Monday, January 16 is known as Blue Monday — apparently the most depressing day of the year in the northern hemisphere.
It wasn’t always Blue Monday — that is until a company called Sky Travel came up with a marketing ploy equation involving the weather, the number of days since Christmas, New Year’s resolutions and debt — even the bankruptcy trustees have jumped on the Blue Monday bandwagon.
“The days are short, we’re still having winter weather, people’s holidays are over and all the bills are coming in — due from December and their holidays and their presents,” insolvency trustee Darrin Surminsky said.
And debt doesn’t discriminate. Surminsky said he deals with all walks of life including doctors and lawyers. He said debt can creep up on you before you know it.
“Here’s the problem. If you buy your children a video game console, how much does it really cost? Well, if you bought it for $400 and you put it on your credit card at 29.9 per cent, if you don’t pay that credit card off in full, that video game didn’t cost you $400 it’s going to cost you $500 or $600 if you take a long time to pay it off,” Surminsky said.
According to Statistics Canada the average Canadian owes $1.67 in debt for every dollar of disposable income. Whether that be credit cards, mortgages, or other loans.
Surminsky said credit cards are enough to make any irresponsible spender feel blue. He says some of this clients will have dozens of them, all maxed out to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“I always joke that after seeing me they sit different because their wallet is not so fat with these credit cards that go inside, Surminsky said.
Surminsky adds that he’s seeing a disturbing trend in recent years where seniors are having to declare bankruptcy. He said that’s in part because aging parents are bailing out their children who are also facing a financial crunch.