2018 was the biggest year in Newfoundland and Labrador history for personal bankruptcies.
Ian Penney, a licensed insolvency trustee with Janes and Noseworthy, says part of the reason is a recent downturn in the oil and gas industry.
He says people who did well in the oil boom started spending to reflect their new income – which wasn’t sustainable.
Now that those people are back to earning more historic income levels, the payments on big houses, cars, trucks, snowmobiles, and cabins are no longer affordable. He says people reach the point of no return when they try to sustain themselves on credit cards, and when they do start earning better salaries, they still can’t dig their way out.
Penney says a good rule of thumb is that when times are good, and interest rates are low, concentrate on knocking down your debt and keep your spending in check.
He says it’s important to talk about your debt, and encourages people to go online to www.nodebtnl.ca and answer a few questions to see if their situation is sustainable.