Peter & Debra

Peter & Debra – when trouble at work comes home

Peter and his wife, Debra, seemed to be on the right track. They had good jobs and big plans for the future. However, a sudden job loss and a workplace injury started their descent into debt. This is their story in their own words…

Two unexpected events changed their lives…

“In January 2002, due to the soft wood lumber duties imposed on Canadian lumber by the U.S.A, the lumber mill I had worked at for 13 years shut down. At about the same time, my wife injured herself at work. Prior to these two events, we had just built a beautiful home.”

Peter and Debra tried to recover, but it wasn’t easy…

“Over the next two years, I was in and out of employment in various different jobs – from other mills to driving trucks for a couple of different companies. None of these jobs paid the type of money with the same benefits as I had been earning in the past. Previous to working at the mill, I had worked in a factory from 1980-1989. In 1989, due to the free trade agreement signed between Canada and the USA, the factory shut down.

“During this time we struggled financially and incurred debt. In 2004, I had secured a good job but my wife was not working due to her injury. Her employer sent her to school for re-training.”

They made the tough decision to sell their dream home but it didn’t fix the problem…

“At this point we realized we had too much debt and would have to sell our beautiful new home. We bought a small condo where we currently live. However, this move alone did not solve our financial debt situation that we found ourselves in. When my wife finished her re-training, she was able to get a part-time job. This job eventually turned into a full-time position. However, we were still struggling with debt. We re-financed our mortgage on the condo and were able to pay off some, but not all, of the debt. We continued to struggle, and found ourselves incurring more debt instead of paying off debt.”

Their first step in recovery was to talk to their bank…

“At this point, we went to Royal Bank to consolidate our debt but all they would do was refinance the various loans and credit cards we had with them. It wasn’t the total answer to our situation, but I saw it as a good start to paying off our debt. The monthly payment was high – $730.”

Then, they turned to Consolidated Credit to help with their crushing credit card debt…

“Next, we made the decision to seek financial help through Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada. I had heard radio ads for Consolidated Credit and realized it may be a viable option for us because we were tired of this vicious circle of debt, and wanted to get out from underneath it once and for all. In total, we were faced with $125,000 of unsecured debt, $60,000 at Royal Bank and $40,000 through Consolidated Credit and $25,000 from two other sources.

“Consolidated Credit was able to reduce the interest rates on our credit cards. They set up a 4-year-plan to pay off our credit cards. Our first payment of $824 per month was made to them on March 5th, 2010.”

Peter and Debra made changes to their lifestyle to save more and spend less…

“We no longer use credit cards; we pay cash now for everything.”

“We had also purchased a second car for my wife to drive in 2007. That car was costing us about $600 a month with the car payment, insurance, gas and maintenance. We sold that car in April 2011, paid off the loan to Scotia Bank, and my wife now takes the bus to work because she works locally. I use the car to commute to work.”

Now, they are well on their way to living a debt free life…

“On Monday, July 7th, 2014, our last Consolidated Credit payment was made. The payment of $222.17 (the final balance owing) is the last installment of our program with Consolidated Credit.

“We still have two more full payments of $730 to make at Royal Bank and then we can start paying back our line of credit totaling $15,000 that was not covered by Consolidated Credit. This should take less than a year to accomplish. Once that is done, we can pay off an investment loan that went south when everything crashed in 2008 – approximately $8,000 (we pay $240 per month just on interest for this loan). This should only take about 6 months.

“So, even though we are not quite debt free, we have tackled the most difficult phase of our 4-phase plan over the past 5 years and won!”

  • Phase 1: Pay off Royal Bank and Consolidated Credit – almost done
  • Phase 2: Pay back lines of credit – in about 12 months
  • Phase 3: Pay off investment loans – in about 6 months
  • Phase 4: Pay off mortgage – in about 5 years

The future is bright for Peter and Debra…

“With this plan in place, my wife and I are confident that our financial future will be secured. We have to thank Consolidated Credit for playing such an important role in getting us back on our financial feet.”

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