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5 free online tools to improve your personal finances

Maintaining or improving your financial health can be an enormous challenge. Fortunately, several online tools are available to help you expand your knowledge on your personal finances and repay your debts, among other things. Simple and easily accessible, these tools can be a first step towards a healthier financial situation. That being said, remember that the advice of an insolvency professional is your best option if your debts are very high and your financial situation is precarious.

What are the five free tools to improve one’s personal finances?

1. Online budgeting tool

A budget is an essential component of financial health. In fact, monitoring one’s revenues and expenses is a practice that should be established and reviewed a few times a year.

It can also be useful to draw up a budget to plan for major expenses or projects, such as renovations. Whether you’re in a precarious financial situation or you have good financial health, a budget is a key tool.

For instance, with a precise and complete budget grid, you can detail your finances, save money, repay your debts, and more. In that regard, Ginsberg Gingras has published a free and easy-to-use online budgeting tool.

2. Debt ratio calculator

The debt ratio is unbiased data that allow [pc1] you to compare your revenues with your total debt. The debt ratio is an indicator of the state of your personal finances and of your use of credit. The lower your ratio is, the greater is your ability to manage your level of debt and face unplanned situations, such as a broken household appliance or job loss. However, when that ratio is high, it is a sign that your financial situation could be fragile. In such a case, an unexpected expense or event (e.g. job loss) could bring debt overload.

Furthermore, this kind of data is often consulted by financial institutions, which use the information to approve or deny a loan, such as a mortgage loan. Therefore, the lower your debt ratio, the better your chances are of obtaining a loan.

If you are in debt or would like to know your debt ratio for informational purposes, you can use our debt ratio calculator. This free online tool will provide you with impartial and highly relevant information about your personal finances.

If your ratio is above or near 40%, we recommend consulting a professional at Ginsberg Gingras. You will be directed towards personalized solutions to reduce your debt ratio and repay your debts according to your financial capacities.

3. Interest calculator: understanding the real cost of credit cards

It can be difficult to understand the real cost of having one or more credit cards, for instance with regards to interest rates, amortization periods, balances due and minimum required payments.

As a consumer and credit user, you would be wise to understand the real cost of the purchases you make with a credit card. By doing so, you will have a better understanding of the amounts paid in interest fees and their consequences on your personal finances.

Here is an example:

  • you buy a television set for $1,000;
  • you make the purchase with a credit card, which has an interest rate of 18.5%;
  • you make only the minimum required payment each month;
  • the minimum required payment corresponds to 3% of the debt or $10 (whichever is higher).

In the above scenario, your $1,000 purchase will actually cost you $1,842.89, and will take you more than 10 years to repay.

In general, a credit card balance that is not fully paid at the end of the month will cost you more in the long run. Remember: the longer your repayment period is, the more interest you will pay.

To learn more about the real cost of having one or more credit cards, we recommend using an interest calculator.

4. Chat online with an insolvency expert

If your debts have accumulated to a point where you can no longer see a way to repay them, don’t hesitate to contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) at Ginsberg Gingras.

For questions, big or small, we have created an online chatroom where you can quickly speak with one of our experts, at no cost.

To use this service, go to our website. If an advisor is available, you will see a tab marked online chat at the bottom of the page. If the tab isn’t visible, that means our advisors are already helping other people like you. When an advisor becomes available, you will receive an invitation to ask your questions.

Based on your needs, the advisor will help you take control of your situation.

Online Chat Ginsberg Gingras


5. Blogs and other reliable sources of information

Several government agencies and ministries/departments as well as companies offer a lot of information about personal finances and debt.

Whatever your situation or your age, learning more about finance management, budgeting, debt and other similar topics is a great way to improve your financial health. However, make sure you use reliable sources of information, such as the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada and the Office de la protection du consommateur.

We suggest that you also check out our blog regularly. Through our blog, we publish posts on a variety of topics relating to insolvency.

Here are some of our most popular blog posts:

  • How important is it to file your tax return?
  • The Consequences of Bankruptcy on Hydroelectricity and Other Services
  • Is it a good idea to take out a bank loan to repay your consumer proposal?

By consulting reliable sources of information, you will strengthen your understanding of finances. You will learn about the best practices you should integrate into your daily life, as well as the habits you should banish.

Other tools for personal finances

In addition to the five tools discussed above, remember that many other tools that apply to your situation are available. Interest rate calculators for a mortgage, a car or a personal loan are good examples. These kinds of tools can be found on the websites of most financial institutions.

Financial Litteratie

Self-education about personal finances is incredibly important, especially considering how readily available credit is.

To some extent, using free online tools helps in developing a realistic overview of the situation, making better purchase decisions and managing one’s personal finances. That being said, keep in mind remember that the advice of an insolvency professional is a precious resource, especially when your debts begin to accumulate. In such a case, we recommend that you consult a LIT before your personal finances get out of control. The quicker you act, the more options you will have to deal with your debt.

Chantal Gingras

President, FPAIR, Licensed Insolvency Trustee

Official Office: Gatineau (Hull)
Phone: 819-776-0283

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