Below is the document that I read in court to present my side of the story. The lawyer I consulted before-hand told me that nine times out of ten, the courts accepted the trustee’s recommendations. My trustee was recommending an additional 12 months in bankruptcy. Based on those odds, the lawyer felt that taking money to represent me was an expensive exercise in futility. So I delved into the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and wrote my story. The document was submitted to the courts a few days prior to my court appearance; the conclusion, which is below, was read in person by myself in court.

Here it is.

Britt’s Statement

As the documents I have previously submitted to the courts indicate, I object to the recommendation that my discharge from bankruptcy be opposed. My speculations were reasonable, not rash; I live frugally, not extravagantly; and I managed my finances to the best of my ability. Today, I wish to articulate the heavy price that I have paid, my future goals, and why I believe that opposing discharge serves no further purpose.

Summary of the key points of my argument

as submitted in duplicate to the courts and the trustee on January 30th 2012.

First, my speculations were not rash or hazardous. The “financial education” course I took was recommended by a trusted friend of nine years. The educators pitched themselves as successful investors and I had no reason to doubt them. The biggest investment I purchased through them failed, and the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) found the directors of guilty of making misleading statements. Canadians lost $7 million as a result. I was one of them.

Second, there never was extravagance in living. As my 2007 FICO score demonstrates, I was excellent with money. This past financial excellence can be attributed to three core values that I’ve lived by:

  1. excellent spending habits
  2. a healthy aversion to debt, and
  3. compliance.

Third, my finances were not mismanaged. The funds for the investments came primarily from my Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). I funded my negative costs-of-living by cashing in both my RRSPs and later, my daughters RESPs. The decision to be self-employed was influenced in part by my daughter’s medical condition and my previous level of earning. A restructuring of government led to dwindling contracts, and a four-month period of my husband being laid off contributed to spiralling costs. Insolvency became irrefutable when The Hear Now investment crashed.

I’ve paid heavily for my bad past decisions. My financial, relationship, and emotional costs have been incredibly high, and include:

  • Lost RRSPs and thus lost retirement security
  • Lost equity in my home
  • Demolished credit score and very low FICO rating
  • Damaged reputation
  • Lost education funds (RESPs) for my daughter
  • I’ve been disowned by my father and step mother
  • There’s imminent separation from my husband
  • And the emotional toll includes shame and embarrassment, high anxiety, low esteem, chronic insomnia, and the ongoing impact of chronic stress accumulated over these past four years.

I honestly believe I cannot pay any more.

My short term plan is to earn money building WordPress-powered websites for small local businesses. I am proficient in WordPress, Information Architecture & web design, and communications & marketing.

My long term plan is to acquire the skills I need so that I can be gainfully employed, by working with others to avoid a similar downward spiral that leads to insolvency.  I want to receive accreditation as a BIA counsellor. This is my way of giving back.

I honestly believe that there is little to be gained by continuing to hold me in bankruptcy. I deeply regret my past decisions. I did not act rashly. I did not live extravagantly. And I’ve paid dearly. A discharge would enable me to complete this nightmarish chapter of my life, and let me begin anew with the next, allowing me to focus on my strengths and returning me once again to a productive life as a valuable contributor to society. As my past credit rating of 815 demonstrates, I have had a good life prior, and I’m eager to return to it.

I am grateful for this opportunity to present my side of the story, and whatever you decide, today marks the beginning of the ground stabilizing under my feet. For that I thank you.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, there is help available, there are people who can help you navigate the system and explore your options. A Matter Of Life And Debt can help those located in Victoria, BC.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, March 1st, 2012 at 3:40 pm and is filed under Bankruptcy, My Story, On Wealth Seminars. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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