It’s an awful, crippling feeling to be facing an insurmountable mountain of debt. As tax rates increase and our economy continues to struggle, many Albertans are helplessly watching their debt levels grow with each passing month. We want you to know that you’re not alone, and there are resources available to assist you.
Debt. Pretty much all Albertans have some. But how much is too much debt? You probably want to know about all potential options you have to bankruptcy. Here are some alternatives:
- Debt Consolidation
- Consumer Proposal
- Orderly Payment of Debts (OPD)
We’re going to cover that last option, the Orderly Payment of Debts (OPD) program. We chatted with Michèle Liang from Money Mentors to learn more.
TIPS FROM MONEY MENTORS
Money Mentors is a not-for-profit credit counselling agency whose mission is to educate Albertans in personal money management and the wise use of credit and to provide alternative solutions to people facing financial crisis. The OPD program is exclusively offered and managed by Money Mentors on behalf of the Alberta government. There are no start-up fees, a guaranteed 5% interest rate and the program is government approved.
ORDERLY PAYMENT OF DEBTS (OPD) PROGRAM
The OPD program, a debt consolidation repayment program created by the government, is a positive alternative to bankruptcy. It covers all your unsecured debt including credit cards, student loans, personal income tax, and payday loans for example.
As an Alberta Public Agency, Credit Counselling Services of Alberta, operating as Money Mentors, is a delegated administrative organization that administers the Orderly Payment of Debts program in Alberta as specified under the federal Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. Money Mentors is also delegated to provide financial literacy materials and programs for Albertans.
As part of their mission, Money Mentors offers free appointments for credit counselling and financial assessments. They also have a financial literacy initiative to educate youth at an early age so they will become financially responsible adults (learn how to raise money-smart kids in our blog).
Their main objective is to provide financial literacy to all grade levels in schools and youth in the community throughout Alberta. All presentations from Kindergarten to Grade 12 are aligned with the Alberta curriculum to integrate age-appropriate money management topics like spending plans, savings, credit with fun activities and games, ensuring students are engaged.
Financial Fitness Classes
These are held every month (except July and August) on the second Wednesday of the month in multiple centres across Alberta. Calgary classes are hosted at the main Calgary Public Library downtown as a free 1-hour workshop covering topics such as Tackling Debt, Credit Rating IQ, Financial Planning Closer to Retirement and Online Shopping with Confidence. Check their website for topics, dates and locations.
There are also online courses and webinars to meet your learning needs and busy schedule to teach you to set financial goals, organize your money, track your spending, develop a realistic budget (spending plan) and save for the future.
IT'S SUPER EASY TO GET STARTED
Phone and set up appointment, phone call or Skype call
Financial Assessment: provide some background information to help them understand your financial situation and build a spending plan for them to work with
They will need some easily collectible information such as:
An understanding of your assets and liabilities
A list of your income and expenses
Is the Orderly Payment of Debts program for you? When it comes to debt management, there are a number of options to get you back on track including Credit Counselling and Money Coaching, free services offered by Money Mentors.
If you're wondering whether you need a consolidated debt program or better money management skills, Money Mentors is there to help you find the solution that’s best for you today.
If you feel like you're drowning, we can help you determine if this is the route for you. We can also help you plan for the future to ensure you avoid debt. Contact us.
Like what you hear?
Are you on the hunt for a more proactive small business accountant? That’s us.