-profit association with a mission to provide a dynamic forum in which members can share information and expertise.
How to Resist the Summer

How to Resist the Summer Splurge

Let's face it -- as a nation, our collective summer starvation turns us into ravenous sun-worshippers, giddy and eager to soak up every moment. And for many of us, money proves no obstacle, even if it means going into debt.
06/19/2015 05:18 EDT
Be Good to Debt and Debt May Be Good to

Be Good to Debt and Debt May Be Good to You

Debt has been in the news a lot lately. The major news outlets in Canada are paying attention to our record-high household debt levels and are doing some fantastic reporting about the effects of oil prices, housing, health, divorce, and all the other factors that can damage a family's bottom line. Yet amid this rabble of expert voices and real Canadian tales of debt crisis, there was one lone dissenter.
05/27/2015 12:33 EDT
How to Manage Divorce, Distress and

How to Manage Divorce, Distress and Debt

Kevin's wife wanted a divorce. Suddenly, his household income was split in half and the cost of moving to a new place with his kids meant his expenses doubled.
04/22/2015 06:10 EDT
The Good, Bad and the Ugly of

The Good, Bad and the Ugly of Plastic

Before you think this is just another a sooth-saying blog from a member of the financial community about the dangers of credit and debt, let me assure you that credit, in and of itself, is not inherently bad. It serves an important purpose and facilitates plenty of financial necessities. There is indeed some good, some bad, and some ugly involved in going full plastic.
04/21/2015 01:25 EDT
Can't Afford a House? There's a Bright Side to

Can't Afford a House? There's a Bright Side to Renting

Renting isn't so bad, and until you're absolutely, positively ready to afford a house (and the seemingly endless costs that come with it), you should probably focus on the brighter side of tenancy. Take a step back, sit out the home buying season, and relax.
03/31/2015 12:43 EDT
Why Canada Shouldn't Start Feeling Financially

Why Canada Shouldn't Start Feeling Financially Bulletproof

Canadians might be setting themselves up for a bright future and a comfortable retirement. But how are they going to pay the bills today? What about pressing expenses that are stretching budgets thin today? I would pump the breaks before we get into the territory of feeling financially bulletproof.
03/25/2015 05:50 EDT
The Financial Truth Shall Set You

The Financial Truth Shall Set You Free

In 2015, personal finance is still a taboo topic. We might live in a liberal country, but Canadians are not very open-minded when it comes to talking about our pocketbook. In fact, many of us downright lie. I think one thing is clear: The more openly we discuss our finances, the more opportunity we have to gain financial literacy and take control of our financial outlook.
03/09/2015 05:53 EDT
What Canadians Really Think About Valentine's

What Canadians Really Think About Valentine's Day

91 per cent would rather spend time with their partners watching Netflix or enjoying a home cooked meal. This was our favourite stat, because it shows your significant other probably doesn't want a big spectacle for Valentine's Day -- and of course, a cozy night at home is really easy on the wallet.
02/12/2015 05:53 EST
Disability and Debt: When One Happens to Canadians, the Other

Disability and Debt: When One Happens to Canadians, the Other Follows

Many Canadians are well aware that a disability could occur at any time. Ninety-six per cent of us believe it, according to a recent RBC survey. The same survey showed that more than three-quarters of us also believe that missing three months of work, due to disability, would put us in serious financial jeopardy. Here are some steps you can take to prepare yourself for a possible disability.
01/31/2015 12:39 EST
Are You Suffering From Post-Holiday Bill Avoidance

Are You Suffering From Post-Holiday Bill Avoidance Disorder?

When you've caught the last scraps of tinsel floating around the house, and your New Year's resolutions have fallen by the wayside, there's still a final holiday tradition left to enjoy: dreading the arrival of holiday bills. Yes, this time every year, thousands of Canadians are struck with cases of Bill Avoidance Disorder (B.A.D. for short). Think you've come down with a case? Try all of the following, and call us in the morning.
01/14/2015 12:53 EST
The Biggest Personal Finance Fails of 2014 (And How to Avoid Them in

The Biggest Personal Finance Fails of 2014 (And How to Avoid Them in 2015)

December is a time for reflection, especially when it comes to your finances. The expensive holiday season -- think gifts, party outfits, and festive drinks -- means you're probably thinking about how to stick to a budget and keep costs down in 2014. It's also a time to reflect on mistakes, which is why I've rounded up the top personal finance fails of 2014. The purchases that made me cringe, the examples of internet over-sharing that made me wonder how someone's identity wasn't stolen sooner. All so you can avoid their mistakes in 2015.
12/30/2014 11:36 EST
'Tis the Season...for Identity

'Tis the Season...for Identity Theft

It's the most wonderful time of the year -- especially for online scammers. With holiday shopping also comes the downside of scams that are aimed at frugal shoppers trying to stretch their dollars. Contrary to the season of giving, these fraudulent tricks are aimed at taking your identity and financial information, and for scammers to thrive.
11/27/2014 08:15 EST
Gen Y: Learn to Embrace Saving so Debt Doesn't Delay Your

Gen Y: Learn to Embrace Saving so Debt Doesn't Delay Your Plans

Generation Y Canadians, born between 1980 and 1995, are constantly portrayed in the media as a generation burdened with financial issues. Here are a few tips from my personal experiences to ward off the spend-fests and embrace the habit of saving to overcome student debt.
11/07/2014 12:46 EST
How to Build an Emergency

How to Build an Emergency Fund

Thirty-nine per cent of Canadians surveyed have no idea how they would pay for their expenses if they had no income for six months -- and the number swells to 44 per cent for those under the age of 35. Here are five easy steps you can take to start building up an emergency fund.
10/21/2014 05:47 EDT
Four Bits of Personal Finance News Canadians Can Be Thankful

Four Bits of Personal Finance News Canadians Can Be Thankful For

There are some serious concerns about household debt in Canada. But as families put the final touches on their Thanksgiving plans, I thought it would a great time to point out some things that are good about personal finances in Canada. Here are four bits of personal finance news we should be thankful for.
10/07/2014 12:40 EDT
Get Your Finances In Order Before You

Get Your Finances In Order Before You Retire

If you are planning to move after you retire, put some careful consideration into the cost of living for that area. Look into the cost of real estate and see how far your money will stretch if you downsize from your current home. If you're moving to a different town or province, it's also worth looking into potential tax advantages for senior citizens in that area.
09/23/2014 12:39 EDT
How Immigrants Can Lay Down Canadian Credit

How Immigrants Can Lay Down Canadian Credit Roots

Canada is a country that is proud of its multiculturalism. It was built on the backs of immigrants -- some who arrived a century ago, and some who arrived last year. People come to Canada with hopes and dreams of a better life full of financial prosperity -- but sometimes it can be hard to get there.
09/02/2014 05:17 EDT
This Is How You Plan For College and University

This Is How You Plan For College and University Debt

If you know you are about to be attacked, why not beat the other side to the punch? The same philosophy works with student debt. Build up a solid defense against it by working part time and saving money throughout the next 3-4 years. This way, when that debt tries to attack you after graduation, you'll be armed with a sizable nest egg you can use to pay down the principal.
08/18/2014 11:59 EDT
What To Consider When Lending Money To Loved

What To Consider When Lending Money To Loved Ones

Have you ever had one of your friends ask to borrow money from you? Most of us are willing to oblige when the amount is small -- like $10 or $20 -- but what about when the amount is more significant? You are placed in an extremely difficult spot when a friend or family member is asking for $1,000, $5,000 or more.
07/29/2014 05:23 EDT
How To Start Pulling Yourself Out of

How To Start Pulling Yourself Out of Debt

The important thing is to write the goals down and post them somewhere that you see them everyday. Don't be embarrassed about putting them on the fridge and having your friends see them when they come over for a visit. You may not be proud of falling into debt but you should be proud of overcoming it.
07/14/2014 05:28 EDT