Tag Archives: Consumer Proposals

ProposalvsCreditCouns-Blog

Bankruptcy Is Not Your Only Option!

Bankruptcy is not your only debt resolution option.  A Consumer Proposal is the most powerful and least well-known debt solution.

Speak with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee to find out if a Consumer Proposal is the best way for you to get back on track!

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Click the infographic to enlarge.

To meet with a representative for a free, confidential consultation in one of our 15 BC offices, please contact us.

AskExpertQuestion

Ask the Trustee – April Edition

Licensed insolvency trustee Blair Mantin answers your questions about how to manage debts, including options such as Credit Counselling, Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcy in BC!

Q: What happens in a personal bankruptcy?

A: In general, a personal bankruptcy involves 4 key steps:

Meet with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee for a free consultation to discuss your situation. There may be other options besides bankruptcy to consider.

Your Trustee will prepare legal documents.  Once signed, your creditors will be contacted and will no longer be able to attempt collection.  You get the relief you need to rebuild your finances.

During the bankruptcy you will report your household income and expenses, this will determine how much you will pay.  You will also attend two credit counselling sessions.

Once your duties are complete you will receive a discharge from bankruptcy – for most people this is after 9 months. A fresh financial start has been achieved!

To find out more about your debt options, call us at 1-800-661-3030 or contact us here to arrange for a free, confidential consultation.

VancouverSun-2016

Vancouver Sun Editorial: “Ignorance rife when dealing with debt”

A recent editorial from the Vancouver Sun newspaper highlighted several current financial issues which are continuing to affect British Columbia residents.  The editorial focused on trends revealed by Sands & Associates’ BC Consumer Debt Study.  The findings released in March 2016 were from the fourth annual BC Consumer Debt Study undertaken by BC’s largest firm of Credit Counsellors and Licensed Insolvency Trustees.

As the editorial plainly states, many individuals are simply waiting too long before seeking financial assistance and in the meantime are often aggravating the issue by opting to take on more debts, depleting RRSPs, or visiting unlicensed debt agents. The author further notes that “free spending is not always at the root of ensuing financial problems”, and that if people felt more comfortable opening up about their financial situation,  the information they need could be acquired much more easily.

To read the full editorial please click here.

Improving financial literacy for consumers is always top of mind for Vice-President of Sands & Associates, Blair Mantin:  “Over seventy five percent of our survey respondents indicated that they would have taken action sooner if they had been aware of how the processes really work.  Licensed Insolvency Trustees are always available to provide information about people’s options – for free.”

For more information about the 2016 BC Consumer Debt Study, please click here.

To meet with a Sands & Associates representative about your financial options, please contact us for a free, confidential consultation.

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Announcement: Licensed Insolvency Trustees – New Name, Same Amazing Service

Late in 2015, the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) announced upcoming changes to the insolvency professional designation throughout Canada.  Effective April 1st, professionals formerly designated as Insolvency or Bankruptcy Trustees are now known as Licensed Insolvency Trustees – or LIT for short.

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are the only professionals legally empowered to help Canadians restructure their debts via legislated mechanisms such as Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcy.  In order to obtain this licensing from the OSB, individuals must meet government qualifications and have successfully completed a specialized accreditation program and gained relevant industry experience.  Licensed Insolvency Trustees may also hold a designation with the Canadian Association of Insolvency & Restructuring Professionals (CAIRP), which denotes the professional’s abidance of high professional standards, code of ethics and rules of professional conduct.

As many Canadians view bankruptcy as an ultimate last resort, the ability of Licensed Insolvency Trustees to offer a variety of resources and not solely bankruptcy is emphasized with the new designation.   Consumer Proposals in particular, are a legislated solution that has gained popularity in recent years, but is still relatively unknown to many consumers.

While programs offered through debt consultants or traditional credit counsellors may resemble the benefits of a Consumer Proposal, they are in fact very different and do not offer the same protection.  Furthermore, many consumers are unaware that only a Licensed Insolvency Trustee can offer the remedy of a Consumer Proposal.  A recent survey found that 60% of respondents mistakenly agreed that employees of debt settlement companies or credit counselling agencies are federally or provincially licensed debt-relief professionals.1  The fact is that there is only ONE professional licensed by the Federal Government in Canada to assist you in dealing with your debts – a Licensed Insolvency Trustee.  When facing financial difficulties it is imperative that Canadian consumers become fully informed about their legal rights and options, and Licensed Insolvency Trustees provide this information for free, with no obligation to commit to a formal proceeding.

Sands & Associates is a multi-year Consumer Choice Award winner, celebrating over 25 years of helping BC residents become debt-free.  To meet in one of our 15 office locations, please contact us for a free, confidential consultation.

The Vancouver Sun Logo

BC’s Indebtedness – The Vancouver Sun reports

The Vancouver Sun newspaper recently focused on the state of BC consumers’ debts, highlighted in Sands & Associates’ newly released BC Consumer Debt Study.  The debt study suggested that many British Columbians should be seeking financial assistance sooner than most have in the past; and followed news from Statistics Canada of the record debt that Canadian households continue to carry.  Household debt, including mortgage debt, rose nearly 5% last year – the fastest in four years.

To read the full article please click here.

Barbara Yaffe for The Vancouver Sun  followed up with further reports from a 2014 study about Canadian seniors’ retirement plans and seniors struggling to carry mortgages into retirement.  With only 33% of seniors retiring debt-free, it is unsurprising that the 2016 BC Consumer Debt Study undertaken by Sands & Associates included findings relating to the debts that individuals headed into retirement are facing.  Sands & Associates found that 40% of debtors over age 55 reported owing $50,000 of debt, or more (excluding mortgages and vehicle loans).

To read the full article please click here.

For more information about the 2016 BC Consumer Debt Study, please click here.

Celebrating over 25 years providing debt solutions, Sands & Associates is British Columbia’s largest firm of Credit Counsellors, Proposal Administrators and Licensed Insolvency Trustees, focused exclusively on personal and small business insolvency services. Currently operating from 15 offices throughout British Columbia, Sands & Associates uses a non-judgmental, empathetic approach to helping resolve financial difficulties and has been recognized as a multi-year Consumer Choice Award winner.

To meet with a Sands & Associates representative about your financial options, please contact us for a free, confidential consultation.

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Why do People File for Bankruptcy?

People often think that debt problems generally stem from poor budgeting or a tendency to overspend.  The reality is that some of the most frequent leading factors that cause people to file a personal bankruptcy or consumer proposal are actually job loss or reduced income, separation or divorce, and illness, injury or health-related problems.

Job loss or reduced income

Very few Canadians are financially prepared to face a job loss, or a reduction in their regular income.  Even if you are eligible to receive EI benefits, the waiting period can often mean turning to credit to meet regular household expenses in the interim.  Many people will also redeem RRSPs or sell assets to keep financially afloat if their income becomes insufficient to meet their household demands.

Quick Tip: You do not have to be working in order to file a bankruptcy or a consumer proposal.  You are also entitled to a provincial exemption on most assets, including RRSPs.

Separation or divorce

It’s no surprise that a couple accustomed to two sets of income to run a household can easily become overburdened once the incoming funds are cut in half but the costs remain the same, as happens when one member of the couple moves out unexpectedly.  Expenses to set up a new household and legal costs to finalize a separation/divorce or child custody order can also accumulate quickly.  Stay-at-home parents are additionally often faced with a new set of challenges if they must attempt to re-enter the work-force.

Quick Tip: Co-signing a debt for your spouse can have unintended consequences.  If the other party doesn’t pay, the creditor can demand full payment from you.  Consider carefully before taking on joint debt!

Illness, injury or health-related problems

Whether the health problems result in time away from work or an increase in expenses due to out-of-pocket medical costs, unless there are sufficient savings to cover unexpected health issues, many people will wind up relying on credit.  Disability insurance often pays out just a portion of a person’s regular income, leaving an income gap as well.

Quick Tip: The added stress of debt can escalate quickly and aggravate underlying health problems.  Seek professional guidance from a licensed Trustee sooner rather than later.

Tax debt and student loans

Money owing to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) can easily snowball into an unmanageable amount when unexpected reassessments or multiple outstanding return filings occur, often due to accounting errors or a lack of knowledge about proper filing and remittance requirements.  Because CRA is a powerful creditor and can garnishee your wages very quickly, tax debts are often urgent in nature.  Similar to income tax debts, monies owing for student loans can cause financial hardship as well.  Students in particular often overestimate their ability to repay student loans and underestimate the difficulties they may face entering their chosen field of work, leading to student loans being carried for long periods of time.

Quick Tip:  A bankruptcy or consumer proposal are the ONLY methods CRA or Student Loans will accept to reduce or eliminate debts in full.

Unexpected events

Many people surveyed over recent years have stated that general financial mismanagement and overextended credit have been a contributing cause to their financial problems.  The term “financial mismanagement” is broad and often encompasses events that many people experience, such unexpected expenses as major home repair, a family member’s illness; or a life-altering event such as divorce.  Money problems can and do happen to just about everyone!

For more information about your debt options, please contact us for a free, confidential evaluation of your situation.