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Will Debt Consolidation Help Me?

For those with more debt than they can handle on a monthly basis, there are several options for relief. You can contact your lenders and try to negotiate a lower interest rate, which will mean a lower payment; you can file for bankruptcy, or you can try to consolidate all of your debt into one loan. The benefit of a loan consolidation is that there is only one monthly payment to make, which makes organizing your finances an easier task. But there are also some down sides to debt consolidation, and before you apply for a consolidation loan you should know the fats.

Whether debt consolidation works for you depends on your financial goals and present financial condition. This is not the same for any two people, but there are some common threads to be found when thinking about consolidating debt. In order to figure out whether debt consolidation is beneficial to you, take a look at the following factors:

  • What are the chances you will take out new debt even after consolidating old debt? If all you do is take out one loan to consolidate others, and then continue charging on the paid off credit card or take out additional loans, the result is not pay off of your debt but an accumulation of more debt.
  • Consolidation companies rarely accomplish for you what you cannot do on your own. If you are being asked to pay a fee for a company to help consolidate your debt, make sure you do your homework first. Many times you can achieve the same results by making a few phone calls on your own, free of charge.
  • If you do decide to use a company, be sure your lenders participate in the program. Many debt consolidation companies fail to advise potential customers that lenders are not required to be bound by the terms proposed. What this means is that you will have spent money for a service the company cannot provide.

It is also smart to be wary of any plan that requires you to pledge your home as collateral, or that has an overall higher interest rate than what you currently pay. Sometimes the same results can be obtained by looking to the bankruptcy court. A chapter 13 bankruptcy is similar to debt consolidation, and your creditors are bound by the orders the bankruptcy court enters in your case. This means is that even a lender who was unwilling to work with you on your own or through a debt consolidation company, will be required to participate in a bankruptcy proceeding.

 

For more information about debt management, loan consolidation, and what you will still be required to pay after filing for bankruptcy, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We help by explaining your options and developing a plan that meets your needs.

Three Ways A Sluggish Economy Helps With Debt

When the economy takes a turn for the worse, panic can quickly set in for the public. News reports of the falling value of the dollar, houses sitting on the market for too long or going in to foreclosure, and a high unemployment rate tend to make people tighten their purse strings and ride out the storm. In a poor economy, many people find themselves without work and may have to resort to living off of credit. This can cause your overall debt load to dramatically increase, and unless steps are taken to service that debt, it is not long before it can spiral out of control. But a downturned economy does not have to mean the end of your financial world.

Three ways a sluggish economy can help you with your debt include the following circumstances:

  • The amount consumers spend have an impact on the economy far beyond just where the purchase is made. Financial experts say the number of people who are impacted by even a relatively small purchase is great. When consumers spend, the money infusion reaches all levels of workers from the store clerk to the manufacturer. When more people are spending, more people are needed for work, and this creates jobs. The creation of necessary employment positions means the unemployment rate goes down and more people are able to go to work and provide for their families. The key is to make purchases within your budget rather than to accumulate an overwhelming amount of debt.
  • When the need to take out credit arises, even in a sluggish economy, there are lenders who are willing to make loans. While the rates may be higher than you’d like, paying off the debt on time will help boost your credit score. This means that even though loans are required to help make ends meet, you are working towards a better credit report, and this can help you to get more favorable loan terms in the future.
  • When the debt taken out is for a home, the consumer ultimately benefits from the increased value in the property. In a sluggish economy home prices tend to be lower. The smart investor uses this information to take this chance to make a purchase, and hold on to the property until the values rebound. And, values always have a way of rising. The important thing to remember here is to only make the purchase if you are able to hold on to the property for several years.

It may seem like there is no end in sight when you are burdened with more debt than you can handle, but when creative ways to service that debt are formulated, even debt during a bad economy can be handled. Call our office to learn more, and to find out what type of debt management solutions meet your needs.

 

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

Five Ways Filing Bankruptcy Makes You Smarter

Anytime you want to increase the amount of knowledge you have on any particular subject, there are ways to reach that goal. You can enroll in courses, pick up a book at the book store, perform an internet search, or actively participate in programs designed to provide information on your topic of choice. In this way, filing for the protection of bankruptcy can actually give you a leg up when it comes to your finances and other money matters. When a consumer decides to file for bankruptcy, one of the requirements is that a debtor education course be immediately completed. This course is designed to give the filer the tools needed to avoid financial pitfalls in their future, and also provides insight into the filer’s personal financial situation. The savvy debtor will take these lessons and apply them to their everyday life, which can result in improved debt management skills and a heightened knowledge regarding the financial world.

Five ways filing bankruptcy can make you a smarter person include:

  • Learning how to manage your finances, even during times of unemployment, can really make you sit up and take notice of how much comes in versus what you pay out each month. Bankruptcy puts your budget down on paper, and sometimes all it takes is seeing where you money goes to figure out where to cut back and start saving.
  • Filing bankruptcy is not something most people want to do more than once, so the lessons learned about how to juggle a tight budget really do “stick with you” after the case is over. This allows most filers to avoid a financial misstep later in life, and makes them make smarter money choices.
  • An emphasis on living within your means is made when bankruptcy is filed and this can help many people avoid overspending or making impulse purchases.
  • The relief you get from having your creditors off your back allows you to focus on rebuilding your credit, and can improve your home life. Regardless of whether the lift results in better sleep patterns or fewer fights with your spouse, the result is a more peaceful home life.
  • Filing bankruptcy alleviates a lot of stress, which allows you to devote your attention to other endeavors. When you are able to put forth 100% effort on your job or school, you are able to learn much.

If you are facing overwhelming debt, but are unsure about your options, keep bankruptcy in mind. The benefits include being able to eliminate high interest rate debt, stopping collection or foreclosure efforts, and allowing you to take a moment to catch your breath and come up with a financial plan that works. Many times the lessons you learn from filing bankruptcy are lifelong lessons, and will help you to have a stable future.

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

The Three Best Reasons To File For Bankruptcy

People file for bankruptcy for personal, and different reasons. Ever case is unique, and your needs are not the same as your neighbor’s needs. That said, there are some common causes of bankruptcy, and if you are unable to meet your monthly obligations as they become due, you should consider filing for the protection bankruptcy offers.

Three of the more common, or best, reasons to file for bankruptcy include:

  • To stop a foreclosure: filing bankruptcy prohibits your creditors from taking any action against you to collect a debt and this includes foreclosing on your home. Many bankruptcy cases are filed in an attempt to save the family home, and keep a roof over your head.
  • To stop a wage garnishment or other collection effort: if you are being garnished for a money judgment against you, have been sued for a past due debt, or are receiving collection calls and/or letters in an attempt to collect a debt; all of these activities are required to come to a halt the moment you file for bankruptcy. This can give you a break from harassing creditors, and give you a chance to figure out your next step.
  • To get a fresh financial start: this is the stated purpose of the bankruptcy laws, and the Courts really do favor giving “honest, but unfortunate debtors” a chance to gain a fresh start financially. Bankruptcy allows you to eliminate certain debt, which will free up your disposable income to put towards things like your house or car payment, or other daily living expenses.

There are two main types of consumer bankruptcy, and making the determination as to which form of relief you qualify for requires the assistance of a trained legal professional. We have experience making this determination, and explaining what it means for you. Call our office today to learn more.

 

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

 

 

Is Self-Employment The Answer To Your Money Problems?

It could be said that the American Dream is to run your own business, because being your own boss puts you in charge of your own destiny. If you’ve ever dreamed of setting your own hours, answering to no one but yourself, and having a taste of what it’s like to work for yourself, self-employment may be the answer. But, while there are perks to running your own shop, there are also drawbacks. In order to make the most of working for yourself, it is important to understand both. In particular, it is key to know how being your own boss will benefit you financially.
If you are considering starting up your own business, here are some things to know about how self-employment will impact your finances:

  • Your tax status will likely change, which can result in significant savings come April 15th. Some ways your taxes will be impacted include claiming part of your home as a deduction if you work from your house and meet certain criteria, and the ability to write off some expenses such as a cell phone or internet access.
  • The fear of not knowing when and the amount of your next paycheck will give you the motivation to market yourself, and build your business. When you have to run a business and a household, you quickly learn how to budget. This can have a positive impact on your finances and help you to keep your head above water.
  • When you hold the purse strings, you are less likely to make impulse purchases or rash decisions. For those that own their own businesses, every paperclip and box of copy paper becomes an asset. Knowing your inventory helps teach the value of the dollars you earn, and can help you to develop healthy savings and budgeting methods.

Self-employment is not for everyone, but if you are brave enough to take the leap, do so after first consulting with a knowledgeable financial professional. We can help you with business formation, and guide you towards choices that work. As your business grows, we can help by reviewing your business plan and making sure you are on track.

 

For more information about what it takes to be your own boss, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

Surviving The Holidays On A Tight Budget

Every year, the day after families sit down and give thanks for all that they have, a countless number of consumers hit the malls and other retail stores in hopes of finding the perfect holiday gift on sale. Black Friday is a long standing shopping tradition, and thousands of people pour over the ads for weeks in advance and map out their plan of attack. Saving money is always a good idea, but rather than try to beat off the crowds, there are some things you can do to help survive the holidays on a tight budget. Many of these tips can be practiced year round, resulting in substantial savings not only in December, but throughout the year.

If your money is tight, you might be worried about how you will give gifts to family members and other loves ones this year. But, it can be done. You can survive the holidays on a tight budget, by sticking to some of these tips:

  • Shop for items when they are on sale; this can include Black Friday; Cyber Monday, or stocking up on smaller items throughout the year from sources like Living Social or Groupon.
  • Download apps that save money, like Cartwheel from Target or the Savings Catcher from Wal-Mart. Many stores participate in a price match with their competitors, and when you have the right tools in your hands, you can save big.
  • Draw names for gifts if you have a large family, agree to buy only for the children, or set a spending limit. While it can be hard to bring up the subject of a holiday budget, you’d be surprised at how many of your friends and family will quickly jump on board once the conversation gets started.
  • Put together frugal, but thoughtful gifts from lower priced stores. You can put together a “spa night” basket for under $10 by visiting most dollar stores. These make great gifts for teachers or caregivers.

The holiday season does not have to be a time of year that breaks the bank. Make a plan, and stick to it to see real results. Remember that it is not the gift that you give, but the thought behind it that counts. Going into debt during December can make seeing loved one stressful, and take the joy out of the season. But, if you do get in over your head, call us for help. We can help develop a strategy for your finances that helps get you out of debt, and puts you on the path to financial freedom.

For more information about debt and debt management, contact our office at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We work with you to come up with solutions that work.

Three Tips That Help You Prepare For Filing Bankruptcy

The act of filing for bankruptcy is done by a person qualified to do so, but the person seeking relief plays a large role in getting the case ready for the Court to accept. It can be a paper intensive process, and being organized puts you a step ahead of most. In order to help you prepare for filing for bankruptcy, there are some things you should do before visiting with an attorney. If you are unable to locate some of the documents indicated below, this does not mean you should not sit down with a qualified attorney for help. Every case is different, which means every person will have different papers that show their financial picture. The best way to proceed is to gather what you have, talk it over with a competent attorney, and take steps thereafter that will help you get ready to file for bankruptcy.

Three tips that help you prepare for filing bankruptcy are:

  • Have copies of your financial documents ready, such as your last 6 months’ worth of paystubs and copies of the last few years of your tax returns.
  • Have copies of all of your bills, or at least a list of what you pay every month including the amount and to whom you make the payment. For things you pay every 6 months or on any different time table, like car insurance or homeowner’s dues, calculate out the per month cost.
  • Come up with a budget, even if it is not one you are currently using. Having an idea of what you need each month to make ends meet and what you actually bring in each month will show you where you can make changes to meet your goals.

Part of the bankruptcy process is that those who file go through a financial education course. If you have gathered your personal financial information before meeting with an attorney, this course will not be difficult for you. Most times the course can be taken on line, but having a good grasp of some basic financial concepts will make even the online course less cumbersome. Getting your financial ducks in a row will help in this regard. Once you have your paperwork in hand, you will be ready to have a meaningful conversation about what works best for you. We can help, and look forward to partnering with you as you work towards your financial goals. Call us today for more information.

 

For more information about bankruptcy and how to have a successful case, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. Our approach is individually tailored to meet your needs, so you can reach your financial goals.

What To Do About Debts Still Owed After Bankruptcy

The point of filing for bankruptcy is to eliminate debts and free up disposable income. However, there will be some debts that remain due after your case ends, and it is important to know how those debts will be treated so you can act accordingly. The most common debts still due after bankruptcy include car and house payments. This is because most people need to keep their car in order to get to and from work, so the bills can be paid, and everyone needs a place to live so hanging on to your house in bankruptcy is popular.

If you have made the decision to file for bankruptcy and are wondering what your financial picture will look like after the case is over, consider the following:

  • Any debt you reaffirm, which means you agree to remain personally responsible for the debt after the bankruptcy case is final, will have to be paid. If you do not continue making the payments, the lender can and probably will sue you. What this means is that once a judgment is entered, the creditor can undertake collection efforts.
  • Debts still owed after bankruptcy not only need to still be paid, but they are also debts for which you can negotiate with your lender on payment and other terms. If a debt is still owed, you have certain rights. This is especially true if you signed a reaffirmation agreement, which gives the lender the ability to discuss the debt with you after the bankruptcy case is over. If you find yourself having a hard time making the payments pursuant to the reaffirmation agreement, you can call the lender and ask for payment options. This is not something you can do if you decide to voluntarily pay for your property after bankruptcy without also reaffirming the debt.

This information is complex, and can be difficult to understand. We can help make it clear, so you are clear about what is expected of you once your case is final. It is much easier to stick to a financial plan when you understand the terms of that plan. Call our office today to learn more and allow us to help you formulate a plan that makes sense.

 

For more information about debt management, bankruptcy, and what you will still be required to pay after filing for bankruptcy, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We help by explaining your options and developing a plan that meets your needs.

Two Ways To Avoid Foreclosure

Your home is your most valuable asset, and it is also where you greet your family at the end of the day and lay your head at night. For many people faced with overwhelming debt, keeping their home is the number one priority. However, if you have been unable to make your mortgage payments, you stand a very real chance of losing your home to foreclosure. But, there are options and they should be explored in detail if you are serious about saving your home.

Two ways to avoid foreclosure include:

  • Offering a short sale to the lender. This type of transaction is one where the lender agrees to take less than what you owe for the home, and requires that the home be sold to a third party for the lesser amount. This is an attractive option if your home has lots of curb appeal and will sell easily, but if you live in an area that has sluggish sales this might not be the best option for you. And, the ultimate decision as to whether a short sale is possible is up to the lender, which means you will be required to engage in negotiations with your mortgage holder. The back and forth tug of war some lenders play when trying to agree on a short sale can take a long time, and can also take an emotional toll. There may also be tax implications for participating in a short sale, so be careful! Before attempting to negotiate a short sale, contact a knowledgeable debt relief attorney for help.
  • Offering a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Some lenders will allow you to sign the property back over to them instead of filing a foreclosure action against you. There are certain title requirements that must be in place before a lender will agree to this course of action, so it is wise to have a qualified attorney take a look at your particular situation before making this offer.

Another option available to you in order to avoid a foreclosure includes filing for bankruptcy. If you are interested in staying in your home this might be the best option. And, depending on the type of bankruptcy you qualify for, you may be able to negotiate lower payments or a lower interest rate and memorialize that agreement in a reaffirmation within your bankruptcy case. For more information about avoiding foreclosure and what will work best for you, call us.

 

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

Three Tips For A Successful Bankruptcy Filing

When the decision to file for bankruptcy is made, it is usually not made lightly. Most people put a lot of time and effort into this decision, and even take steps to avoid filing. But, there are instances where every possible option is exhausted, and the only choice is to file bankruptcy. When that happens, the best possible outcome is one where you receive a discharge of the debt that is weighing you down, and are in a better financial position than when you entered bankruptcy. In order to have a successful case, there are some things you can do, and these things will also help you to be successful with your future finances.

Three tips for a successful bankruptcy filing include:

  • Gather all of your bills before you visit with an attorney, and know how much your monthly obligations add up to going into the meeting.
  • Gather your pay stubs, so you can calculate how much salary you are bringing home each month to service your debts.
  • Write down all of your expenses that are not in the form of a monthly bill, like your grocery and gasoline expenses.

Once you have a clear picture of what is coming in to your checking account every month and what is going out, you will be in a good position to see where you can make changes to your budget. The purpose of filing bankruptcy is to eliminate debt you can no longer pay, while keeping your job and a steady stream of income to pay your living expenses. Another purpose to filing for the protection of bankruptcy is to give you some breathing room from your creditors, so you can formulate a plan to get your finances in order. When you file a case your creditors are prohibited from contacting you, and this should give you the time and space needed to come up with a workable budget. Once you see what debts will no longer be required to be paid each month, you can figure out where to put that extra income. Freeing up your money to pay for necessities can make life easier, and will help you to have a successful case as well as a bright financial future. The best case scenario is one where the end result is that you are able to start putting money aside for emergencies, so you do not have to rely on credit that can quickly spiral out of control. For help figuring out how bankruptcy can best help you, call our office.

 

If you have questions about finances and bankruptcy, and how to have a successful bankruptcy case, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.