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How to Work Together to Complete Your Consumer Proposal

Have you and your spouse have recently chosen to file a consumer proposal?

If you have, you know that a consumer proposal is a legal agreement to eliminate your debt. You’ve agreed to pay your creditors a portion of what you owe them over a period of time of up to five years. Making a monthly payment for five years might seem daunting to many couples. But a consumer proposal is not just about making the monthly payment. It’s an opportunity for you and your spouse to get your finances back on track.

What do you want to achieve?

By filing a consumer proposal, the two of you have taken a big step towards financial well-being — you’ve taken action to resolve your debt. Now it’s time to look at your entire financial plan. As much as debt relief is about eliminating something, it is also about working towards objectives. Talk to your partner about your personal and joint financial goals. What do you want to achieve? Contributing to an emergency fund can help you avoid future debt when the unexpected happens. You can also work together to set specific short and long-term savings goals — like saving for a vacation in the near future or paying off your mortgage before you retire.

Working as a team towards specific financial objectives can help you both feel motivated and more positive about the consumer proposal process. During the period that you’re making your proposal payments, you may have the ability to contribute to other financial goals. Or you can plan together how you’ll contribute to your retirement or other savings when you’ve completed your consumer proposal.

You can each play a part in rebuilding your credit

Part of the consumer proposal process requires you and your spouse to attend two counselling sessions with a debt help team member at your Licensed Insolvency Trustee’s office. During these sessions you’ll learn about credit and budget management strategies. This is another opportunity for you and your spouse to work as a team. Start by rebuilding your credit. There are a number of ways to do this — even while you’re making your consumer proposal payments.

Why not plan a financial date night so the two of you can dedicate time to learning about the basics of your credit report and credit score? You can start by visiting the Improving Your Credit Score page on the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada website. It may not be your typical (or ideal) date night, but it will give you a head start towards getting your finances back on track — even before you’ve completed the consumer proposal process. And it will help you both realize that there is financial life after debt.

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