The global pandemic continues to disrupt lives and industries around the world. Business shutdowns and restrictions on social gatherings, while important for limiting the spread of COVID-19, are disrupting people’s livelihoods. Workers in sectors like hospitality, food and beverage, entertainment, and many other industries remain unemployed or are dealing with reduced hours and income. Even those lucky to still be working are dealing with pay cuts and lost income.
Unfortunately, relief has been uneven depending on where you live. When relief benefits aren’t enough to cover your living expenses, you have to go into debt. Credit cards and lines of credit can keep you afloat for a little while, but eventually, you have to pay that money back.
Where Can You Get Debt Help Advice?
Some places have been harder hit than others. The British Columbia economy was hit harder than many other provinces in Canada. Almost half of all workers in the region saw some disruption to their work, from losing their job altogether to working reduced hours.
With so much ongoing uncertainty, it can be difficult to know when or how you’re going to get back on your feet. And even if you have found new employment, there are times when personal debt loads are simply too high or impractical to pay off.
In hard-hit places like BC, debt relief advice is available from Licensed Insolvency Trustees like Debt Help BC. Licensed Insolvency Trustees are government-regulated professionals who will meet with you to determine the best way to resolve your debt. They file consumer proposals and bankruptcies, but in your initial consultation, they are required to tell you about all of your options and which ones fit your circumstances best.
Does Debt Relief Make Sense?
Bankruptcy isn’t always the last resort. There are situations when it simply makes good financial sense. Consider bankruptcy if you:
- Cannot pay back your unsecured debts in a 2-year time frame;
- Do not own significant non-exempt assets like secondary properties or vehicles that must be liquidated to repay your creditors;
- Cannot currently keep up with credit card bills and other debt repayment obligations.
Depending on where you live, bankruptcy will be on your credit report for some years after you have been discharged but will eventually disappear. Since people dealing with high debt levels tend to miss payments and have a lower credit score anyway, it often makes sense to go through with bankruptcy rather than pay it all back because you can see your credit recover faster with bankruptcy.
That said, it’s not your only option, and the alternative may be better, especially if you’re still working. A consumer proposal is another type of insolvency proceeding. It will also appear on your credit report, but no assets are liquidated to repay creditors. Instead, with the help of a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, you propose a new payment plan to your creditors that will include significant debt forgiveness (you can wind up owing as little as 20% of the original debts in some cases) and a halt on interest charges and collections.
If you’re struggling with debt due to lost income, get debt relief advice from a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. They can help you with your financial recovery.