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Struggling with debt? Here’s how to avoid bankruptcy

avoid-bankruptcy
Debt is pretty much a fact of life for most Americans, especially in today’s post-COVID landscape. Most families do not 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 is far too easy to get overextended on your finances, and most people do not realize that they are in trouble until it’s almost too late. When you are already stretching your finances to the limit, any unexpected bump can send you down the road to bankruptcy.

If you are wondering if you’re overextended or starting to struggle with debt, the following signs show you are 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 could not pay off 100% of your debt within 1 year
    • You do not 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 have paid your credit cards late or skipped payments
    • More than 20% of your actual take-home pay goes towards debt

You do not have to be behind – if you’ve got credit card balances that never seem to get paid down because you are always making new charges, that is 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!

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 is easy to stay on top of your finances and avoid debt altogether.

By |2022-10-02T14:06:21-05:00September 29th, 2022|Bankruptcy, Debt, Personal Finance|

Recession 2022 – is it coming, and what does it mean?

The Great Recession hit America hard from December of 2007 to the middle of 2009, millions of US residents lost their livelihoods and homes. It was the worst economic downturn since the 1930s and the Great Depression, and it took almost a decade for the labor market to fully recover.

There are very few people still alive who remember the Great Depression, so the recession in 2008 is the only true recession that most Americans have experienced. Sure, we hit a downturn when COVID restrictions locked everything down in 2020, but that was not a true recession.

Because most people have only experienced the recession of 2008, all of the predictions of a “major” recession in 2022 have most of the population freaking out – but recessions are a perfectly normal part of business cycles. Many economists agree that a worst-case scenario is not likely in 2022. (more…)

By |2022-08-01T11:24:58-05:00August 1st, 2022|Bankruptcy, Debt, Financial|

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 are 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 afterward.

In fact, there are several 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 will receive are vital to avoiding bumps in the road during your case.

So, for anyone out there who is considering bankruptcy and has not talked to an experienced attorney yet, here are the five most important things you should avoid doing before you file for bankruptcy: (more…)

By |2022-06-01T11:28:34-05:00February 24th, 2022|Bankruptcy, Debt|

4 Scary Ways to Damage Your Debt

5 scary things that can damage your creditIt is Halloween this weekend, so we had to share something scary here on the blog… and this time, we are sharing 4 Scary Ways to Damage Your Debt. Let’s face it – nothing is scarier than overwhelming debt that spirals out of control.

If you are not careful about how you spend your hard-earned money, and even how you conduct transactions online, you can easily start down the path to crushing debt. Today’s post is going to examine the 4 most horrifying ways you can head down a scary financial path.

1. Hackers and scammers

Digital thieves have become incredibly creative – you need to be extremely careful whenever you provide your credit card number to ANY online service. Charities are a common ploy, so make sure you do research on a charity before you make a donation – especially if you are solicited at your front door or over the phone.

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By |2021-10-29T12:44:53-05:00October 29th, 2021|Bankruptcy, Debt, Money Management|

6 Tips For Avoiding Bankruptcy

tips for avoiding bankruptcyThe proliferation of credit cards and the “gotta have it now” American lifestyle have lead to a problem: for many Americans, living with debt is par for the course. The changes in America’s financial landscape due to COVID and resulting lockdowns have only made things worse. In many cases, debt spirals out of control until filing for bankruptcy appears to be the only way out.

Most of our clients are regular, hard-working DFW-area residents who simply hit an unexpected bump in the road. Whether it was the loss of a job, reduction in wages, or an accident, a single speed bump on the road of life can send you in a completely different direction.

Once you start living on credit and spending more than you can afford to pay off, the debt multiplies quickly until it seems like there’s no escape. (more…)

By |2021-09-26T14:26:16-05:00September 26th, 2021|Bankruptcy, Debt, Personal Finance|

Considering bankruptcy? Follow these 4 tips

4 bankruptcy tipsMost of our clients come to us, struggling with massive debts that have spun out of control. One unforeseen bump in the road (a sudden job loss, an accident, a medical condition) is all it takes to send most families into a downward debt spiral. We have shared lots of tips in the past for avoiding debt, but it is also important to get advice from a financial advisor or bankruptcy attorney before you decide to file.

According to John Rao, a bankruptcy attorney with a Boston-based consumer advocacy group, you should “first explore opportunities to resolve problems outside of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy isn’t going to help everyone.”

Typically, you will want to consider bankruptcy if:

  • Most of your debt is “unsecured” (such as credit card bills or medical bills)
  • You are hounded by calls from collection agencies at home and at work
  • You have had wages garnished or your bank account frozen after a judgement
  • You have been sued

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By |2021-07-19T11:17:21-05:00July 19th, 2021|Bankruptcy, Debt|

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 |2022-06-01T11:03:11-05:00March 28th, 2021|Bankruptcy, Debt|

4 Tips to Avoid Bankruptcy

For many Americans, debt is a way of life. When that debt continues to pile up, many people think that filing for bankruptcy is the only way to solve their financial problems. While bankruptcy can definitely help erase debts and start you on a fresh path,  it’s not always your only option. Many times, your financial situation might not be as hopeless as you think it is.

You should start by looking at your overall debt situation and assessing the status. If you’re not too far gone yet, these four tips can help you reduce your debt load and avoid bankruptcy. They’ll take time and dedication, but with some patience and hard work, you’ll be able to climb out of your financial hole and start over again.

1. Don’t add any more debt

When your debt spirals to the point where you can no longer pay it off, bankruptcy becomes your only option. The trick is to stop the downward spiral before it’s too late. Don’t add any more debt to your current load – no new loans, no new credit cards… nothing. If you need extra money, consider selling a few minor assets instead of taking out a loan or opening a new credit card.
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By |2019-11-26T14:46:59-06:00November 26th, 2019|Bankruptcy, Debt|

7 Tips for Saving Money and Avoiding Debt

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As we’ve mentioned in the past, the easiest way to avoid bankruptcy is to avoid accruing debt in the first place. Millions of Americans live with thousands of dollars in debt, and a single bump in the road like a car accident or the loss of a job can send them spiraling towards uncontrollable debt.

The sooner you form responsible spending habits, the sooner you’ll build a solid foundation that will help avoid the possibility of bankruptcy. If you follow these 7 simple tips, you’ll be able to save money and avoid accumulating debts that you struggle to pay off.

1. Plan all of your meals

Eating out is the biggest monthly expense in most households. If you plan all of your meals each week and cook at home, you’ll save money – and you’ll probably eat healthier as well.

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By |2019-09-28T16:37:15-05:00September 28th, 2019|Bankruptcy, Debt, Saving Money|

5 Tips to Lower Your Debt

5 tips to lower your debt

Sometimes, we talk to potential clients who are surprised when we tell them that bankruptcy might not be their best option. During every free consultation, we map out the financial picture for a potential client, then walk them through every available option.

Many times, people are overwhelmed by their mountain of debt. Someone told us recently that they felt like they were trying to dig a hole using a single chopstick. Even though it feels like a lost cause, many times you can avoid bankruptcy by using one or two of these tips:

1. Talk to your creditors

It never hurts to ask for a little help. Hopefully, you know everyone that you owe, but if you’re not sure, pull your credit report. Make a list of everyone you owe, and how much you owe each institution. Figure out how much you’re able to pay each one. Call each company you owe and tell them that you want to pay off your debt, but you’re only able to afford a certain amount. Sure, debt settlement will go on your record – but it’s better than not paying anything and letting your debt continue to spiral out of control.

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By |2022-06-01T11:07:56-05:00January 31st, 2016|Bankruptcy, Debt|
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