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Shame: It's how many of us feel about our finances

Shame is a powerful and painful feeling.

It's one of humiliation or distress, of being foolish or wrong, mortified, embarrassed or losing your dignity.

And it can apply to you and your dysfunctional relationship with money.

That's why the 'Breaking the Cycle of Financial Shame' study by Coast Capital is so shocking.

Coast Capital is the credit union that has branches in Kelowna, the Fraser Valley, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

The survey found that 36% of Canadians feel shame about their financial situation.

That number jumps to 42% when millennials -- those aged 28 to 43 -- are asked.

In a more general context, 90% of millennials report having financial worries.

</who>Millennials can often feel inadequate based on how much money they make.

That makes sense.

Millennials are in what's supposed to be prime ladder-climbing and and income-earning years.

And if they aren't in the groove they feel morose.

For instance, the 'Breaking the Cycle of Financial Shame' study found that 64% of millennials feel that making less money than others bangs up their self worth.

70% have had relationships with friends and-or peers impacted by personal financial situations.

30% feel inadequate seeing the amount of disposable income their friends and-or peers have.

And 38% regularly try to make their financial situation appear better than it actually is.

“Many of us in Canada – across different income levels – are struggling to keep up with inflation, rising costs of living and record debt levels,” says Aimee Chow, director of retail and investments for Coast Capital.
"This study illuminates that the shame we feel around our finances is also holding us back. The silence that shame imposes is preventing us from having important conversations and actively taking steps within our control that can unlock financial opportunities and improve our situation.”

</who>90% of millennials have financial worries.

The solution is two-fold.

First, don't feel shame.

Try not to compare yourself to others when it comes to money.

You are where you are with your finances, so just vow to do better in the future.

Do that by reaching out to an expert who can give you non-judgemental advice on how to move forward.

Coast Capital says it has such experts, starting at

Financial educator Chantel Chapman is the CEO of Vancouver-based The Trauma of Money and supported the 'Breaking the Cycle of Financial Shame' study.

She is also an expert in financial recovery and the psychological and behavioural factors driving our relationship with money.

"While the findings are very telling about the current economic reality in the country, I am not surprised by the insights. In my work, I see financial shame as a common significant barrier to financial recovery and empowerment," she said.

"Financial shame isolates us and can lead to avoidance patterns, making financial literacy, support, and pathways to action inaccessible. These avoidant behaviours often lead to worse financial outcomes and the cycle of shame continues.”

Thus, the study found 76% of millennials in BC, and 63% of Canadians, take measures to avoid dealing with finances because they are ashamed.

The solution, as mentioned previously, is to suck it up and seek help.

Although that's easier said than done, it's essential to move forward, feel better and pave the way to better finances.

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