A Consumer Proposal Can Mark New Beginnings towards Financial Health

Fall is the perfect time to take a serious look at your finances and to consider options to deal with your debt, perhaps a Consumer Proposal? You and the kids are back to daily routines after the summer months during which you might have found yourself using more credit on extras such as vacations, fuel for the RV, costs for soccer camp and summer festivals. Let’s not forget to mention the ever growing hype of back to school shopping which, in 2013, will see us spend an average $428 per child, up 18.2 % from 2012. This is higher for post-secondary/university students at an average of $572 per child according to a recent survey conducted for the Bank of Montreal.

Freida Richer, CIRP and Trustee with Grant Thornton Alger Inc. notes that there seems to be a habitual tendency for people to postpone the review of bills and state of their finances until after the summer months at which point they are hit with the reality of their overspending. Ideally, you should have enough cash flow to support aggressively paying down the debt in 3-6 months, while putting the brakes on credit purchases. The bad news is that if the debt load is too high and you have little cash flow, this plan is not feasible but the good news is that Albertans are working and receiving a steady flow of income which may support the ability to resolve the debt through a Consumer Proposal. A practical solution as it is based on your ability to pay. Also, you need to anticipate that in just a few months, you will be entering the most expensive month of the year so it’s important to plan now.

A Consumer Proposal is an offering to repay a portion of total unsecured debt through monthly payments and/or a lump sum payment. The creditors vote on whether to accept or reject the proposal and, generally, as long as the offering gives them a greater return over bankruptcy, the vote will be ‘yes’. Once accepted, the amount you offered to repay is legally binding and you will not have to pay anything more. Some advantages to this solution is the freezing of interest and ability of creditors to take collection action against you.

Trustees are authorized to administer Consumer Proposals – other proposals are not the same.   For more information on proposals and other debt solutions, please contact Freida directly at 780-442-1990 or call toll free (anywhere in Alberta) 310-8888 to find out more information or to schedule a free consultation.

Visit us online www.gt.alger.ca

RRSPs protected if you file bankruptcy in Canada

ImageIn a final act of desperation, many consumers resort to the one last asset they have left but fear losing if they have to file a bankruptcy…their RRSP account.  People end up tapping into their future retirement savings to pay creditors or subsidize their living expenses if no money is left after debt payments. But consumers have told me that one of the main reasons why they felt the need to deplete their accounts is the fear that the bankruptcy Trustee will take their RRSPs and so the thought is, why not clean out the account first before the Trustee does.

 

Before you dip into your retirement savings, you need to know that bankruptcy has no interest in your RRSPs.  People are surprised to hear that there is protection given under provincial and pension legislation for RRSPs, LIRAs and pensions which prevents the seizure of these funds.  Knowing this vital information ahead of time can prevent the depletion of retirement savings that has, for most people, taken years to build.  I am seeing more and more people who’ve cashed out their RRSPs before filing a bankruptcy which not only resulted in eliminating their retirement plan but created a tax liability to Canada Revenue Agency. Don’t add to your debt load… keep your RRSPs for retirement since that was the intention, and still must be, of banking your hard earned dollars.

 

Start planning a way to deal with your debt…but plan to keep your RRSPs.

 

Freida Richer, Trustee in Bankruptcy