Where to Turn for Debt Help

  • By Jillian Taylor-Mancusi

 

If your debt has gotten out of control, you may be wondering where you can go for help. In Winnipeg, debt help comes in many forms.

Here are a few options to keep in mind:

DIY Debt Help

There are actually a number of things you can do yourself to help alleviate debt problems. Consider trying these options first:

  • Budget. Do you follow a budget and keep careful track of your spending? Have you cut all unnecessary expenses? If not, a budget can be helpful in freeing up extra money for debt reduction.
  • Refinance. When you refinance, you finance the amount of money your home or car is currently worth. This can add up to big savings. Talk to your lender to see if you qualify for a refinance.
  • Contact your creditors. Call your creditors and request an interest rate reduction or payment plan to help you get caught up. Not all creditors are willing to do this, but it’s worth a try.

Debt Consolidation

Consolidating your debt involves combining debt from multiple sources into one. The advantages to this include one monthly payment instead of several and savings on interest. There are a few ways you can consolidate debt. If you have a lot of credit cards, you can transfer the balances to one card that offers a 0-interest promotional period, If you opt for this, it’s important to pay off as much of the balance as possible during the promotional period. Otherwise, you’ll be charged back interest.

You can also get a home equity line of credit to pay off debt. You must have equity in your home to do this. Keep in mind that if you default on a home equity line of credit or any line of credit that uses your home as collateral, you could lose your home.

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Consumer Proposal

A consumer proposal is a legally binding agreement between you and your creditors that allows you to settle your debts for less than you owe. Consumer proposals are prepared by proposal administrators, or, licensed insolvency trustees. If your creditors accept your proposal, you no longer pay them. Instead, you make monthly payments to your trustee, who distributes the funds.

A consumer proposal is a good alternative to bankruptcy, allowing you to keep your home and belongings. It also protects you from collection attempts, which can help cut down on financial stress.

Bankruptcy

When most people think of bankruptcy, they tend to think in negative terms–ruined credit, lost possessions, and the fear that people will find out. However, when you’re facing crippling debt, bankruptcy can provide welcome relief. Many of the fears people have about bankruptcy are actually misconceptions. For example, you won’t lose everything you own (in some cases you can even keep your home and vehicles), you can begin rebuilding credit right away, and it is highly unlikely anyone will know unless you tell them. Instead, bankruptcy can provide peace of mind and a fresh financial start.

All bankruptcies must be facilitated by a licensed insolvency trustee.

In Winnipeg, debt help is available to anyone. Regardless of how serious your debt is, these options can offer welcome relief.

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