The Finance Blogger


Facing Bankruptcy

Dawn and Chris Harrison said their debt problems got worse after Dawn fell ill three years ago. They are facing bankruptcy. Job insecurity, unexpected costs and mounting debt are leading thousands of families in the Ottawa area to consider bankruptcy as an option to their financial issues.

Chris and Dawn Harrison, felt that it is an option that should be considered very seriously and thought through before taking this significant step in their lives. Chris Harrison  earns around $80,000 as an IT analyst a year but has had trouble keeping his family above water financially due to unforeseen circumstances.

Various Causes for Facing Bankruptcy

They were  losing $1,000, $1,200 a month just in daily expenses that were needed to keep the family afloat. Now you might think that they made some bad financial choices or lost a bundle on the stock market. It is far from this case.

Three years ago Dawn Harrison was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. The former ICU nurse had pain so severe she said she had to crawl up the stairs. This sickness has been draining their savings and taking all of their income.

There were 2,621 bankruptcies in Ottawa-Gatineau for the 12-month period from July 2011 to June 2012, but also 1,556 proposals, many consumer proposals. Consumer proposals are when an individual with debt puts together an offer through a trustee in bankruptcy to pay creditors a percentage of what they are owed over a fixed period of time. Consumer proposals allow debtors to avoid some of the worst conditions of bankruptcy, including the requirement to surrender all credit cards and disclose all assets.

Health can be a Big Financial Drain

In hopes of getting her better faster, the family paid for drugs and physiotherapy that went beyond their health coverage. In Ontario, OHIP has limitations on what they will cover and will not cover from a medical perspective. This was the catalyst to the downward spiral we’re experiencing now,” said Dawn Harrison.

Compounding their problems, the Harrisons purchased an SUV and a new trailer, just before Dawn got sick. They’ve had the items on the market for sale for two years, but there have been no takers. The couple is now $35,000 in debt, not including their mortgage and vehicles.

The Harrison’s do not want to risk their kids’ future. They are doing everything they can to avoid bankruptcy and make ends meet. The Harrisons said they are borrowing from family and trying to cut costs. They believe there is light at the end of what could be a long tunnel.

This is truly a sad situation and illustrates why we all must have an emergency fund available. Sometime you will have to deal with issues of sickness and layoffs that prevent us from earning our income.

For more posts about what to do about debt, facing bankruptcy and what to do about it, click here.

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