For many years we have been helping people deal with their debt and we have noticed repeating patterns of financial problems that people encounter. One consistent problem is the accumulation of a lot of extra consumer debt around holidays and especially Christmas. Year after year in late January we are flooded with calls for help with Christmas debt caused by overspending. Based on what we have learned, we want to share with you a few tips and tools to help you avoid this situation.
First of all, if this recently happened to you and you find yourself stuck in a mess of high interest credit card debt, please contact us for a free consultation explaining your options for reducing the interest or consolidating the debt. The details are covered in our many other blogs and info pages, so we will not go into them here. This blog is more about how to permanently fix the problem. (more…)
It was great to be a guest on this great financial show the wealthy life with Sybil Verch. Thank you, Sybil, for this great opportunity. It was an honour.
I also want to say a huge thank you to Andrea Paquette coming on the show as well. She is a true example of leadership and bravery in our community by her willingness to speak publicly about her struggles with debt and Bipolar Disorder to empower others and help them get the right resources to get help and healing.
Here is the episode called- The Wealthy Life – Season 2 – Episode 9
Watch Benjy from Debt Victoria Explain debt relief live with Sybil Verch
We are excited to announce that our office 4 Pillars Victoria (DebtVictoria) are again Finalists for the BBB Torch Awards.
The Torch Award is given by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and is designed to name businesses who display excellence in a community. It is presented in recognition of their commitment to the BBB standards of Trust to benefit their customers, employees, and community in general.
Businesses are nominated by their clients who fill out a nomination form based on their experience in working with a business. (more…)
Funny video about Credit Reports. While credit is not usually a funny subject John Oliver does a good job of shedding some light on some facts about credit with his humorous twist.
Most of it is relevant but remember he is in the USA, and they have 3 credit reporting agencies there but in Canada we only have 2 (Equifax & Transunion). We do not have the credit reporting agency called Experian here in Canada. (more…)
There are many challenges facing recent college and university graduates. On top of the competitive job market, lower paying jobs, and the increased expenses of starting a family and a new chapter in ones life, comes one big obstacle – student loan debt. For recent grads searching for some debt relief or looking for a plan to manage this heavy burden there are some solutions to the many challenges.
If you are one of these people we have discussed some of the many student loan challenges here!
For more information, and help with your Student Loan and other debt, contact us for a Free Debt Assessment!
Doing noting about your debt is burning up your retirement savings $ – literally
Here is a very SCARY FACT:
If you are only making the minimum payments on your credit cards and lines of credit right now, it could take you more than a lifetime to get out of debt!
Minimum payments are essentially ‘interest only’ payments. This means that by making the minimum payments, the ‘principal’ (amount owing) of the loan stays the same; it does not get reduced over time. Your Creditors win by getting you to pay interest forever (this is how they make money) and you are stuck in debt forever*. Well, not forever, but a VERY long time. Look at your credit card statement to see the section that says “Time to Pay” – it will shock you)
If this is you, and you have been making only the minimum payments for a while, then perhaps it’s time to consider a debt plan to deal with this problem once and for all!
The Cost of Doing Nothing:
Not quite ready to deal with the debt? At least take a moment to calculate the cost of doing nothing:
Here is how: Take your current Minimum Payments on all of your unsecured debt (unsecured debt means debt not including car loans, mortgages and home equity lines of credit as they are connected to an asset) and multiply it by 60. That is the cost of carrying your debts for 5 years.
Example: Debt Load -$45,000 (Credit Cards and Lines of credit etc), Minimum payments on all debts $900/month. Calculate $900 x 60months = $54,000.00
This means it will cost you $54,000.00 to pay your minimums for 5 years while you “put off” making a decision on dealing with your debt.
Now that is a high cost of doing nothing! Worse than this, is the fact that the person still owes the $45,000!
Calculate $45,000 + $54,000 = $99,000.00
This is the real total cost of doing nothing over 5 years and then paying off your debts. Think about the impact on personal net worth and future retirement!
Alternatively, if this same person came to see us for help, we could likely help them get them out of debt for a grand total of only $14,000! Their debts would be reduced from $45,000 (principal) down to only $14,000 with ZERO % interest. Compare that to the total cost of doing nothing.
Calculate $99,000.00 – $14,000 and we have essentially helped save this person over $85,000.00!
Take a moment to calculate your own cost of doing nothing by following the example above. If you know what you’re dealing with, then it makes it easier to make decisions about how to deal with it.We would love to help you with your debt so you can move on. Get debt free now!
Give us a call, we would love to help.
Living Debt Free Feels Amazing!
We are very excited about a recently announced NEW legislation for British Columbia that will help push BAD Debt Settlement Companies out of the market. Finally the BC Province is waking up to the fact that there are both good and bad players in the Debt Restructuring industry, and this new legislation is designed to allow the good companies to continue helping people like they have in the past, yet help clear out the bad companies.
This is good news for our debt consulting business as we are constantly having to help clients who had previously signed up with one of the bad companies; These bad companies have generally taken big upfront fees and left the client with nothing except bad credit and judgements and wage garnishments. Luckily we can almost always help people in these situations. We quickly make arrangements with a 3rd party to stop the garnishments and work out a deal with their creditors that is “agreed to by both parties first” and then “paid for later” (and over time). Here is the link to this exciting new legislation that should help clean up our industry
And remember, never pay Debt Settlement or Credit Counselling companies large upfront fees, and always work ONLY in person with a local company with a track record of success and a good BBB rating.
I recently wrote an article about how to protect yourself from unscrupulous companies on our website here
Revenue Canada Collector Scam
This may be hard to believe, but phone scammers have actually started to pretend to be CRA (Canada Revenue Agency – aka Revenue Canada) agents in order to try to coerce people into paying them money. Don’t fall for this recent and very prevalent phone scam.
We help a lot of people deal with and reduce their debt, and this sometimes includes helping people and businesses reduce their tax debts; so a person who owes tax monies might actually be more at risk for this scam due to the fact that they might be expecting to get a call from CRA regarding their taxes owing.
As financial educators, we want to help our clients as well as other people avoid this recent scam.
Here is the link to a news article on this scam
Here is in general how to avoid phone scams and how to better decide if an agent calling you is actual a CRA agent or not. In general:
- Ask for the department name of the caller, as well as their name. If they won’t give you their name ask for their identity number – Real CRA agents have an actual ID number they need to give you when speaking with you. And most real CRA collection agents will have no problem identifying themselves on the phone with their name. ALSO, another simple tip if your not sure is to ask for their call back number and fax #. Call them back at this number to see if it is real. Also, double check online to see if the number they gave you is actually associated with CRA. There are a few main CRA phone numbers listed on their website. Remember, real CRA agents should sound at least somewhat professional. Scammers will sound unprofessional and demanding many times the phone reception will sound bad with many clicks and pauses (almost like the call is going to another country very far away). These clues can help you confirm if the call is real or not.
- Phone the actual listed phone number – If you are still not sure, the BEST thing to do is actually call the MAIN CRA phone number posted on the CRA website – that way YOU are calling CRA (not them calling you) so you know you have called the real CRA. Once on the phone ask them if your account has been sent to collections and with what department. If they say NO, then you know you were getting a scam call. If they say yes, then, chances are, you are getting a real call from CRA for collection of your tax debt.
- Statements – Fake CRA agents will likely not be willing to send you anything to prove you owe money because they just want to convince people to pay them immediately – that is how most scams work. Real CRA agents should be willing to send you an official Statement in writing from CRA showing what taxes you are owing and to what department (what type of tax debt – Income Tax, Source Deductions, Goods and Services Tax GST etc).
This advice goes for all phone scams. Instead of just agreeing to pay someone who calls you and demands you owe them money (this goes for calls from relating to bank or CRA matters etc) always follow these 2 or 3 steps to be safe.
Note: This is not legal advice or tax advice; always seek the advice of a Certified Professional Accountant for any Tax or CRA related questions, and/or seek the advice of a Lawyer for any Legal matters pertaining to taxes or creditors etc.
Today, I want to talk about two things. First, I’ve been meaning to share where people can find reviews of our 4 Pillars Victoria office. And second, I want to talk about what you need to know about debt consultants (also called debt counselors or debt settlement consultants). How can you avoid hiring a debt settlement company that is a scam? Do they prey upon vulnerable debtors? I’ll show you some immediate red flags.
OK, first the reviews. I’m really proud of all the families we’ve helped in Victoria. I encourage you to read their reviews and hear their stories on our social media profiles. I think it will give you hope. These are Victoria families who fell into debt, rebuilt their lives, and are now moving ahead.
Here are some recent 4 Pillars reviews to read. These are all local families and Victoria residents: (more…)
I just wanted to say thank you to all of our amazing clients for nominating us for this Better Business Bureau (BBB Victoria BC) Award.
This award is given to businesses based on the following criteria – Ethical Decision Making, Trustworthiness, Customer Service Excellence, and Community Engagement, and having a good customer rating with the BBB. (more…)