Every year, the credit monitoring firm TransUnion reports on Canadian debt statistics and reveals how consumer debt levels across the country have changed. For the past several years, consumer debt has increased slowly as Canadians deal with the impact of a slower world economy. However, a recent report indicated that debt levels are starting to increase more quickly. During the year 2012, the average consumer debt carried by Canadian consumers increased from approximately $26,000 to roughly $27,500, representing a growth of about 6 percent.

Of course, since that number is a measurement of the entire country, not every province has the same average consumer debt level. Some provinces, such as New Brunswick, have an average consumer debt level that is much lower. Residents were carrying an average consumer debt of just under $24,500 at the end of 2012. This was a good $3,000 less than the national average. The average debt level in New Brunswick is still troubling, however, because it increased by more than 7 percent in 2012.

These statistics suggest that many New Brunswick residents are in danger of finding themselves in a situation where they will owe more than they can reasonably afford to pay each month. If you live in the province and find yourself in that position, you may want to consider a debt solution such as bankruptcy.

New Brunswick Bankruptcy Facts

In New Brunswick, individuals who cannot afford their monthly debt payments are eligible to file for bankruptcy if they owe at least $1,000 in unsecured debts. One negative of bankruptcy is that it will impact your credit negatively for up to seven years (and sometimes more), which is why bankruptcy should always be considered the option of last resort after other solutions fail. Nevertheless, filing for bankruptcy in New Brunswick does have some positive aspects such as:

• getting debt collectors off your back
• erasing all your unsecured debts and giving you a clean financial start
• providing you with financial counselling during the process of bankruptcy
• allowing you to keep some of what you own

On the other hand, there are significant negatives to bankruptcy besides having your credit ruined for at least seven years. When you file for bankruptcy in New Brunswick, you have to surrender much of what you own, which is not required when you fulfill a debt settlement plan or consumer proposal. New Brunswick and Canadian law call for a resident in bankruptcy to hand over his or her property to the bankruptcy administrator—a licensed bankruptcy trustee—who then distributes it among the creditors to whom the debtor owes money. This enables creditors to recover at least some of their losses. There are exemptions, however, that allow you to keep some of what you own.

New Brunswick Bankruptcy Exemptions

When you file for bankruptcy in the province, you are allowed to keep:

• furniture and appliances with a total worth of no more than $5,000
• professional tools with a total worth of no more than $6,500
• the fuel, food, and clothing, the debtor and his or her dependents need for everyday life
• pets
• one motor vehicle needed for work that is worth up to $6,500
• health aids
• a limited amount of livestock and six months worth of feed, and more

Learn More about Bankruptcy and Debt Settlement

Want to know whether bankruptcy is the right choice for you? Fill out the debt relief Canada application for more information on bankruptcy and whether debt settlement or other debt relief options might be a better option to meet your needs.

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