Debt and your Health
Debt affects many different aspects of your life. In fact, debt can become so all encompassing that can affect ALL aspects of your life. Various studies show that, in addition to hurting your financial future, high levels of debt can also hurt your health.
A survey found that those who have high debt-related stress are:
• Seven times as likely to have severe anxiety
• Nearly six times as likely to suffer from severe depression
• Four times as likely to have ulcers or digestive problems
• 13 times as likely to lose sleep at night, which can cause a number of other health issues
• Twice as likely to have migraines and heart problems
A 2013 study by Northwestern University found that adults between the ages of 24 and 32 who had high levels of debt also had higher blood pressure and poorer overall health.
Debt has been linked to anxiety, weight gain, depression, muscle tension, headaches, decreased immunity, stroke, heart disease and mental illness among other things.
Debt also affects your state of mind. It makes it more difficult to concentrate, tougher to focus, more difficult to remember important facts and it hurts your personal relationships. A 2012 study found that couples who disagree about financial issues at least once a week are more likely to divorce within five years than those who have disagreements about other issues.
Dealing with Debt and Improving your Life
In order to reduce the stress that debt causes you and allow yourself to move on in life, you’ll need to find a way to reduce or eliminate your debt. Some people try to avoid their debt problems and not think about them in hopes that they will be able to live their lives without worrying about their debt. Unfortunately, this strategy does not work out. You cannot hide from your debt. Even if you ignore it, the bills keep coming and creditors and collection agencies keep calling.
In order to stop the stress of dealing with debt, you need to eliminate the debt itself.
If you are having difficulty managing your debt or if you are unable to pay your debts as they become due, there are options. Some people feel so overwhelmed by debt that they don’t believe that there is anything that they can do to improve their situation. This isn’t true. There are options out there that will help you reduce or eliminate your debt.
Speaking with a Licensed Trustee in Bankruptcy
A trustee in bankruptcy can help you understand the options that are available to you. Many people hesitate to speak with a trustee because they are worried that the trustee will pressure them into filing for bankruptcy. This is not true at all. A bankruptcy trustee will never pressure you into choosing one debt relief option over another. Instead, a trustee will review your financial situation and provide you with information on all options that are available to you. Then it will be entirely your decision as to how you wish to proceed.
Trustees are licensed and regulated by the federal government and are able to administer bankruptcy and consumer proposal processes. These legal processes may be among the options presented to you, if they meet your unique needs.
Bankruptcy is a situation where someone who is unable to pay his or her debts as they become due is presented with a way to eliminate all of their debts and receive a fresh start. The bankruptcy process must be administered by a licensed trustee. If you decide to file for bankruptcy, your trustee will review your financial situation and determine the cost of your bankruptcy and what your creditors will receive. He or she will also review your assets and ensure that you are able to keep those that are considered exempt as they are deemed necessary to live a basic lifestyle.
A consumer proposal is also a legal process. Through this process, you make an offer to your creditors to repay them on terms that you can afford. In most consumer proposals, the offer is to repay a portion of the debt in monthly payments over a specified period of time. The remaining outstanding debt is forgiven once the proposal is complete.
In both a bankruptcy and a consumer proposal, your trustee will be responsible for all communication with your unsecured creditors.
If you are struggling with debt and it is affecting your health, speaking with a trustee can help you understand the options available and assist you in reducing or eliminating your debt.