Top Five Financial Lessons from the hit TV Show, Schitt’s Creek
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By Taz Rajan| Reading time: 5 min, 31 sec | 1104 words
Schitt’s Creek may have wrapped, but its life lessons will continue to live on. The hit TV series, which just won eight awards at the Canadian Screen Awards for its final season, shows the journey of a wealthy family that suddenly goes broke and provides teachable moments around money when forced to go back to basics.
Much like the Rose family, Canadian households are also awash in debt. According to a recent Angus Reid Institute survey, economic anxiety haunts two-in-five Canadians, with half saying they are worried that someone in their household may lose their job.
Having to rebuild their worth, the Rose family slowly learns financial dos and don’ts that highlight important and relatable lessons to Canadians. As COVID-19 government subsidies, payment deferrals and provincial grants end, there will be a steady growth in insolvencies. In the words of the iconic Moira Rose, “You must prepare for life, and whatever it will throw at you.”
Top five financial takeaways from the show
1. File your taxes. Whether you run your own business or have personal income, do not forget to file your taxes on time. Seek help from an expert who can provide a consultation to help you understand all your options, so you receive all available tax reliefs.
Show reference: The Schitt’s Creek series starts with a raid by the Revenue Agency. It turns out the Rose family owed multiple thousands in back taxes. The Rose family (Johnny, Moira, David, and Alexis) failed to pay their taxes on time because the accountant they hired to manage their money assured them all was being taken care of. Yet, in truth, he stole nearly $500 million of their money and fled the country. The family ends up broke and in Schitt’s Creek. Tip: work with a reputable Accountant and/or Bookkeeper.
2. Have an emergency fund. While it took some time for the Rose family to get back on track, David’s new job allowed him to begin the process of saving. Stash some cash into an emergency fund for a rainy day — even if you only put aside a little at a time, it can come in handy if unexpected expenses come your way.
Show reference: The first consistent job David gets is at a clothing store called Blouse Barn. When David helps sell the store, he received $40,000 from the owner. When the family discusses the different ways they could spend the money, David suggests saving (the first time the family begins to save vs spend). It’s less about how much money you set aside, and more about the habit of putting something aside for a rainy day. It builds the ‘muscle’ or habit, it gives us confidence and it can really help out at times. Learn more here.
3. Let go of the shame. Debt can feel extremely overwhelming, and many put the guilt of it on themselves. Life is full of uncertainty; the pandemic has been a firm reminder of this. Oftentimes, it is not poor money management that puts you into debt, there are a many different circumstances such as a death or sickness in the family, divorce, or job loss, that can start this domino affect. Debt carries a very large stigma that leads people to define their self-worth by their net worth. To overcome debt, there needs to be an internal journey and a measure of self-forgiveness. Once that takes place, it is important to know that every Canadian has the right to restructure their debt.
Show reference: Throughout the series, you watch the Rose family struggle to come to terms with their status and going out of their way to avoid the people from their past because they are ashamed of their financial circumstances.
4.Talk to loved ones about money. Due to the stigma debt carries, many people keep their money problems to themselves. Opening up to a family member or friend can help alleviate the burden of debt and put you on the path to restructuring. Learn more here.
Show reference: Throughout the show, what gets the Roses through their financial hardship is that they can lean on each other for support and be open and honest around their situation.
5. Ask for help. Canadians can reach out to licensed experts like Bromwich+Smith who are available across the country to help people who are struggling with debt and can provide support throughout the consumer proposal process. One of the bravest things we can do is seek out the right help to come back stronger.
Show reference: Johnny and Moira are prideful people, but when they find themselves in trouble they reach out to the jack of all trades, Ray, as a financial advisor. One of the first things they do when they lose their money is to get help.
Often TV shows, though fantasy, have many real life, teachable moments. That is certainly the case with the hit Schitt’s Creek, where we learn that everyone can be redeemed.
In Canada, everyone has the right to restructure. A consumer proposal is an option to handle overwhelming debt that provides legal protection, allows you to keep assets and is legally binding to creditors. At the same time, getting a handle on your finances and putting a plan in place will help alleviate anxiety and calm your thoughts, and it will stop the creditors from calling. Keep in mind that the sooner you act, the sooner you stop interest from accumulating.
Have productive, effective money conversations with loved ones, it will ease stress and make people more willing to seek appropriate help. While the best time to plant a tree was 100 years ago, the next best time is now. Take action, get the right information, and make the most informed decision you can for your family and your future. Get the facts, know your rights, and be able to make an informed decision to get out of debt.
Debt Relief Specialists are available by phone at 1.855.884.9243 or you can request a call back via the contact us page. There is no need to travel to a local office. Licensed Insolvency Trustee, Bromwich+Smith, is now offering video appointments, with all services available from the comfort of your home.
By Taz Rajan Community Engagement Partner at Bromwich+Smith
Taz has been in the finance industry for nearly two 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 relationships.