Struggling with debt is not uncommon, in fact it is all too common in our society these days. The struggle with debt can adversely affect every area of one’s life. It’s not worth it!
When looking to resolve debt and get your finances back on track, it’s vitally important to understand all of your options, and in order to understand all of your options, it is crucial to have an advocate looking out first and foremost for your interests, not those of your creditors.
Know The Differences:
There are significant differences with a plan prepared for your creditors by an advocate on your behalf, versus a plan prepared for your creditors by someone who is representing your creditors and / or taking funding from your creditors. It is important to understand that in Canada, there are companies who represent your creditors and cannot advocate solely on your behalf, who also get a portion of the money that you are paying back to the creditors. There are also companies who receive their funding from the creditors and take direction from your creditors.
The challenge we have in this “debt help” industry, is that none of the aforementioned information is clearly conveyed, and many times not disclosed at all, with the client. I do have a problem with that, and it is the reason why we do what we do for our clients every day, day in and day out. We represent solely the interests of our client and advocate on their behalf. We are not incentivized monetarily by our clients “pay back plan”, nor do we receive funding from the creditors. Really I should just stop this post here. That kind of says it all really.
What to Look For:
However, there is another challenge; when hiring someone to represent your interests through the debt restructuring process, you need to make sure that they know their stuff. Look for things like:
- How long have they been in the industry?
- What is their track record like?
- Are they local?
- Will they see your plan through to completion or do they simply “hand you off” part way through the process?
- Are they accountable to any type of oversight?
- Will they show you options that might be better for you than what they can offer, even if it means that you don’t become their client?
Look, if you are looking for a plan to get out of debt, I am not saying that you have to become our client. However, I am all but begging you, to review all of your options with someone who knows what they are talking about, and who for certain has no conflict of interest, in order for you to get the best picture possible of all of your options. I cannot stress this enough and I have been saying this for years. Many have listened, the consumer is getting more savvy on this topic, but many people still are not listening.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
Just because someone says that they are licensed or that they are not for profit, is not your reason for comfort and does not mean that you have completed your due diligence. What is the mandate of their license? Does it mean they are licensed to represent your interests in the matter, and your interests only? If they are not for profit, are they still getting a paycheck? Who’s paying the landlord for the office lease? How does the hydro company get paid? Surely they are still making money, no?
Okay, that’s it for now. I have been preaching it for years so this piece is just one more quick note to try and create another inch of awareness along a never ending, and what seems to be very muddy, path.
– Ryan Brown