The Economic Reality of Vulnerable Debtors

Podcasts
Posted in In The News
Posted by J. Douglas Hoyes, CA, CPA, LIT, CIRP, CBV

economic-reality-of-vulnerable-debtorsSubscribe and download at iTunes or using the Stitcher app, or subscribe via our rss feed or download directly, or listen now:

Earlier this week, our firm Hoyes, Michalos & Associates launched our 2017 study of Joe Debtor. Joe Debtor is a report on the average insolvent Ontarian that we publish every two years. This year marks our sixth published study, which means we have a lot of comparative data and can identify trends.

We’re increasingly seeing a certain type of Ontarian filing insolvency. Although we have Ontarians from all income levels filing either a consumer proposal or bankruptcy, there are certain vulnerable debtors who are more likely to declare themselves insolvent.

Key findings from our study:

  • Joe Debtor’s take-home income is 41% below the median Ontario household income
  • He is using most of his income to pay for necessities, not luxuries
  • Joe Debtor has just $302 a month available for unsecured debt repayment – but that debt carries an estimated interest cost of $960 a month

Who Are the Vulnerable Debtors?

We’re seeing an increase in certain demographics based on our findings year-over-year. We’ll post demographic-specific podcasts in the upcoming weeks so we can discuss each one in detail.

There is a steady rise in insolvent millennials, who are just starting out their adult lives. We’ve also seen an increase in senior debtors who are carrying debt into retirement. Today’s podcast talks about the certain types of debt that these vulnerable debtors are carrying and why it’s so dangerous.

Are There Different Types of Debt?

The credit (read: debt) options available to you differ based on your individual circumstances. The cost of carrying debt varies based on the type of credit you’re approved for. Someone with a steady income and good credit has more low-interest debt options available to them. Someone who doesn’t qualify for traditional credit like a credit card or line of credit is using more expensive credit to make ends meet. This means they’re turning to payday loans and other types of high-interest credit just to get by.

If someone does have a poor credit rating, but not poor enough to be disqualified for credit, they’ll get it, but they’re getting their credit card at a higher interest rate. So you can have two people with the same level of debt, one with good credit, one with poor credit, and have dramatically different minimum monthly payments as a result of their credit history.

Listen to our full podcasts or read the show notes below to get a full overview on the economic reality of vulnerable debtors.

Resources Mentioned On The Show:

FULL TRANSCRIPT show #135 with Ted Michalos

Doug Hoyes: We have record levels of debt in Canada. The average Canadian has debt equal to almost 170% of their annual disposable income. And that’s the highest level in history.

You would think that if we Canadians are carrying record levels of debt, we would also have a record level of bankruptcies. But that’s not the case. In fact, in Ontario, adjusting for increases in the population, consumer insolvency rates are at 15 year lows.

So how is it possible that we have more debt than ever before, and yet we are not going bankrupt at record rates? Well, believe it or not, the answer is that the level of debt we carry is not the main factor that determines whether or not someone will file bankruptcy.

Interest rates are at record lows. So even with a high level of debt, the carrying costs of that debt, are also at record lows, so if you have a good income you can carry high levels of debt. So who is it that is going bankrupt even in our current low interest rate environment?

That’s the question we’re going to answer on today’s special edition of Debt-Free in 30 and the answer, well it may surprise you.

As required by law, we gather information about every person who files a consumer proposal or bankruptcy with our firm, Hoyes Michalos. That includes details on their age, gender, income, expenses, what they own, and who they owe. Then, every two years we take all that data, crunch the numbers and develop a profile of the average person who files for relief from their debts. We call this person Joe Debtor and in our new Joe Debtor study that we just released this week, we analyzed the details of almost 7,000 residents of Ontario who filed a bankruptcy or consumer proposal with Hoyes Michalos in 2015 and 2016. This is the sixth Joe Debtor Study we’ve done since 2008, so we compare this study to our prior studies to identify any trends.

So what did we find out? Well to find out let’s welcome back to the show my Hoyes Michalos co-founder and business partner, Ted Michalos. Ted, are you ready to talk about Joe Debtor?

Ted Michalos: Let’s go at it. It’s a detailed report. This is going to take some time.

Doug Hoyes: Well, it is and we’ll be flipping through lots of pages as we talk, so we want to get all the numbers right. Like you said, it’s a big report. It’s 26 pages long, which is available on our website, at hoyes.com, or you can go to our special URL, joedebtor.ca and it will take you directly to the report and all our findings. So I don’t want to spend too much time talking about numbers. Listeners who are interested obviously can get them from our report.

We will mention some numbers, but I’m more interested in the big picture. So let’s start with the overall rate of insolvency. So how low are they?

Ted Michalos: All right, so let’s go back to the financial crisis of 2008. I remember Labour Day that year, our phones just started ringing off the hook. So the peak number of personal insolvencies occurred in 2009, and they’ve actually been declining every year since. So the personal insolvency rate for 2016 in Ontario is around 3.6 people for every thousand. Aged 18 and over. So that means that for every thousand people, 3.6 of them found themselves to be insolvent in 2016. That’s a 15 year low.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah, the last time it was that low was back in 2001.

Ted Michalos: Yeah, that’s right.

Doug Hoyes: So okay. Why? Why then are some people still going bankrupt then?

Ted Michalos: Well, so, as you said, most Ontarians are carrying an awful lot of debt, but they can keep up with their payments. The folks that are filing insolvency today are more likely to be experiencing financial distress even before you look at their debt. So their income is going to pay for their living expenses. The rent, the mortgage, whatever that sort of stuff.

I think the biggest financial stress for people having troubles is that they’re having issues with their income. So their income is lower than the average for people living in Ontario. Their income is intermittent, that means they do have steady, regular work. Or they’ve got stagnating income. So they haven’t had an increase, but the costs of living keep going up.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah, absolutely. And that’s certainly what we’re seeing is a lot more people working contract jobs and temp jobs and that sort of thing.

So I don’t want to get buried in the numbers here, but you said lower income, so how much lower are we talking about here?

Ted Michalos: So some of this you need to fully understand it. The average household income from our Joe Debtor Study, so remember that’s the study where we analyze what our clients declared, was $2,900 per month. That’s 41% the median for Ontario. He median for Ontario is, like, $4,900 a month.

So almost two-thirds of insolvent debtors are in the bottom quartile of income in Ontario.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah, and that’s obviously a big deal if you’re not earning the same kind of income. So I can understand why someone earning $2,000 or less per month, which is, like, about 29% of the households we help, would have trouble meeting their living expenses, but roughly a third of the people who go bankrupt or file a consumer proposal have income between $2,000 and $3,000 a month. Which you know, I mean that’s not poverty level income. So why are those people having such a hard time?

Ted Michalos: All right, so those folks it really is because of the debt. In our study we determine that the average person that files is carrying average debt of $52,000 or thereabouts. And the costs of servicing that debt, well it’s pretty significant. So they’ve got a bunch of personal loans. They’ve got credit cards. They’ve got income tax debt. They’ve got student loans and they’ve got other. Other includes payday loans and I know you’re going to get me going on that later.

Doug Hoyes: We’ll try to – so tell me about what it costs to live in a month then.

Ted Michalos: So the average living cost for the folks that file with us is $2,600 a month. Now remember what I just told you. Their average income is $2,900 a month. They’ve got $300 a month left over to make payments on that $52,000 worth of debt, and I can tell you the interest payments on $52,000 on that are $960 a month.

Doug Hoyes: And obviously that’s a blended rate we’re using based on what people owe on credit cards, bank loans and so on. But yeah, you’re right. It’s costing roughly $2,600 a month to live, and that’s housing costs of around 1,200 bucks and transportation costs are over 500 bucks, and you know, everything else.

Ted Michalos: Well, people got used to eating, that’s probably some money for food in there.

Doug Hoyes: Food goes into that too.

So that’s the numbers. So let’s talk about, then, the person. The actual real person who is in that situation. So what’s it like on a day-to-day basis for them?

Ted Michalos: Well it’s a vicious cycle for these folks. Remember they’ve got $2,900 coming in and they spend $2,600 a month just to live. That leaves them with $300 to make payments towards those debt, and we told you that the minimum payments are going to run them $900. So what they do is they make a payment on the first one, and then they take it out again and make it on the second one, and then they take it out and make it on the third one.

Or worse, they take on new debt to cover the old debt. Payday loans, installment loans, all of this stuff just drives me crazy. But they’ve got to find a way to pay the bills.

Doug Hoyes: And so these are the typical people we’re meeting with.

Ted Michalos: That’s right. Let me give you an example. We never used to see this, but I had a fellow in to see me last week. He only had $18,000 worth of debt. That sounds like something he should be able to manage. His take-home pay was about $2,400 a month. But of that $18,000, $15,000 of it were either payday loans, or installment loans. I mean the minimum payments for this fellow were twice what his take-home pay was. So he’s in a cycle that you just can’t break. Unless somebody’s going to come along and suddenly give him, well, $18,000 to pay off his debts, he has no choice, when he makes a payday loan payment, to go out and take the money again.

He’s not a bad buy. He didn’t do anything wrong. He’s working two jobs. He just can’t make ends meet. He can’t afford to live and pay his bills.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah, the math just doesn’t work.

Now we talk about housing costs. So I would think – you know, we know what’s happening in the housing market, isn’t this really helping everyone then?

Ted Michalos: Well it only helps the folks that have houses. I mean over the years we’ve seen a steady decrease in the percentage of people filing that own homes. At one point it was one in three, I think now we’re down to less than one in five. In fact it’s even lower than that. It’s more like one in six.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah, 17%.

Ted Michalos: Yeah, so that basically means that the folks that own homes are able to either refinance or somehow they’re able to deal with their debt better because they’ve got more options available to them. Homeowners are the only group of clients that we’ve done in analysis where the debts are lower than they were two years ago. Oh, sorry, I’ve got that backwards. Actually the total debts are lower, but their unsecured debts are higher because they can afford to carry more.

Doug Hoyes: Right. That’s the whole key.

Ted Michalos: That’s the problem.

Doug Hoyes: House prices go up, so great, I can now refinance or I’ve got the ability to borrow. So it’s a – you know, obviously a serious problem.

Ted Michalos: One of the things to keep in mind too is, 1 in 10 of the folks that do own houses have negative equity. Which means they’re not in trouble yet, but they can’t refinance the house. They’re already under water as far as the house is concerned. So they are at-risk. They’re the next group of people that are going to come see us.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah, so even if you own a house, that doesn’t mean you’re completely secure. That’s the whole problem here. And what happens when the housing market isn’t continually going up? Then you’ve got a much more serious problem.

Ted Michalos: You mean when the bubble bursts?

Doug Hoyes: Exactly.

Ted Michalos: Is that what we call that?

Doug Hoyes: That’s exactly – in fact we’ve done shows on exactly that. Go to our website and search for “when the bubble bursts”. And you can hear Hilliard MacBeth’s thoughts on that.

So let’s go back to this discussion of debt then. You already said that in our study, the average debt that Joe Debtor is carrying is $52,634, and since our study covers a two-year period, that’s the average unsecured debt owed by all of our clients who filed with us over the last two years, 2015, 2016.

So we drilled down a bit deeper and actually looked at the devil – the debt levels – that’s interesting. Devils. When you compare debt levels it becomes devils. That is a little Freudian slip there. So when you compare the debt levels by year, it’s really quite stunning.

So we’re carrying record levels of debt, but that’s not we found for Joe Debtor. Canadians are, but in fact, Joe Debtor’s total unsecured debt is going down. So tell me the numbers.

Ted Michalos: All right, so let’s look back a few years. Remember, we do this every two years. That’s when we analyze our data. The peak was back in 2012. So the average debt load carried by the person declaring themselves to be insolvent was $60,000, and that’s just unsecured debt. So that’s credit cards, lines of credit, income taxes, payday loans. It’s dropped a couple of thousand dollars every two years that we’ve done the study since then. So now we’re down to the lowest levels since we started doing the survey, at $52,000. It’s 15% lower than the peak.

Well, and you think about it, total debt levels are probably 15% higher for the average Canadian. So our group of people is actually going backwards, which you think would be a good thing.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah, you’d think. So in fact, in 2016, when we averaged 2015, 2016 we get around $52,000, well that’s because 2015 was around $54,000 and 2016 was down to $50,000.

Ted Michalos: Right.

Doug Hoyes: If this trend continues we could very easily see, you know, next time we do this study, unsecured debt levels of less than $50,000 even though it was, as you said, $60,000 back in 2012.

Ted Michalos: Right.

Doug Hoyes: So what am I missing here? Debt levels are going down, but everyone in our study still had to go bankrupt or file a proposal. So what gives here?

Ted Michalos: Well, one of the things that an average number hides is the cost of carrying that debt. So the folks that are becoming insolvent, declaring bankruptcy or proposal, are using more expensive sub-prime borrowing. So that means that as opposed to having that great credit card at the low interest rate 11%, they probably got the credit card at 18, 19, 21%.

In fact, if you look at the way the debts have broken down, the total amount of debt that they’re carrying and the most expensive types of credit – and here’s where you’re going to get me going on payday loans is higher, and it increases every year.

Doug Hoyes: I’ll try to keep you away from the payday loans. Because I know I get you all wound up.

Ted Michalos: We could do a whole show on that.

Doug Hoyes: Well in fact we did, show number 130, which was right at the end of February we went – we actually pre-released some of our Joe Debtor stats just as it related to payday loans and you’re absolutely right. There are more debtors now who have a payday loan than before.

Ted Michalos: Let me give you an easy comparison for us to understand. So let’s say that you’ve got that $53,000 of unsecured debt in a line of credit. And probably if you’ve got a line of credit at that level, the bank thinks you’re a pretty good risk and they’ll charge you 5% interest.

So your monthly payment’s 220 bucks. Not a big deal.

The average Joe Debtor, the fellow that becomes insolvent, doesn’t have a line of credit. He’s got personal loans, credit cards, income taxes, student debt. Remember what I said earlier. Their average monthly payments are $960. Same level of debt, four times the payment.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah, so it’s the type of debt that you have that is what’s causing you all the grief.

Ted Michalos: That’s right.

Doug Hoyes: So yeah, I mean our clients have lines of credit. But you’re right, it’s not $52,000 worth, it’s a portion of that, and when you throw in all the other high level, high interest debt it becomes a huge problem.

So I can see a theme emerging here. This Joe Debtor who is our typical person who files bankruptcy or consumer proposal is vulnerable. His income is not as high as it needs to be, so he uses debt to survive. He gets a payday loan to pay the – you know, to pay the carrying costs on his other debts. So instead of getting a payday loan at a 468% interest cost, why doesn’t he just go get another credit card at 19%?

Ted Michalos: Well the problem is he doesn’t qualify. So he can’t do that. Most of these folks know what the right answers are, but no one will help them out.

So let’s think about it this way.

Doug Hoyes: Well tell me about credit cards then.

Ted Michalos: Yeah, okay.

Doug Hoyes: So why can’t he just go – that’s what I would do. What is he actually doing when it comes to credit cards?

Ted Michalos: Well credit card debt’s going down. I mean 2013 the average balance of credit cards was just under $24,000. Now it’s down to $16,000. So that’s a one-third decrease. That’s an incredible drop. The problem, of course is, they’re still carrying more debt than they can carry, and it’s the more expensive types.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah, so they’re trading in credit cards, which are still wickedly high.

Ted Michalos: Right. I mean 18% is nothing to sneeze at.

Doug Hoyes: It’s ridiculous. But you can’t even qualify for that, so you’re ending up with payday loans and the other higher interest ones.

Ted Michalos: That’s right.

Doug Hoyes: So that’s obviously a massive problem. So, break it down for me then in terms of the ages of the people that we’re seeing. I mean I know that our typical person who files a bankruptcy or proposal has always been in that sort of mid-40’s kind of age, and that’s still the case today. But what other trends are we seeing?

Ted Michalos: Well there’s two very disturbing trends that quite frankly scare me a little bit. The millennials, so this is the under 29 age group, went from 12% of our filers to 14. So it’s a growing group of people. And these are – so this is the next generation of folks that have got to pay for our society. They’re carrying student debt, they’re carrying not as high levels of total debt, but unfortunately they’re carrying high – payday loan and expensive types of debt.

And the other group that really – we’ve been talking about this group now for a number of years because it’s the fastest growing segment, are the seniors. The 60-plus crowd. Four years ago it was 9% of filings, now it’s 12%. And the seniors carry the highest level of debt, the highest amount of payday loans. I’m the one that keeps bringing this up.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah, I know. It is a theme.

So more than half the people we deal with are between the ages of 30 and 49, and that makes sense. That’s kind of your prime borrowing years when you’re – you know, you’re forming a family, buying a house, all that kind of stuff. But the percentage in those age groups has been dropping while the percentage at both ends, like you said, the younger and the older are going up. So what’s your explanation for that? Why is that happening?

Ted Michalos: Well intuitively that makes sense, right? Remember what we said, that Joe Debtor’s income now is significantly lower than the mean or median income in Ontario. In an Ontario household, the average income is $4,900, and our average Joe Debtor is $2,900.

So the millennials are just getting started. They’re either just finished school so they’ve got student debt, or they’re in the workplace but they’re at entry level jobs, or worse, they can’t get full-time jobs, they’ve got two or three positions.

The other end of the section you’ve got the seniors. The seniors, well they’re pensioners. Their income is fixed. So while their costs of living are going up, their pensions are not increasing at anywhere near the same rate. And what’s worse, they probably carried debt into retirement.

Doug Hoyes: Well, so let’s break those two groups down and just very briefly talk about them and I think maybe what we’ll do is schedule some specific shows over the next few months to deal with each of these groups individually.

Ted Michalos: That’s a good idea.

Doug Hoyes: So let’s talk about a millennial. I mean to me, your typical millennial, of course there’s no such thing, they’re all different, but you know, they’ve got student loan debt, which is much more common obviously amongst younger people than older people. Their income might be a little bit lower, they might be lone parents. So what kind of – you know, what kind of advice, what are you talking to with millennials?

Ted Michalos: So the millennials, that’s 18 to 29-year old age group. They’re the folks that again, they’re just finishing school, they’re just getting started in the workforce. And the concerns we have now is they can’t find the jobs that they need to, to cover their living costs and to service their debt. I mean they got $14,000 worth of student loans on average. Their take home pay is $2,300 a month. Remember what I said earlier. The average Joe Debtor take home was $2,900 a month. So their income is significantly lower.

You know, a sidebar to this, and I’m sure we’re going to talk about in detail later, is that a significant portion are females and they’re single parents. That’s a – yeah, we’ll dedicate a show to that I’m sure because it’s a whole different issue.

Doug Hoyes: But you raise a critical point, that if I’m a lone parent, and I’m younger, which of course is the way it is, there are very lone parents with young kids who are 60 years old.

Ted Michalos: Right.

Doug Hoyes: And I’ve got student debt that I’ve got to try to service, and I’m not able to find stable employment. I think that’s really the absolute biggest issue that they’ve got.

Ted Michalos: Right.

Doug Hoyes: It’s not like the old days, well, I’ve graduated from Grade 10, I can go get a job at the factory and work for 50 years. A lot of them end up going through college or university and still not being able to find something good when they get out. And that’s really where the whole income problem is come through.

Ted Michalos: For that particular segment, that’s right.

Doug Hoyes: And almost for millennials as well, I mean the problem for millennials are bad, the problems for the single mom are worse.

Ted Michalos: Yeah, it’s really compounded.

Doug Hoyes: So I think you’re right. I think that’s probably a dedicated show we’ll want to do in the future, just exploring that. So let’s talk about seniors then.

So obviously – well not obviously, but in a lot of cases seniors don’t have student loans.

Ted Michalos: Probably not.

Doug Hoyes: But you know, give me the profile of the kind of person you end up seeing who’s a senior.

Ted Michalos: So again, seniors on a fixed income. They don’t have the ability to go out there and generate more. Their working life is done. Now that doesn’t mean a number of them aren’t working part time, but if they have part time jobs, or second jobs, it’s just so they can make their debt payments.

A full 59% of them, so almost two-thirds are single. So, half of that, half of those are divorced or widowed. So these are folks that were used to having a higher standard of living, a higher income, and now it’s dropped significantly. They have no savings. As I said earlier, they probably carried debt into retirement, which is a major mistake. I mean you’ve got to try and find a way to avoid it and it’s almost impossible to do these days.

What I found interesting was 47% of them have tax debt. And so what that suggests is they had savings, probably in RRSPs and they cashed them out to cover their living expenses. And the mistake the seniors make is that on Monday they’ve got a job, they’ve got a regular pay, and on Tuesday they retired and they’ve probably dropped their income by two-thirds, and they haven’t adjusted their living expenses for that period of time, and so they haven’t got enough money to cover their living expenses and they’ve still got all that debt that they were carrying.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah, and your point about, you know, 59% of them are single, you know, like you said, 47% of them are widowed or divorced, which obviously means the rest of them were never married or in a relationship to begin with. That is a massive change, and we’ve done a couple of shows on that with Victoria Ryce who wrote the book with Gail Vaz-Oxlade on The CEO of Everything, which deals with how to deal with becoming suddenly single and it’s a huge problem if your spouse was the one who was always paying the bills, managing the finances and now you’re left to do it on your own, you may not have the skills to do it, or even if your spouse was the one who did all the grocery shopping and cooking and all those sort of things, you’ve got to bring on a whole new set of skills and when you combine that with the reduced income and the debt problems it becomes a – you know, obviously a very serious problem.

So it’s almost as though there are two different worlds here. You’ve got some people who bought a house 20 years ago and they’re in great shape. You’ve got people who had a stable job, never got laid off, they’ve got a good pension, while those people in general aren’t the people who are coming to see us.

Ted Michalos: Those would be our parents’ generation.

Doug Hoyes: That’s right. Absolutely. And then you’ve got the people who, you know, didn’t benefit from the real estate boom. They’ve had sporadic employment. Maybe they’ve gone through, like you said, a divorce, or maybe they’ve had medical issues. So those are the vulnerable people who are using debt to survive. So.

And the key point to all of this is that those groups that are at risk, the millennials, the seniors, the single parents, they’re in trouble before you even start looking at servicing their debt. They’re using all of their income to pay their living expenses, and then some, which is where the debt comes into play.

Ted Michalos: Yeah, they’re using debt to survive that’s the – and that was never the intention of debt. I mean that was never the idea of the whole credit market. It’s supposed to make your life better. It’s not supposed to make your life worse.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah, I mean you buy a house and you use debt because you’re getting something for it. You’re right. Using debt to pay for your living expenses and having nothing to show for it is certainly not the idea. So I mean I think the most stunning thing is the people that we’re dealing with in most cases had significant financial issues even before the debt became a problem.

Ted Michalos: That’s right.

Doug Hoyes: The sporadic employment, all those kind of things.

Ted Michalos: We don’t encounter people that were living high on the hog. These are not people that bought themselves a bunch of luxuries, they took all kinds of trips. They incurred the debt because their income doesn’t match their living expenses, and their living expenses are not extravagant.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah, and I think that’s probably the biggest finding from our Joe Debtor study. There’s this myth that people who file a consumer proposal or bankrupt to have racked up their debt for extravagant living. But it’s just not the case.

So we’ve looked at all this data and we’re kind of bumping up against the clock here. So let’s get into some practical advice.

If you are talking to someone who fits the profile of what we’ve just talked about, or if someone is listening to us today who fits the profile, or has a friend or a family memory who has gone through job loss, sporadic income, you know, separation, divorce, medical issues, all these kind of things, what kind of practical advice can you give someone like that?

Ted Michalos: So probably the most important thing, folks, is to realize that you’re not alone. Money is one of those things that we don’t talk about with anyone. You could be diagnosed with a serious disease, cancer or something equally horrible, and you’ll talk to your family and friends about it. You’ll get them to help you.

If you have financial problems you don’t talk to anybody. And you need to. You’re not alone.

Recognize the warning signs. So if you’re starting to use debt, to get advances on your credit cards, use your line of credit, to pay your regular bills, you probably have a problem. If you’ve got to go get a payday loan, you probably have a problem. And like anything else, if you’ve got a problem, try to find some help. There’s lots of help out there.

Doug Hoyes: So what are the kind of things we are going to do for someone who is in that situation? They hear about this and they go, okay, now I was a bit embarrassed about all this because I thought it was my fault that I wasn’t able to keep up with all my bills, but now that I realize, yeah, there’s a bunch of stuff that’s happened in my life, so I pick up the phone, I call the 310-PLAN hotline, or I go to hoyes.com and find the form and send you guys a message, and you sit down with me.

Ted Michalos: Yeah.

Doug Hoyes: How is it going to work? What are you going to talk to me about?

Ted Michalos: Well the first thing I’m going to ask you is what’s changed? So why didn’t you call me yesterday. Because usually there’s something that’s finally got you to realize, I’ve got a problem and I need some help.

And the next thing we’re going to do is we’re going to take a look at your situation. Well, so what does it cost you to live every month? How much money have you got coming in? So what does that leave you to deal with any other issues? Have you got an emergency fund? Probably not if you’re talking to me. You probably got excessive debt. We’ll take a look at the debt, we’ll take a look at how much money you have left to deal with it every month and then we’ll come together with a plan.

Not everybody that talks to me has to file bankruptcy or proposal. In fact the majority end up just needing some guidance. They need to be pointed in the right direction. And that’s what we do.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah, and I think that’s a great way to end it. And I totally agree. I mean most of our clients were in a difficult financial situation before they got into debt, and they ended up using debt to survive. So you’re not alone. You know, don’t be embarrassed about it. Don’t suffer through it. There is help.

We’ve got tons of resources over at hoyes.com, and you can always call our office at 310-PLAN if you or someone you know fits the profile of Joe Debtor.

That’s our show for today. Ted thanks for being here. Full details on our Joe Debtor study including lots of data can be found at a special link, joedebtor.ca. Full show notes and the transcript of today’s show and links to our Joe Debtor study can be found at hoyes.com that’s h-o-y-e-s-dot-com.

Thanks for listening, I’m Doug Hoyes, that was Debt Free in 30.