Seek financial help sooner rather than later!
Many people, upon leaving my office after their initial consultation with me, tell me that they wish they had sought financial help sooner. The biggest mistake most people that have personal debt problems make is that they wait too long to get the help they need.
Many people will struggle for years with these issues, exhaust their savings, attempt to get a consolidation loan, refinance their property, and sell assets all in an attempt to avoid filing personal bankruptcy. It is only after all other options have been exhausted that they will consider meeting with a trustee in bankruptcy to discuss the possibility of filing personal bankruptcy or making a consumer proposal.
This is extremely unfortunate since the majority of assets including RRSPs, vehicles, personal belongings and pensions are exempt from seizure by creditors. Had these individuals sought help sooner, and explored all of their options they would have learned that there are ways to get out of debt that would have allowed them to keep the majority of their assets.
I understand that people can often times feel embarrassed or ashamed of their situation and therefore don’t want to face it, but financial problems aren’t necessarily the result of poor money management. Sometimes situations beyond our control, such as divorce, death of a spouse, health problems or a change in household income can lead to financial hardship and further danger like bankruptcy.
While every case is unique, there are often warning signs of financial danger. Here are some common financial danger warning signs that you should watch for:
- Using available credit on your cards to cover monthly household expenses.
- Maxxing out your credit cards.
- Continually slipping behind on payments (i.e. mortgage, taxes, hydro, cable, phone, etc.)
- Borrowing money to pay off other debts.
- Paying only the minimum payment on your credit cards.
- Refinancing a loan to reduce your monthly payment.
The sooner you take action and get the help you need the more options you will have. Together, we can understand all of your options and be able to come up with the best plan for you and your family.