She didn’t want “it to get out”: the image of success that hid large debts led her to bankruptcy

Young Quebecers are increasingly represented in insolvency proceedings in Quebec. Our investigation and show office I he met several young people who went bankrupt before they turned 25.


  • NAME : Stéphanie (fictitious name)
  • AGE : 23 years
  • CITY : Rawdon
  • BANKRUPTCY : October 2020
  • CAUSE : poor financial planning


In her early twenties, Stephanie gave her friends the impression that she was very successful with her lovingly decorated apartment and brand new Chevrolet Spark. Unfortunately, this image of prosperity and independence relied heavily on credit and concealed great financial fragility.

When Stéphanie broke up, she had to start paying the rent herself. She also realized that buying a new car comes with a lot of costs that she hadn’t imagined. Unpaid bills quickly piled up.

“It was a lot of cell phone bills (which I didn’t pay at first). I kept telling myself that it didn’t matter,” she explains.

And credit cards. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re young. This is an option: I have money there that I can take, it’s quite easy.”

Around the same time, Stéphanie was also in a car accident. However, she was only insured “on one side” and that was because she wanted to pay less for her monthly payments.

“I crash the car and it’s not covered. I have higher amounts to pay, I am already late with the invoices. (…) I was able to manage that before. But there (I was) in (thousands of dollars of debt) when I was 20 years old, I couldn’t (consider) that,” she confides.

“I felt suffocated. I couldn’t see the end,” she continues.

At age 20, the young Rawdon resident filed for bankruptcy with debts totaling more than $14,000.

Ironically, she herself was working for a financial institution offering loans at the time.


In the interview, the young woman did not hide the fact that it was not easy to confess to all her loved ones.

She revealed to her mother that she wasn’t rolling in gold, although at first she didn’t want it “to be known, to get out.” She eventually moved back to the other one to cut costs.

Even though entering the process of financial recovery brought her immense relief, the experienced bankruptcy will not solve everything, she judges. She had to repay the amount monthly to her creditors for three years.

“The fact remains that bankruptcy haunts you. It’s not all good because the debts are settled,” he says. She talks about the shame that still haunts her for not knowing how to manage her affairs well.

Today, Stéphanie is gradually trying to control herself. Although she is told that having a credit card can help improve her credit score, she is still hesitant to get one again. They fear falling back into the same debt spiral.

She works in a nursery and says she can’t afford to go back to school.

A young woman pleads for more financial education in high school.

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