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As Licensed Insolvency Trustees serving the entire province, the debt help experts at Sands & Associates are no strangers to assisting individuals and businesses in overcoming challenging financial situations – we aid thousands of BC residents each year in getting a financial fresh start from unmanageable debt loads.

Debt help professionals across the country were already seeing increases in consumers needing debt help and are predicting that the current global situation will push even more Canadians towards financial hardship. If you are one of the thousands of people in BC being impacted financially, read on for some tips and insights to help navigate debt management during the COVID-19 crisis.

Blair Mantin shares financial tips to help navigate the COVID-19 crisis with CTV News:

 

  1. Stay Informed and Aware
    • Current affairs across the country (and world) are changing daily – be sure to keep up to date with news about federal and provincial assistance measures that may impact you:
      • Federal announcements are updated here.
      • Provincial announcements are updated here.
    • Be on the lookout for scams – many Canadians are being targeted by scammers hoping to take advantage during this difficult time:
      • Always get your information from a reliable source such as official government websites.
      • Carefully review communications and offers before taking any action.
      • Be especially vigilant for phone-based scams – it’s easy and common for caller IDs to be impersonated by scammers.
  1. Keep Calm and Carry On
    • Avoid panic-buying and selling.
      • Take a hard look at your budget and try to pare down non-essential expenses as much as possible to avoid overspending your available funds or relying on credit any more than you must in order to purchase day-to-day necessities.
      • Don’t be tempted to rush into selling assets or redeeming your RRSPs to pay off your debts – BC laws protect many of your assets from creditors in the event you are unable to pay your debts. The current crisis won’t last forever, and you will need those retirement funds down the road.
    • If you can’t make your debt payments and are concerned about the legal action your creditors may take, or are being pressured by collection agents, know that at this time courts across Canada are closed – meaning you cannot be sued right now.
    • Don’t put too much emphasis on your credit rating – credit scores can change dramatically in just a short amount of time and are a poor metric of overall “financial health”. Under normal circumstances there are many people who have great credit scores who are unable to obtain consolidation loans or other financing simply due to being overextended or not having enough assets to offer lenders as collateral.
      • Even consumers who get debt relief by filing bankruptcy move on and recover financially, getting new mortgages, vehicle loans, credit cards etc. often in as little as two years following the conclusion of the process.

Compare the Pros and Cons of 5 Debt Solutions

  1. Take (the Right) Action
    • Communicate with any creditor to whom you are certain to miss payments. Don’t be afraid to ask for a deferral on your rent, mortgage, debt payments or otherwise even if your particular financial institution hasn’t made any public statement about their position – it doesn’t hurt to ask and find out what options you may have.
      • Only apply for the available financial relief you need and be sure you understand all terms and conditions before agreeing.
      • By deferring credit card payments, your mortgage, rent or otherwise – you are essentially adding to your overall balance – with interest. This does not mean the payment is forgiven forever, only that it is being postponed until the deferral period is over.
    • Change your bank account if you hold an account where you also owe a debt.
      • Many people are unaware that banks and other lenders have the “right of offset”, allowing them to recover money you owe them for an outstanding debt by seizing money you have in your account with them. The right of offset can also be applied to money you have in joint or business accounts, as well as accounts with an affiliated bank.
      • Your safest plan, and what we advise all our clients, is to never borrow from the same bank where you deposit your monthly income.
    • Be kind to yourself. We help people in all sorts of difficult situations that were unexpected; we know that money problems can happen to anyone at any time.
      • Don’t feel ashamed or beat yourself up that you “didn’t have savings” or “could have been better prepared” – whether divorce or separation, health issues or job-loss, there are many unanticipated “everyday circumstances” that lead people to seek debt help.
  1. Reach Out for Help

You are not alone – we are here to help you.

Get debt help and advice from the comfort of your own home – book your free debt consultation via telephone or video conference and connect with Sands & Associates’ non-judgmental knowledgeable debt help professionals. We have a large network of local offices and are proud to serve BC residents residing anywhere in the province.

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