Canadians’ personal debt levels have never been higher. According to Transunion, a credit reporting agency, the typical Canadian had $21,686 in non-mortgage debt as of November 2016. While the delinquency rate is low, which means we’re servicing our debt for the most part, personal debt is still a concern.

Dealing with debt, unpaid taxes or other financial issues is often something people put off until something happens to force their hand. When they do decide to tackle their financial problems, Certified Financial Planner® professional are there to help.

“Getting help from a professional financial planner is a smart move for people in all different scenarios, says Al Nagy, a CFP professional and regional director of Investors Group Financial Services in Edmonton. “Whether you’re tackling debt, juggling competing financial priorities or just trying to get your financial life back on a better course, a CFP professional can help you work through the options and create a customized plan to get you back on the path to financial wellness.”

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Al outlines three ways that a CFP professional can help untangle your finances and get you back on track.

1.      Diagnosing and treating your financial issues

A CFP professional attends to your financial health the same way your family doctor manages physical health. He or she will figure out what they can do for you, bringing in trusted specialists from their network if necessary. For example, a person who hasn’t filed taxes in years may need the expertise of a tax accountant. The CFP professional acts as the quarterback in these situations, managing the relationship for you and ensuring everyone is on the same page and that actions taken by other professionals are in the best interest of the long-term plan you’ve created together.

And just as with your family doctor, you should feel free to be open and honest with your financial planner. Don’t feel awkward or embarrassed about your financial situation―they’ve seen it all and they’re there to help you.

2.      Acting as your search engine for financial information

Are you suffering from information overload when it comes to your finances? In this age of social media, personal finance blogs and countless other online sources, it’s easy to become confused and overwhelmed by information that may be unreliable or not the best fit for your situation. Advice you receive from your CFP professional is customized for your personal situation, and CFP professionals have a written obligation to put your interests ahead of all others.

3.      Helping you set a course for financial well-being

Research has shown that a comprehensive financial plan prepared by a CFP professional helps put Canadians on track with their financial affairs. The Value of Financial Planning, a three-year study of close to 15,000 Canadians, followed those who engaged in comprehensive financial planning, limited planning or no planning. The research found that 81% of Canadians with a comprehensive plan felt on track with their financial affairs, compared to 44% who had no financial plan. If you’re ready to get your finances back on track, a CFP professional offers proven results.

If, like many Canadians, you’re struggling with stifling debt and wondering where to turn, considering first contacting a non-profit credit counselor to get a handle on your debt. As you get back on an even keel, work with a CFP professional to help plan and secure your financial future.

Al can attest to the improvements that are made in clients’ lives over time. “It’s very gratifying when you can see that you’ve improved the lives of others,” he says. “At the end of the day, it’s great to help get people on the right path to financial success.”

To find a Certified Financial Planner® professional in your area that will help guide you financially, use our Find Your Planner tool.

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For more on taking control of your finances, read Take back control of your cash flow,6 ways to balance your financial priorities and 4 ways to overcome financial planner anxiety.