Bankruptcy vs Consumer Proposal

In our latest webinar, Jeff Schwartz, our Executive Director and Ben Allen, Community Outreach Manager are joined by licensed insolvency trustee Graeme Whitehead to discuss which option, a consumer proposal or bankruptcy, may be best for you.

Remember, every situation is unique so if you have more questions after the webinar, please contact us at (844)-402-3073 and speak to a trained counsellor about your current situation.

Ben: All right, good morning, welcome to another Consolidated Credit webinar where we’re going to talk about the differences between bankruptcy and consumer proposals, and if you happen to be in that position, what option might be best for you. So today, joining us again is our executive director, Jeffery Schwartz, and we also have a licensed insolvency trustee, Graeme Whitehead from A Farber, so thanks for joining us guys!


Jeff: You’re welcome happy to be here.


Graeme: As well – thanks very much for having me.


Ben: Okay, so today, we’ve got our experts gathered, they’ve each spent a fairly long time in their respective fields and we have a wealth of knowledge that we’re gonna try and tap into you today. So these are some of the questions that we’ll attempt to answer and it’s great that we’ve got an AFCC certified financial counselor and a licensed insolvency trustee with us. So, if you’re one of the, maybe, many Canadians out there who’ve never heard of these people or have no idea what they do, then you’re in luck. Today it’s my hope that by the end of this webinar listeners will have a little bit clearer picture of what the bankruptcy and insolvency processes are in Canada. And then at the end, we’ll have some time for some questions and answers – so thanks again for being here today guys. So, let’s get started.


Jeff: Sounds good!


Ben: So those are the textbook definitions of a bankruptcy and a consumer proposal, they’re pretty cut-and-dry and they don’t really tell you a whole lot about the process or what they mean to individuals. But before we get to that, let’s talk about just Canadians and their situation in general. Now Jeff there was some interesting news that broke recently about how close some households are to living on the edge. A whopping 46 percent of Canadians, that’s a part in an M&P survey, were found to be living only $200 away from being insolvent. So that tells me that for almost half of all Canadian families out there an unexpected expense of just 200 bucks is the deciding factor between paying your bills and juggling your monthly bills. So, as a preface today Jeff, I’m just wondering if you can comment on you know maybe what that statistic means for Canadian families.


Jeff: Yeah thanks Ben and you’re right, that is really quite a scary stat and that’s the stuff that kind of keeps me up at night, knowing that so many Canadians are that close to the edge. I can only imagine what kind of stress they’re feeling, and it makes it tough on relationships, it makes it tough at work, it makes it tough at home. Canadians need to look at real solutions and they need to look up them today. And solutions really that start small but can make a big difference over time. Living that close to the edge can cake can create real lasting problems and no one wants those.


Ben: Great yeah, you’re exactly right. I mean those are some really good points here. And I think it’s worth noting that bankruptcy really is the last resort, so if it is possible, finally a consumer proposal is usually a better choice for all the parties involved. But that’s just what I think – let’s ask the expert says here, Graeme would you agree with that statement?


Graeme: I agree fully, bankruptcy is always considered the last resort and I’ve seen by every stakeholder, everybody involved. The reasons are, it’s very onerous for the debtor and a client that comes in, I do the number of tasks involved, there’s always some degree of unknown, the future, in what will be the outcome and that gives a fairly stressful situation for somebody already, in a, in a stressful state of mind. And also the lowest reco-, provides the lowest recovery for all the creditors involved, but understand that it is the last resort sometimes it may be the best resort. And but it’s certainly seen as the last resort again but it’s when when the situation allows for it and it’s the only solution then that option can be explored.


Ben: So, it’s there for a reason, that’s good to know. So, Graeme, Jeff, with their many years’ experience, if there was one piece of advice you could give to Canadians that may feel like bankruptcy is their only option, what would it be? Because that’s something I hear quite a lot from people that I have worked with or people that I’ve met that have gone through the insolvency process. And one thing they kind of all say is they wish they had done it sooner or spoken to someone sooner. Could you also just briefly comment on that? So let’s start with Graeme here.


Graeme: I hear that comment a lot as well as certainly I wish I had started this process sooner. My advice is really don’t listen to the Menace you’ve heard, it is such a common, there’s so many common misconceptions in the process, people thought that, certain, all of their items would be lost, all of their assets would be seized, they will be left destitute with nothing and it’s absolutely not the case. So the issue for me is to not listen to those myths.


Ben: Okay good and hopefully, you know something, this webinar can help people dispel some of those myths.


Graeme: Absolutely.


Ben: So, Jeff, from your side, is there anything you want to add from sort of a financial counsellor’s point of view? A piece of advice? Or, you know, what would you recommend?


Jeff: Yeah and I agree with Graeme there, there is just, we’re inundated with news and opportunities for information over the web and people all of a sudden become kind of financial doctors, if you will, from what they read and and sometimes that’s a good thing and it’s great to have additional information, but sometimes it can steer you down the wrong path which is kind of where I would start, is you want to really assess your situation, your individual situation, with a trusted professional. And there may be options out there that you don’t see or that you haven’t read up on the Internet and insolvency may be one of them, but there are also many other options out there and each person’s situation is specific to them, as it relates to their goals and what they’re trying to achieve and also their stress points. And I’m a little biased here, but a nonprofit credit counselor is a great place to start. You may end up at insolvency, but you may end up somewhere else and it’s going to be an unbiased approach to trying to find the best solution for you.


Ben: Sure, and that’s something I’ve seen, you know, people might not like what they hear or what they see in their credit report, but it’s nice to have that, sort of, professional opinion. Okay, Graeme, so this slide is all about you. Would you be able just to kind of walk us through the role of a trustee, you know, what you’re gonna do, a bit of the process, what is the trustee going to do with those client assets? And really, you know, what can someone who’s considering talking to a trustee expect on their first visit? I can imagine that would be a little bit intimidating for some.


Graeme: Yeah many people do find it intimidating, but it shouldn’t be, it’s an information gathering session and the first meeting really starts with listening, understanding the current situation and then, ultimately, to assess and provide a number of solutions with all the information that they need. The key in this is that the trustee is required to provide all the information necessary. There’s, there’s, it’s not just about what is it, they need to know initially, they need to be prepared for all of the possible scenarios. So many people find it very informative, but it sometimes, it’s it’s a lot of information, so that can be staggered over additional meetings and additional information may be necessary. The options need to be fully explained. The one option not always found is, or almost always is, it seems to jump out as a better solution in others, many times one due to income level or of various factors that one situation’s option seems to be much clearer than the others. Ultimately, the trustee has to cover all of those options, make sure the person is very well informed of all the options so they can make a clear decision. And then you’ve asked the question about the, the client’s assets. Only in bankruptcy can assets be seized by the trustee and sold for the benefit of creditors. Many assets, however, don’t get seized and that’s due to various provincial and federal protection laws. So the point is, is again that the trustee is required to fully explain these things so even if bankruptcy is the option that is chosen, and some assets will be lost even in that scenario, this is not a shock. The trustee is required to disclose this information and fully make the person aware.


Ben: Okay – so it’s almost like a financial sort of triage, what’s the situation with all the information and then, you know, where can we go from there.


Graeme: Absolutely, there the person that is well aware, certainly a lot of information would be given in that initial meeting.


Ben: Okay, great, thanks. Another question I hear quite a bit is, you know, the million dollar question: how much does it cost to go bankrupt? There’s a bit of difference in the filing and the administration costs of the two so I think it’s important to know a little bit about how the payments might be structured or set up. However, I do know, if these patients, if these payments are a barrier to filing the bankruptcy, then there are programs out there that can help – but we’ll cover more on that in a second. This is something that’s come up more than a few times in my seminar, or my workshops, you know, people are surprised that it costs money to go bankrupt. So again, I think it’s a good time to turn that over to our experts, just to try and explain how these fees might be structured.


Graeme: I think the, the key issue is that there’s very few, if any, trustees that charge for the initial consultation meeting. So first and foremost, get the information that is necessary to make an informed decision. Then don’t let cost be the barrier because at least, I mean, the first meeting is free. Once a proposal, say as an option, is chosen and what happens is the trustees entitled to draw a fee for administering that consumer proposal from out of those payments. So that the payments that the debtor is committed to making every month. There is no cost added in addition to those payments by the trustee so it feels all-inclusive and that gives a lot of clarity for the debtor or client coming in and knowing what that is. When it comes to a bankruptcy, the trustee receives a percentage of the funds that the debtor is required to pay into the bankruptcy estate. Those, those monies are paid either because of a higher income level or because it has needs to be sold off by the trustee. But if neither of these apply, many times it doesn’t, for those that are finding themselves as the bankruptcy being the best option for them, the trustee can ask for payments to be made into the bankruptcy volatile to cover those costs of the bankruptcy, but they can be as little as a couple hundred dollars a month many times. And in my experience, when a person has no debt to pay and most respectfully got to have some sort of cost to pay, they don’t find that too overwhelming. I found that cost itself being a barrier.


Ben: No, I would assume so, you know, if you have thousands of dollars in debt, that’s probably money well spent.


Graeme: Right and then – many people have said, well there’s the cost, it would be very expensive if they have all the debt to pay, but replacement adds a little bit of cost to pay.


Ben: For sure, so we mentioned assets a little bit and it sounds like a big part of what you do Graeme, is just explaining the unknowns, clarity has come up quite a few times so you must get similar questions to the ones that I get whenever bankruptcy or insolvency comes up. You know, am I going to lose my house? Or what if I need my truck or tools for work? Are they going to take them too? What happens to my tax refunds? Or money in my RRSP or TFSA? Can you just take a few minutes and try and fill us in on what’s going to happen to assets and savings or investments in a bankruptcy versus consumer proposal?


Graeme: Absolutely. Unfortunately, however, my answer is going to be it depends. And I wish I could be a little more clear and the challenge is because there’s so many factors that weigh into that, it depends on a number of legal and economic factors as to whether their trustee, which would see certain assets in a bankruptcy, but to give examples and a little bit of clarity to it the trustee would it would seize a home in a bankruptcy if the value of the home exceeds the mortgage by more than the provincial exemption so in Ontario there’s a ten thousand dollar exemption. RRSPs however fully protected in a bankruptcy except the last twelve months worth of contributions. So, my point is it depends in an RSP an individual may have $40,000 in RSP but have them contributed in years well then they’re fully protected even in a bankruptcy most people are very shocked by that. The issue is get the right information. Laws have changed over time and people may be getting old advice or old information online and only realize now all things have changed and you need to get, as Jeff alluded to earlier, you got to get a professional advice on what the current situation is. Investments like mutual – oh sorry.


Ben: I was going to say great and you just mentioned how the initial consultation is usually no charge, so you can you know try and get some of that clarity or information right off the bat.


Graeme: Absolutely.


Ben: Is there anything else you wanted to continue with?


Graeme: Well just, just my comment was about investments like mutual funds that has all kinds of protection rights for beneficiaries, many are locked in by an employer. So there’s a lot of things to be looked at, but many cases people are at least, uh, shocked by the things aren’t being sold off, but at the same time any individual will know going through the process.


Ben: Okay good. So, the debt freedom date, when is that going to be? Well, it’s called a discharge and it’s different for everyone. It depends, from my understanding, on largely three things: your income, your personal finances or your family situation, and then the size of your household. Also, not all debts can be included in bankruptcy or a consumer proposal. I know that things like support arrears, student debts that are under seven years old, even some court fines or tickets, they may not be discharged through a bankruptcy. When it comes to your income, I think what matters there is if you have that surplus income remaining, to pay for the necessities like food, shelter, your important utilities, like heating or hydro. So Graeme, I’m gonna go over the surplus, surplus income requirements a bit more in a second, but I think it’s also important to note, note that one of the biggest benefits of a consumer proposal that I’ve seen is the ability to make those additional payments that has the added effect of getting you out of debt sooner than the maximum of five years allowable and it also means it’ll be removed from your credit report sooner too. So Graeme, I’m sure you can do a much better job of explaining those points on the slides. Can you just touch on some of them, maybe some of the more important ones, and give us some of your input on – you know how long this process might take or especially what can’t be included debt wise, that sort of thing, and just maybe briefly explain the surplus income payments for someone like you said that might be earning a high end income or something like that.


Graeme: Absolutely. So the consumer proposal point that you touched on is key in the fact that they can be, additional payments can be made on a consumer proposal to accelerate that, that freedom state, so getting it paid off as fast as possible is an option and making additional payments it’s a great feature of the consumer proposal, I’m glad you highlighted that. You covered most of the main area, main or common debts that are not discharged in a proposal or bankruptcy and again includes due loans less than seven years old, child or spousal support, court fine tickets and fraud related debt, there are others, but those are the most common and your point on, on surplus income, how that works and that only applies in bankruptcy and it does not apply in a consumer proposal. And what that is is the government took a standard income level for your household size, any income earned above that guideline is called surplus income, and fifty percent of that surplus income has to be paid to the trustee in the bankruptcy for the duration of the bankruptcy. And that applies whether you would, no matter which province you live in or what city you live in so it can be very difficult for those living in higher living expense cities. So in, further income needs to be continuously reported so that as the income fluctuates so we’ll do a surplus income payment. Again, only applying in a bankruptcy and most people find that, it sounds a bit onerous of additional reporting of income how much am I paying, well it depends on income level, it goes up and down, and that makes a consumer proposal much more attractive because it provides some degree of clarity and, and a fixed monthly payment and that provides a little bit less stress on the individual. That being said, the consumer proposal does provide more money overall, but usually at a much more affordable monthly payment.


Ben: Okay, some good things to think about there. So essentially, let’s say you paid all of your bills and you had, you know, $1,000 surplus every month, you’re saying you’d have to put $500 aside for payments into the bankruptcy, correct?


Graeme: Well actually I’m saying that the government would set what that guideline would be and then above that guideline, yes, 50 percent.


Ben: Okay and then that would be the discussion of maybe we should look at a consumer proposal versus these surplus income payments.


Graeme: That’s correct, because the payment can be less per month, but more overall, it’s usually more palatable for the individual to meet that requirement.


Ben: Good, all right. So that leads us to the next question, you know, what should I do? We’re nearing the end of the webinar here, so I thought I’d just take kind of one more look at which of these two options is best given a debtor situation. So with either of them, you’re going to have to contact a licensed insolvency trustee in your area and set up that time to meet, like I mentioned it’s free, however, it should be free, just for that information gathering. After explaining the process and, you know, choosing which option might be best for you, then I guess, you know, you’ll sign the required documents. There’s also going to be that assessment of your financial situation, with the bankruptcy there’d be the income reporting and then just determining sort of your monthly cost of living. After that, you know, you’ll make your payments as directed and a reassessment of your finances might be required, like you mentioned, if your income situation changes. So I’ll just turn things back over to Graeme just to quickly comment on the biggest differences between consumer proposals and bankruptcies one last time so that we can be absolutely clear on these two processes.


Graeme: I think that in summary the, the consumer proposal simply avoids a lot of the complexities of bankruptcy. There’s a lot of things that we’ve touched on a little earlier that have a bit of unknown, it depends on income, depends on this, depends on the amount of assets. A consumer proposal is meant to be a simpler process to provide some additional money to creditors, but at much more reasonable terms for the individual. More money overall, but usually in a fixed monthly payment which is just easier to do and less stressful. So the proposal is a way of avoiding a lot of the complexities of bankruptcy. If bankruptcy has, if the individual has very low income and there’s not a lot of complexities in the bankruptcy, then you’re not avoiding a whole lot. I think there’s a lot of ‘what is this?’ and then ‘depend on this’ that happens in bankruptcy that proposal is a way of avoiding it and many people find that it just feels like the moral high road. They just feel better off that they’re doing as much as they can. It may not be paying the debt back in full but they’re doing what they can, I agree that’s honorable.


Ben: Great, yeah, I’ve noticed that too, even in, you know, credit counseling, there is sort of a I want there to pay back what people owe and it might not be, you know, according to interest rates or something like that, but they do want to pay back what they owe. So now I’d like to get both of your opinions regarding something that not a lot of think, not a lot of people think about whenever bankruptcy comes up. I’m talking about the good stuff. I mean I’m a glass half-full kind of guy, so I think we should end this off speaking about the benefits of a bankruptcy, you know, there’s a reason that this is a legal option for insolvent debtors. Filing a bankruptcy is obviously a serious decision and it can lead to a lot of overwhelming emotions, stress, anger, that sort of stuff. But, like I said, these options are here for a reason, being discharged from a bankruptcy means you’re going to be debt free. It’s an end to the harassing collection calls you might be getting sort of a chance to restart, it’s going to reduce financial stress and usually what results is a stronger relationship with family and friends, but also money. So let’s just talk about some of the positive stuff before we get into the Q&A. Can I get each of your thoughts just on, you know, life after bankruptcy. What have you noticed in the people that we work with before they file or look at their options versus after they’ve become debt free or discharged. Jeff – since you and Consolidated have worked with so many Canadian families over the last 11 years, let’s start with you.


Jeff: Thanks Ben, and you touched a lot about, you touched on a bunch of those things in your, your opening here, but as I mentioned earlier, especially as it relates to what you provided at the opening of the webinar, I mean living so close to the edge creates a tremendous amount of stress on individuals. And it’s stress, like you said, on all parts of your life. Work, family, friends and the longer you live with it without a reasonable solution, the more stress you’re going to carry. And sometimes a plan, any plan, helps to alleviate this stress. So in the case of a bankruptcy this may be the absolute best way to get beyond that stress and start with a clean slate. Almost like lifting a huge weight off of your shoulders and that’s what we hear most: the relief of all that financial weight. The other thing that we hear about is the improvement in financial literacy, like any new experience, you have more knowledge having gone through it. Now it’s something that you may not want to go through, but at least you’re going to know and you’re going to be able to preempt any issues kind of going forward, so at least having that knowledge is a good place to start. And I’ve got to be quite candid and probably a little bit biased, that’s what the counselors at Consolidated are very good at: bringing a knowledge based and patient approach to helping people move through their financial troubles while providing the tools to prevent them in the future.


Ben: For sure that’s something I saw when I was counseling, and I mean Graeme this is something that you’re seeing every day, so is there anything you wanted to add regarding life before bankruptcy versus life after bankruptcy? Maybe there’s a success story or something that sticks out in your mind regarding that, you can just take a second and try and do that.


Graeme: First, I just want to agree with everything Jeff has said that stress is incredibly impactful on health, family life. Many people say, well it seems that you hear these difficult stories all the time, but in actual fact were maybe saving, saving a marriage, saving a home, improving somebody’s physical health because of the stress impacts, so agreement that barrier is huge. And thank you for those points, Jeff. The story I may have is more on the line of people have difficulty in that stressful moment to see the future and there’s just so much weight on them at the moment that they can’t see what is that debt freedom day look like and they can’t even and imagine that, they could never imagine themselves buying a home one day or actually still achieving those life goals. Too many people feel that there’s some sort of blacklist out there and that they’ll be unable to achieve their lifelong goals and it’s simply not true. Many goals can be achieved very quickly in the grand scheme of things, but they first need to deal with the situation. Many people are too hung up on, I was gonna you know a bankruptcy, proposal would damage their credit ratings, but not realizing that the credit rating is already damaged and it’s just good to comment that you’ve got to take the first step and do something about it. You first gotta tackle the debt before he can improve credit ratings, achieve some of those lifelong goals and they still can be done and I’ve seen it firsthand where people have bought a home, now, it could be a short period after bankruptcy or even a consumer proposal. These things can still be done and I’m just encouraging those listeners to, to take that first step get your professional advice, get on that right path and you can still achieve those goals.


Ben: Great, I totally agree, right, you know, I hear people all the time, they say I was sticking my head in the sand or spinning my wheels or to go to that credit point, I don’t want to damage my credit, when, you know, they’re already getting calls from collectors and their bills are late and their credit cards are maxed out so, you know, what have you already done to your credit? I think that’s kind of a great point to bring up as well. So we’ve got some time for a bit of questions and, you know, Graeme, it looks like the first one’s perfect for you and that question is: when should I speak to a trustee? How bad does it have to be? I hear that a lot, how bad is bad? So could you just try and approach that one?


Graeme: Well I think when you’ve got these, the signs of being in financial difficulty you should get some advice. It doesn’t have – there is no definition of a bad, if you’re unable to repay your debts as they become due is the technical definition, but your best to get some professional advice either from a credit counselor or like Consolidated or, or a licensed insolvency trustee. Get the advice is key, if you find the debt is growing, if you find that the collectors are calling, using payday loans in order to pay other debt or borrowing debt to pay debt and that cycle is happening quick, or is spiraling a little bit, you need to receive some professional advice. If ultimately the proposal, bankruptcy may not be necessary, then no harm done, but your best bet is to get the advice you need.


Ben: Great and the next question we have here looks like it’s a good one for Jeff to cover: I don’t want to go bankrupt, but what other options are out there?


Jeff: This, and, thanks Ben, there are so many options out there and, and that’s where a nonprofit credit counselor like Consolidated comes in. Any solution you choose should be tailor-made for you. It takes into account your needs, your goals and these solutions also need to take into account, and much of what Graeme said is true, the short term, but also the long term impact of the solution that you choose. So if you still want to own a home, that’s got to be built into the solution that’s best for you. So really important to take that into account. The other thing that people don’t understand is there might be a solution that you can handle yourself, you just need a little guidance, maybe a little bit more education, build a strategy. So it’s almost like a DIY, do-it-yourself, solution and depending on your situation you might, situation, you might be able to transfer a balance from a high interest rate credit card to a lower interest loan or a lower interest credit card, or even borrowing from friends and family, or working with your budget to kind of spend less and bring a little bit more money in. So these are all individual options, but you need the assessment, and it depends on you and your goals as to which option and sometimes the best option is the one that you can handle on your own first you just may need a little bit more guidance in that area. However, but for more serious concerns an intervention might be best. And that means engaging a professional to work with your creditors to restructure your plan to something that you can afford and stick to now and in the future, and that could be a debt management program administered by a nonprofit credit counselor like Consolidated or even a hardship program of sorts where you’re working with your creditors to try and get some sort of relief. The option of last resort, and we talked about this, may mean filing for some sort of insolvency of bankruptcy or a consumer proposal and that’s where it’s important to deal with a licensed insolvency trustee, like Graeme at AFarber, but overall the assessment that you go through at the beginning, that’s gonna tell you tell a lot.


Ben: Great, so just like we talked about the whole theme of this webinar seems to be clarity, figure out your situation. So some other questions that have come up a few times actually are in regards to sort of aggressive collections threat to legal action, so can maybe both of you chime in on this one? The questions are along the lines of, you know: can a collection agency take me to court? Can I be sued for not paying back my debt? Jeff, let’s start with you.


Jeff: You could be sued. And that’s not the answer that people want to hear, but it’s a remedy that your, your lenders have, if you stop paying, then yeah they can come after you. But truthfully, depending on the debt it’s probably not going to be their first choice. And, and then that’s where other options may come in. So for me when someone’s falling behind and they’re really worried about being sued, I think it’s a sign of a bigger problem as it relates to their personal finances and that’s where you may want to jump in and talk to a credit credit counselor because they’re going to give you the straight goods on what can happen, what is likely to happen and then how to deal with it.


Ben: Okay good – Graeme, if legal action is going to happen, when can it happen? How can you avoid it? And when might it be too late for an insolvency trustee or a professional to intervene?


Graeme: It’s rarely too late, the issue is to obtain the advice as early as possible, professional advice. And a legal action can be stopped by, by creditors preventing garnishments occurring or a lien on a property. The only exception to that is, is the CRA, when they, they, when they enforce their collection rights, they have the right to do so but it’s almost backdated by the date that the notice was sent out so there the key is is not to wait, don’t let it get that far, that options can’t be explored and we don’t need to wait to the eleventh hour or pass to the point of being able to intervene and get some protection in place. And as Jeff alluded to, if you get the advice early enough then there’s just more options available to you and it may mean, mean that the, the credit counselor implements some sort of intervening action like a debt management program and these all these things can be avoided. So, the issue is getting advice and getting it earlier, don’t wait for the lawsuit to start. But to answer your question, it can still be stopped but let’s not get to that point.


Ben: Okay so the big point there is get your head out of the sand, you might not like the information, but you should at least get all of it.


Graeme: But to that point, rarely, and I think Jeff commented on the relief of stress on any plan, and I think that includes even if the information isn’t exactly what you want to hear, to your point, it’s still a plan and that still provides some relief to the individual that, okay and I realized, okay this is the plan, I have a set of course of action to take.


Ben: Good yeah and with that I find, you know, with action, with doing something, putting a plan into place, that’s when you know you start seeing the hope, seeing the turnaround, seeing the light, I guess. So hopefully we’ve painted a much clearer picture of the bankruptcy and consumer proposal process, maybe also a little bit on the roles that a credit counselor or a licensed insolvency trustee can play. So if you wanted to ask more specific questions or you wanted to speak with any of us, please feel free to contact us at the addresses you see there. So I guess if there’s one thing we hope that listeners take away today it’s that there is trusted or there are trusted financial professionals out there that’re ready and willing to help, so don’t wait, that’s not going to fix anything, you know, be sure you speak to someone and get the help you need. It might not be as bad as you built it up to be. So Jeff, Graeme any parting words of wisdom you’d like to leave our listeners with before we’re done with? Let’s just start with Graeme and then we’ll turn things over to Jeff.


Graeme: I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you Jeff and Ben, working with the team and Consolidated Credit and I think the, the hope is to add a little bit of clarity here and for people to take action and consider that there is options and there are real solutions that don’t eliminate any long term goals and achieving those things, they can be done but you’ve got to take the action.


Ben: For sure and Jeff anything you’d like to add?


Jeff: Yeah and similar to Graeme we’ve had a great working relationship with Barbara over the years and one of the things that I really want to bring to people here today is that no solution is one size fits all. You really have to look at it individually and what your short and long term goals are, have a financial professional or a trusted advisor look at your situation and that’s why we recommend to speak with a trained credit counselor first to identify the best solution for you. Remember choosing the wrong option could have an impact on your life for years, using the right one will help to relieve all that financial stress.


Ben: So, some great words of wisdom there, but perhaps, you know, you’re a self-starter, you want to learn it a little bit on your own so you might need some “Kofe”. So if you, or someone you know, needs some knowledge of financial education or you’re interested in learning how our online financial wellness platform, Kofe, can help you or your organization combat financial stress, please contact me for a free demo!

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I understand and agree that by choosing “Start your online budget now”, I am voluntarily providing certain personal financial information in order to educate myself as to my current financial position. I understand that this budget tool is educational in nature, and that none of the information received in the form of a budget constitutes financial advice, nor does it constitute a counselling session. I understand and agree that the budget depends on the information I input into the fields, and that Company does not represent or guarantee the accuracy of the budget. I understand that this tool may collect information and should I choose not to provide such information, I am not to proceed further. If I choose to abandon the tool midway through the process, I understand that the information will not be maintained and I would be required to start providing the information from the beginning. Company disclaims all warranties associated with the budget tool herein. I understand and agree that Company may use the contact information provided herein to contact me through various means of communications, including automated messages, and that I expressly consent to receive these messages.

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