Economists who watch consumer debt levels across Canada have become increasingly alarmed by what they are seeing in British Columbia. While average consumer debt levels throughout the country have been steadily increasing in recent years, some of the biggest increases have been in BC. In fact, the province continues to have the highest average consumer debt level in the entire country. At the end of 2012, the average consumer debt in BC was just shy of $39,000, which was about $12,000 higher than the national average during the same period. Even more troubling is the fact that economists foresee an increase of 7–8 percent in average consumer debt levels year over year for the foreseeable future.

If you’re reading this guide because you find yourself in over your head when it comes to your consumer debt, don’t worry! There are solutions available to help you deal with this problem. One that you should consider is BC consumer counselling.

Consumer Credit Counselling in BC: A Holistic Approach

Residents of British Columbia should know that when they enroll in a credit counselling program, they are doing more than just reducing their debt. Credit counselling is designed particularly for those who have had difficulty writing and living by a budget. This is because in addition to working with your creditors, credit counsellors also help you develop a financial plan for the present and the future.

What to Expect from Credit Counselling in BC

When it comes to credit counselling, BC residents can expect most or all of the following from any qualified program:

• budgeting help to teach you how to live by a budget and fulfill your financial goals
• assistance in working with creditors to reduce your interest rates and to negotiate easier monthly payments
• debt consolidation loan options
• help with evaluating whether a debt settlementconsumer proposal or bankruptcy might be a better option

Should I Choose Credit Counselling?

Because of the large number of options to help you with your consumer debt in Canada, it can be hard to determine whether credit counselling is right for you. In some cases a quality debt settlement program may be a better choice for your needs. Here are some simple bits of advice to help you determine what you should choose.

Credit Counselling is good for those who:

• lack a basic understanding of budgeting
• have a relatively low level of consumer debt
• are most likely to benefit from debt consolidation

Debt Settlement, on the other hand, is an excellent choice not only for those who meet the above qualifications but also for those who:

• are struggling to pay off debt
• have a high level of consumer debt
• would benefit more from getting their principal amounts reduced than consolidating them (because settlement programs often get greater debt level reductions)

Learn about Debt Relief Options

Credit counselling is a great first step in getting professional help to tackle your debt. To learn about all of your options, fill out this Canadian debt relief form for more information on other debt relief options.

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