debt, Millennials, Generation Y, Gen Y, Baby Boomers in debt, seniors in debt, student debt, student loans, credit card debt, bankruptcy, trustee, financial plan, gen y debt, starting over starting now, trustee, millennials in debt, gen y in debtMillennials in debt is an important issue.  There’s been a considerable amount of press surrounding the problems facing Baby Boomers in debt and seniors in debt and we’ve devoted quite a few blogs to these very serious issues:

However, the Millennials (children born between 1982 and 2002), also known as Generation Y or Gen Y, feel trapped as millennials in debt. Only now are we realizing how dire their situation is. BMO recently did a survey of Millennials in debt and discovered that:

  • 56% are so anxious about their debt they think about it multiple times a day.
  • 50% said debt has made them lose sleep.
  • Their household debt is $73,305.
  • 50% feel ashamed at the level of debt they’ve accumulated.
  • 50% of Millennials in debt have had arguments with family, friends and partners over debt.
  • 51% have borrowed money from friends or family to manage household debt levels.
  • Nearly 60% viewed their debt as a major personal problem.

In addition Millennials in debt are more burdened by student debt than their elders, according to David Coletto, chief executive officer of Abacus Data. He goes on to say, “People are maxing out their student loans and getting loans from family to supplement.”

The reality is that debt is increasing across all demographics and the issues facing Millennials in debt should not be ignored. Whether their debt originated with student loans, credit card debt or some other issue, it needs to be managed as quickly as possible by a professional trustee. Contact Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. for professional advice and a solid financial plan so that you can live a debt free life Starting Over, Starting Now.


parents paying student loans, subprime loans, subprime loan, debt, credit card debt, post-secondary education, bank card interest rate, credit cards, retirement, student debt, starting over starting nowParents paying student loans as the cost of post-secondary education continues to rise at alarming rates, because student debt has reached critical levels. As a result, many families are taking desperate measures to come up with the money, including maxing out their credit cards, risking their homes and retirement incomes, and resorting to subprime loans.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives reports:

  • Annual fees at Canadian Universities are projected to rise 13% on average to $7,755, having almost tripled over the past 20 years.
  • Students in Ontario can expect to shell out $9,483 on average in tuition and other compulsory fees in 2017-18. Fees in the province have nearly quadrupled over the last 20 years.
  • The price tag for a university degree is significant: when books, living expenses and transportation costs are added to tuition and other compulsory fees, the cost of a four-year university education is estimated to reach over $80,000; of that, residence is estimated at about $31,000.

How many parents are ready and willing to go into debt to provide their child with a post-secondary education? Canadian parents paying student loans are willing to pay for two-thirds of their child’s total education costs, with 21% saying they’re prepared to foot the entire bill even if it means straining their finances, according to research by CIBC.

Credit Card Debt: According to a recent article in the National Post, the typical bank card interest rate continues to hover around 20% annually and department store cards are closer to 30%. It is never advisable to use your credit cards to pay for post-secondary education. Doing so may create a cycle of debt you may not be able to repay.  Parents paying student loans through credit card debt must be avoided.

Risking Your Home or Retirement Income: Consider the possibility that something could happen, making it impossible for you to repay your debt. You could lose your home or sacrifice your retirement income. Can you afford to take that chance?  Parents paying student loans cannot take precedence over fiscal prudence as parents near retirement.

Subprime Loans: Typically subprime loans are offered at a rate above prime to people who don’t qualify for prime rate loans because they have low credit scores or other factors that make them a high risk to default on debt repayment. Although the subprime loan’s additional points of interest don’t seem too drastic at first glance, they can add up to tens of thousands of dollars in additional interest over the life of the loan.  Parents paying student loans should not do so by taking out subprime loans.

Should you borrow money to pay for your child’s post secondary education? Never max out your credit cards, risk your home or retirement income, and never resort to subprime loans. If you can borrow money in a way that doesn’t jeopardize your home, retirement and financial health, by all means, proceed. If your child is eligible for student loans, then a joint effort between the parents paying student loans and the student through part-time work may be one answer.

If you find yourself in debt for any reason including credit card debt or a subprime loan, contact Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. Debt should be dealt with as quickly and decisively as possible. Starting Over, Starting Now our team will come up with an action plan to restore your life to financial health as soon as possible.


phishing, phishing email messages, phishing scams, spear phishing, spear phishing scams, phishing and spear phishing scams, trustee, financial plan, debt, bankruptcy trustee, starting over starting nowBeware – phishing and spear phishing scams can rob you of your identity and your money, and can lead you into debt if you fall victim to such scams. Here’s how to recognize  phishing and spear phishing scams and what do if you’ve received a suspect email.

What is a phishing scam? Phishing email messages are designed to steal your identity which is ultimately used to commit fraud. They ask for personal data, or direct you to websites or phone numbers to call where they ask you to provide personal data. The messages may appear to be from organizations you do business with – banks, insurance companies and even the CRA. They might even threaten to close your account or take other action if you don’t respond.

How can you recognize a phishing email message? Unfortunately many of us receive several phishing emails per day and they can appear to be perfectly legitimate. Here are some examples of phishing messages. (

  • “We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity.”
  • “During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn’t verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information.”
  • “Our records indicate that your account was overcharged. You must call us within 7 days to receive your refund.”

Banks, insurance companies and the CRA will NEVER send you an email asking for personal information or asking you to confirm your identity. Legitimate businesses NEVER ask you to send sensitive information through insecure channels. The only reason for phishing emails to gather personal information for the sake of committing fraud.

How can you protect yourself from phishing scams?

  • Delete emails, texts, and pop-up messages that ask for your personal or financial information.
  • Don’t call phone numbers provided in the phishing message.
  • Don’t click on links in the suspect email even if the message seems to be from an organization you do business with and trust.
  • Install anti-virus software, spyware filters, email filters and firewall programs.

What should you do if you’ve received a phishing email? Contact the financial institution, government office or company immediately with your suspicions and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or

What is spear phishing? Spear phishing is a targeted email scam with the sole purpose of obtaining unauthorized access to sensitive data. Unlike phishing scams, which cast broad, scatter-shot attacks, spear phishing hones in on a specific group or organization. The intent is to steal intellectual property, financial data, trade or military secrets and other confidential data. (Kaspersky Lab)

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reports that currently, Canadian Financial Institutions and Investment brokers are receiving fraudulent email requests from existing clients requesting that money be transferred from their account usually to a foreign account. This scam is having a severe financial impact on the Canadian financial system.

We hope that this information will prevent you from falling victim to phishing and spear phishing scams. Unfortunately many have been taken in and are paying dearly for their mistake. If you find yourself in financial difficulties contact Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. With a solid financial plan for dealing with your debts we can help you get back on track to living a debt free life Starting Over, Starting Now.


student loans, student loan, student loan debt, debt, collection agency, credit bureau, trustee, lines of credit, repayment assistance plan, RAP, Canada student loan repayment, starting over starting nowCanada student loan repayment is and will continue to be a large issue.  Student loan debt can be an enormous burden. Between 2012 and 2013, more than 400,000 students borrowed money to help pay for more post secondary education. (The Canadian Federation of Students). Accumulated federal student loan debt in Canada is now more than $15-billion. That doesn’t include obligations on lines of credit, credit cards or provincial loan programs – a total estimated to be as much as $8-billion. (Globe & Mail). This amount of debt affects our entire economy. Unfortunately many students can’t pay back their loans causing Canada student loan repayment to be a huge issue for both recent graduates and our economy. After trying unsuccessfully to collect for more than six years, the government writes off the loans. In total, $540 million worth of student loans has been written off over the last three years. (Human Resources and Skills Development Canada).

What happens if you don’t make your student loan payments? Your student loan will not be erased until you have paid it in full. If you don’t make your loan payments, you will be in default. Your Canada student loan repayment obligation continues, notwithstanding the above-noted government loan reserve and write-off policy.

What happens if I’m in default on my student loans? If you are in default of your Canada student loan repayment obligations:

  • Your debt will be turned over to a collection agency.
  • You will be reported to a credit bureau.
  • You could be ineligible for further loans until the default is cleared.
  • It can affect your ability to get a car loan, mortgage or credit card.
  • Your income tax refund and HST rebate can be withheld.
  • Interest will continue to build up on the unpaid balance of your loan.

Will bankruptcy erase my student loans? Bankruptcy will not discharge your student loans until you’ve been out of school for seven years. There are cases when student loans have been discharged after five years, but the borrower has to prove before a court that they would undergo extreme hardship if required to wait seven years.  So depending on how long it has been since you were last a full or part-time student for which you received a student loan, bankruptcy may not clear you of your Canada student loan repayment obligations.

What can I do if I can’t meet my Canada student loan repayment obligations? One of your options is the federal government’s program called the Repayment Assistance Plan (RAP). There are eligibility requirements and your loan must not be in default. If you qualify:

  • You can make affordable payments based on your gross family income and family size. Your loan payments would never exceed 20% of your gross family income.
  • Your monthly student loan payments will either be reduced, or you will not have to make any payments.
  • You have a maximum repayment period of 15 years (or 10 years for qualified borrowers with a permanent disability).
  • Enrolment is not automatic and you would have to re-apply for this plan every 6 months.

Don’t wait for your Canada student loan repayment debt to become critical and don’t ignore any of your debt. It will not go away on its own. You need professional help from a trustee. Contact Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. and make an appointment today. We approach every file with the attitude that financial problems can be solved given immediate action and the right plan. Starting Over, Starting Now you can get back on the road to financial health.


bad credit, credit, job search, Equifax, TransUnion, BackCheck, credit history, credit report, credit check, medical debt, marital breakdown and bankruptcy, starting over starting now, good credit and bad credit, credit check, living paycheque to paycheque, credit ratingBad credit showing up on your credit history can impact your job search. Many companies will check your credit as part of the routine background check. Some people believe that how you pay your billsgives employers an indication of the quality of your work. These employers believe that an applicant with bad credit indicates either an inability to live up to your commitments or a belief that it is not important to honour your commitments.  This belief, correct or not, are traits that potential employers do not wish to inherit.

Of course this is painting a picture with very broad strokes and doesn’t take into consideration the reason for your financial problems causing the bad credit, which may be due to a divorce or a layoff. But, employers want to avoid situations when collectors start calling the office or try to garnish wages.  Previously, we have written many blogs on such causes of financial problems, including:

According to Dave Dinesen, President and CEO of BackCheck, a pre-employment screening services company, they’ve screened over three million Canadians for more than 5,000 organizations, and the vast majority of employers use credit checks for identification verification purposes (such as employment history and address history).  By doing so, they can also differentiate between candidates who have good credit and bad credit.

Before a potential employer can pull your credit history, you must sign a release. Protect yourself and know exactly what’s in your credit report before your potential employer does. To get a copy of your credit report contact either of the two major reporting agencies – Equifax or TransUnion. They are required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months, if you ask for it. Have them correct any inaccuracies that you find. If you discover anything in your credit report that could be potentially damaging, the best thing to do is be upfront with your potential employer. The likelihood is that a few late payments won’t prevent you from being hired. However, if you believe that a credit check will expose that you have bad credit and would negatively impact your job search, you may want to consider applying to smaller companies that don’t do routine credit checks as part of the hiring process.

Bad credit is serious and can impact many aspects of your life. Don’t ignore your financial problems; face them head on with professional help. Contact Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. We’ll work with you to get your life back on track so that Starting Over, Starting Now you’ll never have to be afraid of a credit check again.


debt, debts, trustee, collection agency, collection agencies, debt collectors, debt collectors calling, living paycheque to paycheque, bankruptcy, starting over starting nowDebt collectors.  Their job is to make you so miserable that you will pay off the debt they are attempting to collect.  Last week we discussed debt issues that become so serious they’re referred to collection agencies. For many Canadians living paycheque to paycheque any unexpected expense that comes up can disturb a very delicate balance and before you know it, you’ve missed a payment or defaulted on a loan. This triggers an unfortunate series of events and now in addition to serious debt you are being pursued by debt collectors from the collection agency. Some debt collectors can make your life very unpleasant but you do have rights.

What are your rights? Collection agencies are regulated and each province has its own rules and regulations. In Ontario, the Ministry of Consumer Services regulates collection agencies through the administration of the “Collection Agencies Act”. If a collection agency behaves inappropriately, file a complaint with the Ministry. You have rights:

  • You must be notified in writing through the mail (not email) that your file has been given to a collection agency before debt collectors can start calling
  • The notice must include the name of the creditor (the person or business that says you owe them money), the amount the creditor says you owe, and the name of the collection agency and its authority to demand payment on behalf of the creditor
  • After sending the notice, the agency must wait 6 days before its debt collectors can contact you in person or by phone.

The debt collectors from the collection agency cannot:

  • Contact you on Sunday, except between the hours of 1PM and 5PM
  • Contact you on any other day of the week between the hours of 9PM and 7AM
  • Contact you on a statutory holiday
  • Use threatening, profane, intimidating or coercive language
  • Use undue, excessive or unreasonable pressure

The debt collectors from the collection agency cannot continue to contact you if:

  • You send a registered letter to the agency saying that you dispute the debt and suggest the matter be taken to court.
  • You (or your lawyer) send a registered letter to the agency providing your lawyer’s contact information and notifying the collection agency to communicate only with your lawyer.
  • You have told them that you are not the person they are looking for, unless they take reasonable precautions to ensure you are that person.

What should you do? The best thing to do about a collection agency and its debt collectors calling you is to deal with not only the debt the debt collectors from the collection agency are trying to collect, but all of your debts.  The best time to deal with them ideally is once you sense there is a problem and before they are referred to a collection agency.

If the debt collectors are calling you, it’s not too late to call a trustee. Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. is a full service insolvency and financial restructuring practice serving companies and individuals throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) facing financial crisis or bankruptcy that need a plan for Starting Over, Starting Now. Contact us today for a solid plan for dealing with your debts so that you can get back on track to living a debt free life.


payday loans toronto no credit check, bankruptcy, debt, financial institution, financial institutions, financial plan, interest rate, interest rates, living paycheque to paycheque, payday loan, payday loan companies, payday loans, starting over starting now, the cash store, trusteeHere is a very funny bit from “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” on HBO regarding the predatory lending practices of payday loan companies.  It is very sad, but true.  It is well worth watching this video because among the humour, are some very good lessons as to why not to get involved with payday loan companies and their related very high cost of lending.

Instead of perpetuating the cycle of debt, we encourage you to see a professional trusteeContact Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. for a no fee, no obligation appointment. We’re a full service insolvency and financial restructuring practice serving companies and individuals throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) facing financial crisis or bankruptcy that need a plan for Starting Over, Starting Now. It’s time to end the cycle of debt. Say NO to payday loan companies. Say YES to a solid financial plan for moving forward to a debt free life.


debt, debt collector, debt collectors, collection agencies, collection agency, credit record, student loan debt, credit card debt, bankruptcy, trustee, debt collectors calling, starting over starting nowAre debt collectors calling?  I recently read an article where the headline was 35% In US Facing Debt Collectors and it’s based on a study by the Urban Institute. This astonished me.  How is it possible that 35% of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies? This means that one in three people in America is being hounded by a collection agency having their debt collectors calling for unpaid bills.

Imagine that one in three of your friends and coworkers are facing serious financial challenges and you probably don’t even know it. According to the study 35.1% of people with credit records had been reported to collections for debt that averaged $5,178, based on September 2013 records. The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals reports that healthcare related bills account for 37.9% of the debts collected. Student loan debt represents another 25.2% and credit card debt make up 10.1%. Other collections are monies owed to the government, retailers, telecoms and utilities.  That is giving this industry a lot of work for their debt collectors calling one third of the American population!

This is not just an American problem although in Canada we are extremely fortunate that we don’t incur the amount of healthcare related debt that plagues the U.S. But that doesn’t make us immune from serious debt and debt collectors calling. According to an RBC poll which only measures non-mortgage debt such as credit cards, lines of credit and loans:

  • The average level of personal debt in Canada rose 21% per cent this year to $15,910
  • Albertans were the hardest hit with a 63% jump to $24,271 in debt
  • British Columbian personal debt loads went up by 38% to $15,549
  • Manitoba and Saskatchewan went up 32% to $16,145
  • Average debt in Ontario was up 13% to $17,416
  • Average debt in Quebec was up 3% to $10,458
  • Average debt was up in Atlantic Canada by 12% to $15,243

Before you get to the stage that the collection agencies are after you with their debt collectors calling, make an appointment with a professional trustee and deal with your debt; don’t hide from it. Contact Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. We help people everyday who are facing a financial crisis or bankruptcy that need a plan for Starting Over, Starting Now. Don’t wait, especially if the collection agencies are hounding you with their debt collectors calling, call us today.

Watch for our next blog when we’ll be discussing what to do if the collection agencies are after you with their debt collectors calling.


small business loans Canada bad credit, bad credit, payday loans, payday loan companies, personal loans for bad credit, subprime loans, subprime lending, bankruptcy, small business loansWe are seeing small businesses with poor or bad credit being turned away by the traditional lenders because they require small business loans Canada bad credit.  We’ve written several articles on personal loans for people with bad credit – Payday Loan Companies: There Are Options, Canadian Payday Loans No Credit Check: Too Good To Be True!, Payday Loans Are Not The Answer To Your Financial Problems, Personal Loans For Bad Credit: Interested?, Bad Credit Loans Online Attack The Already Vulnerable and others.

However searching for loans with bad credit is not the exclusive domain of individuals; there are also many small businesses who find themselves in the same predicament. And, there are a plethora of companies out there offering to give small business loans Canada bad credit or with actually no credit. Although they are not payday loan companies, they operate in exactly the same way. They are predatory lenders offering subprime loans that are not regulated and are not protected by the same laws that cover the traditional lenders.

If you’re looking for small business loans Canada bad credit, subprime loan companies will hurt your company, not help it. Caveat emptor! Buyer beware! The websites of these business loan companies look very official and several feature the Canadian flag giving the impression that they are affiliated with the federal government. Others have websites with a .org extension also giving the impression that they are government affiliated. Make no mistake; these are for profit companies with no government affiliation or association.

The subprime lending industry is exploding and is now estimated at more than $3 billion in loans a year. According to an article recently published in Bloomberg Businessweek, one of the companies specializing in subprime lending, also referred to alternative lending, is World Business Lenders. “The firm’s representatives pitch their high-rate loans to small business owners who have trouble borrowing elsewhere. World Business Lenders seizes collateral such as vehicles and other assets when borrowers can’t pay, and press legal action where World Business sues companies for missed payments, often sending them into bankruptcy. In fact, 20 percent of World Business’s borrowers were forced to close down last year, according to former executives”.  Lenders specializing in small business loans Canada bad credit are no different.

If your business is experiencing financial difficulties, rather than looking for small business loans Canada bad credit, contact Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc., not a subprime lender.Whether you are a small company, an entrepreneurial corporation, or a multi-faceted complex organization, our experienced bankruptcy, insolvency and restructuring team will work with you to solve problems in your financially challenged environment. Starting Over, Starting Now you can get your business back on track.


payday loan, payday loans, payday loan companies, living paycheque to paycheque, interest rate, interest rates, trustee, bankruptcy, debt, financial institution, financial institutions, financial plan, the Cash Store, VanCity, starting over starting nowFinally a financial institution has stepped up to the plate and is offering a viable alternative to payday loan companies. Sadly, people who typically turn to payday loan companies are low income earners who are barely surviving and living paycheque to paycheque. Payday loan companies are not helping them; they are creating higher debt loads and holding them hostage with insane interest rates.

The Cash Store, a payday loan company, offers a $300 loan for 14 days for $69, which is an annual interest rate 599.64% on their payday loans product. Vancity, Canada’s largest community credit union with branches in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria and Squamish, launched a new financial product to combat payday loans, called Vancity Fair & Fast Loan. If a credit union member borrows $300 for minimum term of two months and pays it off in two weeks, it would cost $2.20, a 19% annual percentage rate.

The Canadian Payday Loan Association says as many as two million Canadians take out payday loans every year. There has been a lot of talk about “cleaning up the payday loan industry” but if more financial institutions follow Vancity’s lead, payday loan companies would disappear from our landscape without further government regulations.

Don’t wait for payday loans to disappear before searching out more permanent solutions.  Instead of perpetuating the cycle of debt, we encourage you to see a professional trustee. Contact Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. for a no fee, no obligation appointment. We’re a full service insolvency and financial restructuring practice serving companies and individuals throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) facing financial crisis or bankruptcy that need a plan for Starting Over, Starting Now. It’s time to end the cycle of debt. Say NO to payday loan companies. Say YES to a solid financial plan for moving forward to a debt free life.