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What Is A Debt Settlement?

There is always more than one way to get to the same result. For money problems you might consider calling your lenders and asking for a lower monthly payment, taking out a consolidation loan, calling a debt counselor, or filing for bankruptcy. Another popular method to resolving past due financial obligations is through debt settlement. There are programs that offer to undertake this effort on your behalf, but many of the companies that run these programs have been found to be of little assistance. You could opt to try and work out something on your own, but this leaves you with the burden of fielding numerous calls and engaging in lengthy negotiations. The best choice is to partner with a debt relief attorney with experience settling debt on behalf of others.

Debt settlement is similar to a legal proceeding, in that the party asking for relief must provide evidence to the lender that a settlement is the best option. Some things to keep in mind about your case include:

  • Your credit will reflect the settlement, so be sure that this option is best for your budget and future plans. If you are underwater on most of your obligations, chances are your credit is already less than perfect. Also, it does not take near as long to repair credit as most people believe, so if a big purchase is in your future the likelihood your credit will be in good shape by the time you need a new loan is good.
  • Act sooner rather than later, the earlier on in your financial struggle you reach out to your creditors, the higher the chance of receiving a favorable response to your settlement offer.
  • Don’t be afraid to be honest about your finances with your lenders, if you are near the brink of bankruptcy and will go that route if settlement doesn’t work, make sure your creditors are aware of this fact. Many lenders will agree to take a smaller amount than the full balance due instead of having the entire debt eliminated through a bankruptcy.

For some types of debt, there are tax and other financial consequences for settling with the lender for less than what is due. For instance, if you agree to pay a lump sum of $20,000.00 less than you owe on your mortgage to avoid a foreclosure, you can expect to receive a 1099 for $20,000.00 from the lender. This “loan forgiveness” can be considered income for taxation purposes, so you want to be sure the agreement you make does not cause more harm than good. Call us today for a review of these, and other important issues.

 

If you have questions about settling debt, call our office for answers. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

Three Ways To Make Smart Money Choices

Have you ever stopped and wondered why some people seem to have all the luck in the world? Is it that they truly are lucky, or do they just make smart choices? Life is full of choices, and knowing which path to take can be hard. But, when you are faced with decisions that will impact your future, it is wise to look at all the options and make the best choice. This is especially true in the area of personal finances. Having enough money to make ends meet every month is good, but it would be better to make choices that allow you to save for an emergency or for the day when you can call it quits at work. Making smart money choices doesn’t have to be hard, and once you get the hang of it you will wonder why you were ever hesitant to implement a plan.

Making smart money choices is a way of life, and starts the minute your feet hit the floor out of bed every morning. Here are three things you can do on a daily basis to make smart money moves:

  • Make a list of your financial goals, and review it periodically. Being able to see, on paper, what you are working towards is big motivator for many people. But it does not good to write your goals down if you don’t review them every now and again to see if you are on track, or need to make an adjustment.
  • When faced with a big money decision, make a choice before becoming distracted by the pressures of everyday life such as work and kids.
  • Make changes to your daily schedule so you can avoid expensive habit forming stops, like that daily gourmet coffee or overpriced lunch.

The smallest changes to the way you manage your money can add up to big rewards. When you know what you want to achieve and start to see results, saving money and making good choices can become like a game. Be sure to get your family involved, and celebrate when you reach milestones along the way. Just be sure that the celebration does not get out of hand, and still allows you to stay on track financially.

 

If you have questions about budgets and how to make smart money moves, call our office for answers. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

The Difference Between Emergency Funds And Sinking Funds

Setting up accounts to cover certain expenses is always a good idea. When you have money set aside for the expenses of life, you can rest easy knowing that you won’t have to go into debt for necessities. There are two very important types of accounts you will want to establish to cover these things; an emergency fund and a sinking fund. Knowing the difference will help ensure you use the money as intended, and help to keep you out of debt.

The difference between an emergency fund and a sinking fund can best be described as follows:

  • An emergency fund is a fund you set up for use in an emergency. True to definition, an emergency is something that comes up that you did not expect. Examples include a car wreck, a catastrophic illness, or the neighborhood children playing baseball in the street and a ball going through your front window. All of these instances require money to repair or deal with daily, and having an emergency fund is a good place to turn when these expenses arise.
  • A sinking fund is a fund you set up that is intended for a specific use. For example, you know that you will need to replace your tires at a certain time. Start saving now for that time, and when it arrives you will have the money you need to cover the cost.

Both types of accounts are vital to your financial well-being. Without the money needed for unexpected repairs, or for an expected purchase, you can be left with undesirable options. Be sure to keep track of the amount you are putting aside, and that your monthly budget accounts for these expenses. It is a good idea to open a separate account for these monies, and the sooner you start the faster you will reach your financial goals. For answers to your questions about money, call our office. We have experience helping people get out of financial distress, even when the answer is bankruptcy or other debt management methods. Once you have a plan in place, you are freed up to focus on the things in your life that matter the most. We can help you reach your goals, and stay on track.

If you need help figuring out how to set up an emergency fund or a sinking fund, contact our office. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today.

 

 

Creative Ideas For Entertainment That Fits Your Budget

While not a fun topic, the idea of establishing a budget is a necessity of life. Without knowing where your money goes each month it is too easy to get off track and find yourself in financial distress. Along with setting aside money for emergencies, socking away a little in a savings account, and paying your monthly bills you may be surprise to learn that entertainment expenses are a big part of budgets also. If you fail to account for having a little fun here and there, the temptation to go off budget is too great. So, when you are thinking about your budget, don’t forget to think about having some fun too.

Keep in mind that doing things for entertainment do not have to cost a bundle. There are plenty of things you can do for fun that are free, or very low cost. Some creative ideas for entertainment that fits your budget include:

  • Pick a deal on groupon or other social media site. Countless retailers, restaurant, and other companies are turning to these sites for a source of income. You can get a great deal at a reduced price, but still enjoy the full amount of fun offered.
  • Join a club that offers discounts to members only.
  • Consider going to your local college theater instead of paying full price for a professional show.
  • Check out what’s playing at the dollar movies, and cut the cost of your dinner and a movie date in half.

There are plenty of options out there for low cost entertainment, it may just take some looking. The money you save can be put towards your savings account or emergency fund, or can be made to make an extra payment on a credit card or other loan. Include your friends, family, and neighbors in your hunt for budget friendly entertainment ideas. Before long, you will find yourself with more things to do, than time to do them. For more information on budgets, finances, and how to manage your debt, call our office and speak with one of our qualified debt management professionals today.

Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information on how to budget your income, and what to do when your budget doesn’t work. Schedule an appointment to learn more.

 

 

The Top Ten Reasons Your Budget Doesn’t Work

Making a budget is hard, sticking to it is even harder. But, if you want to gain financial freedom, spending less than what you make and putting some aside for savings is a must. Most of us have the best of intentions when making a budget, but then life seems to get in the way. No one intentionally busts their budget, most times an unexpected event such as a death or illness arises and it is no longer feasible to stay on track. With a little help though, even those of us that struggle can come up with and stick to a budget that fits our finances. In order to get to that point, it is important to understand why your current situation is not working.

The top ten reasons your budget doesn’t work could include any, or a combination of, the following factors:

  • You must establish a budget that fits your lifestyle, and that of your family. If you do not account for eating out, but your family goes to restaurants weekly, your budget will not work.
  • You only stick to your budget some of the time. Just like going to the gym once a month will not result in any real change in your physical appearance, if you are not consistent with your money habits, you will not see results.
  • You overlooked certain items, and thus the extra money you thought you had disappears.
  • Your budget lacks flexibility. Sometimes you have to be able to spend less in one category, in order to spend more in another when the need arises. If you do not have this flexibility built into your budget, your budget will likely not work.
  • You are too easily persuaded to make an impulse buy. When you buy things not accounted for in your budget, the entire bottom line is thrown out of whack.
  • You have to resort to loans to cover a deficit.
  • You failed to account for emergencies, or to set up an emergency fund.
  • Your budget does not include any entertainment expenses. You have to give yourself a little fun now and then, if you are stuck without any entertainment funds, you will quickly be derailed.
  • You make less than you spend. This one is simple math. If your expenses are more than you bring home every month, you have to find areas to cut back, or eliminate from your budget.
  • Life got in the way. Unexpected events can throw a wrench in your plans, but life has a way of happening without asking.

If you are experiencing financial difficulty, call our office for help with debt consolidation or bankruptcy. We can help put you on the path to financial freedom, while giving you the tools to stay there.

 

If you have questions about how budgets and bankruptcy, call our office for answers. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

 

 

 

Establishing Long Term Financial Goals That Are Attainable

It is well known that setting goals is the first step to achieving what you want. If you fail to establish a goal, it is difficult to get there. But, it can be difficult to figure out what you want, in a way that makes sense and doesn’t seem overwhelming. In order to be successful with reaching your goals, there are some steps you can take that are helpful.

The following steps are meant as a guide, and can help you to establish long term financial goals that are attainable:

  • Identify what you want, and write it down. Start big, the sky is the limit on this step and thinking about what you want for your future and putting it down on paper will help you to start setting the wheel in motion to get there.

●          Once you have identified the bigger picture, break it down into smaller components.

  • After the key pieces of your goals are established, figure out which ones mean the most. Make those your priority. It is unreasonable to think you can reach all of your goals at the same time, so make a list of what is the most important and dedicate yourself to working on that goal first.
  • Take action! This can be as small as saving $5.00 a week, or as large as selling your home and downsizing. Whatever works for you and is within your comfort zone, do it!

Every time you consider making a purchase, consult your list. If the purchase doesn’t get you closer to your goal, walk away. Sometimes all it takes is a cooling off period for the “need” to buy something or spend money disappears. And, in many instances, a few days later you will have forgotten all about the item. Once you start making progress towards your goals, it becomes more exciting. Be sure to consider other options as well, maybe there are lesser priced items available that get the job done just as well as a more expensive product. Do your research and spend wisely. When you do, you will be on your way to reaching long term financial goals that have a positive impact in your life.

 

If you need help with your finances, call our office. We can offer solutions, legal and practical, that meet your needs. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

What Is An Emergency Fund?

Perhaps figuring out what an emergency fund is can best be accomplished by looking at what it is not. An emergency fund is not for a new dress or pair of shoes, it is not for a lavish vacation, and it should not be used for daily trips to the spa or golf outings. An emergency fund is a fund of money, set aside for use when your car breaks down or when your roof springs a leak. Life has a way of throwing us curveballs, and the more you are prepared, the better.

An emergency fund is something everyone should have. Some things to remember when starting an emergency fund are:

  • Continually contribute to the fund, on a regular basis. This is the only way you will be able to grow an account that is there for you in the event of an unplanned event.
  • The fund should contain enough money to pay your bills for 3 to 6 months.
  • Opening a separate savings or investment account is a good way to keep the money earmarked for emergency uses.

Setting up an emergency fund should be a part of your financial plan. The money can be used in times of unemployment, natural disasters, or other unexpected circumstances. Having an emergency fund allows you to maintain your lifestyle, without going into debt. It is no fun to make monthly loan payments, and never see any progress. Using funds from an emergency account will help you to avoid falling into that trap. If you have questions about how to start an emergency fund, or need help managing your current debt load, call our office.

 

Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information about emergency funds and why you need one. We can help you develop a budget that works, and explain your legal options if your budget has fallen apart. We can also put you on the path to financial success, starting with saving for emergencies.

 

 

The Importance Of Sharing Financial Goals With Your Spouse

We’ve all heard how money is one of the leading causes of divorce. This is because when there is not enough money to go around each month, tensions rise and bring out the worst in people. Not being able to pay all the bills can cause arguments between spouses that quickly escalate, and sometimes there seems to be no turning back. In order to maintain peace at home, you have to make peace with your finances and make sure your spouse is on board.

A couple will benefit in more than one way when they share financial goals. Take a look:

  • Setting goals together builds a sense of commitment to each other, to the family, and to common goals.
  • Working together to reach financial goals gives the feeling of a true partnership, and strengthens the bond between a couple.
  • Talking about money reveals what’s important to each party, and can help to make sure your philosophies are in sync.

No one likes to talk about money, but it must be done in order to make workable plans. Bringing the subject up is the hardest part, once the topic has been mentioned the conversations that follow become second nature. It is especially important to talk about financial goals if you are not yet married, but contemplating a wedding. Starting off on the right foot helps to ensure you stay on the right foot, and will give you the confidence to help steer a wayward spouse back on track. It is also equally important for both parties to a relationship to recognize when help is needed. If you and your spouse are having financial difficulty, don’t let it ruin your relationship. We can help you sort out the money problems, which just might save your marriage. Call today for more information.

 

For assistance with finances, call our office. We will help get you on track, and can offer legal options when you’ve exhausted all other efforts. We understand how sharing common financial goals with your spouse can help get you where you need to be, and can help make sure your interests align with your mate’s. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

 

 

How Recycling Can Help Save You Money

It seems everywhere you turn these days people have gone “green”. Catchy slogans like “reduce, reuse, and recycle” show up on just about everything and the push for environmentally friendly products is at an all-time high. Recycling does more than just save the earth though, it can really help you to use less and save. The idea of recycling has reached such gigantic proportions, that many businesses and companies are taking part, to do their part.

An article on Virgin’s website offers these tips on recycling, and how they can actually save you money:

  • Ask your city if the recycling bin you set at your curb for pick up every trash day comes with any incentives. Some cities and towns are now offering vouchers for recycling, which can be used at local eateries or shops.
  • If you can take bottles and cans in for cash, do it!
  • Shopping second hand can save you money, plus you get the added benefit of being able to recycle your own goods when you go to the store. So, go clean out our closet and take clothes you aren’t wearing anymore to a consignment shop. You’ll get paid, and just might find a hidden treasure while you are there, saving money on your clothing budget.
  • When it comes to gift giving, reuse gift bags or use an old piece of scrap fabric for wrapping paper.
  • Rather than invest in pricey food storage containers, save empty ones for leftovers.

If you adopt just a few of these habits, you will be surprised at how fast you can save money. And, most people find doing these little things becomes a way of life and is fun. The money you save can go towards paying down debt, putting funds aside, or replacing the worn tires on your car with cash rather than credit. For more money saving tips, and for advice on what to do if you have too much debt, call our office. We can help you get out of debt, save for the future, and stay out of debt!

 

If you need help with your budget, contact our office. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information and learn how recycling can help you save money, as well as other helpful money tips.

 

 

Tips For Successful Debt Consolidation

It would be nice to be debt free, and have no monthly obligations to meet. This would free you up to save your money for a rainy day, to take a trip, or to make repairs to your home. But, this is simply not the reality most of us face. Perhaps the next best thing is to have a simplified debt program, whereby you make one monthly payment for all of your monthly expenses. This can be accomplished in a number of ways.

Debt consolidation can be done in or out of Court. Here’s how:

  • Bankruptcy: A chapter 13 bankruptcy takes all of your debt and puts in a plan of repayment. The Court will review and approve the plan, and depending on what you owe, you will make one payment to the Trustee each month. The Trustee will then pay your creditors, some in full and some only a portion of what you owe. This results in substantial savings to you, and also makes paying your bills easier because you only make one payment that covers nearly all your debt. There will be a few things that you have to pay separately, such as utilities and living expenses, and perhaps your house payment.
  • Consolidation of debt: there are numerous companies out there that offer services to consolidate your debt. The typical arrangement is that you allow the company to negotiate lower payments on your behalf, and you then make a monthly payment to that company for disbursement to your creditors. This is similar to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but takes place without actually filing bankruptcy.

The choice is yours, and should be made after careful thought. Keep in mind not all creditors work with debt consolidation companies, but are required to accept a Court approved bankruptcy plan. There are also consolidation companies out there that prey on distressed consumers, and offer no real help. Do your research before making a commitment, and let us help you with that task. We have experience helping to get people out of debt, and can help you too!

 

If you have questions about debt consolidation and whether it will work for you, call our office for answers. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.