Ontario residents continue to struggle with unprecedented levels of debt and a weak economy. In fact, each year more than 40,000 (OSB, 2015) households turn to an Ontario bankruptcy trustee to file for insolvency.
The idea that only low-income families declare bankruptcy is a myth. Financial problems affect people from all walks of life, no matter their income. Although some people end up in trouble because they aren’t used to managing their finances, usually it’s because they become overwhelmed by unexpected circumstances.
Financial trouble is also the leading cause of divorce. The burden of dealing with a dwindling bank account while talking to creditors drives a wedge between a lot of couples. The good news is that there are solutions available.
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You should only turn to bankruptcy after you’ve exhausted your other financial options. As a resident of Ontario, you have quite a few alternatives available. Depending on your situation, the four options that could help are: a consumer proposal, debt repayment programs, debt settlement or consolidated loans. However, your first step should always be sitting down with an insolvency expert to go over your choices.
Ontario residents who are interested in beginning this process will need to meet obligations set by the government. You should sit down with a Licensed Trustee to learn about the steps you’ll need to take in order to file for bankruptcy.
While bankruptcy can give you a fresh start for your financial life, the process comes with responsibilities. Before you begin, your licensed insolvency trustee will explain how the process works. Bankruptcy law in Ontario requires you to be honest about your debts and assets. You need to work with your trustee to successfully free yourself from debt. This will help the bankruptcy process go as smoothly as possible.
Working with creditors to establish a debt repayment program is another great way to pay off debts. Often, creditors will lower or waive interest charges while you’re making payments. This process is managed by a financial company and could save you thousands of dollars.
Debt settlement can also help you pay back what you owe. Debt settlement is based on your financial situation and requires a one-time payment of between 80% to 20% of your debt. Because debt settlement requires a large sum of money, it isn’t a realistic option for most people struggling with financial problems.
Consolidating your debt into a new loan is another alternative to bankruptcy. This is useful if you’re struggling with minimum payments or want to consolidate high-interest rate debts into one monthly payment with a lower interest rate. If you decide to consolidate, it’s important that you refrain from accumulating new debt.
You should always discuss your options with an insolvency trustee to find out the best solution for your situation. You’ll also reduce your stress and have more options available if you deal with your financial burdens quickly.
If you are having serious financial debt problems, Doyle Salewski offers a free, no obligation, and fully confidential first consultation with one of our insolvency experts. To find out more about whether bankruptcy is for you – or if there may be other options, such as a filing a consumer proposal – contact us today: in Ottawa call 613-237-5555; out of town, call toll-free 800-517-9926 or book online with our consultation form. We also have offices throughout eastern Ontario ready to find the best solution for you.