Category: ‘Credit Card Debt’

Why Waiting to File Bankruptcy Can Hurt You

June 21, 2018 Posted by kingcade

The decision to file for bankruptcy is never an easy one to make. There are a number of myths surrounding filing for bankruptcy, which can oftentimes lead people to wait.  It often can seem like an admission of personal or financial failure, and for this reason, many filers will hold off on filing for bankruptcy for years, allowing their financial issues to only worsen. In fact, the longer people wait to file for bankruptcy, the more likely they will end up struggling, according to a law review study recently published. By the time the individual files for bankruptcy, their personal life and well-being, as well as their financial situation will be damaged to the point where getting a fresh start can be extremely difficult.

Waiting Can Be Draining

The period of time before an individual files for bankruptcy is often referred to as a “financial sweatbox.” The filers are already under an immense amount of stress, are facing debt collector phone calls and lawsuits and are going without basic necessities to avoid the inevitable: having to file for bankruptcy. This “sweat it out” period can end up lasting for years before the person finally comes to the decision that bankruptcy is best for him or her. A recent Notre Dame Law Review piece titled “Life in the Sweatbox” focused on this period of time, showing how waiting it out can be more damaging than making the leap to file for bankruptcy sooner rather than later.

The study used data from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, which is a long-term academic research project that focus on people who end up filing for bankruptcy, reviewing the reasons why they file, as well as the consequences. The data includes information from approximately 3,200 bankruptcy cases between the years 2013 and 2016. “Life in the Sweatbox” focuses on 910 of the 3,200 filers.

Of those surveyed, over 66 percent of them were determined to be “long strugglers,” meaning they had been in the sweatbox for over two years. Approximately one-third of them waited five years or more to file for bankruptcy. They reviewed statistics from 2007 which showed that the number of people who were “long strugglers” doubled in numbers.

The problem is the longer the people waited, the worse their financial situation became. Those who waited had half the median assets compared to other debtors who did not wait or did not wait as long. In addition, the median debt-to-income ratio of these long strugglers was over 40 percent higher than other debtors. Approximately 50 percent of the long-term strugglers were facing debt collection lawsuits while only 35 percent of the others were facing them.

It was discussed that the stigma that exists around filing is what keeps people from making that decision to file for bankruptcy. However, bankruptcy laws provide the ability for debtors to get a fresh start. Prolonging the decision to file only allows for assets to be depleted making it even more difficult for the person to get a true fresh start.

When to File for Bankruptcy

If a person’s debts are more than 40 percent of his or her income, it is recommended that he or she reaches out for financial guidance. Also, if the person is using debt to pay for basic necessities or other debts, this is another red flag that perhaps that person is in over his or her head.

A bankruptcy attorney can review what debts are crippling the individual. If they are unsecured consumer debts, including credit cards, personal loans or medical bills, these can all be wiped out in bankruptcy.  Lastly, if the individual is forgoing basic necessities such as food or medical care, it is highly recommended that he or she discuss options with a consumer bankruptcy attorney.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

 

 

 

Beware of ‘Get Out of Debt Quick’ Scams

June 19, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Getting out of debt is a goal for many people, and in a perfect world, a ‘get out of debt quick’ offer sounds too good to be true.  However, just like the ‘get rich quick’ schemes, if it sounds too good to be true, odds are it probably is too good to be true.

Debt relief companies prey on consumers who are drowning in debt and going through a great deal of personal stress as a result. While some legitimate debt relief companies do exist, the majority of them are looking to scam individuals who are desperate to get out of debt at all costs and find relief from the numerous collection calls they are receiving.

One of the most important steps an individual can take before choosing to work with a debt relief company is to thoroughly investigate and research the company. With online resources available, as well as review websites, it is easy to find out quickly whether a debt relief company is legitimate or not.

Most importantly, never pay an upfront fee to one of these companies. If the company is requesting this, it is highly likely you will never hear from the company again after the initial fee has been paid. In addition, if the company is guaranteeing that they can eliminate all of your debt that should be a red flag as well. No debt relief company has the ability to guarantee that a creditor will forgive any debt. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission has warned against these types of statements. If a debtor comes into contact with a company that makes any of these statements, the FTC encourages the individual to file a report and expose a possible scam.

The main question you should ask is: How much progress can be made through lifestyle changes and spending habits?

If smarter spending and lifestyle changes are sufficient, a debt management or debt consolidation program may be the best choice. These types of programs work on the balances with the highest interest rates first or consolidate debts by taking out a new loan with a lower interest rate to pay off older balances first. Debt management or consolidation normally requires a monthly fee. These companies will work with your creditors to lower the total debt balance.  The hope is that creditors will rather receive a lower lump-sum payment on the debt rather than risk not being paid at all in a bankruptcy situation.

However, sometimes the  debt amount can be just too much to handle. Debt settlement may be the best option in these cases, or even bankruptcy if the settlement of the debt is still not enough. Debt settlement can take anywhere from between two to four years for a company to work with creditors to pay down debt. If bankruptcy is the best option, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be completed in three to six months while Chapter 13 can take anywhere from three to five years.

Make sure and explore all of your options and make the best decision for your situation. A bankruptcy attorney can help decipher these options and give recommendations on what would be ideal and in your best interest.

Click here to read more.

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

 

 

 

Floridians Hold Some of the Highest Amounts of Credit Card Debt in the Nation

June 8, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Credit card debt is a problem for many Americans, but according to a recent study, it seems to be a more significant problem in Florida.  In fact, the Sunshine State has been ranked among the top three states where residents hold the highest amount of credit card debt.

Florida residents carry a total balance of $59.2 billion in credit card debt, as of the end of 2017. The State of California tops the list with its residents holding $106.8 billion in credit card debt, followed by Texas at $67.3 billion.

Interestingly enough, California has traditionally been known to be a state where individuals need to earn the most income to be considered “wealthy” by most standards. Considering the high level of credit card debt residents in California carry, this leads one to conclude that this “income” involves resorting to the use of credit cards, instead of solely relying on earnings.

According to the report, the states with the highest amounts of credit card debt in 2017 were:

  1. California $106.8 billion
  2. Texas $67.3 billion
  3. Florida 59.2 billion
  4. New York $58.1 billion
  5. Pennsylvania $33.2 billion
  6. Illinois $32.2 billion
  7. New Jersey $29.6 billion
  8. Ohio $26.7 billion
  9. Virginia $26.5 billion
  10. Georgia $26.3 billion

Florida residents were also in the top ten for credit card delinquency rates, meaning balances were left unpaid for 90 or more days. Nationally, approximately 7.5 percent of credit card debt was delinquent by these standards. Florida was above this average figure and ranked third in terms of delinquency reported.

The report stated that credit card balances on a national level declined between the years 2008 and 2013 but began to rise again in 2014. As of 2017, more than 470 million credit card accounts were open, totaling $3.5 trillion. The total debt figures were compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  The full report can be viewed here.

If you are struggling with credit card debt and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://patch.com/florida/southtampa/florida-among-states-highest-credit-card-debt