Debt forgiveness for seniors

Support for seniors managing debt

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By Bromwich+Smith Staff | 1246 words | Reading Time: 6 minutes and 13 sec | Date: 2024/01/10

In recent years, the numbers of seniors carrying debt has steadily been climbing. According to Stats Canada, more than one third of all Canadian seniors carry at least one form of non mortgage related debt. This can include credit card debt, pay day loans, car loans or lines of credit, and this can greatly impact how seniors live and enjoy their later years.  

We are seeing an increase of seniors falling into the low income bracket, and many on fixed or lower incomes. There is a high potential that their assets have also taken a downturn in recent years, resulting in more debt than assets. For many, the reality is that there will not be an inheritance to pass along. Many are fearful they will leave unpaid debt for future generations.  

Some seniors support their adult children, become the primary caregiver for their grandchildren, or are simply struggling to make ends meet. Other contributing factors include current housing market conditions, unexpected losses in investments and the overall economy. 

How do you know if you are carrying too much debt as a senior? 

Watch for these five warning signs: 

1.       Credit Card debt: You are unable to pay off your credit card balance in full each month or struggle to make your minimum payments. Try to avoid taking our additional credit to pay off the debt on your current credit.  

2.       Borrowing Money:  You find yourself needing to borrow money for daily living. This could include daily activities, bills or grocery costs. You may be borrowing from family, friends, your own investments, or using additional credit.  

3.       Payday loan:  You have considered or have already taken a payday loan. These vendors are often popular with lower income or vulnerable Canadians. They promise a guaranteed loan, but with very high interest rates that make it difficult to repay in full. Sometimes the interest costs more than the original loan.  

4.      Impact on social interactions: Your debt is impacting your work, relationships, mental, emotional, and physical well-being. You may avoid going out because you do not have the financial means to do so, or you just do not want to deal with people. You are stressed out, and concerned about how you will manage repaying the owed debt.  

5.       Shame & Stigma: You may have feelings of shame and stigma that impact your social interactions. It is important to know that debt does not define you as a person, and debt is a hurdle many people struggle with. You do not need to be alone, and you do not need to be embarrassed. 

If you saw yourself in one or more of these warning signs, you are not alone. The great news is, there is hope. You can get out of debt at any age. We know that debt does not discriminate based on age, gender or background - but the good news is neither do debt relief options. Regardless of your situation, there are debt relief programs that work for you. Whatever debt relief assistance you need, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee like Bromwich+Smith can help. 

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Step 1: Know Your Numbers 

To start eliminating your debt, you first need to know who you owe money to and how much you owe, so it’s time to start a list. Itemize each credit product (card/loan/line of credit/private financing) by name, and make sure to include the outstanding balance and interest rate for each. You can use a pen and paper, excel spreadsheet or even an app, whichever works best for you.   

Step 2: Create a Budget 

To decide which action plan is best for you, you will need to have an idea of how much money you have each month to put towards debt repayment. Again, use the method that works best for you (check out our Budget blog) to fully understand how much money is coming in each month from all sources and how much is going out to fixed and variable expenses. Don’t forget the bills with less regular schedules! 

Step 3: Surplus or Shortfall 

After you have put together the numbers, it’s time to review. If you have a surplus, this is great news! You can direct that surplus to debt repayment by simply applying the surplus to paying off your highest interest rate debt first or tackle the smallest debt. 

If you have a shortfall, it is time to reevaluate. Have a look to see where you can reduce expenses, lower costs, or cut back.  Contact your lenders and see if you can negotiate lower interest rates. Are there expenses you can delay or put off for a period? This can be a challenging exercise, but it’s a necessary step. Once you can lower some of your monthly expenses, you can tackle debt. 

Step 4: Ask for Help 

If the numbers just do not line up, you still have options! One of the bravest things we can do is ask for help to manage our debt. There are many options out there to support you however, it can be very confusing.  

Many of our clients tell us they are not sure what the difference is between the various debt relief options out there. Every option has pros and cons and each option has implications on your time, budget, credit report, and your ability to rebuild.  So where do you begin?  Licensed Insolvency Trustee firms are federally legislated, licensed and regulated and are the only ones who can administer legal debt forgiveness through Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcies. At Bromwich+Smith, we will provide a free, no obligation consultation that includes all your options.  

There are many organizations out there which may appear too good to be true. Take your time and do your research. Ask for referrals, check their online reviews and the Better Business Bureau, and Canadian government websites to ensure they are a legitimate debt relief option.   

Once you have determined that you need debt help, reach out to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee firm, like Bromwich+Smith for a free, personalizes, no obligation consultation. You will get the facts, know your rights, and be able to make an informed decision. At Bromwich+Smith, Debt Relief Specialists are available by phone at 1.855.884.9243 or you can request a call back via the contact us page, or Live Chat . 

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1: How can I determine if I have too much debt as a senior?

Watch for warning signs such as struggling to pay credit card balances, needing to borrow money for daily expenses, considering payday loans, experiencing a negative impact on social interactions, and feeling shame or stigma about your debt.

2: What steps can seniors take to eliminate debt?

Start by knowing your outstanding balances and interest rates. Create a budget to understand your monthly income and expenses. If you have a surplus, direct it towards debt repayment. If there's a shortfall, reevaluate expenses and consider negotiating lower interest rates with lenders. If needed, ask for help from professionals like Licensed Insolvency Trustees.

3: How do I know if I need debt relief assistance?

If you find it challenging to manage your debt, experience a shortfall in your budget, or have difficulty meeting monthly expenses, it's a sign you may need debt relief assistance. Contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee for a free consultation to explore your options.

4: What distinguishes a Licensed Insolvency Trustee from other debt relief options?

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are federally legislated, licensed, and regulated. They can administer legal debt forgiveness through Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcies. Bromwich+Smith provides free, no-obligation consultations to discuss all available options.

5: How can I research and verify the legitimacy of a debt relief organization?

Before seeking help, research potential organizations by asking for referrals, checking online reviews, consulting the Better Business Bureau, and verifying information on Canadian government websites. Choose a reputable firm like Bromwich+Smith for a trustworthy and informed debt relief consultation.


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