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It seems every other week there’s a new report, study or news article about consumer debt in Canada. Some days the findings seem to show that Canadians are deep in debt and at serious financial risk, and other days, the reports indicate Canadians are curbing consumer spending and getting better at managing their personal debt loads. Last week, the Bank of Canada released research entitled, “Household Finances and Financial Stability,” which examines the steady increase in Canadian household indebtedness over the past few decades, and the upward trend in real house prices in Canada since 2000.
Trends, statistics and patterns about debt can be helpful, serving a warning or wakeup call to Canadians about credit, money habits and behaviour, and a warning to banks and governments about financial policy decisions and the need for improved financial literacy and education. But for Canadians currently experiencing financial stress, knowing they are part of a growing trend or statistic isn’t what is immediately helpful. Information about legal, viable options designed to help the honest but unfortunate debtor is. If the new stories you are reading are increasing your stress about your debt load, or describe your current financial situation, talk to a professional about your options.
Each year, approximately 100,000 Canadians deal with unmanageable debt by filing for bankruptcy or restructuring their debt through a consumer proposal (the average debt load of Canadians filing for bankruptcy is about $92,000 and $115,000 for those making a consumer proposal). These legal debt solutions are offered through a Trustee in Bankruptcy, an intermediary who help individuals explore options and guides them through the debt relief process. If a consumer proposal or bankruptcy isn’t the right solution, a Trustee will also help you look at other options that may be better suited to your situation. Contact a BDO Trustee today and explore all your options.
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