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About Mark Rubin

Mark is dedicated to helping families in North Texas through difficult financial problems. He insists on a personal touch that most bankruptcy attorneys in Dallas are too busy to provide. Call today for a free consultation and speak directly with Mark.

3 Bankruptcy Myths

bankruptcy mythsOne of the most frustrating things about bankruptcy is that it’s so misunderstood. You don’t really care much about it until you’re in a dire situation and need it – and then there’s so much myth and misinformation it becomes an incredibly daunting task to decide how you’ll proceed.

So today, we’re here to bust a few of the most common myths about bankruptcy. As always, if you’re in a situation where you don’t think there’s any other option, please call us – we’re happy to walk you through all of your options.

Myth #1: After bankruptcy, you’ll have no credit for 7 to 10 years

There is no truth to the bankruptcy myth that you have to wait through seven years with bad credit after filing bankruptcy. Bankruptcy does show on your credit report for 10 years, but even so, you can regain good credit in just three years. Our clients often have purchased cars and even qualified for mortgages only two to three years after bankruptcy.

People who file bankruptcy are often surprised by how quickly they’ll start getting credit card offers in the mail again. Offers for unsecured or secured credit cards (which require a deposit to the bank) with a low limit can arrive within a month of the debt discharge. Some of these cards are unsecured. Some are even offered to people by the same credit card company that was listed on the bankruptcy.

It’s a good idea to get a small credit card and start making regular, on-time payments to start rebuilding your credit. With three years of rebuilding credit, you will be able to finance a house at a good mortgage rate (if you are making enough money).

After only a year of rebuilding your credit, you will start getting approved for $1000 and higher credit cards again. Ninety percent of your credit score is based on what you’ve done the last three years. So once you have three good years after bankruptcy, you’ll have a good credit score.

Myth #2: You can’t fix your credit report after bankruptcy

After we help you through the bankruptcy process, we make sure you know to do the things you need to do to get good credit in three years. We also follow up with the credit bureaus after your bankruptcy is over to make sure your credit reports are right.

It is necessary to check your credit report after bankruptcy because major credit card companies try to leave bad marks on your credit report. They hope that these bad marks will cause trouble for people who filed bankruptcy, and they hope that consumers will pay the bankrupt debt to remove it. About 50% of our clients have this problem.

We invite all of our clients to visit us after the bankruptcy and we take action to make the credit card companies remove any bad marks from credit reports.

Myth #3: People who file for bankruptcy are financially irresponsible.

“It’s far more likely that people run into very serious personal problems in one of three areas: losing their job, going through a divorce, or suffering a serious illness,” says Walter W. Miller Jr., who teaches bankruptcy law at Boston University School of Law.

Long-term unemployment, the legal fees associated with divorce, the cost of running two households following a divorce, or the high cost of medical care have all driven well-intentioned Americans into bankruptcy. It really doesn’t take much of a bump in the road to send you into out of control debt.

We’ve helped thousands of honest, hard-working Dallas area residents get a fresh start. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, and we’re here to help if that happens to you.

Call us any time at 214-760-7777 and we’ll be happy to listen to your story and walk you through your options.

By | February 24th, 2019|Bankruptcy Myths|Comments Off on 3 Bankruptcy Myths

How are credit scores computed?

how are credit scores calculated?Credit, by definition, is your ability to borrow money. Information that is included on your credit report could sway a potential lender one way or another in deciding whether to extend credit to you.

There are 3 major credit reporting bureaus:
Equifax
1-888-548-7878
www.equifax.com

Experian
1-888-397-3742
www.experian.com

TransUnion
1-800-916-8800
www.transunion.com

Under Federal law, you are entitled to a copy of a free credit report from each credit bureau each year. The credit bureaus have established a website in which to obtain a free copy of your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.

A credit report is more than just a list of the lenders and a person’s payment history. Credit reports contain information that can be used to help lenders determine whether to extend credit to you.

Here is a list of some of the things a credit report may list:

  1. Anywhere you have applied for credit
  2. Your name, Social Security Number, and your spouse’s name
  3. Your current and previous addresses, name and address of your employer, as well as your income level
  4. Information regarding lawsuits, foreclosures, repossessions, and whether you have filed for bankruptcy

Why are all these pieces of information listed on your credit report? Companies want to know whether you can be counted on to pay back your debts. Not only do lenders look at your credit report, but insurance companies look for risk factors on it, employers can use it to screen applicants, and landlords can use it to screen tenants to determine if they are likely to pay the rent on time.

Lenders use all of the information on your report to derive a credit score on you. A credit score is a number used to rate your credit worthiness. There are a number of different scoring systems. One scoring system is known as the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) Credit Score. This score ranges between 300 and 850. According to FICO, 40% of the population score at 690 or lower, while 40% score 745 or higher, with just 20% above 780.

Lenders want to know whether a borrower will repay a debt once a loan is extended. Then, the lender can use the score to determine how much to lend you, and what interest rate to charge you. Lenders assign points to the various aspects of your credit report.

Five factors are weighed most heavily when making this calculation:

  1. Debt to income ratio. This is the proportion of how much total debt you have relative to your income level. This is the single largest factor that creditors consider in determining whether or not to extend a loan or other credit to you. Even if you have no balance on a credit card, your credit limit is still added to the debt side of your debt-to-income ratio.
  2. Payment history. This factor considers whether you have paid your debts on time, including mortgages, car notes, credit cards, store accounts and loans.
  3. Length of credit history. Lenders look to see how long you have paid on your debts. Good past payment history can help sway a lender to loan you money if you’ve had recent issues that could negatively affect your ability to get the credit.
  4. Recent credit or applications for credit. If a lender sees that they are the tenth place this month that you are trying to borrow from, it could send up red flags.
  5. The type of credit for which you are applying. Lenders that will retain a security interest in collateral, such as a car or mortgage company, may be more willing to lend money to more ‘at risk’ borrowers when the lender knows that they can always take back the collateral in the event of default on payments.

Other factors that lenders look at to determine who is a good credit risk are:

  1. Education level. The higher the better.
  2. Length of time at current residence. If you move around a lot, you lose points, but if you relocate for a better job and show your income is higher, that helps get you points.
  3. Length of time at your current job. The longer you have been at your job, the better risk you appear to be.
  4. Homeowner v. Renter. Homeowners are considered better credit risks than renters.

Creditors like stability. If you can show you are a stable, reliable person who has the ability to repay your debts, you will be a much better credit risk to a potential lender.

Everyone should always review his or her credit report periodically. Errors can be and are made. Just a few points can make or break your ability to acquire new credit. Therefore, it’s crucial to have an accurate credit report. Over the last few years, identity theft has become a bigger and bigger problem as well. An uncorrected error can cause years of stress and frustration. The credit reporting bureaus must correct any inaccurate information on your credit report, but you need to bring the inaccurate information to their attention. Once corrected, the bureau is supposed to send you a free copy of the credit report showing that the inaccuracy was corrected.

How to choose the right bankruptcy lawyer

how to choose the right bankruptcy lawyerIf you’re struggling with debt and considering bankruptcy, the biggest question in your mind is probably “Which bankruptcy lawyer should I go to?” It’s one of the most important decisions to make – filing bankruptcy will have a significant impact on your life. Bankruptcy law is very complex, with many twists and turns, and traps for the unwary. If you need to file bankruptcy, choosing the right lawyer is critical.

The simple truth is that a more experienced attorney will do a better job, which means getting you the most benefit from filing and avoiding the mistakes that someone less experienced is bound to make.

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6 Tips to Keep Holiday Spending Under Control

tips for controlling holiday spendingIt’s that time of year… Holiday shopping is stressful for everyone, but it’s especially tough for families that are already struggling with overwhelming debt. You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a happy holiday season! Follow these tips and you’ll reign in the spending and skip the spending stress.

1. Make your own list

Santa makes a list and checks it twice – you should too. It’s easy to get caught up in the gift-buying frenzy, but you don’t have to give gifts to everyone! Make a list of everyone you’re buying gifts for – aim for less than 6 people outside of your immediate family. For everyone else, bake cookies – it’s a more personal gift and lets you still acknowledge friends without breaking the bank. (more…)

More American seniors are filing bankruptcy

Senior struggling with bills

This year, we’ve seen more older Dallas-area residents filing for bankruptcy, which unfortunately, isn’t surprising. According to national study, more American seniors (over the age of 65) are filing for bankruptcy than ever before.

The cost of living continues to increase for everyone, and for many older Americans, combined with rising healthcare costs and increasing debt, bankruptcy becomes the only option.

According to the study, the average debt for families with a head of household over the age of 75 has increased drastically since 2010, when it was only $30,288. In 2016, the average debt for the same families was $36,757.

Even more shocking, the number of families 75 and older with debt increased a staggering 60% from 2010 to 2016.

The average Social Security check is only $1,404 a month, and according to government data, that check accounts for more than 90% of the monthly income for over 40% of single seniors.

If you’re a DFW area senior and you’re struggling with debt, or your monthly expenses always exceed your monthly income, we can help! Call us today at 214-760-7777 for a free consultation. We’ll walk you through your options, so you’ll feel confident that you’re making the right step to move forward.

What not to do before filing for bankruptcy

what-not-to-do-before-bankruptcyWhile most of our potential clients ask about what’s involved in a bankruptcy case, and what they need to do when they’re filing, many forget to ask what NOT to do… And the things you shouldn’t do before filing are just as important as what comes afterwards.

In fact, there are certain things you could do before your bankruptcy case that could cause major complications – and could possibly even cause your case to be denied!

As we always say, the most important thing to do when considering bankruptcy is to meet with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. The advice and guidance you’ll receive are vital to avoiding bumps in the road during your case.

So, for anyone out there who’s considering bankruptcy and hasn’t talked to an experienced attorney yet, here are 5 important things you should avoid doing before you file for bankruptcy:

1. Don’t max our your credit cards (or get new ones)

This seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many people rush out and run up thousands of dollars of additional debt once they know they’re going to file for bankruptcy. Actually, this is fraud, plain and simple. It’s highly likely that any large charges that occur right before your bankruptcy case is filed will result in objections from creditors. If your creditors see enough large charges, they will likely claim that you committed fraud – and that’s definitely a road you don’t want to head down.

2. Don’t pay off certain creditors

Don’t make the mistake of choosing a few creditors to pay off before your case. When you do this, you’re creating preferential payments. The trustee of your bankruptcy case will likely sue the paid off creditor to collect the money that you paid, so the money can be pro-rated to all of your creditors.

3. Don’t ignore debt collection attempts

Sure, the constant calls and letters can be incredibly annoying and stressful, but you shouldn’t flat out ignore the collection attempts. Filing for bankruptcy will stop those collection attempts immediately – but in most cases, if you ignore collection attempts for an extended period of time, the creditors will file lawsuits to try to get their money. These suits could cause complications when you’re trying to recover after your bankruptcy case is completed.

4. Don’t transfer assets to friends or family

Some people think that selling assets to get cash is better than liquidation – but that’s fraud. Others think that transferring property to friends or family members is a better way to protect the property from liquidation. Guess what? That’s fraud too.

5. Don’t pay family members

Just like we mentioned in tip number 2, you can’t play favorites when you’re paying off your debts. This is especially true if you’re ignoring other creditors to pay off family debts. Your trustee has the right to sue your family member to get the payment back for redistribution – and no one wants that.

How To Help Your Wallet Survive Black Friday

Black Friday shopping tipsIt’s Thanksgiving week… which means we’re just a few days away from Black Friday. Sure, you can get some great deals on some of those items you have planned for Christmas – but it’s also one of the biggest factors contributing to the debt load of many American families.

Everything about Black Friday is designed to get you to spend more money. The hype for the shopping holiday now starts an entire month before Thanksgiving, and stores now commonly leak their specials several weeks before the actual event.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement – but it’s important to plan ahead so that you’re not adding debt that you can’t afford to pay off. The following steps will help your wallet (and your sanity) survive Black Friday:

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Should you keep your car after bankruptcy?

should-you-keep-your-car-after-bankruptcyIt’s a question we hear all the time – after a client files their bankruptcy case, they ask us “Should I keep my car?”

Many times, if you’re filing for bankruptcy, you’ve been struggling with debt for quite a while, so it’s likely that you were behind on car payments. Now that the bankruptcy case is filed, you’re wondering if keeping the car is a good choice to make.

In most cases, your car is an absolute necessity – you’ve got to use it to get to work, or to handle everyday errands. In some cases though, the amount owed on your auto loan might not make sense after your bankruptcy case.

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By | September 28th, 2017|Bankruptcy, Debt|0 Comments

5 things to do after you file bankruptcy

what to do after bankruptcyYou’ve just filed your bankruptcy case, and now you’re on pins and needles. You’ve gotten all the paperwork together, answered all our “lawyer questions”, and filed all your schedules with the court. What happens now?

Actually – not much… Most of the work has already been done at this point.

It’s important to stay engaged, though. You don’t want to hand everything to your attorney and then go silent.

We get the “what next?” question all the time, so we thought we’d put together this list of 5 things to do AFTER you’ve filed your bankruptcy case.

1. Ask us questions

If you don’t understand something, let us know! Let us know you’re confused and we’ll take the time to explain things.

2. Open all your mail

Most of our clients are tired of collection notices, so they’re not quick to open their mail. Make sure you’re opening everything so you’ll see anything we send to you. We’ll send you a copy of everything so you know what’s going on and what we’re doing for you.

3. Respond quickly

If we ask you for information or any documents, don’t make us wait. Bankruptcy cases typically move pretty quickly, so we don’t want a delay to complicate your case.

4. Keep us posted

Major life events can affect a bankruptcy case. If you’ve changed jobs, lost your job, had a major accident, or moved, you need to let us know.

5. Don’t worry!

Bankruptcy is confusing and scary – but our staff does this all the time. We have years of experience with bankruptcy cases, and most cases have no unexpected complications.

We’re always here to help! If you’ve got questions or concerns, or you just need something explained, give us a call and we’ll explain whatever you need.

Struggling with debt? Here’s how to avoid bankruptcy

avoid-bankruptcy
Debt is pretty much a fact of life for most Americans. Most families don’t teach their children how to responsibly manage money, which leads to problems down the road. The majority of today’s workforce has learned money management through trial and lots of error.

It’s far too easy to get overextended on your finances, and most people don’t realize that they’re in trouble until it’s almost too late. When you’re already stretching your finances to the limit, any unexpected bump can send you down the road to bankruptcy.

If you’re wondering if you’re overextended or starting to struggle with debt, the following signs show you’re in danger:

  • You don’t have any savings, or you have to pull from your savings every month for expenses
  • Other than your car payment and mortgage, you couldn’t pay off 100% of your debt within 1 year
  • You don’t actually know how much you owe
  • You use new credit cards to pay off old credit cards or loans
  • You use credit cards for everyday expenses
  • You always pay only the minimum due on your credit cards
  • You’ve paid your credit cards late, or skipped payments
  • More than 20% of your actual take-home pay goes towards debt
    • You don’t have to be behind – if you’ve got credit card balances that never seem to get paid down because you’re always making new charges, that’s a dangerous situation. A sudden accident with big medical bills or even the loss of your job would send you spinning out of control.

      If you said yes to any of the items above and think you might be overextended, you should take immediate steps to get your financial situation under control. If you can regain control and stay on a healthy path, you’ll be able to avoid filing for bankruptcy.

      Here’s how to get your finances on track:

      1. Figure out exactly what you owe. It can be scary to sit down and look at the big picture, but you need to know the exact number. Once you know exactly what you owe, you’ll be able to make a plan.
      2. Look at your total take-home pay for a single month. This is the most important number, because you have to create a plan where you’ve got more coming in than what you’re spending.
      3. Create a detailed budget. Figure out what you have to spend for the essentials – shelter, utilities, food, and transportation. Don’t count your credit cards or any other expenses here – you need to set your number for necessary expenses so you know what’s left over each month.
      4. Take the money that’s left over and start applying it to your debts. Pay the minimum amount due on every debt except one, and push as much as you can afford towards that balance. Once you’ve paid off that debt, move on to the next. If you make a solid, realistic plan for paying off your debts, it’s much easier to stick to your budget and be responsible with your money.
      5. Once you’ve paid off most of your debt, start saving. Build up your savings in case an unexpected event comes up – you don’t want to have to start all over!
      6. Most importantly – stick to your budget even after you’ve paid off your credit cards. If you stick to your budget and plan ahead for big purchases, you’ll find that it’s easy to stay on top of your finances and avoid debt altogether.