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.

Another Life Lost to Addiction

The recent loss of Whitney Houston has re-opened the conversation on the ultimate price that one can pay for an addiction, namely, his or her life. Like so many famous celebrities who have passed away in recent years Whiney Houston spent most of her life battling addiction. She was not alone.

For every one celebrity who faces financial ruin or worse, loses her life as a result of addiction, hundreds of thousands of regular folks who don’t make it on to the front page of the newspaper suffer in silence.

Addiction is serious and can not only lead to medical problems and death but can be the cause of financial turmoil that has resulted in some people even ending up homeless. Just as an addict needs professional help to get control of his addiction, he also needs professional help to get control of his debt.

Addiction manifests in many different ways and often does not involve drug use. Gambling and shopping addictions are two common forms of addiction that lead many into personal bankruptcy.

If you treat people who struggle with addiction you are likely also treating people who have financial problems too. DebtCare offers resources and education to people who struggle with debt and we can work with you to educate your clients, members and/or patients about how to deal with their financial challenges. If you would like to learn more, contact me about our WeCare Days at 416-907-2582 ext 2587 or email me at kgoldenberg@debtcare.ca

Helping Your Members/Clients Cope with Collection Agencies

Many people have collections debt in Canada. We work very hard to help organizations to educate their clients/members about how to cope with collection agencies through educating them about their rights.

Loans, credit card balances, utilities, phone bills, gym memberships, toll bills and traffic fines are all examples of debt that may be assigned to collection agencies to be collected. Some collection agencies will use aggressive tactics to collect debts.

The good news is collection agencies in Canada are regulated in most Provinces. This means your clients/members have rights! In Ontario for example, the Ministry of Consumer Services regulates collection agencies through the administration of the “Collection Agencies Act”. Your clients/members can view the Ontario Collection Agencies Act on the E-Laws website. If a collections debt in Canada has been incurred and a collection agency is getting out of hand, your client/member can complain to the Provincial Ministry that regulates it. Some Provinces will receive online complaints (as is the case in Ontario) while others will require that a letter be mailed to them which includes evidence to support the complaint.

If your client/member is being pursued by a collection agency in Canada, it is likely because he or she is dealing poorly with debt. Rather than facing collection action, it is better to come up with a solution to deal with the debt, and there are solutions available. There are a number of programs available that help people to deal with their debt and stop collection action. Dealing with debt can cause stress and strain to relationships and many people think that the only way to get out of debt is through personal bankruptcy. This is not the case. There are other solutions to dealing with debt that involve freezing the interest accumulating on debt and also reducing the principal amount of debt owed.

When facing debt the worst thing to do is ignore it. This will only prolong the length of time that credit is damaged and the debt will not go away but will only continue to grow over time. The faster your clients/members deal with their debt, the faster they can work towards rebuilding their credit and finances and put the period in their life where their debt got out of control behind them.

If you would like to organize a WeCare day at your organization to provide your clients/members with important information about dealing with collection agencies and debt, please reach out to me by emailing kgoldenberg@debtcare.ca, calling 416-907-2582 ext 2587 or visit www.debtcareservices.ca.

Learning the Difference between Debt Consulting and Debt Reduction Companies

At DebtCare we applaud the FCAC (Canadian Government consumer agency) for finally taking a stand against debt reduction companies in a recent consumer alert.

If your client goes to a debt reduction company for help, he could find himself in a worse financial position than where he started. The debt reduction companies’ model is to accept hundreds to thousands of dollars per/month from your clients over a period of years with the promise that in the future they will make settlements with your clients’ creditors.

They advertise aggressively to lure clients in but they cannot ensure they will get multiple creditors to agree on a debt settlement in the future.

Debt consultants, credit counselling companies and bankruptcy trustees all offer access to programs where the money that your client pays into the program is immediately distributed amongst your client’s creditors. With each payment funds are distributed amongst the creditors in accordance with federal legislation (for example, a consumer proposal). Debt reduction companies can NOT offer immediate debt relief from creditors as their programs cannot legally protect your clients from their creditors.

It all sounds so confusing.  but that’s not a good reason to give up on finding sound resources to deal with debt.

If you would like to get informed about the differences between debt reduction companies, debt consultants, credit counsellors and trustees please call 416-907-2582 ext 2587 or email me at kgoldenberg@debtcare.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.

Employees and Mental Health Related Issues

One challenge facing employers today is the significant number of employees who go on disability because of mental health related illnesses. More often than not it is stress, anxiety, depression and panic attacks that can lead an employee to need time off work. This reality costs insurance companies and employers millions in disability compensation.

Financial trouble often fuels mental health problems. Debt has been established as a major cause of stress, anxiety, panic and depression. When an individual can no longer make ends meet because their debt exceeds their income, it can have a crippling effect.

At DebtCare Canada we work with employers, EAP program providers and insurance companies to provide employees with access to programs to help them get control of their debt and achieve financial relief. Once an individual can make ends meet and achieves debt relief, they are more able to focus and start to get their lives back on track.

A healthy employee is a happy and productive employee and employers stand to save by investing in helping their employees get their personal finances on track.

If you would like more information about our financial programs please call 416-907-2582 or email me at kgoldenberg@debtcare.ca.

Starting the New Year with a Financial Check-Up

Each holiday season many people finance gifts using credit. This is short term gain with long term pain. Come January they often face a landslide of credit card bills and are left wondering how they are going to pay for it all. Some individuals are still carrying credit card balances from past holidays. The cycle can continue until it becomes a crisis.

If you work with individuals who struggle with debt, why not recommend a financial Check-up this holiday season? We encourage you to encourage your clients, employees and members to try to pay for as much of their holiday shopping with cash. Also, encourage them to come up with a solid holiday budget, review their 2011 spending and credit, set financial goals for the New Year and create a plan to achieve those financial goals. Easier said than done right? Well you can help using DebtCare Canada’s wide range of financial solutions and services catering to those who struggle with debt.

I wish all of you and your families a happy, healthy holiday season.

For more information about our financial programs please call 416-907-2582 or email me at kgoldenberg@debtcare.ca.

Financial Triage

In my new role at DebtCare Canada, as Director of Community Outreach, I often think about the similarities with my past work as a therapist in the rehabilitation world, my work at JVS Toronto, where we worked with people to help them find their career path and my new work with organizations who help people who face financial challenges.

I was recently reminded of the importance of “triage” and getting people to the right place at the right time with the right solution.
There are many parallels as it relates to diagnosing a financial problem when compared to diagnosing a medical problem.

Triage: is the process of determining the priority of patients’ treatments based on the severity of their condition. (Wikipedia)

Financial Triage: is the process of determining our client’s best fiscal solutions based on the severity of their financial situation.

Here are some comparisons:

Medical Triage DebtCare Financial Triage
Go in to the emergency room and wait to be assessed. Meet with a financial advisor and receive a free assessment.
Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, prescriptions are written with
the intention that patients will go to the drug store to have the
prescription filled.
Once the financial advisor determines the cause of the problem, they
give a number of possible solutions for the client to choose from to correct
their financial problem.
The patient fills the prescription, takes the medication and starts to
see improvements in the coming days.
Clients who decided to enroll in our Federal Government programs
receive financial relief within a few days of enrollment.
If it is a physical injury, often patients need physiotherapy rehab. We offer our clients financial rehabilitative options through a number
of programs that include budget management, financial protect plan, after
care and more.

For more information about how we help organizations just like your work with individuals and businesses who struggle with financial problems or to arrange a meeting, please contact me at 416-907-2582 or send me an email at www.kgoldenberg@debtcare.ca. You can also visit us online at www.debtcareservices.ca.

What is WeCare Canada Anyways?

WeCare Canada is an initiative that I am very proud to be a part of. The Toronto Star recently released an article titled Toronto’s wealthiest are the most indebted. The article goes on to discuss that the average homeowner in Toronto is $40,000 in debt (this excludes their mortgage).  Suffice it to say, this is not a sign of wealth. This is a sign of a deep problem in society today. It’s time to look at the reasons that people across Canada 1. Have the ability to go into this degree of debt and 2. Why families are turning to credit to make ends meet.

The WeCare Canada initiative was developed by DebtCare Canada in an effort to combat this problem. We are going into communities across the country, on the front lines and working with organizations to help educate the public about the destructive consequences of too much debt. More importantly we are on a mission to help folks who have been stretched beyond their means to find solutions and relief.

If you would like to organize a WeCare day at your organization please contact me at 888-890-0888 and I would be happy to meet with you about the program or to simply arrange your first WeCare Day. Together we can work towards a day where the average family is financially fit and I can promise you that your WeCare day will be more meaningful to your members then you could ever imagine.

Young Couples Who Struggle With Debt

As Director of Community Outreach at DebtCare Canada the constant reminder of how often debt is the reason for the destruction of marriage is all too real to me.

Here are some quick facts that I thought you might find of interest.

A large study revealed that debt brought into marriage was the number one problem area for newlyweds.

  •  55% of husbands and wives had automobile debt
  •  48% had credit card debt
  •  23% had school debt, and
  •  12% had medical debt as they entered the marriage.

Couples burdened with debt that starts to spiral out of control often are compromised. More education is needed at school and in the community if we plan to return to a situation where families are not using credit to make ends meet.

At DebtCare we provide a number of programs dealing with financial education, including access to Federal Government Programs that provide immediate debt relief to families that are stretched beyond their limits. We also offer financial counselling, financial protection and budget management.

Participating in DebtCare’s programs through our WeCare initiative enables newlyweds and young families to focus on building the foundation of a healthy relationship without the worries of financial stress.

If your organization works with families who struggle with debt, our solutions offer debt relief and a chance at a fresh start. Call 888-890-0888 for more information about DebtCare’s WeCare Canada initiative. We would be pleased to come out to provide you with more information about this ground breaking initiative. Alternately if you know someone right now who is in need, help is only a phone call away.