ARE BANKRUPTCIES UP OR DOWN?
Many people I speak with, who know what I do for a living, tell me “you must be busy, you’re in the right business”.
The truth is actually quite different from the perception, the busiest year that Canadian bankruptcy trustees have ever seen was 2009. Since then all insolvency filings have been in steady decline.
Nonetheless, the number of insolvency filings dropped again last year over the preceding year. This is not necessarily indicative of a vibrant economy – in fact quite the opposite. When banks are lending money is circulating around the economy and some people get into difficulty.
These days banks have quietly taken to offering competing Credit Card products Master Card and VISA, some have even brought AmEx into their portfolios. This action effectively helps to defer the number of insolvency filings by facilitating balance transfers and the ability to use one card to pay down another to maintain the illusion of a “good payment history”. Remember that Trans Union reported that 70% of bankrupts had “strong credit reports” at the time they filed for bankruptcy.
What does all of that mean for the economy: People do not earn enough money to either live adequately on or to be able to afford to repay their obligations so lenders are creating new ways to mitigate defaults. We also see an ever increasing number of people using their homes like ATMs (constantly refinancing to secure unsecured debt).
If you have had enough of the debt merry-go-round of consolidating and reconsolidating and extending your mortgage into perpetuity talk to a bankruptcy trustee and review all of your options. Don’t forget to ask about how to keep your assets, many are exempt from seizure, and how to live debt free. Trustees look at family budgets everyday – we have become somewhat expert in finding ways you can change your lifestyle (if you are willing) to save money to be able to live without debt.
To find a local trustee go to this website and type in your city or the nearest one to you if you live in a rural area.