Category Archives: Debt and Society

How to Help Your Clients Face the Financial Problems that Come with Divorce

Debt and financial problems are one of the leading causes of divorce in Canada, and all too often debt and divorce go hand in hand.  If your clients are in the midst of a divorce, providing them with information about how to deal with the financial repercussions can be very important.

There are several things that a financial professional can help with, including:

–          Learning how to manage a budget: figuring out how to best prepare for life on one income. Budgeting also plays a key role in ensuring that all payments to creditors get made on time each month.

–          Dealing with the debt that already exists and being able to manage the monthly payments in order to keep credit in check. This may involve helping choose a solution to getting rid of the debt altogether.

–          Working with your client to consolidate that debt or file a consumer proposal to reduce monthly payments and keep credit payments from being neglected.

The best advice you can give to your clients to deal with the aftermath of a divorce and the debt that has resulted from it is to seek financial guidance from a financial professional who can represent them in the restructuring of their debt.

Being able to provide your clients with the support that they need is important, and if they are going through a divorce, this so often includes financial information.  If you have clients that are dealing with divorce debt, please reach out to me. I can be reached at 416-907-2582 ext 2587, or by email at kgoldenberg@debtcare.ca.

Supporting Clients and Patients with Divorce Debt

Canada has the 8th highest divorce rate in the world. Human Resources Development Canada has reported that the proportion of marriages expected to end in divorce has fluctuated between 35% and 42% in recent years. In 2008, 40.7% of marriages were expected to end in divorce before the 30th wedding anniversary. In 2008, there were 70,226 divorces in Canada or 2.11 divorces per 1,000 people.

Divorce debt in Canada is also very common. Human Resources Development Canada also reported that in 2008, 115,789 Canadians were unable to repay their debts. Serious financial difficulties brought them to file either a consumer proposal or a bankruptcy. Individuals who were divorced or separated were more likely to file a proposal or bankruptcy.

Why is divorce debt one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in Canada? The answer is fairly simple. First, two income households will often accumulate debt based on their “household ability to pay the debt”. The challenge with this is that debt is accumulated based on two people sharing living expenses and when people separate, living expenses will double because now each party has to pay for rent or a mortgage and living expenses separately. When household debt is present this can make it challenging to pay it.

Second, some marriages will involve one person working and one person raising the family. When divorce occurs, the party who hasn’t worked will likely have little to no income but be faced with the immediate expense of having to hire a lawyer and also live. In many cases this forces the party who has been home raising the family back into the workforce. Individuals who have been out of the workforce for a long time often have to re-enter it in junior or entry level positions.

Third, sometimes one party in a marriage may carry all of the debt in his or her name. Much of the debt may have been used by the other spouse. There is nothing worse than getting a divorce and then finding yourself having to pay your spouse’s debt.

Legal protections may result in the party who has the weaker financial positioning receiving support payments, being awarded the house, having the other party take responsibility for the debt, but this can take years. Also, the legal fees that compound over the course of a divorce may end up being more than the debt that was owed to begin with.

We work with marriage counselors, family therapists and even family lawyers to help their clients come up with post-divorce financial strategies.

If you have a client who needs help or if you would like to host a WeCare day where we can come out and speak with your clients/members about coping with the financial aftermath of a divorce, please email me at kgoldenberg@debtcare.ca, call 416-907-2582 ext 2587 or visit www.debtcareservices.ca.

Gambling Debt in Canada

Gambling debt in Canada is an epidemic not unlike the flu. Addiction is an illness and gambling is something that is highly addictive. Casinos are more accessible than ever in Canada and what can begin as harmless entertainment can quickly turn into a serious life-altering addiction.

Many people realize that they have a problem when gambling habits lead to disruption in major parts of their lives. Financially, problem gambling can lead to a loss of income, potential loss of assets, lowered standard of living, or even a loss of employment. Personally, problem gambling can cause conflict with loved ones, and can lead to alienation from family and friends.

CTV News recently reported on a study from Statistics Canada that showed that wealthier people, on average, spend more money on wagering, but gamblers who have less money spend a larger percentage of their income on gaming activities.

According to the CTV report, Statistics Canada says that 6.3 percent of people are thought to be “at risk gamblers and problem gamblers.” Problem gamblers make up 0.6 percent of the Canadian population which is roughly 180,000 people. The Statistics Canada definition of a problem gambler is someone who has experienced negative consequences of gaming and who gambles more than five times a year.

If you work with people who are problem gamblers resulting in financial ruin, help them stand up against it!

There are many financial programs available that help gamblers who are dealing with a gambling debt in Canada and access to these programs is available through DebtCare.

You can host a WeCare day and make a difference. We will come out to your facility and speak with your clients about the financial consequences associated with gambling and how they can deal with them if they have occurred.

If you would like to host a WeCare day, please contact me by emailing kgoldenberg@debtcare.ca, call me at 416-907-2582 ext 2587 or visit www.debtcareservices.ca.

Knowledge Lessens the Stress of Financial Planning

Now that your clients have made it through the holidays are they ready for tax season?

Tax season is in fact a time of year where Canadians come into even more debt than the holiday season. During the holidays one may rack up a credit card debt or two but when an individual is in a position where he or she knows that once he files a tax return he will be facing a large debt, the stress can be overwhelming.

This leads many Canadians (your members and clients included) to ignore their tax problem hoping that it will just go away by itself and it won’t. Keeping your clients informed about the consequences of filing late returns can save them thousands of dollars. Penalties for late filing tax returns are severe and include financial penalties, interest and even prosecution.

While your clients prepare to file their late returns they can start financial planning to cope with the new debt that’s coming down the pipeline and DebtCare can help. Not only can we work with your clients to come up with a financial plan to deal with their tax debt but we also have access to programs to find them relief if the amount that they owe is more than they can pay.

Give your clients the gift of less stress this tax season and contact me to arrange a WeCare Day at your office so that you can help your clients get informed. I can be reached at 416-907-2582 ext 2587 or email me at kgoldenberg@debtcare.ca.

Is Debt Society’s Fault?

I was asked the other day whether I think a person/family’s debt is their fault or society’s fault.

If someone goes out and buys a $2,500.00 television knowing full well they don’t have that money socked away, then yes, that debt is 100% their fault. But what about the single income family who just faced a layoff and needs to buy diapers and baby formula? Is it their fault that they have no other option than to pay for it on their credit card? I think debt is often a product of peoples’ circumstances, and whether those circumstances are within their control.

Perhaps the fault lies with the lack of financial education given during secondary
school…..

For the most part I don’t think that people intentionally rack up their credit with no intention of paying it off, but that doesn’t mean it’s not their responsibility to deal with it. The first step to
dealing with a problem is admitting it’s there.

The next step is guiding the individual to a meaningful solution for their situation. Sometimes
the solution is credit counselling but most times the most effective solution will involve counselling and other tools and resources that can provide some debt relief.

As Director of Community Outreach for DebtCare, my mandate is to work with community organizations to help them access a variety of programs that are customized to the individual needs of people who are struggling with debt.

For more information about DebtCare’s programs, please visit www.debtcare.ca or contact me at 888-890-0888 ext. 2587 and I would be happy to come out to see you to discuss how our programs can complement our initiatives.