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I Am So Worried About My Debt, I Am Not Sleeping – How Can I Decide What To Do?

So worried, cannot sleepDo your financial concerns keep you up at night? That’s not good, but it’s increasingly common. My own monetary worries kept me from sleeping, too, until I saw a Trustee in early 2009. Anyone losing sleep because of worry and dread can tell you – it erodes your health, both mental and physical.

Ironically, one of the things keeping me awake was my sense of apprehension and embarrassment about telling anyone else, even a Trustee, about my financial situation. The reason this is ironic is that, once I made an appointment and told the details to the Trustee, the worst was over – the appointment went well!

But, to back up, if you’re not sure you’re at that point yet, here’s some important information.

You’re not alone with your situation. Personal insolvency is not unusual or rare. In 2014, a total of 118,050 people filed for Bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal in Canada. That’s a small city’s worth – in just one year! So, imagine how many Canadians have gone through these processes in the last ten years: over a million.

How could it be that so many people – a group that surely includes several folks you know or see daily – have at some point been insolvent? Well, there are as many reasons as there are individuals.

“The honest but unfortunate debtor”

A common cause of insolvency is that high-interest credit card debt, run up during optimistic times, overwhelms a person’s finances if their income unexpectedly declines. Another common scenario comes in the form of unexpected life events – for example, having a loved one become ill and helping them out. This situation can cause both increased expenses and loss of income if you are absent from work.

The list of reasons for insolvency is almost endless, but one thing that seldom causes it is this: simple irresponsibility or negligence. The great majority of people who become insolvent are trying their best, but have come up against circumstances they cannot control. Trustees understand this very well – who better? So, one thing NOT to worry about is that a Trustee will assume you have been irresponsible.

In fact, this concept – that most individuals who become insolvent are in fact responsible people – is often referenced in bankruptcy law with the use of the phrase, “the honest but unfortunate debtor.”

Are YOU an “honest but unfortunate debtor”? If yes, stop losing sleep!

I made the mistake of letting my fears overwhelm me for much longer than I should have (how long is too long? – probably a few sleepless nights).

There is no risk in seeing a Trustee and letting him or her take a look at your situation. The appointment is free. Take along some of your figures – even estimates will do at first – of your income and monthly expenses.

The Trustee will not embarrass you – keep in mind that they see many debtors every week! He or she will ask how your situation came about, and will then work with your figures to tell you what your choices are for going forward. You may even learn of options other than Consumer Proposal or Bankruptcy that might be right for you. But you won’t find out until you go!

In my case, I slept like a baby after my first appointment with the Trustee. It was actually a great relief to share my story with a professional who could give me some perspective, and outline ways I could amend the situation. The worst was indeed over, and I was able to see my way ahead again.

Haven’t seen the sandman in a while? See a Trustee.