Tips to Managing Your Debt Effectively

Thousands of people around the world are so deep in debt that they experience constant stress, restless nights and their performance at work starts to suffer. Many will become physically ill because they realise that they have borrowed too much and their salary doesn’t cover the bill by the end of the month.

All it takes is one family member to lose their job and their world can drop out from beneath them. The dread when the phone rings to find a creditor on the other side of the phone or avoiding answering the door, in case one of the creditors are standing there wanting to collect. In addition to this, it severely affects your credit score.

Not everyone’s debt is their fault. Many institutions love throwing great deals your way from credit cards to loans to shopping accounts and more. It’s so easy to build up debt these days, but you have to also ensure that you don’t borrow more than you can repay.

There are a number of ways to ensure you don’t get into serious financial trouble, enabling you to put food on the family table each night. When you find that your debt is taking over your life and you have absolutely no way to repay it, it may be time to consider asking for bankruptcy advice.

The first is to consider selling some of your assets to repay your debts. This is not a pleasant solution by may be your only solution moving forward. If you were to file for bankruptcy, this is what would happen and if you have any secured debts, chances are they are going to come after your home or car in the near future if you continue to not pay the amount due. Consider selling excess assets, if you have a laptop, phone, tablet and desktop computer, consider selling one or more of the items, you don’t need them all, this can free up some cash to pay towards one of your monthly bills.

Another solution is that if you have two cars, but only really need one, consider selling the more expensive to run vehicle and use that cash to pay off some of your debts. Don’t fall into the trap of paying off accounts and credit cards using credit cards for payment. This can turn into a nasty cycle, which can leave you deeper in debt moving forward.

Speak to your creditors where you are having trouble meeting your payments and see if you can work out a payment arrangement. Remember your creditors want to ensure that they get their money, so they may be willing to come to a compromise, accommodating what you can afford, as long as they get their money back in the long run.

Try and pay all your bills on time. While this may sound an obvious solution to avoid bankruptcy in the future, it may not be the easiest. Paying your bills on time reduces the risk of late penalty charges and additional interest, this all increases over the months, leaving you with even more money you owe when you’re ready to make your next payment.

You can ask your family for money to help you get back on track, but remember that is leaving you in the same situation where you now owe them the money. If you cannot afford to repay, this can put strain on the family.

The final choice is to get some bankruptcy advice. Specialists are able to advice you moving forward, helping you decide if bankruptcy is the right solution to help you get your life back on track and eliminate the stress you experience on a daily basis.

Understanding Bankruptcy And Its Concepts

Many people are under the impression that bankruptcy turns your entire world upside down, leaving you with a poor credit history and unable to get any credit for long periods of time. This solution is available to those that cannot afford to repay their debt, leaving them little choice but to find out more and start their lives with a clean slate.

This debt solution works when it’s started either by you or one of your creditors. It is a formal court procedure which lasts up to twelve months. During the twelve months you will be given a list of things you cannot do and a trustee will take possession of your assets, paying off your creditors and leaving you debt free at the end, a chance to start new. Don’t worry you are able to keep your personal belongings.

There is a number of things you must know, which is why it’s advisable to get bankruptcy advice from a team of professionals who understand what this type of debt solution entails, walking you through the process and standing by you up to the end.

The twelve months before you can start afresh is just a guideline. If you choose to not comply with any of the rules, you can lose the status or it can take considerably longer. There are conditions, this usually means that you cannot take out credit during this time, sometimes you are unable to work, this depends on the type of place you hold within the company.

After the twelve months is up, you are free of debt and creditors cannot claim against you. In most cases unsecured debt is off so you can start your life fresh without the stresses and worries that comes with owing so much money.

After entering your name on to a public register, which means that you cannot hide the fact that you filed for bankruptcy. Even at later stages when you apply for loans and credit cards, you have to advice of your status. During the twelve month period, you cannot apply for credit and a few banks that will consider giving you a bank account to help you manage your daily life moving forward.

While many people are under the impression that this is disruptive to their lives and the risk of losing their jobs or not being able to open a bank account is too much to bear, for others it’s a blessing.

This is a last resort, when you realise that there is no way you can repay your debt. It’s not the first thing to look into. It’s also important that you seek professional bankruptcy advice, learn all there is about the process and how it can affect you before you make any final decisions.

One thing you must know is that filing for bankruptcy doesn’t come for free, there are charges and fees that have to be paid, which can make it difficult when you’re already struggling with debt. This is why you need to get the advice from a specialist with years of knowledge and experience in the industry. There are statements, information and forms to complete, all of which have set deadlines which must be met. Knowing the facts, knowing what to expect and knowing the process can help you decide if this is the right choice for you moving forward.

Is Bankruptcy The Best Option For You?

Thousands of households find themselves drowning in debt each and every day. Deciding how to manage your debt, get the creditors to stop calling and reduce the stress you experience is a big decision. There are a number of debt solutions, but with the right bankruptcy advice, you may find this is the best option for you moving forward.

There are a number of factors to take into consideration once you’ve taken onboard the bankruptcy advice, to determine if you feel this is the best choice to help you get debt free and start your life with a clean slate.

The first thing that you will need to identify is whether you are eligible for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy isn’t suitable for everyone and if you are managing to pay your debts, but find yourself struggling or you have assets you can sell to pay back the monies, then chances are you will not qualify for this debt relief solution. In order to qualify, you need to be unable to repay your debts in any way which has resulted in you choosing this option to help you get control back of your life.

You need to ensure before filing for this debt relief solution that there is no chance that your situation will improve in the future. You may be choosing to file because one of the household members lost their job and it’s impossible to repay all the debts. If there is no chance the person will find a job in the coming months, then this may be the solution for you, but if they have already been called back for a second interview, you may be able to get back on your feet without the assistance of debt relief.

Ideally the majority of the debt that you have accumulated should be unsecured. If you are unsure what this means, you will need to know that secured debt is when you obtain a loan or other debt using a home as collateral, where unsecured is credit cards and smaller loans where you didn’t need to give an asset as collateral. With unsecured debts it is harder to repay should you fall into troubled times, secured debts you would be forced to sell your home to repay the amount your borrowed.

It is imperative that before taking onboard all the bankruptcy advice you receive and decide whether to go ahead that you fully understand what is involved and how choosing this debt solution can effect you in the future. When you choose bankruptcy it is recorded on a public register, you could lose your assets and in some cases, depending on the work you do, your job could be affected. You need to weigh this up before making any final decisions.

You need to look at all the options available to you, get some bankruptcy advice and then decide if this is the only choice you have to gain financial freedom. You should choose this option if it is your last resort. Remember that even if you choose this option and your statement is filed, you may not be approved.

Another important factor to bear in mind is that in addition to the possibility that your job will be affected, filing for bankruptcy doesn’t come free, you will need to come up with the free that needs to be submitted with your paperwork before your case is considered.

Finally seek the assistance of an experienced bankruptcy specialist who can help you through the entire process from completing and filing all the necessary paperwork and holding your hand throughout the process until you are debt free and back on your feet again.

AdCrofts is a United Kingdom based bankruptcy specialist that offer bankruptcy services to customers throughout the country. This well-established company offers years of knowledge and experience guiding and helping customers throughout the entire bankruptcy process. Their aim is to provide a hassle free and stress free process by completing and filing all the relevant paperwork without too much disruption to the customer. AdCrofts offers an easy online application form with free and no obligation advice, ensuring their customers make the best decision regarding their finances and helping them enjoy financial freedom moving forward.

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Filing for Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a legally complicated process. Successfully filing for bankruptcy can offer you a fresh start with your finances, allowing you to turn your life around completely and leave the past behind. However, not everyone who files for bankruptcy has their case accepted. There are many reasons your bankruptcy filing may be rejected.

It’s important to learn about the rules for the kind of bankruptcy your filing for so you avoid spending your valuable time only to be rejected. There are a few common reasons why bankruptcy filings are rejected.

1. You don’t pass the “means” test. Most people file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To have your unsecured debts discharged in this type of bankruptcy, you have to pass a court-imposed “means” test. This is how the court figures out how much disposable income you currently have. Should the court determine you have too much money, you can’t file for Chapter 7.

It’s best to have an experienced bankruptcy lawyer review your case before you go to court. In a free initial consultation, a lawyer can generally tell you if you’re going to be rejected because of the means test. In these cases, you may still be able to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

2. You don’t provide your tax documents. Before a court can provide you with bankruptcy protection, they need to know your tax information. You must prove you in fact do not have the means to pay back your debts. If you misrepresent or fail to produce your tax documents, a court will likely dismiss your case.

This is a new regulation regarding bankruptcy, resulting from 2005 bankruptcy reform. Chapter 7 filings require you to give all requested tax documents to the court. Filing your taxes can be prohibitively difficult, and if you’re in financial trouble, paying somebody to do them can be beyond your means.

3. Somebody challenges your request. The goal of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to discharge your debts. This is a court order permanently removing you of legal liability to your debts, including medical and credit card bills. If a bankruptcy trustee or a creditor challenges your discharge, you may fail to successfully file for bankruptcy.

A challenge typically occurs if somebody suspects you committed fraud during your bankruptcy filing. If you made false statements about your financial circumstances, hid or assets, or did something else dishonest with your finances in order to discharge your debts, these could all result in a challenge that could lose you your Chapter 7. The best policy is to be fully honest about all information you give the court. Follow all the instructions the court gives you.

Reese Baker is the owner and founder of Baker & Associates, one of the top bankruptcy firms in Houston. Baker & Associates aims to provide clients with a fresh start by eliminating debt, fighting foreclosure and repossession, and even help rebuild credit. As a Bryan/College Station bankruptcy attorney, Reese has had the opportunity to help people get out of debt and get on the path to financial freedom.

5 Questions to Ask Before You Declare Bankruptcy

You may have lost your job or had your salary cut during the tough financial times that the United States just experienced. Unexpected medical bills may have made your finances a nightmare. Bankruptcy laws were designed not just to protect creditors, but to give you the help you need to make a fresh start and get back on firm financial ground. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself that may give you an idea of where you stand financially.

Do you only make minimum payments on your credit cards? If all you can afford – and it’s a stretch – is to pay the minimum amount on each credit card debt, it may be a sign that you’re in over your head and aren’t making real progress at catching up financially.

Are bill collectors calling you? This tells you that some of your debt has gone on so long that the company has turned it over to an agency to see if they can collect from you. Bill collectors can feel very threatening and may be upsetting for you and your family.

Do you feel scared or out of control when you try to make sense of your finances? You may want to get some professional financial advice to see if an expert can help you create a plan to get out of debt, but this is another sign that your financial problems are overwhelming.

Do you use credit cards to buy necessities? If money is so short that you’re turning to your credit cards to buy things like groceries, it’s another sign that you just aren’t getting by – you’re getting deeper in debt.

Do you know how much you owe? Many times when a person is deeply in debt, they may not really understand the total amount owed as the overlook the things they think they can put off to take care of the more pressing debt.

If you answered “yes” to two or more of the questions above, it’s time to do some hard thinking and get professional help to make the right decision. Start by adding up all your assets including banking balances, retirement funds, stocks, bonds, real estate, vehicles, college savings accounts and other assets. Then, add up your debt – all bills and credit statements. If your debt outweighs your assets, it’s time to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer for the advice you need. Find a law office where you work with the attorney – not an assistant or paralegal.

How You Can Avoid Bankruptcy?

You have been engulfed by a tsunami of debt and are quickly sinking under ever increasing bills and fast growing debts. You have been taking cash from your credit cards to pay the minimum payments and keep your home and the car. After paying all of your bills there is not enough money to live on.

You didn’t plan to get laid off or the insurance company not to pay your claim. That’s not your way; you have always been self-reliant and independent and paid your way. You have been slammed and knocked down, but you know that you will get back on your feet given some time.

There is the stress of constant phone calls from banks and finance companies and the simple lack of money. There is seems to be no way out but to chuck it all in and declare bankruptcy. At least that will get everyone off your back.

Bankruptcy will stop the creditors in their tracks. It will stop them calling and harassing you. It will allow you to re-group and get things back on track. And sometimes there is no other alternative if you debts are too big and too overwhelming.

BUT Bankruptcy is no walk in the park. Bankruptcy is like financial nakedness. You are stripped of all but the bare essentials and made to parade around wearing that burden in public. Bankruptcy sure isn’t for the modest. Your name is put on a public register and remains there for 7 years, You need to hand over to your creditors all that you have of value save for a very very basic car and some tools of trade.

Not only that but you also have a person, called your trustee in bankruptcy, looking over your shoulder to ensure that you are handing over your excess pay and haven’t tried to hide anything. The same trustee can call you to court and grill you over your assets and what you do. You also need to hand over your passport to the trustee. Sure the trustee, most times, will let you travel, but who could afford to in these circumstances. Sure you will have not debts, but bankruptcy is 3 years of penury.

There are ways to avoid bankruptcy and get out of debt without putting your life on hold.

Debt Agreement

There is now an official way that you can do a deal with your unsecured creditors, called a Debt Agreement. Basically using a government licensed Debt Administrator, who is working on your side, you cut a deal with the creditors to take a lesser amount and freeze interest, fees and charges. Instead of lots of payments to all of your different finance companies and credit cards, you make a single payment to the Administrator. The Administrator looks after the creditors and they can no long chase the debts from you.

A Debt Agreement only deals with debts that are not secured. If you have finance on a car you need to keep paying that, but you can keep your car and home. You have more options and you can save a lot of money doing a Debt Agreement.

Informal Agreement

Debt Agreements will only cover unsecured debts up to $107,307 and where your after tax income is less than $80,480. These amounts are indexed and increase slightly every year. If you fall outside those amounts you can’t do a Debt Agreement.

Even if you fall within the Debt Agreement limits this may not be the best option for you. Most Debt Agreements need to be wrapped up over a term of around 4 years. This restricts even further the availability of this option. The sweet spot for Debt Agreements is where your debts are under $35,000. The average Debt Agreement is for $23,000 in total debts.

Informal agreements are agreements struck with creditors to payout debts. These have a lot more flexibility than Debt Agreements. There are no restrictions on the amount of debt or income or the term of any agreement struck. In addition agreements do not need to be uniform with all creditors.

Case Study

Michael, 59, had over $400,000 in mortgage debt jointly owned with his partner and their home was valued at $490,000. Michael & his partner share expenses, with income for the family at $1,500 per week after tax deductions; the income is enough to service the mortgage but not enough for his unsecured debt payments and living expenses.

Michael has accumulated unsecured debts, largely due to investing in their son’s future. He was the only one working while his partner was raising the family. Michael had 6 credit cards and one unsecured personal loan. The credit cards were all maxed out and he was only able to make the minimum monthly payments on them. His unsecured debt totaled $91,718 and the minimum monthly payments on the credit cards and monthly payments on the personal loan cost him $2,000 on top of his mortgage payments of $2,100 per month.

Income totaled $6,300 per month and debt payments $4,100. The balance left very little for other expenses like utilities, rates, petrol and general living expenses. If they sold their home it was unlikely they would be able to buy another property.

Debt Negotiators Advice

An Informal Agreement provided flexibility and enabled Michael he keep his credit rating.

An Informal Agreement allowed Michael to keep the family home and maintain existing mortgage payments. His unsecured debt payment was reduced to $980 per month over 5 years.

Informal Agreement Summary:

1. Reduced his unsecured debts payments from $2,000 per month to more manageable $980 per month thereby saving him over $1,020 per month in order for him to live on a comfortable lifestyle.

2. No interest or fees and charges on the unsecured debt.

3. Total payments $58,800 as opposed to original $91,000 he had borrowed thereby saving him over $32,200 on principal amount over 5 years.

4. Michael will be debt free after 5 years.

5. Michael’s credit rating has been unaffected.

6. Bankruptcy and insolvency avoided.

This example illustrates how an informal agreement can lead to much better results than the traditional insolvency options.

Types of Non-Bankruptcy Resolutions

If you’re considering filing bankruptcy, then you’re already in a tough spot. You’re facing mounting debts and pressure, time is low, and so is money. You need a solution, and bankruptcy offers that. However, there are also various non-bankruptcy solutions or bankruptcy alternatives which are available to you. It’s important to learn more about these and how they work, so that you have a good sense of what all of your different options are.

One resolution is a compromise or negotiation with a lender. In this case, you or a representative will try to work out a direct solution on a lender by lender basis. Is there a way to reduce the monthly payment threshold, or carve out some of the total obligation owed? What about the interest rate that you’re facing? This often applies directly to credit card companies and similar lenders.

This also though specifically applies to loans from financial institutions, regardless of the purpose you originally obtained the loan itself. In some cases, loans can be modified via negotiation or settlement. In others, a compromise based upon the original loan can be reached.

Consolidation of your debt is also an option, but it can be confusing to find a legitimate enterprise, as opposed to a consolidation scam. Having an advisor on your side is therefore key, so you can separate fact from fiction while actually producing the positive results which this course of action offers.

Keep in mind that the type of debt or obligation you’re facing will of course impact the range of potential non-bankruptcy resolutions you have at your disposal. Certain debts you cannot get rid of, even via bankruptcy, while others will be more difficult or perhaps impossible to change or negotiate.

Other debts are far easier to work with, in terms of both removing the obligation entirely via bankruptcy, as well as reaching non-bankruptcy resolutions. Keep in mind, that if a lender or creditor is faced with the prospect of getting nothing from you in return, i.e., bankruptcy, they will be willing to negotiate and compromise so they at least see something.

In all of these cases, that’s why it’s so essential to work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can guide you through the process, and has the skills and expertise to successfully maneuver these different debts, financial obligations, and the potential solutions which are available. This can make all of the difference between great financial relief without filing bankruptcy, versus filing bankruptcy. Before you take that plunge, speak with an attorney or legal representative in your local area who can provide you with some guidance.

Brian Tucci tirelessly represents his clients as a bankruptcy lawyer in Maryland. He offers experience, diligence, and dedication, along with affordable pricing.

The Effects of Bankruptcy on Your Credit

One of the biggest concerns for anyone considering bankruptcy is how their credit will be affected by filing. Everyone knows there is some impact. Most disagree as to the size or the duration of the impact. That, and how to rebuild are two things I hope to shed some light on in this post.

What if I just grin and bear it?

A question you should ask yourself is, “What is going to happen to my credit score if I don’t file bankruptcy?” For many people contemplating bankruptcy, they are already at the point where they are not able to pay their ongoing debt obligations. If this is you, your credit score is taking a hit every month that goes by where you aren’t making your monthly payments. To give you an idea, once you go 30 or 60 days late, your credit score starts to take a hit. If you let a payment get to the point where it is 90 days late, it will stay on your credit report for up to 7 years and will have a significant impact on your score. Having just a couple of these occurrences could be as damaging or more damaging than filing a bankruptcy in the first place. Because of this, once you recognize that you aren’t going to be able to find a quick way out of the situation, it is probably best to get the bankruptcy wheels moving. The higher your score is before the filing of the case, the higher it is going to be after you file the case and get your discharge.

Debt Resolution Companies and Your Credit.

Many people try to do whatever they can to avoid bankruptcy, for some people this includes entering into agreements with companies that promise a lower payment by consolidating their debt. These companies come in a variety of flavors. That is a topic for another time though. What many of them will do is enter into an arrangement with you where you make a monthly payment to them, then they either hold the money until they have enough to make an offer on any one particular debt, or they make small monthly payments to all of the creditors at once. The problem is, this doesn’t stop those creditors from negatively reporting to the credit bureaus. It also doesn’t necessarily stop the creditors from suing you in state court, obtaining a judgment, and garnishing your wages. Another problem is that if they do settle, it will show up as settled for less than full amount which hurts your score. On top of that, if you settle, you will likely get a 1099 from the company and likely will have to claim the forgiven amount as income on your taxes. That will either mean you will have a smaller refund or will owe.

How long does it stay on your report and what does that mean to you?

First of all, if you are in a tough financial spot and are having trouble paying your rent or making your house payment, this should not be a factor in your decision to file. That said, how long it stays on your report and how long the bankruptcy notation negatively affect you are two very different things. If you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it is generally going to stay on your report for 10 years. If you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, that will stay on your report for 7 years after the case is discharged. Seven to ten years seems like a long time. It is a long time, but within that seven to ten year period you can still buy cars, houses, and get credit. The general rule is about two years after a chapter 7 you can get a home loan (sometimes only one year), almost immediately after the case you can get car loan and credit cards. Not too bad right? You should tread lightly here. Look at the offers you are receiving and only accept the best, it isn’t going to help you if you start applying for many cards at once, limit it to one or two at the most. When you can get credit is going to be dependent on your income, and on your credit score. I have seen clients with scores in the 500s prior to filing a Chapter 7 have scores in the 700s one year after the case discharged. On the other hand, I have seen other clients with low scores come back a few years later and they still had low scores. So what is going on there?

How to improve your score after bankruptcy.

If you do as you did and nothing else has changed, your credit score is probably not going to change much. The lowest that your score could possibly be is between 300 and 403 depending on the type of FICO score. The highest that it can be is about 850 but that too depends on the type of score. If you use no credit your score isn’t going anywhere. So what can you do? The first thing that I recommend is going to http://www.annualcreditreport.com and getting all three reports for free. This is something you are able to do once a year. Once you have these, you will want to review them, possibly with the help of your attorney to determine if the credit reporting agencies are properly reporting your debts as discharged in bankruptcy. If they aren’t accurate and they refuse to fix the errors, you may have remedies either through your old bankruptcy case, or a cause of action under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Once your report is in order, you can start rebuilding. A good idea is to start with a secured credit card or with a store brand card. With a secured card, the creditor generally has you put down $300.00 to $500.00 and that becomes your credit limit. There is very little risk to the card holder because they have the security of your deposit, but the benefit to you is that they will report to the credit bureaus. If you are in need of a car, a car loan with a reasonable payment is another great way to improve your credit score so long as you are able to and actually do make your payments on time. My secret credit score repair weapon is IBR. If you have federal student loans and you are low income or living paycheck to paycheck, you should at least look into this program. IBR stands for Income Based Repayment, you can apply for it at the following site. https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/understand/plans/income-driven. The great benefit of this plan is that many people who had filed bankruptcy may be eligible for $0.00 payments. If you are eligible and you sign up for, and are approved for a $0.00 or whatever payment, each month that passes where you make that payment (yes, even the zero dollar payment, if you are eligible) is a month that your lender reflects as an on time payment to the credit bureaus. The more on time payments you have, the better your credit score will become.

Are You Losing Out on Unclaimed Funds?

Believe it or not, uncashed checks resulting from bankruptcy cases often go unclaimed, but you can now find out if the Federal Court System is holding onto funds with your name on them. There’s a new search tool available that will let you quickly and easily see if there are some funds out there belonging to you that were never claimed.

Accessing Unclaimed Funds

A new online search tool developed by the Federal Court System makes it simple to search for any unclaimed funds simply by entering your last name into the database. The ‘Bankruptcy Unclaimed Funds Locator’ can be accessed through 39 of the country’s 94 court websites. Why would so much unclaimed money exist?

At the end of bankruptcy cases, monies owed are sent (usually via check) to those people that are part of a court case. Sometimes, addresses are wrong, people have moved and other details don’t add up. Many times, these individuals don’t even realize they are owed money and this means that the funds in question become unclaimed and left idle. Unless a person claims those funds (rightfully), there is little to no chance of those funds being returned to the person that was originally owed a specific amount.

What Happens to the Funds?

Bankruptcy courts in the U.S. will hold onto funds for many years. If the funds are not claimed, they are eventually turned over to the U.S. Treasury. It is estimated that around $280 million funds are currently unclaimed in the U.S. Surprisingly, these millions are all sitting idle as a result of bankruptcy cases. How long can one debt linger? It depends on each individual court, but some claimants have managed to retrieve funds going back as far as the 1970s.

Getting Your Money

Step 1 of this process is searching the web to see if you actually are one of those who is owed money. If you do discover that some unclaimed funds are in your name, it might be a challenge to try and claim those funds. Due to complex court systems and laws, getting the money that is owed to you is often easier said than done. The best way to retrieve any funds that are owed to you is to hire a bankruptcy attorney. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney will know the ins and outs of bankruptcy laws and can help you to claim funds that are rightfully yours.