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HERE ARE ALTERNATIVES TO BANKRUPTCY

  i) Credit Counselling

 ii) Debt Consolidation

iii) Informal Debt Settlements

iv) a Consumer Proposal  


The options available to you generally depend on:

The total amount of your unsecured debt;

The type of your debt;

The property and/or assets you own; and

The level of your monthly income.


Addressing each in turn.


THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF YOUR UNSECURED DEBT.

Usually the more you owe the more assistance required.

If you have less than five creditors and owe $5-10,000 you may be able to settle your debt by yourself. Call us or see below for some tips.


THE TYPE OF YOUR DEBT

Some debts have special rules, the main ones are child and spousal support, student loans less than seven years old, fines, traffic tickets, and certain government over payments. These debts must normally be paid in full. Income taxes can be settled but this can increase the cost of your solution.


THE PROPERTY / ASSETS YOU OWN

Most property required to maintain a reasonable standard of living is exempt, but, as you may expect, the more non-exempt property you have, the more you will be required to pay your creditors in any debt settlement solution.


YOUR MONTHLY INCOME

How much you can afford is a main factor is determining your solutions; but also consider if your income varies. Is your income seasonal or is it expected to rise or fall over the next 2 - 5 years?

We recommend that you discuss your options with a qualified professional but in the interim the usual bankruptcy alternatives are:


Credit Counselling

A lot of people can pay their debts but may need a little help and discipline to make this happen. If this is the case then maybe a debt management program through a reputable credit counsellor is possible.

The credit counsellor works with you to develop a plan to repay your debt. They will deal with your creditors to minimize or stop interest, stop collection calls and gain you the time to pay off what you owe. If your situation warrants it your Trustee may suggest this option.

You should be warned however that there are many unlicensed, unregulated financial advisors and credit counsellors offering debt reduction services. Ensure you are dealing with a reputable one. Research your options, ask a Trustee near you, or call us.


Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation is getting one large loan at a lower interest rate to pay off several small higher interest rate loans or credit cards. Of course since this is a loan you must first have an acceptable credit rating and sufficient income to have your application accepted.

The significant benefit of this solution is that if the loan is repaid without default your credit rating will not be adversely effected.

You must also consider how your debt arose in the first place. Consolidating your debts and then starting to rebuild your debt again is not solving your problem. Cut up your credit cards, concentrate on paying off the consolidation loan or consider combining this solution with some assistance from a credit counsellor or financial professional.


Informal Debt Settlements

If you have only a few creditors or owe a relatively small amount, it may be possible to call each creditor, tell them the situation and try to work with them to pay off the debt.

If you can save up some money try and settle the debts yourself. Most creditors will accept settlements of 1/3 - 1/2 of what you owe if you can make an immediate payment.

Make sure you get something in writing before you make your final settlement payment and keep your paperwork and receipts.

This may not be the easiest solution but it sometimes works.  We can give you some tips, give us a call.


Consumer Proposal

If you are unable to qualify or afford a debt management program or consolidation loan a consumer proposal may be for you. To file a Consumer Proposal you require the services of a licensed Bankruptcy Trustee. You are not going bankrupt. You are just using the Trustee to assist you in establishing a new contract with your creditors. This is done by filing a proposal. If accepted the proposal is legally binding on all of your unsecured creditors. [Read more?]