During the last year we have noticed an increase in the number of seniors who are searching for solutions to personal indebtedness. These individuals and couples routinely state, “I worked hard all my life, raised a family and never wasted any money. I never thought I would see the day when I would be in this type of situation.” The factors involved are varied and can include: stagnant incomes, reduced pensions, an increase in the cost of living, escalating health care costs and perceived financial obligations in helping their underemployed or unemployed children and dependents. We are also seeing debts incurred due to casino attendance, sometimes resulting from a lack of social contact with family and friends.
Increasing life expectancy can also place a strain on accumulated life savings. Finding solutions for our senior clients can involve difficult and even heart wrenching choices for those concerned. Simply increasing income is not a realistic option for most, and often the only solutions come in the form of either declaring bankruptcy or in selling assets, including the family home or cottage.
Our Debt Repayment Program can be a promising solution, when there is enough income to permit repayment over a reasonable amount of time. Almost always, seniors are relieved to know that there is a local non-profit service they can trust to discuss their situation and review their options without pressure.
When I called CCRC I was at the end of my rope and desperate for some advice and help. I was being made to feel like a criminal just because I owed money on my credit cards. Everyone including my creditors and friends were telling me what to do but I was looking for someone who could give me objective and helpful solutions that were in my best interests. It was a family member who mentioned that Peterborough had its own United Way member agency that specifically helps with problems like mine.
My initial feeling, when I contacted the agency, was of intense relief and that someone actually did care about what I was going through. For the first time in ages, I felt as though there might be some real help available.
My counsellor informed me of all these options and resources available to me that I had never known even existed. He was able to contact my creditors for me and engaged me in an interest free, affordable repayment program. I can now sleep again at night and can again concentrate on the things that really matter in my life. I feel like this program has saved my life.
~ Gary (name changed to protect identity)
Jill contacted our credit counselling program after attending one of our personal financial management workshops, hoping that we could offer her some advice. She was an elderly widow whose income had been substantially reduced following the death of her husband. Her adult daughter had also recently moved back into her home following her own job loss and Jill now found herself with increased expenses, a large personal debt load including high credit card debts and a large pay day loan balance. Her debts payments had fallen into arrears and she was now receiving calls from both creditors and collection agents. Jill had fallen into a depression and was at a loss as to how to cope with her situation.
After fully examining her finances we suggested several strategies to help Jill get her life back in control. She followed up on our suggestion that she see a CCRC clinical counsellor in order to resolve the issues around her daughter’s financial burdens and expectations. She also engaged in one of our debt management programs and we were able to have all interest charges on her debts stopped as well as reducing her monthly debt payments to a much more manageable level. We were also able to work with her in order to develop a workable monthly budget so that Jill wouldn’t find herself falling back into the same situation again.
Jill’s life is much more stress free now with every expectation that things will continue to improve.