Friday November 01, 2013

Project Money Special: Gail Vaz-Oxlade on family finances & unmanageable debt

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We hand the show over to self-described financial crusader, Gail Vaz-Oxlade for a special Project Money edition of The Current about your money. Gail brings her personal finance skills to solve some tough problems on how to manage the family finances and manage unmanageable debt.

From Debt-Ridden to Debt-Free

Sandra Pereira can't afford to live on her own because she's $20, 000 in debt. She's 41 years old... unemployed since July. She welcomed The Current producer Pacinthe Mattar into her parents' house in downtown Toronto, where she's living and they talked about her finances.

Canadians struggle with alarming levels of debt. Our next two guests went from debt-ridden to debt-free.

Bridget Casey paid off $21,000 of student loan in just 22 months. Her blog is Money After Graduation and she was in Calgary.

This 27-year-old repaid $28,115 in debt - in under two years -- The Globe & Mail

Cait Flanders blogs at Blonde on a Budget and also on Gail's website. She lives in Vancouver, one of the most expensive places to live in the country... in the province where students go into the deepest debt to get their diplomas. Cait paid off $30,000 in 2 years.

* The average debt in Vancouver is nearly $35,000 while the rest of the country's student debt average is about $26,000

Amber Ashton is 31 and single, living in Barrie, Ontario. Her debt load is $45,000. When she heard I was hosting the Current, she wrote in. Here's part of her letter:

"I literally don't know what to do anymore, and often stress out about it every single day and feel past hopeless. Any information or suggestions or help would be incredible, because I have no idea what to do anymore, and I'm frightened."

Amber Ashton joined Gail Vaz-Oxlade in Toronto.

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When's the right time for kids to start thinking about money? What's the best way to dole out allowance? When do you stop doling out allowances?

Producer Liz Hoath has talked to some families with questions and joined Gail Vaz-Oxlade from our Vancouver studio to introduce her to some of the people she met.

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Meet: Alice DeBoer on left. Renee LeBlanc on right. 
L to R kids are Oscar LeBlanc, Jack LeBlanc, Ilona Bell and Jasper Bell.

Last Word - Gail's daughter, Alexandra Prue

We've just been talking about families making ends meet... and teaching kids about money. Gail has written books on the subject, and given financial suggestions for years.

But as always, some people are more receptive than others to her advice... and for today's Last Word, we ended our special edition of The Current with a conversation between daughter Alexandra Prue and mother.


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Gail Vaz-Oxlade Links

If you can relate to the challenges of living with debt? Share your story with us.

Tweet us @thecurrentcbc. Follow us on Facebook. Or e-mail us through our website. Call us toll-free at 1 877 287 7366. And as always if you missed anything on The Current, grab a podcast.

This special was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar and Liz Hoath.


Listen to another segment hosted by Gail Vaz-Oxlade on Love & Money


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