There is something uniquely terrifying about finding yourself badly in debt. Debt devours everything: your income, your ability to plan for the future, your sense of self-worth, your mental health, your hopes, your dreams — even your health. As medical science has shown, the stress this kind of debt causes can shave years off your life.
Given how much stigma our culture attaches to being unsustainably in debt, it’s no wonder that most of us cope by trying not to think about it. When the bills come, we shuffle what little money we have around to plug the most urgent holes, and force down the gnawing fear that the breaking point is near.
But the truth is you’re never too far gone to take control of your personal debt. While getting out from under the burden of this kind of debt isn’t easy, there are always options available. If you’ve been putting off dealing with your debt for years, here’s how you can free yourself and your family for good.
Negotiate a Consumer Proposal
One of the most frustrating things about dealing with unsustainable debt is feeling that you might be able to get on top of things if you just had a little bit of financial wiggle room.
When all your money is going to servicing your debts, you can paradoxically find yourself in a situation where you have to pass up opportunities to put yourself on a better financial footing because you’re struggling to cover everyday expenses.
A consumer proposal essentially allows you to restructure your financial obligations, giving you more time to pay off your debts and in some cases even reducing the amount owed by as much as seventy or eighty percent.
To file a consumer proposal, get in touch with a licensed insolvency trustee like Debt Help BC who can start the process and advocate your behalf.
Bankruptcy, like divorce, is one of those English words that has a universally negative connotation but which is actually a life-giving solution to an intractable problem. No one wants to go through either of them, but if the situation is bad enough it may be the only way to move forward.
For example, in a province like British Columbia, you are eligible for bankruptcy if you are unable to pay your debts as they come due, and have more debts than your realizable value of assets. The process of filing bankruptcy in Victoria triggers a stay in proceedings that protects you from debt collectors and stops wage garnishments, giving you immediate relief.
Bankruptcy is a serious matter; it will have an impact on your credit score and may require you to pay a percentage of your income for a defined period of time. But if you’ve been weighed down by impossible debt for years, it can be a small price to pay for peace of mind.
If you’re considering bankruptcy, the best thing to do is get in touch with a trustee in bankruptcy who can advise you on how to proceed.
For many who are struggling with consumer debt today, it can feel like a shameful secret, or a moral failing they need to hide from the world. But debt is one of those things that only gets worse the longer you ignore it, and taking the decisive action toward confronting it head-on is the only way to break the spell.
Whether you’re considering a consumer proposal or filing for bankruptcy, reaching out to a licensed insolvency trustee is the first step toward a debt-free future.