Are you feeling the pinch financially? When you are having financial troubles it can be hard to know who to turn to for advice. Many challenges in our lives can be discussed with the people closest to us. Whether we are looking for a good mechanic or are having marital problems our support circle of close friends or family help us to work out the solutions to our problems.
Financial difficulties are one of the few issues where we can choose to suffer in silence to avoid embarrassment rather than discuss them with those that love us most.
That leaves you turning to someone you don’t know to lead you through this challenging time. Here are 3 qualities you should look for when seeking out help with your financial difficulties:
1. Qualifications – find someone who is qualified to advise you. There are some debt management certificates and diplomas and graduates of these programs may be able to help you but most will not have the power to bind all of your creditors to a settlement, should that become a necessity. Financial planners will sometimes be able to help you manage your debts however their main focus is on selling products such as life insurance and investments to those with readily available savings and income.
The word “bankruptcy” can scare people and bankruptcy can be your biggest fear when your debts have gotten out of control. The goal of a Trustee in Bankruptcy is not to take you into bankruptcy. Trustees in Bankruptcy are licensed by the government of Canada, bound by a code of ethics and professional standards to discuss all the legal options available to you for resolving your financial difficulties without “selling” you on any particular strategy. A Trustee in Bankruptcy is the only professional who can act as a Administrator of a Consumer Proposal for individuals looking for alternatives to bankruptcy where all creditors are obliged to participate in the process.
2. Empowerment – find someone who gives you lots of information about the pros and cons of each option available to you. The more knowledge you have the more confident you will be in your decision. Depending on your own personal journey you may feel one or more emotions - sadness, guilt, relief, anxiety, anger, or happiness – but you ultimately should feel empowered about choosing which road you will take to mend your finances. You should not feel pressured to make a decision. Take the time you need to carefully decide.
3. Empathy– find someone who makes you feel seen and understood. This will go a long way to helping you move on from your financial difficulties knowing that this moment is not who you are but rather what you have experienced.
Financial difficulties can be, well, difficult. Find somebody you trust to guide you through your options. And if at first you don’t succeed then keep looking for someone that is a good fit for you.
For additional information on this as and details on alternatives to bankruptcy give me a call.
Rebecca Frederick, CIRP
Trustee in Bankruptcy