People come to Canada from all over the world for a chance at a better life. Sometimes it’s a better job, to be closer to family, or just to live the Canadian dream. No one moves to Canada to accumulate a crushing amount of debt. Sadly, that was what happened to the young man in this case study. 4 Pillars was there to help guide him onto a different path.
Moving to Canada was like a dream come true. It was challenging, of course, but worth it when he arrived in Nova Scotia to start a new life. He had some money saved and took a job working at a local restaurant. Next to his work was a loan company. Thinking of his barren apartment, he decided to apply for a small loan to purchase some furniture. He was surprised when they offered him $8000! What he didn’t realize was that the interest rate was 29.99%. In his current situation it could take him years to pay that back. Before long, the company began looking for payment. They were asking $500/month. This left him with very little money for rent, groceries, and other bills. He reached out to another loan company who offered him another $8000. He took it, thinking that if he could just get ahead a little bit, he would be able to catch up and pay both loans back. Interest kept accruing on both loans until they totalled nearly $18,000.
Debt can be a symptom of any number of problems and life circumstances. However, it is important to understand that YOU ARE NOT YOUR DEBT.
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Far from his family and too embarrassed to ask for their help, he felt hopeless. He saw a post on Facebook about 4 Pillars helping people get out of debt, so he submitted his information online. We contacted him that day to discuss his situation and booked him in to meet with one of our debt relief specialists.
Although he was nervous about attending the initial consultation, he was very glad he did. His consultant went over all his options, starting with budgeting all the way through to bankruptcy. Neither of those options made the most sense for him, so we knew it was going to be something in between. Credit counselling could be an option for him but would have him paying back the whole $18,000 plus 5-15% in fees to the credit counselling company. The interest would be reduced, but he would be paying an extra $900-2700 on top of the principal he owed. On the other hand, a consumer proposal would reduce his debt to a more manageable amount while still eliminating interest.
Both credit counselling and a consumer proposal would hurt his credit, so he opted for the method that would reduce his debt as well. A consumer proposal structured with the assistance of 4 Pillars would reduce his debt to $9000 with a monthly payment of $150. A huge drop from the $500/month payments his creditors were looking for! He left the office already feeling better about his situation.
Once accepted by his creditors, this client was in a payment plan he could actually afford. There was an end in sight knowing that the debt would be paid off in 5 years (or sooner!). According to Statistics Canada, there is no evidence that immigrant families are any more likely than Canadian-born families to use payday loans. Similarly, recent immigrants pay off their credit cards at the end of each month to the same extent as people who were born here. The one area that new Canadians seem to fall behind in is accessing registered savings plans. Fortunately, part of the 4 Pillars aftercare process is setting goals to work towards.
One of this client’s goals was to set aside some money every month so he would have savings to rely on in the future. Once he was ready, he set up a TFSA for shorter-term goals and an RRSP for the long-term goal of being able to retire. This left him feeling in control of his finances and ready for the future.
Everyone who moves to a new country does so in the hopes of making their life better. No one moves across the world with the expectation that their situation will worsen. Debt can become an issue that makes living in a new country so much harder. Regardless of if you recently moved to Canada or have lived here all your life, 4 Pillars offers non-judgemental answers to your debt questions and guidance on what your next steps should be. Check out our 4 Pillars Halifax YouTube channel for more information or give us a call at 902-482-9748.
Our process first starts with a free consultation to understand your options. To schedule one, please fill out the form below and someone will be in touch as soon as possible.
This article was written by David Moffatt. A Senior Debt Relief Specialist with 4 Pillars Halifax. 4 Pillars has assisted in creating plans that have helped save Canadians over $1 Billion dollars of consumer and tax debt since 2002. We believe that no consumer should have to struggle with the stress of overwhelming debt. Our debt restructuring plans can help you cut your debt by up to 80% with less than 3% of our clients ever getting into deep financial difficulties again. If you are struggling with debt please reach out. It hurts to continue to suffer financially.
4 Pillars Debt Consolidation Halifax services, Dartmouth, Bedford, Sackville and the entirety of HRM.