You are not alone. Canadian seniors are currently the fastest growing segment of individuals filing formal proposals and bankruptcies in Canada. The “golden years” are supposed to be about spending more time with family and friends and enjoying life, not working because you have debt to pay. The result is that more seniors live with debt stress than ever before.
Fortunately, many seniors are able to put away a nest egg for retirement. Many did not plan on carrying debt after they have stopped working. Some have used savings or used their credit cards to help their adult children or family members pay for living expenses. That can be a slippery slope.
Pensions are established to cover reasonable living expenses such as rent, food, clothes and transportation. Basic pension benefits are not intended to cover credit card payments, overdue income taxes or other debts. The cupboard is often bare waiting for the next pension deposit.
Laws are in place to protect pension incomes and investments. Pensions are protected and cannot be garnished unless moneys are owed to the federal government. RRSPs and insurance funds are exempt from seizure except for contributions made to the plan in the last 12 months. These laws do not however assist a senior pay down debt if it has become unaffordable. A formal plan is needed to address excessive debt.
Even if minimum payments are kept up once you stop working, paying interest or minimum payments only will eventually have a negative impact on your overall mental and physical health. This is called debt stress and must be addressed by a qualified professional.
A Licensed Trustee in Insolvency and Restructuring is regulated by the government, professionally trained and can offer legislated programs to protect seniors with too much debt. We will meet with you, listen to your story and discuss all potential options. We meet with thousands of individuals every year, many of whom are seniors. Children concerned about their parents’ financial situation will often contact us or accompany their parents during the consultation. This provides comfort for everyone involved. We will find a solution that fits which may include a consumer proposal or in dire circumstances, a bankruptcy.
If you are burdened with debt stress, asking for sound advice is a sign of strength and the smart thing to do. Asking sooner rather than later is always better. Call Doyle Salewski today for your free, no obligation consultation. You’ll be glad you did.