Tag Archives: Consumer Proposals

NewLocation-Blog

Sands & Associates’ NEW Location: Kelowna

Sands & Associates is happy to unveil our expansion into BC’s Thompson-Okanagan region with the opening of our Kelowna office.  Our new Kelowna office is located in the Landmark business centre on Dickson Avenue in Kelowna’s legal district.

At Sands & Associates we specialize in administering bankruptcies and consumer proposals to both individuals and corporations.  We are government-licensed professionals here to help individuals and small businesses understand their options for dealing with debt. We are proud to have a large, and growing, team of qualified insolvency counselors, insolvency estate managers and licensed Proposal Administrators and Trustee available to assist you.

Founded in 1990, Sands & Associates has grown to become British Columbia’s largest firm of licensed Proposal Administrators and Bankruptcy Trustees focused exclusively on personal and small business services, with offices throughout British Columbia’s lower mainland, Vancouver Island and Thompson-Okanagan regions. Sands & Associates is also a multi-year winner of the Consumer Choice Award in the category of Bankruptcy Trustees in the lower mainland of British Columbia.

To discuss your debt options with a Sands & Associates representative in our Kelowna or other location near you, please contact us to arrange a free, confidential consultation.

debt-free-ball&chain-Blog

The First Step to Becoming Debt-free

If you feel that your debts have become a burden and are seeking ways to reduce or eliminate debt from your life, the first step is to find out all of your options.  Without becoming fully apprised of the legalities in British Columbia, it’s nearly impossible to make an informed decision about how you’d like to move forward.  So what happens when you meet with Sands & Associates for an initial consultation regarding your debt options?  Read on:

Examining your debts:  First things first, it’s helpful if you can have an idea as to who you owe and roughly how much.  If you’re unsure we can help you find out.  We’ll review how the debts are structured; Are they secured to an asset? Would any survive a bankruptcy or consumer proposal?  Do you need a bank account seizure lifted or a wage garnishee halted?  Many people are unaware that with the right tools, it is possible to reduce or eliminate nearly all debts, including tax debts and student loans.

Reviewing your assets:  You may be surprised to hear that there are many assets which are legally protected from your creditors, even RRSPs and home equity.  To plan an effective debt reduction strategy we’ll review what assets you may have at your disposal and which assets are legally protected from your creditors.  Be sure you’ve spoken with a debt specialist before depleting assets you believe to be up for grabs by creditors, the rules vary between provinces and online information may not be current.

Discussing your personal circumstances:  Everyone has a different personal situation that needs to be considered, there is no “one size fits all” solution.  If you’re able to consider the main goal you’d like to meet regarding your debt it helps the provider tailor a solution for you.  Family size (do you support dependents?), average income (regular or irregular) and other personal obligations, as well as your household monthly budget are main factors when it comes to debt planning.

Evaluating your options:  Depending on the outcome you’d like to attain regarding your debts, there may be several options that would be suitable.  Whether it’s credit counselling, a consumer proposal, seeking a consolidation loan or even doing nothing, you need to be fully informed as to your options.  We’ll explain all of them to you; the pros and cons and how they would relate to you specifically, even those that would mean referring you to another provider.

Regardless of which debt solution makes the most sense for your situation, the first step is always the same – meet confidentially with a professional in your local area.  Remember that not all debt specialists are created equal and it should never cost you money to pay for debt advice, so be sure that you’re speaking with a licensed Trustee who is legally qualified to assist you.

Initial consultations with our professionals are always free – please contact us to arrange a confidential assessment of your debt options.

AskExpertQuestion

Ask the Trustee – June Edition

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

Q: Who should I contact if I want to consolidate my current debts?

A: Here are two approaches to consolidating debt:

One is to take on more debt by consolidating balances into one loan.  If this is a solution you feel may work for you, contact your bank to discuss what they will extend you.

If you want to consolidate debt, stop interest, and/or reduce the total balance, contact a government-licensed proposal administrator and trustee.

In Canada trustees are the only people legally empowered to assist you in binding your creditors via a debt settlement agreement called a consumer proposal.  This is an option Canada Revenue Agency, ICBC and student loans will work with.

Sands & Associates have assisted people with their debts for over 25 years.  Call us at 1-800-661-3030 or contact us here to arrange for a free, confidential consultation regarding your debt options.

The Vancouver Sun Logo

Blair Mantin Talks Interest Rate Forecasts with Vancouver Sun

The direction that the Bank of Canada may take interest rates in has been a hot financial topic, particularly in British Columbia for some time now.  The latest prediction from the Conference Board report states that they believe the Bank of Canada will begin raising rates in March 2016.  BC’s per capita household income of $38,890 is set to exceed the national average of $37,588 next year, but our per capita consumer and mortgage debts have risen alongside.

Sands & Associates Vice-President and licensed Trustee Blair Mantin weighed in on the effect an interest rate hike would have here in BC, with homeowners carrying huge mortgages – and large debt loads.  Mantin shares that unless the unlikely happens and incomes rise in tandem alongside interest rates, the interest rate increase will be “unambiguously negative”.  He further notes that although mortgage payments tend to take a priority in people’s budgets, there could also be an increase in the number of people needing to restructure their unsecured consumer debts.

To read the full article please click here.

To meet with a local representative regarding your debt restructuring options, please contact us to arrange a free, confidential consultation.

Steps

Personal Bankruptcy: Step-by-Step

If you’re considering filing personal bankruptcy in Canada as a means to resolve financial difficulties, we’ve broken down the general process to help give you an idea as to how personal bankruptcy typically works here in British Columbia:

Step 1 – Contact a licensed trustee in your area to arrange a free, confidential meeting in person to discuss your financial situation and understand the various debt solutions available to you.  You do not need a referral to meet with a trustee and there is no cost to review your options.  A trustee can assist you with alternatives to bankruptcy such as consumer proposals or credit counselling and these options will be discussed with you as well.

Step 2 – If after meeting with a trustee you decide to move forward you will complete a detailed application form and review it with the trustee to fill in any gaps in the information and set a date for you to sign the actual bankruptcy documents, which they will prepare for you.

Step 3 – Once the legal personal bankruptcy documents have been signed, your bankruptcy will be registered with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy electronically, making it official.  At this point you have ensured that your creditors may no longer make collection attempts or contact you for payment.  Any asset or wage seizures need to stop immediately at this point – you get the ‘breathing room’ you need to restructure your affairs.

Step 4 – After you have started your official bankruptcy process there are some tasks required of you.  Generally there are two main duties for you to fulfill.  The first is for you to submit what’s called a “Statement of Income and Expense” form each month, reporting your household income and expenses.  If your average income is above a certain threshold, you would also pay a set amount each month.  You will also attend two financial counselling sessions; one primarily focused on budgeting and the other on rebuilding your credit.

Step 5 – If this is your first time in bankruptcy, depending on your income you will typically exit bankruptcy after either 9 or 21 months.  To ‘exit’ from bankruptcy means that your responsibility from the debts has been released and your fresh financial start achieved!

While our step-by-step guide to Canadian bankruptcy isn’t exhaustive, it should help to give you a basic run-down of the process before you meet with a trustee about your debt solution options.  For more information on how a trustee can help, or to arrange for a free debt assessment in one of our fifteen BC offices, please contact us.

AskExpertQuestion

Ask the Trustee – May Edition

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

Q: Near the end of the month I’m out of money. Where am I going wrong?

A:  Here are some frequent areas a budget can “leak” from:

Paying more than needed: Cell phone and cable packages can be costly, be sure you need AND use all you pay for.

Getting charged fees: Extra ATM withdrawals, late payments or bank account fees add up quickly. Plan ahead for withdrawals and check your bank account for better options.

Interest build-up: Using credit without paying in full always costs. Avoid using it unless you can pay right away.

Not planning ahead: Irregular expenses occur; save a small consistent amount on a monthly basis instead of having to pay for them as a lump sum.

If debt isn’t in your budget, contact Sands & Associates, we can help you get out of debt.  Book a free, confidential consultation today.