Normalizing the Conversation of Debt
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By Taz Rajan, Bromwich+Smith Staff | 516 words | Reading Time: 3 minutes | Date: 2020/03/17
Do you remember when the word DIVORCE was so taboo? It was a dirty word and you dare not say it out loud, let alone be one to get divorced! There was a great deal of shame, judgement, secrecy and gossip surrounded divorce. Celebrities did it all the time but if people in the community did, they were ostracized. It was difficult to find the right resources, to get the right advice and direction and find the most graceful way through a divorce.
Well there’s another “dirty” word that starts we D and that’s DEBT. At a recent financial coaching workshop there was a prime example of this. One of the participants volunteered to be coached by the instructor in front of the entire class. As she candidly shared her own story, there was a sense that she felt like she was the only one. Like she was unique in her financial struggle and that she felt slightly ashamed. The reality is, that hit home for everyone in the workshop and made us realize how common it actually is to struggle financially at some point in some way.
Talking about relationship troubles with our friends and family has become common place. We even suggest our friends try couples’ therapy, read great books or try a couple’s retreat. If they divorce, we support them and encourage them to move onwards. We get that divorce sometimes happens and there is life after divorce. We get that someone’s self-worth is not determined by how long they’ve been married or how many times they’ve been divorced. We’ve made progress in normalizing the conversation of divorce.
Talking about our finances and our debt though, now that’s not very common place at all. There is so much guilt and shame tied to our financial lives. We think that everyone else, all our friends and family members are financially set. They make way more money than they need, they carry little to no debt, they are at peace with their financial situations. There definitely are people like that and way to go! But, a large majority of Canadians are struggling with their debt, their budget and their finances to some extent. So, why aren’t we talking more openly and transparently about debt?
At Bromwich+Smith, we believe we need to normalize the conversation of debt. We need to realize just how common it is and that our self-worth is NOT tied to our net-worth. We need to know what our options are and what resources are available. We need to support, encourage and empower our friends and family struggling with debt, the same way we support, encourage and empower our friends and family struggling in their relationships or going through divorce.
Where do we start? Let’s start by just openly talking about our own financial challenges. Bromwich+Smith offers free over the phone personalized consultations. There is no shame in find out your options and making decisions to rebuild for a brighter financial future. If you are someone you know is struggling with debt, know this. We got you! There is life after debt and we are here to help.
By Taz Rajan Community Engagement Partner at Bromwich+Smith
Taz has been in the finance industry for nearly 2 decades and has always been passionate about education and empowerment. Having declared bankruptcy herself, she intimately understands the shame, stigma surrounding matters of debt as well as the joy and relief that comes from restructuring. Taz actively works to normalize the conversation of debt through blogs, media interviews, webinars, lunch & learns and through building relationship.