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Studies have shown receiving professional debt help from a Licensed Insolvency Trustee can provide many positive impacts to an individual’s personal approach on money matters, through improving budgeting and savings skills, offering a better understanding about credit and borrowing, and giving confidence in daily financial management.

Read on to learn about the credit counselling and financial literacy resources available to individuals working with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee on a personalized debt-free plan.

Goals of Financial Counselling Sessions with a Qualified Insolvency Counsellor 

Licensed Insolvency Trustees help people deal with their debt, and if you’ve decided to work with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee on a debt solution like a Consumer Proposal (a special type of debt consolidation) or personal bankruptcy (a legal debt forgiveness solution), you’ll complete two one-on-one financial counselling sessions as part of either insolvency process – and there is no added cost to you for this service.

The “Insolvency Counselling Program” is intended to help people boost their financial literacy, gaining confidence in their ability to manage their personal finances, and provide tools and resources for ongoing future success in money matters. After completing a Consumer Proposal, or exiting personal bankruptcy, people have a financial fresh start and can move forward with their lives – debt-free.

Who is a Qualified Insolvency Counsellor?

The Licensed Insolvency Trustee who is ultimately responsible for your Consumer Proposal, bankruptcy, and related counselling sessions may lead your counselling sessions themself, but most often these private, one-on-one sessions are led by a Qualified Insolvency Counsellor who works closely alongside your Licensed Insolvency Trustee. This is a registered professional financial counsellor who has:

  • Successfully completed a practical course for this unique type of counselling.
  • Proven to and been registered by your Licensed Insolvency Trustee as possessing the necessary training, experience, knowledge, skills, and competencies to lead insolvency counselling.
  • Completed ongoing professional development training every two years.
  • Demonstrated that they are of good character.

Quality of care and service is of the utmost importance in these matters, and your Licensed Insolvency Trustee cannot register anyone as a Qualified Insolvency Counsellor who is involved with activities that may be a potential conflict of interest, or could potentially negatively impact the people they are counselling.

4 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Credit Counsellor

Financial Counselling Topics – Stage 1: Budgeting and Planning

Your first confidential counselling session with a Qualified Insolvency Counsellor will usually take place shortly after you file your Consumer Proposal or declare bankruptcy (somewhere between ten and 90 days), and this one-on-one session might be done in-person, or remotely via videoconference (or over the phone).

Budgeting is the focus of this conversation, and the goal here is that you’ll come away with information and support to help you create and maintain a functional household budget realistic for your personal situation.

  • A balanced budget is an important financial tool, and every consumer should have one. Budgeting isn’t about restricting what you can and can’t do, it’s about making confident and thoughtful decisions about how you will use your income.
  • No two situations are the same, and it’s important to consider and strategize the different components of your budget to find what works best for you and your household.
  • In a Consumer Proposal your debt will be combined then cut into one consolidated (usually) monthly payment, (or in a bankruptcy most people pay a minimal administration fee), and this is typically a substantial reduction from the multiple payments you may have previously been trying to manage in your budget.

How Much Debt will a Consumer Proposal Eliminate? Learn More

This first financial counselling session is a great opportunity to work with a professional to fine-tune your new spending and saving plans, and maybe even learn some new tips and best practices. Your Counsellor will plan to review your budget together with you, and offer support such as:

  • Mapping out a plan for record-keeping, and how you will track and check-in and evaluate your estimated VS actual income, expenses, and general budgeting in future.
  • Developing strategies to adjust your budget, and for managing unexpected changes to your budget or impacts to your income.
  • Addressing any other circumstances or financial difficulties you may want extra guidance on or support / resources for.

Financial skills take time for everyone to learn, and there are often some trials and errors along the way. Once you’ve got a solid understanding, you’ll be in that much better a position to make well-informed and confident decisions about money matters that impact you and your family.

Consolidating Debt with a Consumer Proposal: Step-by-Step

  • As well as these two credit counselling sessions that are done as part of completing your Consumer Proposal or bankruptcy, there is an optional self-directed online learning program available to help you get the most out of this opportunity for individual learning and support.
  • The online modules offer an introduction to the topics that will be covered in depth during these private sessions, and if you’re able to become comfortable with some of these materials before your sessions, you’ll have more time for tailored resources and support with your Counsellor.

Financial Counselling Topics – Stage 2: Goals, Spending and Credit 

Your second one-on-one session with a Qualified Insolvency Counsellor is done at least 30 days after the first, and again may be done in-person, or remotely. While the first session was all about budgeting stages, strategies, and tools, this second session focuses on your future planning and providing you support to continue moving forward with (debt-free!) success.

Your Counsellor will check in with you about how you’re doing with your Consumer Proposal (or bankruptcy), your new budget, and together you’ll review several other key financial literacy topics, which include:

  • Financial goal setting
    • Why, and how to set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) goals.
    • Specific support in creating a plan to achieve these goals.
    • Strategies to help you meet your spending and savings goals.
    • Identifying, avoiding, and mitigating potential financial risks that could get in the way of your future financial success.
  • Spending habits
    • Practical ways to prioritize spending, and spending systems.
  • Using and managing credit as a tool
    • Best practices for using credit well.
    • Considerations and questions to ask lenders before borrowing.
    • Breaking down and comparing the costs of borrowing.
    • Types of credit that are considered high-risk.
  • Understanding credit scores and reports
    • Establishing a responsible credit history and habits.
    • How and when to check your credit history reports.
    • Steps you will want to take after your Consumer Proposal (or bankruptcy) is complete.

A lot of people worry they have no way to get out of debt – or that by working with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee they may compromise their future financial goals or ability to get credit in future, but the reality is that with options like Consumer Proposals, or even bankruptcy, most people are able to get to debt-free much sooner than if they were to continue trying to chip away at their debt on their own.

The financial fresh start of these processes allows individuals a means to take back control of their finances and make the most of their income. Without the constant nag and weight of burdensome debt, not only to personal finances, but wellbeing, there is much more space to look to the future with optimism.

Meet some of the people whose lives have been changed working with Sands & Associates

More About Debt Help Services from BC Licensed Insolvency Trustees 

Getting confidential debt advice from a qualified expert couldn’t be easier – simply reach out and contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee local to your area. All Licensed Insolvency Trustees offer a free confidential consultation where you’ll have opportunity to better understand your situation and explore ALL your options.

Sands & Associates serves all of BC and offers our full suite of debt help services in person at local offices throughout the province, as well as over the phone or video conferencing.

  • Take an hour and talk with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee; we can give you a debt-free plan that works for you and your unique situation, and, as Canada’s only appointed debt help professionals, offer you additional resources and insights you may not otherwise be aware of.
  • No referral is necessary to connect with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. If you are asked to pay any referral fee this should be a warning you are not talking with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee.

You Are Not Alone in Dealing with Debt – We Are Here to Help You 

You do not need to be behind in your debt payments to seek professional debt solutions or use a Consumer Proposal to consolidate your debt. In fact, many people we work with have never missed a payment and hold a good credit rating, but realize that at their current rate of repayment, they will be facing years or decades of debt payments.

If, however, you are dealing with a serious or urgent financial issue such as a creditor who is threatening you with legal action for a debt, or already garnishing your wages, we can work with you to quickly implement a solution that will stop these collections immediately.

Learn More About Wage Garnishment

Some questions or concerns we commonly address include (but are certainly not limited to):

  • Debts are generally worrying you, or your household is being negatively impacted by debt.
  • Your monthly debt payments aren’t enough to pay off your (non-mortgage) debt within five years.
  • Ways to consolidate and/or cut debt.
  • What options exist to deal with a specific creditor or whether a debt is collectable?
  • How you can get debt relief or forgiveness by your creditors.

You don’t have to try to interpret all your rights and remedies to deal with your debt, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee is your go-to resource, and we provide safe accurate advice and information to consumers every day.

Many people feel embarrassed about their financial situation, or worried about being judged or even scolded about having difficulty managing their debt; please, know that Sands & Associates is a judgment-free zone.

We believe that a money problem can happen to anyone at any time, and that everyone deserves the opportunity for help and a financial fresh start to move forward and live their best life! You owe it to yourself to get debt help, and we are here for you.

Connect with local debt experts who care – book your free, confidential debt consultation with Sands & Associates today.