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Life After Bankruptcy: What To Expect

Not so long ago it seemed like filing for bankruptcy was the end of the world. The social stigma associated with going bankrupt kept many people that needed the benefits the bankruptcy laws have to offer from filing a case. Debtors were also afraid to file because they felt like bankruptcy was a hole that was too hard to dig out of after the fact. So, many deserving people missed out on overcoming burdensome debt and getting back on their financial feet, for no good reason. This is not the story today, and the thoughts on bankruptcy have loosened.

The purpose of the bankruptcy laws is to give the honest, but unfortunate, debtor a fresh start. It can be hard to manage debt when you are constantly fending of collection calls, or worried about how to make ends meet. Bankruptcy can give you a chance to breathe and regroup, which allows you to start over and reach your financial goals. Take a look at what you can expect after bankruptcy:

  • Eliminating debt gives you the chance to save for emergencies. With more disposable income available, you can start a savings account or put money aside for repairs or other necessary things.
  • Your bankruptcy filing will be on your credit, but your credit score may not drop as much as you might expect. You will also be able to take out new loans and credit cards, and doing so can help to rebuild your credit if you make the payments on time or pay off the balance in full every month.
  • After filing for bankruptcy, your stress level will significantly decrease. Without having to live paycheck to paycheck, or not have enough to pay all of the bills, you will be able to relax and focus on more important things such as your work and your family.

There is no shame in filing bankruptcy, and it can be enormously helpful. Most times the decision to file is the hardest part of the case. Once you have made that choice, you can expect a fresh start and a new lease on life.

 

Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information about what to expect during and after filing for bankruptcy. We have helped others, and are here to help you too.

 

 

Setting The Record Straight: Bankruptcy Myths Debunked

When you are in over your head financially, it can be easy to fall prey to get rich quick schemes and allow unscrupulous companies to take advantage of you in the hopes of getting out of debt fast. Even companies that seem legitimate can cause you more harm than good, so if something sounds too good to be true it is probably not a good choice. Debt consolidation companies can be helpful, but you have to do your research first to make sure they can deliver the results promised. Many times a debt consolidation company will claim they can reduce all of your bills, but the plain truth is your creditors are not required to work with these companies. One sure fire way to lower your bills and eliminate debt is by seeking the protection of bankruptcy. But, even then you need to be aware of the rules and know what to expect. There are too many myths about bankruptcy out there, and we are here to set the record straight.

The Bankruptcy Code allows for debtors to eliminate debt, or to consolidate it through the Courts, under certain circumstances. Some of the most common urban legends surrounding bankruptcy include:

  • You can keep your things without paying: this is not true. Even in bankruptcy if you want to keep your car, or your house, or your motorcycle you still have to make payments.
  • You will not be able to get a loan: contrary to popular belief, creditors are out there willing to make loans to people who have gone through bankruptcy. In fact, you may be surprised at the number of solicitations you receive, but be careful about taking on new debt. If you are able to make the payments on a loan or credit card, doing so will help to repair your credit faster.
  • Your credit will be ruined if you file for bankruptcy: while the notation that you filed bankruptcy will be on your credit report, your credit score will not be ruined. And, if you are able to take on new debt after your case and manage it in a responsible way, chances are your credit will bounce back quickly.

Don’t be fooled by the myths out there about bankruptcy. Instead, call us for the information you need in order to make an informed decision about whether bankruptcy is for you. We have experience helping people file bankruptcy, and get the fresh financial start they deserve. Let us help you too.

 

For assistance with bankruptcy issues, call our office today. 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.

 

 

 

Tips For Including One Time Expenses In Your Budget

Making a monthly budget requires you to list out all of the expenses you generally incur in any given month. Common components of a monthly budget include rent or a mortgage payment, utility bills, groceries, credit card payments, a cell or landline phone bill, car payments and the insurance that goes along with the vehicles, and cable or other television services. But, not every expense you have is one that you have to pay on a monthly basis. However, it is just as important to budget for onetime expenses as it is to budget for recurring expenses.

Tips for saving for expenses that are not monthly, like annual homeowner’s dues or car tags, include:

  • Opening a separate savings account that is earmarked for these expenses. A good example is an annual expense, which allows you to divide the amount of the expense by twelve and then deposit that amount of money into a separate account on a monthly basis. In this way the expense is included in your monthly budget, but you are not making the payment on a monthly cycle.
  • Use bonuses and gifts to establish a savings account, the use the money in the savings account for onetime expenses.
  • Include a miscellaneous category in your monthly budget and determine an amount to save each month for those expenses. This will leave extra cash in your account, for use when a onetime expense or emergency arises.

Whichever method you decide, make sure you take steps to set aside money for things that come up only once or twice a year. When you have saved the money needed for large onetime expense, you can avoid resorting to use of a credit card or the need to take out a loan to cover the fees. The more frequently you are able to devote a portion of your paycheck to a onetime expense, the more likely the money will be there when needed. Be sure to include other expenses, like the cost of gas and entertainment, in your budget as well. These expenses are not ones you see monthly by way of a monthly statement, but are expenses you incur nonetheless One of the biggest reasons people are unable to stick to a budget is because items are overlooked. For help with your budget, call our office. Or, if you do not have enough income to cover your monthly expenses, call us to learn your legal remedies for debt management.

 

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

Tax Benefits To College Education Savings Plans

Let’s face it, the cost of higher education is great. Going to school is one way to get ahead, because most employers who offer better paying jobs are looking for applicants with a college degree. But, getting there can put a real strain on your finances. There are options for paying for college, such as student loans and grants. However, if you are trying to avoid going into debt, taking out a loan may not be up your alley. One thing you can do is to open a college savings account, and this can be for yourself or for the benefit of another.

The most common form of college savings plan is called a 529 Plan. The plan is called a 529 Plan because it is named after the IRS provision by the same number. Along with providing an account for you to put money into for growth, a 529 Plan also has other financial benefits:

  • Money you deposit in a 529 Plan is tax free, on your state income tax return. This means that your taxable income is reduced by a portion of the total amount you pay into the plan over the year.
  • The money deposited is invested, which means that when it comes time to put the money to use, there is more in your account that what you have put in over time. This is one way to save for college that doesn’t feel so overwhelming. Opening an account well before reaching college age will allow the account to grow.

There are limits on the amount you can contribute to these plans, so be sure to follow the rules to receive the maximum benefits. The money can be used for higher education, and in some instances can even be used for the technology needed to attend college (like a computer). Establishing a 529 college savings plan does not have to be a daunting task, once set up you are I control of the account, for the benefit of the named beneficiary. If you have questions about how to save for college, call us to speak with one of our trained financial and budget specialists.

 

If you have questions about college savings and the tax benefits it offers, call a knowledgeable attorney to discuss your options. We can help you understand your choices and make a decision that works for you. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

 

 

Three Things To Know About Credit Card Use When Filing Bankruptcy

Chances are, if you have filed bankruptcy or are considering doing so, you have a substantial amount of credit card debt. The interest charged by most card companies is high, making it nearly impossible to pay off credit card debt if all you are able to do is make the minimum payment each month. When you file for bankruptcy, you should stop using your credit cards, and most companies will put a hold on your account to prevent future charges. For those companies that don’t block charging ability, proceed with caution.

Fox Business offers the following advice, with these top three things to know about credit card use when filing bankruptcy:

  • Any credit card you have included in your bankruptcy will no longer be available to you, but the chances of receiving offers from other companies after your bankruptcy is over (or even during the pendency) is high.
  • If you decide to open an account with a new credit card company, be sure to keep the balance low and pay it off monthly. This will prevent you from incurring debt that spirals out of control and accumulates large amounts of interest to be repaid.
  • Opening a new account can help you to re-establish your credit, as long as you act responsibly and make the payments on time and as required.

Other options for credit card use include opening a secured account. This type of credit card is one where you pay a certain amount to the card to secure your repayment of future charges. It is not uncommon for those in a bankruptcy to be made this type of offer, but accepting the offer must fit within your budget. Bankruptcy offers you a fresh financial start, and taking steps after your case is over to keep on track is important to your future finances and budget. Once you have received a discharge of debts, the last thing you want to do is find yourself in financial distress again. If you have questions about bankruptcy, credit card use, and how to get out of debt, call our office.

 

If you have questions about bankruptcy and credit card use, contact our office for help. We will explain your options, so you understand your choices and can make a decision that meets your needs. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

 

 

How Creditors Are Given Notice Of Your Bankruptcy Case

When you have overwhelming debt and are receiving calls from creditors, it can be difficult to know where to turn and how to stop the calls. Bankruptcy is a very real option for many people, and the moment you file your creditors are prohibited from contacting you in an effort to collect their debt. If this seems too good to be true, it might be because it seems like a burdensome task to notify countless credit card and loan companies that you have filed. The logistics of getting notice out to all of those that you owe money to seems like a lot of hard work, but bankruptcy is designed to help the honest but unfortunate debtor. So, when you file and when events take place in your case, your creditors get automatic notice.

As you prepare to visit with a bankruptcy attorney, you will need to gather your debts and income. For your income you can bring copies of your pay stubs and tax returns. For your debts, you will need to list out everyone you owe, the amount, and their address. When you file your case, the list of creditors you owe money to is uploaded to your electronic file. Notice of your case is then sent to everyone on your list of creditors. Other things that your creditors are notified of include:

  • The date of your first meeting, so your lenders will have the opportunity to come to that meeting and ask questions regarding your intent for their debt.
  • Notices of all the activity in your case, including when the discharge is entered.

Giving notice of your filing will put your creditors on notice that you have filed, and they will then know that they cannot collect the debt. Notice of your discharge will give creditors notice that their debt is no longer considered due. Any action taken to collect the debt during the case or after the discharge is a violation of bankruptcy law. For more information about the bankruptcy process and how your lenders will know that you have filed, call our office today.

 

If you have questions about bankruptcy, let an experienced attorney help you. 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.