If you have debt that is keeping you up at night, you are likely asking yourself “How do I get out of debt, fast?” There are really only three ways to get out of debt, fast or slow.
The first way to get out of debt – pay it in full
The first way to get out of debt is to pay back the debt in full. This can be done two ways:
- Willingly – where you continue to work hard and make monthly payments until the debt is erased. To accomplish this, you would need to start by developing a monthly budget that keeps track of how much money you have coming in and where you need to spend it. Once you know how much is left, after paying your necessities, you will know how much you can afford to put towards debt repayment. Remember, when you are calculating how long it will take you to pay off the debt, that interest will continue to accumulate throughout the payment period. So, the amount you owe today is not the full amount you will need to pay.
- Unwillingly – You can also pay your debt back unwillingly when a creditor has obtained a garnishment order against you and is taking the money for the payments directly from your pay cheque. Once a creditor has obtained a judgment against you, followed up with a garnishment order, you don’t have many choices left. The funds continue coming from your wages until the debt is paid in full. You will be living on a substantially lower income during this period, and only one debt will be paid through this, so other debts will continue to grow. At this point, unless you can secure the funds to pay the entire amount owing to that creditor at once, only a Consumer Proposal or an Assignment in Bankruptcy can help you. Only these options, filed through a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, can issue a Stay of Proceedings that can stop the garnishment order. This is not a ‘fast’ option, because you will have been dealing with the problem for quite some time before it gets to the point of a garnishment.
The second way to get out of debt – file a Consumer Proposal
The second option is filing a Consumer Proposal with your local Licensed Insolvency Trustee, such as LCTaylor, before your debt gets too out of control and a garnishment is in place. A Consumer Proposal is a debt repayment plan where you offer to pay to your creditors what you can afford — either the whole amount or a percentage of what is owed. The reason it is called a proposal is that you are proposing a repayment plan to your creditors and they have the opportunity to vote on whether or not they accept your ‘proposal’. If the majority of the creditors (based on the amounts owing) vote for the proposal, it is binding on all of your creditors, regardless of their vote.
The proposal could be filed as a lump-sum proposal or a repayment plan that takes up to 60 months. Normally the creditors will not vote in favour of your proposal unless it is a better option for them than a bankruptcy would be. Generally, this means that the proposal will take longer and cost you more than a bankruptcy would, unless you can offer a lump sum proposal that pays the money in a single payment, upfront.
The third – and fastest way out of debt – file an Assignment in Bankruptcy
The third option is filing an Assignment in bankruptcy. Like a Consumer Proposal, an Assignment in bankruptcy is also filed through your local Licensed Insolvency Trustee. The length of time you are in bankruptcy depends on the amount of money you have coming into your household and whether or not you have ever filed for bankruptcy before. If you have never been bankrupt before, your bankruptcy could be over in either 9 or 21 months. That is pretty fast!
Like a proposal, there will be payments to make during the time that you are in bankruptcy. These payments are not, however, based on how much you owe. They are based on what you can afford. The federal government issues annual guidelines indicating what it costs for a family of various sizes to live. If your income was “below the guidelines”, you would be making a minimal monthly payment. If you have income over the amount the guidelines say you need, you would be required to pay half of the extra income to the Trustee for your creditors.
Start by getting the information you need to make a decision
Obviously, more should go into your decision than which is the fastest solution, but depending on your situation, fast could be a determining factor. As with any big decision you should seek expert advice and information. A Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) is the most experienced and highly trained professional in the debt management field.
Contact LCTaylor to find out which option is best suited to you. When you meet with us we will review your income, your household size and who you owe money to. By examining your specific needs we can come up with a plan to get you out of debt. We have been helping Manitobans for over 45 years.