Is a Consumer Proposal a Debt Consolidation Loan?
When looking for a solution to a financial problem or accumulated debt, you will find that there are many services available that offer different things. Banks and finance companies traditionally offer debt consolidation loans, while trustees in bankruptcy deal with debt through bankruptcies and consumer proposals.
Debt consolidations involve consolidating debt into a single payment and debt consolidation loans have very similar characteristics to consumer proposals. A consumer proposal involves a proposal being made to your creditors wherein you agree to repay a portion or all of your debt through a single, fixed monthly payment.
A consumer proposal is much like a debt consolidation loan because:
- You begin owing a fixed sum of money.
- You begin making a single monthly payment.
- You can pay it off at any time.
Some of the benefits that are offered through a consumer proposal that are not offered by debt consolidation loans are that in many cases a consumer proposal will reduce the overall debt owing, will stop collection action, will freeze the interest accruing on debts, and more.
One of the drawbacks of filing a consumer proposal vs. taking out a consolidation loan is that it will impact your credit and your relationship with your creditors. Because creditors are not being paid according to the original terms of your agreements with them when accepting less than what they are owed and/or being repaid over a longer period of time, they will not likely do business with you in the future. In addition, the consumer proposal will be reported on your credit report for 3 years from the date it is paid in full.
Now, one must weigh the impacts on credit against getting out of debt. If you owe so little debt that you could pay off all of your creditors in 3 to 4 years and have good enough credit to get a debt consolidation loan, then a debt consolidation loan may be the right answer. However, a consumer proposal may be the best answer if:
- Your credit is already damaged to the point where you cannot get a debt consolidation loan, or;
- You have so much debt that you cannot consolidate it all, or;
- You have so much debt you just can’t see a way to pay it off in a reasonable amount of time.
When it comes to making a choice with respect to how to deal with your debt it is important to recognize that each person’s financial situation is different. A debt consolidation loan or consumer proposal may not be the right answer for you at all. The best thing that you can do is consult a financial counsellor/consultant to perform an unbiased review of your finances, give you some practical advice, and provide the resources and representation to see your plan through.
For more information about consumer proposals and debt consolidation loans or if you need a debt consolidation please contact DebtCare Canada at 416-907-2582 or visit www.debtcare.ca.