Hi there. In a bit of a nightmare here. I've been reading a lot of posts on this forum. Some of them frighten me; some of them comfort me. I think I'd like to have Johnny and CFWG take a look at my case, but before I go ahead and spend the money, I wanted to get some feedback here. Because maybe I'm beyond salvation. Or maybe I have nothing to worry about, and I'm just being paranoid. I hope it's the latter!
I moved to Germany in 2008 to pursue my studies, with the intention of staying in the country indefinitely. In about a year, I'll have my German citizenship - which will mean being forced to renounce my Canadian citizenship. I may move to a different country within the EU sometime in the next few years, but I never plan on living in Canada again. I have no financial ties to the country other than the (empty) TD account that was used to deposit my loans.
Which brings be to my loans... As a very, very, very silly 20-year-old, I took out my first one in 2011 without thinking too much about the ramifications. I've managed to rack up $90,000, reaching my lifetime maximum. I genuinely needed part of the money, but I also relied on it to pay my living expenses for a few years, because I had debilitating anxieties which prevented me from taking up a job. Don't get me wrong. I could have worked more, even in that condition, but I decided at the time that spending the loan and dealing with the consequences later would be easier than confronting my psychological issues. (Eventually, I started seeing a phychoanalyst a couple years ago and am doing much better now.)
My loan is a Canada-BC integrated student loan. My study period ends in October 2017. This has got me thinking again about my awful self-inflicted predicament and how I'm going to extricate myself from it. These people are going to be expecting payments by April 2018. That's not for another year, but I want to start planning now to avoid getting myself into a total sh*tstorm like some of the stories I've read here.
The monthly payments will be about $1,000. There is absolutely no way in hell I can afford that. $300 or $400 I could probably manage. I've been doing freelance work since last autumn (in something totally unrelated to my degree). Things are going quite well, and I'm making enough to live a comfortable but modest life in Europe. I'm currently netting about €1,300 a month, but I have to use most of that to pay rent and feed and clothe myself.
The thing is, I've known for some time about the Repayment Assistance Plan and assumed until yesterday that I would be eligble for it. I knew about the residency stipulation, but I assumed, it seems wrongly, that I would still be a Canadian resident for 'student loans purposes'. I assumed this because the loans application form had a box that I had to tick confirming that I was still a 'BC resident' for their purposes. I think they defined this as having lived in BC for a certain period of time before starting uni, which was always the case.
I do not want to default on this debt.
If I were eligible for the RAP, it would be a godsend. The residency stipulation seems stupid and arbitrary. The UK has a similar scheme, but they allow you to pay a reduced amount based on your income no matter where you live. Why can't Canada implement this? Does anyone know if there's any legislation in the works that might get this changed?
It seems that my only other option would be to default. I really don't want to live in constant fear of collectors. But what would be the worst-case scenario if I did default? What if I ignore the inevitable phone calls and letters and hope that the debt gets statutes-barred after six years? What are the chances of Canadian collectors getting a judgment enforced in Germany? Would they even bother? It is a high sum, which makes me afraid that they might... Or Italy or Spain or France for that matter, if I happen to be living there in a few years? Should I make token payments for the rest of my life to prevent they from being able to go to court? I don't really care if my credit rating in Canada is ruined. I just don't want anything following me to Europe. And I don't want collectors abusing me or my mother who still lives in Canada.
Thanks for reading this! Any help would be appreciated! Like I say, I'm more than willing to spend the money to have CFWG look at my case, but before I do so, I'd like to know if doing so even makes sense.