Category : Credit Cards, Debts, Negotiations, & Settlements

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Four Shocking Celebrity Money Problems

Hollywood is full of surprises, sometimes films that seem like a total dud turn out to be a summer blockbuster and sometimes the public doesn’t agree with the Academy’s choice for an Oscar award. These surprises aside, there should not really be much about Tinseltown that causes too much shock and awe, because celebrities are always reinventing themselves, changing spouses, and making bold political statements. That said, it still does come as a huge shock to the movie going public when a major star suffers a financial set back. This may be because the average paycheck in Hollywood is enormously larger than the average worker’s take home pay and not being able to hang on to such a large paycheck is a hard concept to grasp. But, it does happen.

Four shocking celebrity money problems include:

● Bankruptcy: the list of celebrities that have filed for bankruptcy is nearly a mile long. Stars from Kim Basinger to 50 Cent have filed for bankruptcy protection, as has talk show host Larry King. Bankruptcy is not necessarily a shocking money problem, but it often does come as a surprise when a superstar needs to file a case.
● Working odd jobs: when times get tough most of us take on extra work or do an odd job or two to make extra cash. But this is not something we often think about a celebrity having to do, although it has happened. A good example is George Foreman, who turned in his boxing gloves for an apron and turned his financial situation around by promoting the George Foreman grill.
● Going back to work: we all dream of retiring one day, and waking up naturally instead of relying on an alarm clock. But when funds fall short, even the best of us have to go back to work. Again, George Foreman is a good example, because he returned to the ring when other ventures stopped paying what he needed.
● Living well outside your means: we are all tempted from time to time to splurge, but know that doing so can put a pinch on monthly finances. No one knows this better than the stars and musicians. Think Michael Jackson, and the outrageous cost of maintaining Neverland, which left the King of Pop’s estate in less than perfect financial straits.

We can all fall prey to making a financial misstep, but there are solutions. Bankruptcy will eliminate or reduce debt. Mortgage modifications can lower interest rate on your mortgage and give you a lower monthly payment, and other options like refinance and consolidation are at your disposal. Stop searching for answers, and let us guide you towards the right method of debt management for you.

For help with your questions about finances and how to get out of debt, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that help get you back on your feet.

Reality Stars Who Can’t Afford To Live Lavishly Anymore

Everyone wants to be a star or at least live like one, right? Based on appearances alone, most stars seem to enjoy a pretty nice lifestyle without a financial care in the world. But the truth is many celebrities have faced money problems as severe as or more severe than the average consumer. And, it seems like the stars who are most hard hit with going from extreme highs to extreme lows are reality stars. This could be because reality shows are short lived, and thus the people who star in them only get to enjoy their celebrity status and the celebrity paycheck that goes along with that status for a short time.

Some reality stars who are no longer able to afford to live lavishly anymore are:

● The Duggar family: while this reality family may not necessarily be broke, given they claim to live debt free and on a cash only basis, there can be no doubt some of the scandals that rocked the family have led to the cancellation of their show. And now that the show is cancelled, the Duggars will not be raking in large paychecks per episode.
● Jon Gosselin: the former husband of Kate Gosselin and father of multiple sets of multiples has been known to work in food service to make ends meet after his reality TV days came to an end.
● Richard Hatch: Hatch is the first season winner of the original reality TV show, Survivor. But failing to pay taxes landed Hatch behind bars, more than once.
● Danielle Staub: this real housewife from New Jersey is one of at least two housewives who filed for bankruptcy; Sonja Morgan also took advantage of the bankruptcy process. And another star from the housewives franchise, Kim Richards was arrested for shoplifting.

The fall from fame may or may not have contributed to these reality stars’ financial distress, but one thing is certain, reality stars can have the same struggles as everyone one else with the paychecks stop coming in like clockwork. This is why it is so important to have a solid financial plan, and a contingency plan for when finances go south. Whether your plan includes bankruptcy, refinance, consolidation of debt, or some other form of creative financial solution, we can help.

For answers to your questions about debt, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

What Does It Mean To Get A Reduction In The Principal Due On My House?

A mortgage payment is made up of several components. The total payment made each month can be broken down into principal, interest, and escrow. The principal figure is the amount of the loan, or the purchase price. The interest is the amount added to the principal and is determined by the interest rate attached to the loan. And, the escrow portion of a house payment represents the portion of money paid that is held back for payment of real estate taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Not all mortgage loans include an escrow provision, and if yours does not then you are responsible for making the annual payments outside of your mortgage.

The interest amount of your house payment is not only tied to the interest rate, but also depends on the principal balance. This is because the interest rate is charged on the outstanding principal balance, so if you are able to get a reduction in the principal due on your mortgage you will pay less in interest. Here are some ways you can reduce the principal balance on your house loan:

● Send in extra payments and direct your lender to apply the payment to the principal balance.
● Make a lump sum payment a few times a year, when a bonus or other financial windfall comes your way, and ask that the lump sum be paid to the outstanding principal balance.
● Modify your loan, so the principal amount is less.

If you are interested in a modification to reduce the principal due on your mortgage, let us help. Most mortgage modifications involve a reduction in interest rate, but it is also possible to get your lender to agree to a reduction in the principal due. This process is a bit more complex, but not impossible. If you want to save money on your house each month, pay off your mortgage faster, pay less in principal or interest, a modification may be the answer you need. Another good way to save on your total house debt is to check on the PMI portion of your payment. PMI is private mortgage insurance that lenders require you to carry, and pay for as part of your house payment, until the amount you owe is less than 80% of the value of your home. So if your home has increased in value, this could be a possibility for you. We have experience in all of these scenarios, and look forward to talking them over with you soon.

For more information about how we can help you, contact us today at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will go over the facts of your case and let you you’re your next step.

Should I Stop Making My House Payment If I Want A New Mortgage?

When homeowners are not able to make their house payments without difficulty, it is time to start looking for options to get rid of debt or reduce current expenses. There are several ways to do this, and one of the most well-known options is to file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a great tool for getting out of hand finances under control, but it is not the only option. Another idea to think about is debt consolidation, which is a good way to wrap all of your monthly bill payments into one lump sum each month. In some consolidation cases you might even be able to pay less than the full balance due, which can significantly reduce your overall debt load. Refinance and modification of mortgages are also good ways to curb expenses, and it is important to know the difference between the two.

If you want a new mortgage you can get one by refinancing your current mortgage, just with a new lender. Or, you can ask for your existing mortgage holder to change the terms of your loan by modifying the note. A refinance requires you to apply for a new loan with a new bank, and essentially go through the entire loan process again. But this time around the lender will not loan the full balance, so you will need to have some equity in your home for a refinance to work. With a modification, you will not have to worry about equity or having your home appraised because the loan is changed by the current mortgage lender. But do you have to be current on payments for a modification or refinance? Here are some basics:

● For a refinance to work you should be relatively current on your payments. If you are not it can be harder to get a bank to work with you, because the risk of nonpayment will appear too great.
● In a modification most lenders will begin negotiations once you fall behind on your house payment, and contact them for solutions. This is not to say default is a requirement all of the time, but is common in most cases.

Deciding on what to do to get a new mortgage requires careful consideration of several factors. Only you know what facts apply to your situation, and we can help sort through the data and come up with options for your consideration. The approach we take involves providing you with a thorough explanation of all available remedies, so you are satisfied with your final choice.

If you are considering modifying your mortgage, or want information on other options, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

Will Modifying My Mortgage Make My Payments Lower?

Mortgage modification programs are great ways to reduce your house payment. The way it works is that you apply with your current mortgage lender for a rewrite of your existing mortgage. The rewritten mortgage will have new terms, and the biggest change is a drop in interest rate. Once the interest rate on your loan goes down, your payment will decrease as well.

If you are struggling to make your house payment, you should consider applying for a mortgage modification. The steps required include:

● Filling out an application for modification with your current mortgage holder.
● Providing documents to your lender showing your income.
● Giving details about your current financial situation, and showing that you are currently experiencing a financial hardship such that a lower payment will relieve some financial pressure.
● Participate in a trial modification, if requested to do so, to prove to your lender that you are capable of making the new payment.
It is important to document your efforts, by keeping copies of all documents you send to the lender and keeping a diary of the dates and times of any telephone conversations. It is not out of the ordinary to have your lender request data you have already sent, and if that happens you will want to be able to show the lender the requested information has already been provided. This can take a lot of time and cause a great deal of frustration, and not all lenders will agree to give you a modified mortgage. For these reasons you need to partner with a qualified legal professional who can take on these tasks for you. A good lawyer will also negotiate on your behalf, so the modified terms offered are ones that are within your budget. We can help you analyze your finances and determine if a mortgage modification is right for you or if you need to explore other options. If so, we will let you know what options may work for your situation and help you decide what steps to take next in your efforts to becoming debt free. Our goal is to help you get back on your feet, and give you a positive financial outlook.

For more information about mortgage modifications, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

What Does It Mean To Use My House As Collateral For A Loan?

Most loans are made possible by having some type of collateral to use as security. For instance, when you buy a new car the lender takes a security interest in the car and holds on to that interest until the loan is paid in full. This interest is what allows an auto lender to repossess a vehicle when payments are not made. The same is true when you purchase a house, and use the house as collateral for the mortgage loan. Very few of us can afford to buy our homes outright, so a mortgage on the property is given, to provide assurances to the lender that the loan will be repaid. If not, the lender will initiate foreclosure proceedings to recoup their losses by taking back and reselling the property.

But taking out a mortgage to buy a home is not the only way a house is used for collateral for a loan. Here are some other examples:

• Refinancing your home will require you to use the house as collateral for the refinanced note. If your home is paid off, you will now have a new mortgage on the house and if you are only using the equity in your home you might now have two mortgages.
• A second mortgage is the most common type of loan where your home is used as collateral, and that is the instance of taking a loan against the equity you have built up in your house. A lender will only agree to this type of lending arrangement if the value of the home is significantly more than the unpaid existing mortgage, and will place a second mortgage on the house to ensure repayment.

These types of loans can become problematic if you fall behind on payments. Because if you have two mortgages you also have two payments, and two lenders looking to enforce their security interest in their home. It is not uncommon for a second mortgage holder to attempt foreclosure for non payment, even if you are making the payments on the first mortgage. This is likely to happen if you have equity, because any foreclosure by a second mortgage holder is done subject to the first mortgage. This area of law and a potential foreclosure in this situation is complex, but we can help. Whether the answer is to file bankruptcy, ask for a modification of your mortgage, consolidate debt, or some other solution we can help.

For more information about how to get out of debt, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

Should I Take A Payday Loan To Get Out Of Debt?

When you have more bills than you can pay, you start to look for any way to get out of debt and keep current on monthly obligations. Some people turn to friends or family, take out a consolidation loan, or try to refinance their home. But you have to be careful when looking for ways to transfer debt, so you don’t end up owing more and so that you actually make progress on getting your debts paid. A question that often arises is whether a consumer with overwhelming debt should take out a payday loan to get out of debt.

Taking a payday loan to get out of debt is not a good idea. Typical payday loans have characteristics that make getting out of debt impossible, such as:

• High interest rates, which are considered by some to be more than what the law allows
• Prepayment penalties, on the off chance you are able to pay off the loan before it is due you might end up paying more because a prepayment penalty could be added to the balance
• Payment due dates that come up quickly, there is usually a fast turn around time on repayment of a pay day loan and depending on your financial picture you may be unprepared to make the payment when it is due. If so, you will face more interest and penalties.
• Fees and costs that add to what you owe, which can make the payment beyond what is within your budget and cause you to rack up more fees and costs on top of the accumulating principal and interest amounts.

One alternative to a payday loan not mentioned above is to file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy will not require you to pay exorbitant rates on the debts you do repay, and in fact you might even be entitled to lower interest rates rather than increases. Depending on the type of bankruptcy you file, you can reduce the rate on your auto loan and you can also reduce the total amount of unsecured debt you owe. Those are common components of a Chapter 13 case, and in a Chapter 7 you will be entitled to have your unsecured debt completely forgiven. Rather than spin your wheels and go nowhere fast by taking out pay day loans, consider bankruptcy to help get you out of debt. We have filed cases for people with all sorts of financial situations, and will work with you to file a case that meets your needs.

For more information about bankruptcy, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

Will I Be Able To Get A Credit Card If I File Bankruptcy?

Having too much in credit card debt is the reason most people file bankruptcy, but the need for credit in an emergency still remains. So even if you need to file bankruptcy to get out of debt, you may still need access to credit from time to time in order to cover unexpected expenses like home repairs or medical bills. This paradox is puzzling to those that want to file bankruptcy to help improve their financial situation, so a quick run down on what to expect is in order.

Getting a credit card after you file bankruptcy is not only possible, but highly likely. Here are the most important things to know about bankruptcy and credit card debts:

• You can get rid of all of your credit card debt, or at least have the balances lowered to a fraction of what you owe, by filing for bankruptcy.
• When you no longer owe credit cards each month, you can use the money you were spending on minimum payments for other obligations. Elimination or reduction of credit card balances typically frees up a large chunk of disposable income for many consumers.
• Once your case is discharged, the credit card debts are no longer considered due and your card issuers cannot ask for repayment.
• Shortly after your bankruptcy case is discharged you may begin receiving offers from credit card companies, to take out a card and start rebuilding your credit. The interest rates on these cards will be higher than what you are used to, so be careful about accepting an offer and relying on a credit card after bankruptcy. After all, if credit card debt overwhelmed you prior to filing, you do not want to go down that road again in the near future.

Our best words of wisdom on getting a credit card and using it regularly after you have filed bankruptcy is to only do so if you are able to pay it off in full each month. Otherwise you will reenter the cycle of paying interest on top of interest, and racking up a balance that might become too much to bear. All of the hard work you do to get out of debt by filing bankruptcy should not be put at risk by jumping right back into a load of debt. Be careful about the new debt you acquire after filing bankruptcy, and work instead towards establishing an emergency fund so you do not have to resort to credit for large purchases or emergency situations.

For more information about bankruptcy, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

The Top Two Ways To Change Your House Payment

Many Americans bought into the “American Dream” of home ownership only to be staring down large house payments years after signing on the dotted line. And for many, the monthly house payment is the single largest expense to pay every 30 days, leaving very little money left over for other necessities and bills. If your house payment is too high, there are things you can do to get some relief. Knowing where to look is the first step, and then deciding what will work for your family comes next.

The top two ways to change your house payment, and get on a more affordable repayment plan are to:

• Ask your lender to rewrite the note. This is done by modifying the mortgage, and the rewrite typically includes lowering the interest rate. Once the interest rate is lower, the payment will go down and become more manageable.
• Refinance your note with a new lender. If your current lender is not willing to help by modifying your mortgage, a different lender may be willing to refinance the note on your behalf.

This will require an approval for a new loan, which means you need to provide income verification and possibly have an appraisal of your home done. Most refinanced loans are only made if there is sufficient equity in the home to cover the refinance, as many lenders only offer refinance options for around 80% of the home’s value. So if your home has a lot of equity in it, meaning it is worth significantly more than you owe, you may be able to use that equity to your advantage by refinancing your existing mortgage.
When neither of these work, you can also consider filing for bankruptcy. While you still have to make your house payment if you want to keep your house, even if you file bankruptcy, what bankruptcy does is eliminate or reduce your other bills so your house payment is no longer out of reach. When you have fewer things on your plate to pay each month, a once unaffordable house payment suddenly becomes within your budget. Whatever your need or circumstances, we can help.

For more information about how to manage debt, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

What You Can Do To Get Charged Off Accounts Off Your Credit Report

Your credit report sums up your creditworthiness, and is relied upon by lenders when you apply for new loans. If your credit report shows you pay late, have been foreclosed on, or had a car repossessed you are less likely to get a loan with a lower rate. But bad marks on your credit, even a bankruptcy, do not mean that you can never buy a house or get a loan. And while there are some things you are not able to control, when it comes to your credit you should question what is reported and make challenges when necessary. If you are successful, your credit score can go up, which helps you get better loan offers.

One of the most damaging items on your credit is a charged off account. A charged off account is one where you have not made payments for at least six months, so the creditor writes the balance off their books and asks that you pay the entire balance at once. Most people are not able to pay a large balance all at one time, and so the lender ends up going to Court to get a judgment for the balance. All of these things hurt your credit, and so you should do these things to have a charged off account removed from your report:

• Respond to any lawsuit filed against you, so you can assert any defenses you have to the nonpayment of the debt.
• Dispute that the debt is valid, and ask the lender to provide you with a pay history and current balance due.
• Challenge the balance, which will require you to show all payments made and show that the creditor’s records are not accurate.

It is important to remember that an account that is reported as charged off is not the same as an account being reported as paid off. You can also try to work with the lender directly, and ask that they remove the notation of charge off from your credit. If you decide to make this request, it is crucial to do it in writing and keep copies of all correspondence you receive from the lender. If the lender make an agreement with you but that agreement is not reflected on your credit report, you can send copies of all documentation to the credit reporting agencies and ask for an investigation. We can help with this process, and invite you to contact us today to learn your options and how we can help you achieve financial success.

For more information about how to get out of debt or what to do to make sure your credit report is accurate, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.