Monday, 23 September 2013

Personal Financial Improvement: How to Rebuild Credit in 3 Simple Steps

Getting into debt is often very easy, and when that debt gets out of control it can be much harder to get out. The consequences of debt, especially when those debt responsibilities are not being met, can be devastating. Getting financing for a car, obtaining mortgage financing, or even being approved for a small loan for incidentals can be extremely difficult, and so getting out of debt is critical if you want to have a secure financial future. And, not only do you need to know how to get out of debt, you will then need to know how to rebuild credit. 

How can debt impact your credit? Missed or late payments, too much credit, too many credit checks and credit going to collections all work towards bringing your credit score down. Your credit report also reflects any credit activity and so any lending institutions can easily gauge credit behaviour based on this reporting. Many debt solutions, such as consumer proposals or bankruptcies can also harm your credit, but if it has gotten to the point that these debt solutions are where you turn for help, they can actually be the first step in how to rebuild credit.

How to rebuild credit: Step 1. Recognize that you may have a financial problem. If you are at the point where you are living paycheque to paycheque and have accumulated so much debt that you are only making minimum monthly payments - even if you make those payments on time - you have a financial problem. Making minimum payments on credit cards barely covers interest and so the debt will never be paid off. If you can’t manage minimum monthly payments, you have a financial problem. If you rely on your credit or payday loans to make ends meet - even if you are honouring your repayment terms - you have a financial problem.

How to rebuild credit: Step 2. As noted, the best way to start rebuilding your credit is to get rid of your debt. A professional debt management company is the smartest way to do this as they will be able to offer you the guidance and help that you need to get those debts paid off. Debt consolidation, a consumer proposal, bankruptcy or a debt settlement might be the answer – it all depends on your current financial situation.

How to rebuild credit: Step 3. Once you have paid off/settled all of your debts, you need to attempt to establish your credit once more in order to repair it. A great way to do this is with a secured credit card. With a secured credit card, you offer a cash collateral and the lending institution will take that money and it becomes your credit limit. You then use the credit card as you would any other – and make sure to make regular payments, never just the minimum. Also, stay away from payday/cash advance loans. These do not report to your credit report and can start a vicious borrowing cycle that can be hard to get out of.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and rebuilding your credit won’t be either. It takes time, but knowing where to start is the first step.

For more information about how to rebuild credit, or to find out about possible debt solutions, please contact DebtCare Canada today by calling 1-800-890-0888.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Mortgage Refinancing: A Viable Debt Solution?

Debt in Canada has become a major problem for many individuals. The ease with which credit is granted by many credit companies sometimes makes it tough to avoid temptation, but the aftereffects can be distressing, especially if it gets to the point that it is hard to keep up with or make payments. There are many debt solutions out there, one of the most popular being mortgage refinancing.  

What is mortgage refinancing? When you refinance your mortgage to consolidate debt you are essentially using your home equity to pay off debt. Many people choose to refinance their mortgages to pay off debt because mortgage financing offers flexibility and often you can get a far lower interest rate as well as the convenience of a much more manageable single monthly payment.

Over the past year there have been many changes to Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) rules, many of which make it tougher for homeowners to consolidate using mortgage refinancing. Previously CMHC would refinance as much as 95% of an individual’s home, and would offer lines of credit to do so. However, they no longer issue lines of credit to consolidate, and the amount has been lowered to 80%.

The banks have backed these changes. As a general rule, banks will only grant refinancing if your new mortgage will not exceed 75% of your home’s current value (some approve at an even lower percentage). That means that if your new mortgage plus your unsecured debt is more than 75% of the value of your home, approval is not likely.

CMHC insured mortgages are one of many mortgage options for refinancing your mortgage to pay off and consolidate debt. There are so many different types of companies outside of the banks who will compete for your business: credit unions, finance companies, trust companies, mortgage investment firms and even private individuals.

What if your credit isn’t great? If you have less than stellar credit it might be harder to obtain mortgage refinancing for debt consolidation through a bank. Banks and finance companies like to see that those they invest in are not a high risk, and if your credit is bad you may be too risky. With that said, if you have good equity many other lenders may be willing to extend financing to you. If you seek mortgage refinancing as a debt solution but are unable to find approval, an alternative solution might be a better option. Non-mortgage refinancing debt consolidation, a consumer proposal or bankruptcy might be better suited to your situation.

If you are thinking about mortgage refinancing as a possible debt solution, it is best to speak with an experienced debt consultant first, one who will assess you and present you with all of the financial options available to you, the pros and cons, and guide you to the best financial plan.   

For more information about mortgage refinancing please contact DebtCare Canada today by calling 1-800-890-0888.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Debt Management – You Don’t Have to Do it Alone

When you are in debt, the personal issues that all too often accompany it can be overwhelming, and sometimes the task of ridding yourself of this financial burden can feel insurmountable. Knowing where to turn for advice or assistance can be tough, and so many people instead try to do it on their own. Debt can be crippling, but getting out of debt doesn’t have to be hard when you have the right people behind you, those that can offer debt management plans that can relieve your financial stress.  

There are several different types of debt management solutions available, and choosing the one that best suits your financial situation takes knowledge and a careful consideration of the options which exist. The most effective way to set in motion the best debt management program is to speak with a professional debt consultant.

What types of debt management programs can a professional organization offer?

Debt consolidation: Often debt becomes so problematic because monthly payments can take up the majority of your disposable income. This becomes even more challenging when those monthly payments are mostly interest, meaning that you are making very little principle payments overall. With a debt consolidation these payments are all combined into one manageable monthly payment, often with far lower interest. That being said, debt consolidations are often options only for those with credit in somewhat good standing.

Consumer proposal: Once your monthly payments become so large that you are often unable to meet them all, collection agencies may begin calling. A consumer proposal is a smart debt management program that allows you some relief from your debt obligations by lowering the amount you are required to pay back. Done in negotiation with a bankruptcy trustee, a consumer proposal leaves you with one monthly payment, freezes interest accumulating on debt and also stops collection action being taken against you. Consumer proposals are administered by bankruptcy trustees. It is important to note that trustees do not represent the bankrupt; they act to make a fair financial arrangement between you and your creditors. Never visit a trustee without your own representation. You want to work with someone with expertise in consumer proposals and bankruptcies to get a plan together and you should be able to count on your representative to negotiate with the trustee on your behalf.

Bankruptcy: If you have found that your monthly debt repayments far surpass your monthly income, and that you can’t keep up, bankruptcy might be the best option for you. Like a consumer proposal a bankruptcy must be conducted with a bankruptcy trustee, but it can leave you with relief from collection calls or wage garnishments. A bankruptcy can decrease your credit score, but if you are considering this option you have likely already damaged it.

Credit counselling: Credit counselling organizations are not-for-profit organizations where you make a single monthly payment to them which they distribute to your creditors. Credit counselling repayment terms can be long and grueling and credit counselling programs can result in significant damage to your credit.

Getting out of debt can be tricky, but you don’t have to do it alone. Ease the stress by choosing a debt management program in consultation with a professional debt consultant.

For more information about how a debt management program might be the solution to your financial problems, please contact DebtCare Canada today by calling 1-800-890-0888.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Back-to-School Shopping – Don’t Break the Bank

With the end of the summer and the beginning of September comes the inevitable back-to-school shopping. Whether for new clothes, shoes, backpacks, or school supplies, the total bill for back-to-school shopping can often run in the hundreds – especially if you have more than one youngster heading back to the classroom. Once they get older and those clothes they want become big ticket items, the bills get even heftier. Here we offer some smart back-to-school shopping tips that will help keep you from breaking the bank. 

Tip #1: Make a list. Get the kids to help. Set a budget and stick to it. Clothes can get expensive, even with the sales, so separate wants from needs.

Tip #2: Do inventory. Many of the things you need are likely already in the house. Go through and see what can be reused. Backpacks and pencil cases can be repurposed with fun fabrics, old patches, fabric paints, etc. Pencils are the same no matter how old they are. And always hold off on other purchases until you get a list from the teacher of what will be needed.

Tip #3: Talk to other parents. Word of mouth counts for a lot as far as finding deals – you might be surprised about what sales are out there that you were not aware of. They may also be able to provide other money saving tips.

Tip #4: Buy the basics in bulk and make lunches. Packing brown bag lunches can save a lot of money, and buying your lunch snacks in bulk can make it even cheaper. Avoid added costs such as drinking boxes by spending a few dollars upfront for a fun reusable water bottle – healthier and cheaper.

But what if your back-to-school budget is a lot less forgiving than these tips compensate for? If you are drowning in debt, back-to-school shopping can come with a great deal more stress than just having to brave the crowds. The beginning of the school term often signals a fresh start for kids, so why not take this chance to make a fresh financial start for yourself. Getting out of debt is a good idea at any time of the year – but any motivation that spurs you into action is a good thing.

A smart option for reducing your debt, especially if you have tried on your own with little success, is to turn to the professionals for help. A professional debt consultant can not only help you better understand the various debt solutions out there and which one would best suit you, he or she can also help you develop a smart budget that is realistic. You don’t have to do it alone. Let the teachers at ‘debt school’ help you take control of your debt.

For more information about getting out of debt this September, please call DebtCare Canada by calling 1-800-890-0888 or visit us online at