living paycheque to paycheque, living paycheck to paycheck, bankruptcy, alternatives to bankruptcy, credit counselling, debt consolidation, consumer proposals, starting over starting now, trustee, high earners, norma walton, ronauld waltonIt may surprise you to learn that high earners, earning a six figure salary is not a guarantee of financial stability or security. A big house, luxury cars and exotic vacations frequently don’t tell the real story. You may be looking at a lot of smoke and mirrors. Often these high earners become victims of their own success.

The costs of maintaining a high flying lifestyle eventually becomes too great and a debt spiral begins. No one is immune. Famous actors and actresses, lawyers, doctors and captains of industry file for bankruptcy just like the working poor living paycheque to paycheque. According to the Wall Street Journal “some high earners end up leading a lifestyle that they can barely afford, saving little or nothing for retirement and living paycheck to paycheck”.

This problem appears to be global, with no sign of letting up. In fact we reported on it last year in two blogs titled “Is Canada’s 1% Immune from Insolvency or Bankruptcy?” and Famous Celebrity Bankruptcies Happen Too. A recent study at Princeton University calls this phenomena “wealthy hand-to-mouth”. The study reports that the wealthy hand-to-mouth behave in many respects like households with little or no net worth. So, whether you’re a high earner or have little or no net worth, if you’re living paycheque to paycheque, you’re in the same boat and your options are the same.

If you are one of the high earners, or just a normal person, the time to end the spiral of debt is now. There is no time to waste. Debt doesn’t go away on its own. You need professional help and a sound plan for moving forward. Contact Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. 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.

There are alternatives to bankruptcycredit counselling, debt consolidation and consumer proposals or ultimately bankruptcy may be the answer – for both high earners and normal people.  Don’t make living paycheque to paycheque a lifestyle. Call us today and take the first step towards a debt free life.


bankruptcy trustees, financial distress, financial tool, bankruptcy, too much debt, collection letters, collection calls, bankruptcy alternatives, personal bankruptcy, Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, bankruptcy legislation, corporate bankruptcy, bankruptcy protection, Air Canada bankruptcy, American Airlines bankruptcy, consumer proposal, starting over starting now, bankruptcy trusteeBankruptcy trustees advise people in financial distress to think of bankruptcy as just another financial tool.  Bankruptcy still carries a stigma with it for many people, but if you have too much debt, cannot repay your debts and are afraid to open the mail or answer the phone because of all the collection letters and collection calls you receive, you need to take some positive step to eliminate this stress in your life by finding a responsible and realistic solution.

Bankruptcy trustees will tell you that none of their clients wanted to call and for sure did not wish to see them.  People come to bankruptcy trustees feeling ashamed, guilty and worthless.  It is normal to feel that you have failed in such circumstances, but it is also important for your emotional and financial well-being to think of bankruptcy or one of the various bankruptcy alternatives as another financial tool and to use one of these tools to fix the situation for yourself.

Our media promotes the feeling that personal bankruptcy is somehow equated with failure, instead of it being described as merely a negative financial outcome for the honest, but unfortunate person.  Everyone deserves a second chance, and using bankruptcy, or one of the bankruptcy alternatives is a way to get that second chance.  Many people have done so in the past, and many will do so in the future; that is why Parliament created the laws forming our bankruptcy legislation, the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.  Keep in mind, many famous people have previously filed for bankruptcy.

It is interesting that our media casts personal bankruptcy in a negative light, but shows corporate bankruptcy protection as something positive.  When we heard years ago about Air Canada filing for bankruptcy protection, or more recently, American Airlines filing for bankruptcy, people did not stop flying the airlines because they were disgusted that a company would dare to make use of the bankruptcy financial tool, but rather, people were worried about whether or not they would lose any of their airline point privileges!

Why can’t we think of personal bankruptcy as the same positive step forward financial tool in dealing with an unfortunate situation?

Bankruptcy trustees are the people licensed by the Government of Canada to administer the provisions of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.  Bankruptcy trustees need to obtain a full understanding of your assets and liabilities and understand your personal situation in order to advise whether you should go bankrupt, or if you are a candidate for a consumer proposal instead.  No doubt people seeking the assistance of bankruptcy trustees have many questions needing to be answered also.

Are you suffering financially for any reason? Don’t be ashamed; contact Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. Debt won’t go away on its own. You need professional help Starting Over, Starting Now so that you can regain your dignity and resume on a path to debt free living.

Watch this 5 minute video to listen to how another bankruptcy trustee explains it.




I recently read an article on millmillennials, millennials debt, Gen Y, Boomers, Baby Boomers, bankruptcy alternatives, debt, student loan debt, trustee, bankruptcy, credit, counselling, debt consolidation, consumer proposals, restructuring and turnaroundennials debt that actually referred to Millennials as “The Generation of Debt”. We recently reported on this very serious problem in our blog “Gen Y Trapped: Millennials in Debt”. Pew Research reports that Millennials are more distrustful of people than ever, less likely to belong to a party or religion, more in debt, and say they are unable to marry because they lack a solid economic foundation. In addition Millennials are also the first in the modern era to have higher levels of student loan debt, poverty and unemployment, and lower levels of wealth and personal income than their two immediate predecessor generations (Gen Xers and Boomers) had at the same stage of their life cycles.

I found this millennials debt issue particularly interesting because just a few days ago I had a conversation with a Millennial who said that as a whole her friends felt disenfranchised and angry with the Baby Boomers who have enjoyed benefits that they expected and will never have like company defined pension plans and old age security benefits at age 65.

Clearly one of the major issues is that Millennials had expectations but no financial plan and many are now trapped in a debt cycle that they don’t know how to escape. Millennials debt is a problem that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. And dealing with debt is not a DYI project. If you’re a Millennial facing serious debt issues and an uncertain financial future, contact a professional trustee. Contact Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. There are many ways to deal with debt in addition to bankruptcy which include credit counselling, debt consolidation and consumer proposals.

We’re here to help. We can discuss with you the various bankruptcy alternatives for the restructuring and turnaround of millennials debt and your entire financial life leading to your overall well-being.  We can put you back on the path to lead a healthy and productive life so that you can escape the millennials debt trap.  Make an appointment with the Ira Smith team today so that Starting Over, Starting Now you can live a happy, productive, debt free life.


senior financial abuse, senior abuse, elder abuse, financial fraud, Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Emergency - Grand Parent Scam, Prize Scam, Bank Inspector Scam, debt, trustee, senior abuse in Canada, elder financial abuse awareness, senior citizen money scams, scams on senior citizensSenior financial abuse has caused the golden years to not be golden for many of our retirees. Many of our elders have become victims of senior financial abuse, taken in by senior citizen money scams resulting in increased debt because they are viewed as easy prey. Typically they live alone, have disposable income and are generally quite trusting.

In case you don’t think this is a widespread and very serious problem, according to a 2011 study conducted by MetLife and the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Tech about elder financial abuse, the annual financial loss suffered by victims of senior citizen money scams of financial fraud is estimated to be $2.9 billion. In addition many seniors are facing serious debt as a result of family obligations, divorce, recession and lifestyle choices.

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, senior abuse in Canada as a result of senior financial abuse are from 3 prominent scams on senior citizens:

  1. The “Emergency – Grand Parent Scam” which is aimed at persuading seniors to believe a family member or friend is in trouble and in need of financial aid.
  2. The “Prize Scam” which targets seniors into believing they have won a lottery/sweepstakes.
  3. The “Bank Inspector Scam” targets seniors into verifying a possible fraudulent cashier at a bank by withdrawing funds for a supposed investigator.

How can you protect yourself? Here’s some great advice from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to assist in elder financial abuse awareness:

  • Never give cash to someone you don’t know or are meeting for the first time.
  • Financial institutions will never solicit assistance from you for internal investigation.
  • Contact police or the financial institution immediately to verify the telephone call you received.

If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of senior financial abuse fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or http://www.antifraudcentre.ca.

Are you a senior who is suffering financially for any reason? Don’t be ashamed; contact Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. Debt won’t go away on its own. You need professional help Starting Over, Starting Now so that you can regain your dignity and start back on a path to debt free living.


Payday loan companies continue to prey on thopayday lenders, payday loan, payday loans, payday loan companies, bad credit loans Toronto, bad credit loans, bad credit loans Toronto, Canadian payday loans, debt, instant loans Toronto, guaranteed bad credit loansse in need financially looking for guaranteed bad credit loans. We’ve devoted several blogs to warning the unsuspecting public about these unscrupulous companies but sadly people are still falling for their pitch.

Bloomberg Businessweek recently caught up with 3 payday lenders who are living the life most of us can only dream of from their ill-begotten profits. Living carefree in St. Croix, they while away the hours on luxury yachts. Their company, Cane Bay Partners, makes millions a month in payday loans to desperate and unsuspecting people who don’t realize that they’re paying more than 600% interest a year. Bloomberg discovered that the cost for a $500 loan is $100 to $150 in interest every two weeks, according to four contracts from the websites.

Cane Bay of course denies this saying that they are a management consulting and analytics company but a former employee confirms that Cane Bay runs CashYes.com, CashJar.com, and at least four other payday loan websites. They are able to circumvent the laws because their payday loan sites use corporations that are set up in Belize and the U.S. Virgin Islands. As U.S. States and Canadian provinces crack down on payday loan companies, they’ve moved online. In fact according to John Hecht, an analyst at Jefferies Group, Internet payday lending in the U.S. has doubled since 2008, to $16 billion a year, with half made by lenders based offshore or affiliated with American Indian tribes who say state laws don’t apply to them.

Although we’ve been under the impression that most people are using payday lenders for sudden and unexpected expenses, a new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that instead payday borrowers typically end up rolling old debts into new loans, often increasing how much they owe each time. This clearly indicates that many people are not aware of the sensible, financially sound options to dealing with debt.

Contact Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. and make an appointment today. Instead of looking for instant loans Toronto paying exorbitant interest rates at payday loan companies, we can solve your debt problems with a sound financial plan for moving forward so that Starting Over, Starting Now you can live a debt free life.


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. (OnGuardOnline.gov)

  • “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 info@antifraudcentre.ca.

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.