The Pros and Cons of Filing a Consumer Proposal
A consumer proposal is a government-backed unsecured debt settlement that you negotiate with your creditors. As an alternative to filing bankruptcy, a consumer proposal saves your assets from potential liquidation. It also makes it easier to recover from burdensome debt and rebuild your credit than a bankruptcy would.
Reduce unsecured debts by as much as 75%
Avoid bankruptcy with a payment plan
Consolidate all your debts into a single fixed monthly payment
Legally settle all unsecured debts including those held by the Canada Revenue
Suffer less damage to your credit rating
Recover from overwhelming debt faster
The benefits of a consumer proposal for qualifying debtors include:
The Top Eight Advantages of Filing a Consumer Proposal
Reduce your total debt: You reduce your unsecured loans and CRA debts by as much as 75%.
Protect your assets: You won't be forced to liquidate important assets like cars, investments, or real estate.
Allows for income flexibility: A consumer proposal sets a fixed monthly payment that doesn't change if your income increases, and you can make additional payments.
Lower your monthly payments: You'll pay the amount that you can reasonably manage given your current income.
Pay your debts faster: The debt reduction and payment plan will get you out of debt within 60 months.
Protection from creditors: You'll receive the same protection against collection efforts as you would when you file for bankruptcy.
Avoid bankruptcy: If you can keep to a payment plan for up to 60 months, you'll avoid the damage a bankruptcy will do to your estate and credit history.
Recover credit faster: You can start rebuilding your credit during your consumer proposal payment period.
A consumer proposal is advantageous when you have the income to continue making reduced payments and want to avoid bankruptcy. Below are the eight main reasons you may want to take the consumer proposal route:
Top Disadvantages of Filing a Consumer Proposal
Secured debt isn't included: Secured loans won't be reduced or included in your payment plan, which may make a consumer proposal impractical.
Affects your credit rating: Your credit rating will suffer as a result of entering a consumer proposal because of the debt write-offs.
Higher borrowing rates: You'll be considered a high-risk borrower because of a consumer proposal.
Student loans may not be included: Student loans that are less than seven years old won't be included.
Filing a consumer proposal does have disadvantages that can make it inappropriate for some debtors. These disadvantages include:
Alternatives to Filing a Consumer Proposal
Filing a consumer proposal is only one option that you have that deals with insolvency and burdensome debt. It's a tool designed specifically for debtors with a large amount of unsecured debt and enough income to pay a portion of it with a fixed monthly payment. If you lack a stable income, have large secured debts, or aren't insolvent, then there are other options to consider.
If you're insolvent but lack the income needed to negotiate a fixed payment plan, then bankruptcy may be the last option you have to get relief from collection efforts. This option is sometimes forced on debtors who have large secured loans like home mortgages that can't be addressed with a consumer proposal.
If you aren't insolvent and have a stable income, then debt consolidation may be a better option. You'll be able to combine several payments into a single monthly payment and even reduce your borrowing costs. The biggest advantage to debt consolidation is that you won't damage your credit rating by forcing loan write-offs onto your creditors.
Debt counselling programs can be another way to improve your financial situation before you become insolvent. These programs will analyze your financial status by considering your income and total debt. They'll then advise you on how to get better control over your budget with suggestions about cutting costs and managing your existing debt. They can also negotiate with your creditors on your behalf to secure better repayment terms and handle creditor payments with a trust account.
Why File a Consumer Proposal?
A consumer proposal filing makes good sense if you have a large amount of unsecure debt and a stable monthly income. If you can still repay at least 25% of your total debt over a five-year period, it's likely that creditors will accept a consumer proposal to avoid losing the entire loan balance in a bankruptcy. The option is a better outcome for both you are your creditors when you qualify for a consumer proposal.
Who Should You Speak to us about Your Options?
You should speak to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee about the possibility of filing a consumer proposal. LITs like Remolino & Associates will assess your qualifications and finances with a free consultation. Don't pay unqualified debt counsellors for the same services when the law requires a LIT to administer a consumer proposal.