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March 2014 - Seek a second opinion for peace of mind

Seek a second opinion for peace of mind

☳ by Adam Aspilla

Financial crisis is unique for each individual because of the variations of income, assets, liabilities, net worth, and number of dependents. Therefore, solution also varies. Meaning, if one files bankruptcy or consumer proposal, it does not mean everyone with financial problem would also file bankruptcy or a consumer proposal.

In the last seven issues of this paper, the writer discussed seven common options in solving financial problem namely: Debt Consolidation, Mortgage Refinancing, Liquidation of Assets, Debt Negotiation/Settlement, Credit Counseling, Consumer Proposal and Bankruptcy.

When you are advised by a financial counselor to file bankruptcy or any of the above-mentioned options, do not make a decision immediately. You have to ask for other options for you to choose from.

You need to understand the advantages and the disadvantages for each option for you to arrive a decision that is best for your situation. The basic role of a financial counselor is to explain to you clearly each option, and allow you to make a final decision.

If a financial counselor would insist to follow his/her advice despite your insistence to do otherwise, that could be a warning sign that the personal interest of a financial counselor is much more important than yours.

It is essential for you to choose the option appropriate for your situation for if you made a wrong decision you may lose your asset like a car or house that you need to keep.

What about bankruptcy trustees, are they good financial counselors? If your situation is a clear case for bankruptcy or consumer proposal, the answer is yes!

However, if you have equity on your house, car or have investments, bankruptcy trustees would not give you an advice detrimental to the interest of your creditors, for by law, they are obligated to protect the interest of creditors. Therefore, in this scenario, it is advisable to seek advice from a financial counselor who is competent to explain your options than from a bankruptcy trustee.

Furthermore, it is important to deal with a financial counselor with long years of experience. However, even if a financial counselor has ten, twenty or more years of experience in financial counseling, and his/her experience is limited only on one or two options (above mentioned), it is not good enough for your choice is limited to just one or two options. You need to explore other options before making a decision than to regret later.

Bottom line, for your peace of mind, if you are in doubt of the appropriate solution of your financial problem seek a second or even third opinion before making a final decision as to what option is best for you.


Adam Aspilla is a Senior Financial Counselor of the Debt Clinic of Canada Inc. and the author of the book, You Can Negotiate All Your Debts. He also writes a biweekly column, “What Matters In Life” in “Taliba Newspaper. For free initial, professional and confidential consultation, please call 905-306-7572.