Tag Archives: Bankruptcy Trustees

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Sands & Associates Featured Office: Tri-cities / Port Coquitlam

Serving the Tri-cities area (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody), Sands & Associates’ Tri-cities office is located in Shaughnessy Square, Port Coquitlam, just off Lougheed Highway.  Tri-cities residents are welcome to meet with one of our experienced professionals to discuss their specific debt solution needs.

Both government-licensed trustees Deane Gurney and Geoff Orrell serve our Port Coquitlam office, as well as Estate Manager and Qualified Insolvency Counsellor Julie Medeiros.  Julie has over 5 years’ experience assisting individuals in solving their financial difficulties and she is also enrolled in the CAIRP (Trustee) Qualification Program.

Julie’s Top Trustee Tip:  “Knowledge is power.  See a trustee and become fully informed about your situation and available options before making any financial decisions.”

Contact us to arrange a free, confidential evaluation of your debt solution options in our Tri-Cities office.

AskExpertQuestion

Ask the Expert – January Edition

Credit counselling expert and debt specialist, licensed trustee Blair Mantin answers your questions about how to manage debts, including options such as Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcy in BC! 

Q:  How do I know if I have a debt problem?

A:  You may have a debt problem if you are:

Borrowing money to make ends meet:  Moving money from one credit card to another, borrowing from friends and family, or seeking payday loans.

Being stressed about paying your rent:  Postponing regular expenses and habitually being short for your basic needs, such as rent or groceries.

Using your overdraft constantly:  Having insufficient funds to make payments on time and depending on your overdraft as a ‘safety net’.

A less obvious and often overlooked sign of a debt problem would be the length of time it will take you to pay off your debts.  If your debts would take an unreasonable length of time to pay down, speak with Sands & Associates – we can help you become debt free in 2015 and it’s free to meet with us.

Discuss your debt solutions with a BC debt expert, contact us for a free, confidential consultation in one of our 12 office locations.

NewYearNewFinancialLeaf-Blog

New Year – New Financial Leaf

Each and every year many of us fall into the same cycle:  Our good intentions fall by the wayside and near the end of the year the frenzied spending of holiday hype leads to the crash and burn of bills come January.

Start a fresh financial page as we turn the calendar and tackle the new year, with our top 5 New Year’s financial resolution tips:

Review last years Finances:  Evaluate how your finances have fared over the last year.  Did you take on more debt?  Pay off credit?  Overspend, or manage to save?  Take note of what worked and what didn’t.  Sometimes in order to look forward, you’ve first got to look back.

Make a Spending Strategy:  Map out a clear path for your incoming and outgoing funds.  Sort out your budget, bringing your spouse and other relevant family members into the planning and set some clear monetary goals that you want to achieve.  If you already have a budget, check-in and adjust as necessary – budgets do need to be tweaked from time to time.

Prioritize Savings:  The number of Canadians saving money on a regular basis is alarmingly low.  Lacking savings is a sure-fire way to wind up in financial hot water if (read: when) a fiscal emergency comes up.  Pay yourself first by setting up an automatic withdrawal into a savings or other investment account; if the money’s not sitting in your day-to-day bank account you won’t miss it!

Design a Financial Plan:  Think about the “big picture” – beyond budgeting – when it comes to your financial affairs.  Kids going to college?  Do you have a life insurance policy and a will in place?  How much will you realistically need for retirement?  If you don’t already have a financial planner now is a great time to consult one.

Reduce your Debt:  Regardless of how much debt you have, aim to lower it this year.  As interest rates and living costs continue to rise, that debt will become harder and harder to manage.  If your debts are demanding the lion’s share of your income or the time needed to pay them off is overwhelming then seek professional debt management assistance.

Whether you’re embarking on a whole new financial outlook, or trying to get motivated all over again, the “January realities” can really help drive home the need to freshen things up economically.  Happy New Year!

Make 2015 your year of financial freedom!  Contact us for a free, confidential consultation in one of our 12 BC locations.

BT

Blair Mantin shares Budget Basics with Vancouver’s Breakfast Television

Sands & Associates’ Vice-President and Trustee Blair Mantin appeared on Vancouver’s Breakfast Television yesterday to share tips on how viewers can create and maintain a successful budget.

Watch here:

Why is a budget important?

Less than half of Canadians operate with a budget on a month-to-month basis; it can be very difficult to make financial headway like this – it’s like “driving blind”, with no ability to course correct and know whether you are trending positively or negatively.

The biggest mistake people make in budgeting is to never track actual expenses against their estimates – if you don’t revisit your budget every month, you don’t really have a budget.

Key budget areas and percentages (percentage of after-tax income):

Housing – 35%

35% is the upper limit of what most experts would recommend in a monthly budget for housing costs (mortgage or rent plus all utilities).

The challenge is that living in Vancouver it can be difficult to meet even this target of 35%, with many people spending more on rent and mortgage than they would have to if they lived elsewhere.  Options such as hosting homestay students, or considering a roommate can help to reduce this cost.  Be careful if you consider moving that additional transportation costs do not offset any savings in housing costs.

Transportation – 15%

Consider all of the costs of owning a car: Gas, insurance, maintenance and repairs, depreciation, etc.  BCAA estimates that the average compact car costs about $9,500 per year. 

This is another area where overspending is common.  Most of us greatly underestimate how much it costs us to get from point A to point B.  If you’re able to use transit, you’re ahead of the game as it’s near impossible to spend more on public transit than you would spend if you owned a car.  Is 2015 the year to embrace car sharing?  Options abound in Vancouver for short trips, long trips and everything in between.  Consider Car2go, or Modo Car Coop as good, cost effective options.

Food and Other Living Expenses – 30%

Food costs can vary widely depending on your diet, shopping habits, affinity for couponing, and size of your household.  A good estimate is about $250-300 per household member for groceries each month.

We’ve all felt the increase in food prices lately; according to StatsCan, inflation in food in 2014 was dramatic, with meat, fish and vegetable prices all increasing in the range of 5-12% over last year.  While you can’t do much about the increased cost of ‘staple’ items, this category also includes some budget killers like eating out, lattes, taxi rides, nights out, etc.  The key is to track this category accurately – consider whether an app could be helpful, or even try ‘giving yourself an allowance’ by putting money in a separate account for food and other living expenses each month.

Savings – 10%

You must pay yourself first, by setting up automatic withdrawals into an account.  Otherwise, there will never be enough money left for savings.

Saving money is usually the first thing that goes to the wayside when money is tight.  It is also hands down the number one factor that will determine whether you will achieve financial success – can you save money each month?  RRSPs are the only funds that are safe no matter what, so even if you aren’t debt free, you should still be making contributions to your future.

Debt repayment – 10%

90% of Canadians say they have more debt today than five years ago.   Top priority for 2015 is to pay down debt according to a recent study by CIBC.

Many people fall into a trap of ‘financial tetris’ where they are using one card to pay another.  Though they might feel great about taking action on their debts, they may not be getting any further ahead if they are just shuffling money around between cards.  Consider how much money 10% of your income is, if you’re required debt payments are much higher than that amount, you should investigate whether professional debt help is required.

Make 2015 the year of your financial freedom!  Contact us today to arrange a free, confidential consultation about your debt resolution options.

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Sands & Associates Featured Office: Maple Ridge

Downtown Maple Ridge, near Lougheed Highway and 223rd Street, is where you’ll find Sands & Associates’ Maple Ridge office.  Our helpful staff are happy to meet with you at no cost or obligation to assist you in finding the debt management strategy that best fits your circumstances.

Vice-President of Sands & Associates, Trustee Blair Mantin focuses on both consumer and corporate insolvency and restructuring, while Marlene Byrne, a Qualified Insolvency Counsellor and Insolvency Estate Manager offers individuals assistance in discovering their financial solutions.  Marlene has 18 years of banking experience with a credit union, in addition to five years working as a credit counsellor. 

Marlene’s Top Trustee Tip:  “Use automatic transfers from your payroll account to a savings account or even multiple savings accounts the same day your payroll gets deposited.  This way the money isn’t mixed in with your expense funds, where it’s more likely to be spent.” 

Contact us to arrange a free, confidential evaluation of your debt solution options in our Maple Ridge office.

Holiday Decorating

How to Spend Wisely this Holiday Season – Blair Mantin guest on Breakfast Television

Sands & Associates’ Vice-President and Trustee Blair Mantin appeared on Vancouver’s Breakfast Television last week, sharing seasonal spending tips to help viewers make good financial decisions this holiday season.

Watch here:

Affordable is the best strategy: A winter getaway or even a festive family reunion out of town may be wonderful – but peak-travel date prices and not having saved the money is a sure way to start the new year broke.  If spending the holidays with out-of-towners isn’t an affordable option, catch up with family and friends via an internet visit instead (Google Hangout is a great technology for this!), or plan to celebrate the season another time altogether.

Avoid the January blues by putting your credit cards on ice this winter:  There’s still time to establish a budget, set aside money and plan ahead for your holiday costs.  If you really can’t avoid using credit then implement a plan to have it all repaid no later than the end of February.  The longer you carry a balance, the greater the interest charges you’ll pay which could make even a ‘great deal’ on a Christmas gift something that you regret later.

DIY is great…for some:  Don’t let the Martha Stewarts of the world make you feel you’ve got to handcraft each and every holiday ornament, invite or gift if it means shelling out for a big one-time use set-up.  Sometimes ready-made can actually save you money (and time AND frustration).  Unless you’ll actually use the gear, don’t get sucked into the investment homemade crafts can take.

Consider gifts with a ‘double’ benefit:  Options such as making a charitable donation in someone’s name, or purchasing Gifts of Magic through Unicef (or other charities) are great ways to give a thoughtful gift with the added benefit of a refund payable to you come tax time.  Gifts of Magic can be anything from bringing water to a village that is without, to providing school supplies to a group of students – there are options to suit just about any budget and there is zero risk that the gift will sit unused.

Say good-bye to buyers’ remorse:  The convenience of online shopping can’t be beat, unfortunately that can make it a bit too easy to buy more than you need to.  Before hitting the virtual check-out step away from your computer for half an hour (or more if possible).  After you’ve had a break, consider how you feel about the items you’re about to buy – if you can do without or aren’t solid on any of your purchases close the browser and walk away.

Make 2015 your year of financial freedom!  Contact us for a free, confidential consultation in one of our 12 British Columbia locations.