Can a Senior File a Consumer Proposal or go Bankrupt?
There are no rules that prevent anyone from filing a Consumer Proposal just because you are 65 years of age. With today’s average of $69,000 in unsecured debt for those 60 years and over, the need to take action is important. The advantage that a senior has is that their pension income is a constant cash flow which can be used to finance the payment required for the Consumer Proposal. As well, creditors seem willing to accept a more reasonable (i.e. lower) settlement than they would if the offer to settle comes from a younger person. When every dollar counts, it pays to take advantage of anything you can.
What Happens to My Credit Score if I file for Bankruptcy?
The filing of an assignment in bankruptcy, by itself, does not ruin your credit score. In most cases, you will already have destroyed your credit score by not paying your creditors, being very far behind in making payments, or by not even making the minimum monthly payments on your debts. The credit reporting agencies in Canada (Equifax and Trans Union of Canada) accumulate information from your creditors on a regular basis and based on a 6 year history period, calculate your credit score. When you file an assignment in bankruptcy, your credit rating is moved to R9 and stays there for a period of 6 years – the start of the 6 year period is the date of your discharge from your bankruptcy, which could be as fast as 9 months after the date that you filed the bankruptcy. You can start rebuilding your credit score as soon as you obtain your discharge from your bankruptcy. Do not confuse your credit rating with your credit score. You should receive information from your trustee at the time of your second counselling meeting (or at least before your discharge from bankruptcy) on how to obtain credit after bankruptcy and how to rebuild your credit score.
If you are not filing a bankruptcy, please refer to the article on our website – What happens to My Credit Score if I File a Proposal.
When it comes to monthly expenses—you always need to calculate a weekly food budget. There are several ways to decrease the amount of money you spend on food and it takes a bit of planning. First, always prepare your own food, anything in a package is prepared for you and you pay for the expense of that preparation. Don’t know how to cook or where to start? Watch online cooking shows on YouTube to teach you how to prepare simple meals and save money. Second, don’t let perishables go bad—never throw out food. You can accomplish this by using left over food to create meals such as soups, stir fry’s, omelettes and burritos. Third, you can use coupons to receive discounts and also look through advertisements for weekly deals—this way, you can plan meals and try and only buy sale items. Finally, it is easier than you think to plant a small garden. Even if you do not have garden space or a yard, you can plant vegetables in pots on your balcony or front porch. This option gives you fresh vegetables and you can freeze them for use in winter months. However, make sure you budget and justify the costs of tools, soil, pots and seeds you will need. If the cost will be too high or a garden is too difficult to manage, then an alternate option is to purchase fresh produce at farmer’s markets in your local area. You can find farmer’s markets in your area or if you are fortunate enough to live in an area where farmers sell their produce—great!
It can often feel lonely when you are in debt because it is often embarrassing and difficult to talk about financial problems. You have options and you can find people to help you and talk to you—perhaps you can find these people in the form of a support group. Debtors Anonymous is a group of people who have been or are currently experiencing financial problems. The program is a 12-step program and you gather with other people to share your experiences, find a sponsor to help you set up a spending plan and essentially help you get your financial life back on track—especially if you feel your life is unmanageable. You can search for a support group by going to www.debtorsanonymous.ca to find a location near you. This website also offers information regarding various events, news you can use and different groups in your area.