Money problems in Sarnia

by Joel Sandwith on January 31, 2011

It can be a bit overwhelming at times dealing with the responsibility of money.  Everyday we are faced with small choices that can have large consequences down the line, and we’re hit with a constant barrage of higher prices, job losses, and needs that outstrip our means.  The good news is that there are some things you can do to get on a better path.

The first step is to try and set some priorities.  When I meet with people and start going over their finances, it’s common to find that they are trying to accomplish too much all at once, and succeeding at nothing.  For example, we’ll see people who are paying their mortgage down with ‘accelerated’ payments, contributing to RRSP’s for themselves, putting money away for kids educations and battling six or seven credit cards at the same time.

If you are dealing with debt, the first step has to be elimination of that debt.  What good is $10,000 in an RRSP if you have $12,000 in credit card debt?  I can virtually guarantee that the debt is growing faster than the RRSP – in other words you are losing money!  So, if you are dealing with debt, the plan needs to be centered around reducing it.

The next step is to build a budget – make it simple – start with your monthly income and then subtract your most important expenses from it.  If the amount that is ‘leftover’ is enough to pay the debts off in a reasonable time – say three to five years, then the plan may very well work.

But, what if there’s not enough money to go around?  Can you cut expenses or make more money?  Often there are simple things that can be done to save money.  The usual suggestions are things like bring lunch instead of buying it, cut cable or reduce it, try and use less energy like hydro or natural gas.  That may very well do the trick – but if it doesn’t, you may need another way to reduce the debt.

For example, you may be able to file a consumer proposal through a licenced trustee in bankruptcy.  In a proposal you may be able to offer to repay a portion of your debt, over time.  If your creditors agree to that ‘deal’ and you make all of the payments, the balance of the debt will be waived.  This can save some people more than 50% of the amount of their debt.  And that will certainly help to reach your goals and balance your budget.

To learn more about consumer proposals please call us toll free at 310-PLAN.  Meetings are free, and we look forward to hearing from you.

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