Sun Tzu is given credit for stating, “If there is doubt then there is no doubt”. If you think you “may need” to speak to a trustee – then you do need to speak to a bankruptcy trustee. Sorry, but it is that simple.
We are all very good at convincing ourselves that if we can hold on for one more day things will get better – you’ll land that new job, a family member will give you some money, maybe you will win the lottery… It is a testament to the strength of the human spirit, but it is not much of a strategy to deal with excessive debt.
Listed below are some of the most common warning signs of financial distress and how we convince ourselves to ignore them.
- You are only able to make the minimum payments on your debts
- Most people do this, no need to worry…
- You aren’t even able to make the minimum payments on all of your debts
- How long can I get away with this?
- You’ve missed payments on some of your debts
- They haven’t started calling, I’ll catch up before they do.
- You are getting calls from the companies for missed payments.
- Avoiding the calls will work for a while, right?
- You are getting calls from collection agencies that are trying to collect on behalf of the companies you owe money to.
- These guys call 10 times a day, every day, can they do that?
- You are receiving legal notices warning you that you are going to be taken to Court if you don’t deal with your debts.
- This is just a trick right, they are trying to scare me?
- You receive a notice from Court that you have been sued and your creditor has a Court Order allowing them to garnishee your wages and/or freeze your bank account.
- I can’t believe this has happened to me…
- You’ve lost a big chunk of your pay cheque to a garnishee.
- What the “$@#%”! How did this happen?
- You can’t take money out of the ATM because your bank account has been frozen.
- How can they do this? I can’t pay the rent. I can’t buy groceries.
- You go out in the morning and your car is missing – it has been repossessed by the finance company.
- What the “$@#%”! Where’s my car?
- You come home from work and there’s no heat or electricity due to unpaid bills.
- How did I ever come to this?
- You come home from work and find an eviction notice on your door for unpaid rent.
- They can’t throw me out, can they?
- You come home from work and your key doesn’t work – you’ve been locked out due to unpaid rent.
- Now what do I do?
- You come home from work and find a bailiff in your driveway. He is changing the locks on your doors and putting a “for sale by foreclosure” sign on your lawn.
Do I really need to keep coming up with more and more extreme warning signs? Haven’t you had enough of this?
If there is doubt then there is no doubt. Any point in this progression is the right time to speak to a bankruptcy trustee. If you do it early enough then you may have options how to deal with your debts. The later you leave it the fewer options you will have…
Debt won’t go away. You need a plan to deal with it. Speaking to a trustee is an excellent first step.