Hello and welcome to my fellow bankrupt and ex-bankrupt Canadian friends! This blog is a collection of information on life after bankruptcy in Canada that was hard to find, or non-existent. And in some cases, based on evidence available to be, I share my opinion, and I will clearly indicate it as such. As you may have already found out, there is little information out there on how to get on with your life after bankruptcy in Canada. Sure, there’s credit repair information out there, and used car lots that finance people with bankruptcies as well as many misinformed employees who may have given advice with their best intentions. Through my own crusade to get on with life after bankruptcy in Canada, I have written all of these articles while still in recovery mode and have personally tried just about everything I write about.
After being discharged from my personal bankruptcy in July 2008, I discovered how few resources there were for Canadians wanting to re-establish their credit and get back on track with their life after bankruptcy in Canada. There was, and still is a decent amount of information on how to file for bankruptcy and even what to do during bankruptcy, before being discharged. But there was very little information on what to do after being discharged from a bankruptcy in Canada. We’re left alone to fend for ourselves once we receive that Certificate of Discharge.
Sure, there are some well meaning people who offer some general advice, but nothing specific. Generalities don’t help much, especially when they come from people who haven’t even been through a bankruptcy themselves and are just stating their opinion rather than actual facts – no matter how convincing they may sound. I discovered that much of the advice and suggestions were so vague or even outright wrong, that I got very frustrated. This caused me to make many mistakes and caused setbacks. I briefly considered something drastic, like creating a new identity or moving to another country, but neither one was realistic or morally right.
I found some good information on bankruptcy recovery for Americans, but unfortunately a lot of it just wasn’t applicable in Canada. So, I began to do my own research. At first, slowly. Then more and more as time went on to the point where I figured I had enough information to write a book! In fact, I’m in the process of doing that right now. Until then, I am writing articles and posting them on this website to help my fellow ex-bankrupt Canadians have a smoother road to recovery from bankruptcy in Canada. It’s especially timely right now as we’re in tough economic times with record breaking numbers of Canadians going bankrupt.
Although I’m already more than 4 years past my bankruptcy discharge and have impressed even myself with how well I’ve recovered, there are many of you who are just starting this journey. My bankruptcy will still show up on my credit reports for another two years. I’m still in recovery mode, so I feel your pain and can be totally transparent. I am holding nothing back. As I discover something new, you will see it on this website. I wish there had been a resource like this when I was just discharged.
You should only take advice from people who have already accomplished something you wish to accomplish. I will only speak on topics that I am very familiar with, either through personal experience or through being personally involved in helping someone else. There will be no theoretical or hypothetical examples given here.
Where I was and where I am now
I’ll never forget the day I filed for bankruptcy. It was September 11, 2007. How could I forget a date like September 11th? When I filed for bankruptcy in the fall of 2007, it was right about the time the economy took a downturn. I discovered how easy it was to get credit limit increases and a new car lease the year before. Through overspending and over extending my personal and businesses expenses, my monthly bill payments quickly began to escalate. Once I missed a couple of months, they just snowballed and were out of control. My phone began ringing off the hook with creditors. At the same time, my income dropped and it became apparent that I had to do something quickly. Over the years I’d been able to keep up with my debts. Then I was just barely keeping up.
It was a bit too late for credit counseling, as I was so eloquently told by a credit counselor. With my lower income level at the time and the amount of debt I had, it would take approximately 6 years to pay off all my debts – and only if I went back to my previous, slightly higher level of income and devoted the majority of my income to debt repayment. That was not realistic at all. A consumer proposal wasn’t even a realistic option either.
Regardless of whether or not I had opted for a debt repayment plan or a consumer proposal, at that rate, I would continue to have bad credit for at least 9 years. By filing for bankruptcy, my credit report would be marred for only 6 years. It seemed like such a drastic move, but after agonizing over it for a few weeks, I took the plunge and filed for bankruptcy.
Ironically, I now have a higher credit score than I ever had before the bankruptcy! And the bankruptcy is still showing on my credit reports! Going bankrupt was a wake up call for me. In retrospect, I’m glad it happened. I now have savings, investments, a kick @ss credit score and practically a university degree in credit rebuilding after bankruptcy in Canada.
Let me tell you, none of it involved anything crazy like financing a 5 year old used car with a subprime loan at 29% interest either. It’s almost all mainstream credit and interest rates, and will continue to be that way. I’ve already been successful at financing a brand new car after bankruptcy from a mainstream lender. My next goal is to buy some real estate completely on my own – whether it be a house I will live in or an investment property. That will be quite a milestone!
I’m actually better off now than I ever was. Ever!
None of this was done through any black hat, sly, underhanded methods. It’s all above board and legitimate. And it’s not as hard as you might think. Of course, anything worth doing is worth doing right. Moving out of one’s comfort zone is always a bit of a challenge. But if you are committed to it as I am, I welcome you to join me for the ride on my journey of life after bankruptcy in Canada. You too can get your life and credit back on track – even if you just got discharged today. You can’t change the past, but tomorrow is a new day, so make it the best day ever!