Case Study – Professionals with Kids

No one in the world is born with an innate sense of how to manage their money – this is a learned skill. It doesn’t matter what your income looks like if you don’t think about how you spend it you can quickly see your expenses eating up a discomforting chunk of your income. This was the circumstance that led the family in this case study to reach out to 4 Pillars for help.

Background

They started off with the world at their fingertips. They had both finished their post-secondary education and had started working in their fields. Although they had significant student loan debt, their income ensured that payments weren’t an issue. After about a year they decided to purchase a home. They fell in love with a house that was at the top of their budget, but still, they could afford it. Years passed and their family had grown to a total of 5 – an addition of 3 delightful children. However, their debt had also grown. They had always been able to make their minimum payments but now realized that making minimum payments was never going to pay the debt off. As they wanted to think seriously about education savings for their kids and retirement plans for themselves, they knew it was the right time to tackle their debt. By this point, though, they had accumulated $80,000 in non-mortgage, unsecured debt and had no idea where to start.

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The Plan

As always, we started by reviewing this family’s budget. Although their monthly income was higher than average, they were paying nearly $2000 a month just in minimum payments to their unsecured debts alone. Before looking at their budget, they had no idea they were spending so much to stay in the same place! A large portion of their debt was student loans at just over $40,000 combined that they had been paying for 8 years. As they were over 7 years old, these debts were able to be included in their restructuring process. The challenge in this situation was the interest – because the debt load was so high, the monthly payments had to stay high just to keep up with it. After reviewing all of their options, this family chose to file a consumer proposal. A proposal would reduce their overall debt load, including their student loans, with less severe credit impacts than a bankruptcy. It would also eliminate the spectre of interest that had been haunting them.

Results

This family’s consumer proposal reduced their debt from $80,000 of unsecured debt to $24,000. They began making monthly payments of $400 that are going directly to the principal instead of being gobbled up by interest. More importantly, though, they changed the way they think about money. Through their aftercare at 4 Pillars, their attitude towards their finances shifted. Instead of thinking of a budget as a shackle – something that would only restrict them – they now think of it as a spending plan. Resulting in making better choices about how they actually wanted to spend their money (hint: it’s not paying interest to credit card companies!). The money they already saved every month could now be invested into RESPs for their kids or RRSPs for themselves without sacrificing their lifestyle.

Conclusion

Doing nothing to tackle your debt can have more serious consequences than most people consider. Not only will the debt expand, but you also must consider the opportunity cost. What could you have done with that money if it wasn’t going toward debt repayment? If you’re looking at your finances and think debt is eating up too much of the pie, call 4 Pillars Halifax at 902-482-9748. We’d love to see if we can help.

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Debt Relief SpecialistThis 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 Halifax services Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, Sackville and the entirety of HRM.