financial stress

There is no question that carrying a lot of debt can be stressful. While financial difficulties often lead to mental health problems – it is also probable that mental health problems can lead to financial concerns. 

Today’s podcast is about the effect that financial stress has on mental health. Leigh Taylor, Licensed Insolvency Trustee, explores how the two can go hand in hand and how to prevent a downward spiral.

Leigh relates stories from his many years of experience helping people deal with the stress of their financial problems. He also covers: 

  • Where to turn for help
  • How financial stress affects our mental health
  • Best ways to alleviate anxiety around your debt problems
  • Outcomes after meeting with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee

Licensed Insolvency Trustees can help you take control of your debt that may be affecting your mental health. They are considered some of the best financial advisors in the country and the only ones licensed by the federal government of Canada. 

Wayne Kay  0:04  

Welcome to another edition of the Debt Matters podcast where we do help Canadians find solutions to their debt with Licensed Insolvency Trustees from across Canada. I’m Wayne Kay and in today’s show, we’re going to be talking about mental health and finances. 

My guest today Leigh Taylor from LCTaylor Licensed Insolvency Trustee in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Leigh, thank you very much for being here today.

Leigh Taylor  0:28  

My pleasure.

Wayne Kay  0:29  

Boy, this is a big topic, this one, because it’s going to affect a lot of people.  I was actually talking with a psychologist who said, mental health is going to be our next pandemic.

Leigh Taylor  0:43  

Well, we may already be there. You look at the amount of stress that the COVID 19 pandemic has caused. And yes, it’s a good start.

Wayne Kay  0:52  

Isn’t that something – just think about that. You’re right – stress, anxieties, fears, and now all of a sudden, you add in money on top of that, and that’s never a good combination.

Leigh Taylor  1:04  

That’s true. No good can come from that. But the problem –  is it money that causes the financial health problems, or the mental health problems or vice versa.  And it’s sort of like, what came first, the chicken or the egg? Was it mental health problems that caused the financial troubles or vice versa?

Wayne Kay  1:25  

Is that something that you do see once in a while in your office?

Leigh Taylor  1:29  

Well, I think it’s fair to say that, depending on how broadly you define mental health. It’s pretty hard to say that you’re not suffering from a lot of stress problems when you find out that you owe Revenue Canada a substantial amount of money. How do you avoid stress and that kind of situation? 

That’s true, it’s a growing problem for Canadians. Because as they start to come through the pandemic, and the aftermath of the pandemic, they’re finding out – that while a lot of the CERB money that they got that they thought was a gift from the government is all taxable. And now they’re faced with the stress of how you pay the tax on it. Particularly considering that you’re off work for a substantial period of time, and you don’t have the same income, and now you’re trying to get back to work. And where does it end? And that’s a real tough situation for millions of Canadians.

Wayne Kay  2:23  

Yes, you’re so right. When you talk about having that kind of stress on you, there’s a lot clinically –  anxiety, depression will set in. You’re gonna see anger, there’s quite a few different feelings that are going to happen to people. 

And if you’re going through those, we do want to say, there’s lots of great resources out there. But you know, always reach out to your doctor as well. If you’re going through something that’s fairly significant. Reach out to your doctor, they can give you some help. Maybe a pill, maybe just having a conversation makes all the difference. And just want to make sure that people always know there’s places to turn.

Bell Media actually does a really good thing with Bell’s, Let’s Talk Day. They talk a lot about that. Just reach out and get some help and talk to your friends about it. But let’s talk about finances. Do you find a lot of people keep that secret if they’re in financial trouble?

Leigh Taylor  3:17  

Well, nobody likes to admit that they’re in financial trouble. They see it as well, some sort of failure on their part. You know, yes in part it usually is, so it’s not hard to see. So they avoid it. They avoid dealing with it, they don’t have the knowledge of what to do or how to do it. So they end up avoiding it or doing nothing. That just simply makes the problem a whole lot worse. 

Yes, it’s prevalent, and it’s prevalent for a lot of people that we see. Now, people handle stress differently. Some people thrive on stress – thrive on it until it kills them. Other people just bury themselves to avoid the stress. And seldom does that work, just know, creditors get frustrated. Interest rates keep rising. They don’t do anything to alleviate the problem or some of the problems that cause financial difficulty. And it just is a downward spiral. So it’s unfortunate, but it happens to varying degrees, but it’s very prevalent.

Wayne Kay  4:27  

Last time you were on the show, our big topic was budgeting for irregular incomes. And we had a lot of discussion regarding that. And if anybody wants to go back and listen to it, it is on our site But I think when we talk about budgeting, stress, mental health, those kind of all fit together as well, don’t they?

Leigh Taylor  4:56  

Well, they certainly do. They certainly do. When you think that stress is caused by uncertainty – when you don’t know what’s going to be happening to you. You have a lot of questions about what to do, but you don’t know what the answers are. 

We have disruptive situations in our lives. You have financial problems. It causes marital problems. It causes discord in your relationships, you end up with things like threats from collectors.  I’m going to take you to court if you don’t pay. You don’t have the money so what do you do? All of this causes stress in people. 

One of the best ways to alleviate the stress, other than going to see your doctor and taking a pill, might simply be to deal with the causes of the stress. If you don’t know what the answers are, let’s go and find out what the answers are. If you’re going to be fighting with your wife over finances, let’s find out what are some of the things that you can do to relieve the causes of that anxiety, the causes of the financial difficulty. If you’re getting calls from collection agents, well, let’s find out what the answers are. What can the collection do? How do you protect yourself? All those sorts of things are under the broad heading, getting the answers and relieving the stress. To a large degree, that’s what we do a lot of.

Wayne Kay  6:13  

So somebody walks in with those problems. What’s step number one? How do you even start with these problems?

Leigh Taylor  6:23  

Well, invariably we sit down and talk to people about them. What is their overall situation? What is causing the financial problems, whether it’s marital or personal situations, or health, or mental health. There’s a lot of things that can be the root problems of financial difficulty. And those are the ones that you have to address whatever those causes. 

Maybe because we don’t find out what caused it, then solving the immediate financial difficulty only will result in the financial difficulties resurfacing when the problems that are unsolved resurface. 

So you get a good idea of what the problem is – everybody’s a little unique in regard to their situation, a lot of similar things in people’s lives. But a lot of them are a different combination of different things. You have to find out what the problem is, and then you come up with a solution. 

Not all the solutions are perfect for everybody. Sometimes it’s a combination of things that they have to do. But if you can come up with the answers to the problems after you find exactly what the problems are – then you’ve gone a long way to solving their financial problems, and solving some of the stress in people’s lives so they can get back to normal.

Wayne Kay  7:44  

Pen and paper, sitting down around the table. Is this a start as well for somebody before they get to see you?

Leigh Taylor  7:54  

Well, it’s always a good idea. A lot of people don’t know how to go about it. And it seems obvious when you’re talking about it objectively. Just write down this, that, and the other thing. But people have to be able to recognize the problem. 

It’s as simple as – there’s an old adage that if you earn so much money, and you spend $1, more, you’re in trouble. If you earn so much money and spend $1 less – you’re happy. Right? 

And that’s overly simplistic, obviously, but it makes a point. And the point is that not everybody recognizes that or understands that. 

So if you get down to the basics, and if you’re capable of doing it –  sit down with your spouse. If your adult kids are being supported by you, sit down with them and start talking about things that are important. And money may not be the most important thing in your life. If you’re smart, it probably isn’t. But it sure helps to get that part of it right in order to achieve some of the things that are truly going to make you happy.

Wayne Kay  8:57  

What have you seen regarding people’s mental health after they do some meetings, and you come up with a plan – whether it might be a Consumer Proposal, maybe it’s a Bankruptcy. But finally, there’s a solution for them to get out of the situation that they’re in. What have you seen from those people,

Leigh Taylor  9:16  

A lot of times, people will come into our office, really full of stress. We’ll sit down with them, we’ll go through it, we will give them, we’ll give them hope. We’ll give them a light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s a path, here’s Plan A. Plan A is you’re going to go through this and that is going to solve this problem. It’ll result in less stress and you’ll get back on your feet. 

Sometimes planning is Bankruptcy and sometimes it’s just careful budgeting. Sometimes it’s going home and figuring out what you want. Now, what are your priorities? Let’s get started with a budget. Let’s go through the basics and then come back and talk to us and we’ll see. Once you figure out what your priorities are then we can figure out a road to get there. 

So it really is a process that we go through. A lot of times it’s fairly simple, people will have a pretty good idea what caused the problem. If you’ve just gone through a marriage breakup, and you know what the problem is, you just don’t know how to get past it. Some of those are simpler to deal with than you might imagine. We’re not psychiatrists. But we can recognize problems and refer you to a psychiatrist. So that may be part of the solution.

Wayne Kay  10:38  

This is part of even the first consultation that you guys do. At least they have somebody to talk to who’s in the industry that’s seen so many of these issues. And I think it’s important for people to know they’re not alone.

Leigh Taylor  10:53  

Well, that’s true in this business. Like I said before, everybody that comes to see us is unique. There’s a lot of similar problems, but there’s a combination of things that are always involved. And that’s not just the finances and the circumstances, how much money they make, or who they owe money to – its personalities as well. 

Not everybody can deal with toughing it out and putting off some of the things in their lives, etc. for long term results.  I’ve been at this now for a little over 40 years and I still haven’t seen everything. But I’ve seen a lot, enough to know that there’s very few problems that can’t be solved. You just may not like the solution. And you know, there’s always somebody worse off than you are. So stop feeling sorry for yourself. Let’s get on with the solution.

Wayne Kay  11:54  

There you go – get to the solution, and then things will change. Have you ever run into people let’s say, two years after the fact, they come in – you help them out. Get them out of their situation two years later? What has that been like if you run into people, and they just say, oh, Leigh that first meeting with you is fantastic. We can’t believe the difference of what’s happened.

Leigh Taylor  12:18  

You know, it’s interesting. We’re in Winnipeg. And Winnipeg is a relatively small city, you run into a lot of people eventually. I had an interesting situation, just a couple of years ago, and I was in a retail store, buying a new computer gadget. And the salesman came up to me and introduced himself because he knew me, but I didn’t recognize him.  

We had a really interesting conversation. He’d been one of our clients about four or five years before that. And he was saying how, after he met with us, he got his married life back together again, because they got rid of their financial problems. They’ve gone bankrupt, they started over, they did budgeting, and they got their lives back.  

He pulled out his wallet, and showed me pictures of his son, who, two weeks before that, had just graduated from the university. And he said, they kept the family together, they started the budget, they decided what was important. And that was one of the things they wanted to do is make sure their son got his education. 

So well, that made my day. Yes, a lot of people we don’t hear from them afterwards, we get them back on their feet and they don’t really keep us informed of what’s going on in their lives unless we run into them in some way, shape, or form. But you hear a little bit about them.

Just today, I talked to somebody who we organized a budgeting of their situation that I think can solve most of their problems. And he said, The reason I came to you is because a friend of mine came to you a few years ago, and you helped him out. And he’s been doing really well since then. And he said, I really have to talk to Leigh Taylor to solve problems, right? So there’s some really good feedback when you get it. And it’s really gratifying.

Wayne Kay  14:15  

It’s nice to see because it’s such a positive thing for their whole family life. And just to hear that – forget about the money. And you mentioned that earlier on, instead don’t just focus on the money, it’s the entire family and your own health as well that can come away in a much healthier state than before with all the stress. 

Leigh Taylor  14:35  

That’s true, if you can get rid of the stress and the worry and everything in your life, you can start focusing on the things that really matter. Yes, that’s really important.

Wayne Kay  14:43  

Absolutely. Leigh, any final words you want to share with us today?

Leigh Taylor  14:48  

No, other than that it’s important for people to realize that there are answers and solutions to their problems. So they have to sometimes just bite the bullet and go out and find those answers and solutions. Sometimes it’s coming in and talking to us. And we don’t charge for initial assessments. So coming in and talking to us isn’t going to break the bank. It’s probably going to do the opposite. And they can find some solutions. That’s the road to happiness. 

Wayne Kay  15:16  

Yes, exactly. Leigh, thank you very much for this. I really appreciate you being on the show today. And as Leigh mentioned, you can get that first free consultation through the website, 

And that is it for the show for today. Make sure you subscribe wherever you get your favorite podcasts from –  the show is called Debt Matters podcasts. And of course, for more information, you can always check out Thanks very much for listening.

About Leigh Taylor

Leigh began his career as an Official Receiver with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy. He is a Certified Professional Accountant and attained his license as a  Licensed Insolvency Trustee in 1980.  

LCTaylor’s mission is to help people get out of debt through compassionate care and professional service. With over 40 years experience in the insolvency field, Leigh and his staff have helped over 50,000 Manitobans solve their debt problems. 

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