Category: ‘Credit’

Subprime Warning Issued by the Fed As Household Debt Hits New All Time High

November 30, 2017 Posted by kingcade

U.S. household debt has grown $605 billion in the past 12 months, with $116 billion, accumulating in the latest quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  Debt is ballooning on mortgages, student loans and auto loans.  Credit card debt has increased 3.1 percent in the latest quarter.

Total U.S. household debt was $12.96 trillion in the three months to September, up $116 billion from the prior three months. Debt levels were $605 billion higher than during the third quarter of 2016.

Auto loans grew by $23 billion and credit card balances increased by $24 billion, while student loans saw a $13 billion increase. Credit card balances increased by $24 billion. The combined credit card limit rose for the 19th consecutive quarter, with a 1.5% increase.

Some financial experts are saying this build-up is reminiscent to the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008.  Federal data shows an increase in credit cards and auto loans moving into delinquency.

Aggregate household debt increased for the 13th consecutive quarter, rising by $116 billion (0.9%) to a new all time high.  As of September 30, 2017, total household indebtedness was $12.96 trillion, an increase of $605 billion from a year ago and equivalent to 66% of US GDP, versus a high of around 87% in early 2009.

If you are struggling with debt, know your rights and what debt collectors can and cannot do. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) limits the tactics that debt collectors can take to collect on a debt.   

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have any 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.

Related Resources:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-14/fed-issues-subprime-warning-household-debt-hits-new-all-time-high

 

Student Loan Borrowers Awarded $3.75 Million from Citibank

November 29, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said in a consent order that Citibank improperly misled borrowers into believing they were ineligible for a tax deduction on interest they paid on certain student loans.  Student loan borrowers who were effected, will share $3.75 million in payments from Citibank for financial practices that forced them to make overpayments, a federal watchdog said this week.

In addition, the bank incorrectly charged late fees and extra interest to borrowers who were still in school and eligible to defer repayments on their student loans.  Citibank also misled borrowers about their monthly bills and failed to disclose required information after the bank denied borrower requests to release loan co-signers.

“Citibank’s servicing failures made it more costly and confusing for borrowers trying to pay back their student loans,” Richard Cordray, the consumer bureau’s director, said in a statement issued with the announcement.

Federal law allows student loan borrowers to deduct as much as $2,500 in annual interest they pay on student loan debt. However, Citibank made statements that suggested the borrowers had not paid qualified interest or were ineligible for the deductions.

Click here to read more on this story.

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all 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.

Seniors and Bankruptcy: The Reasons Older Americans Are Filing

November 28, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Medical debt is the No. 1 cause of personal bankruptcy filings in the United States and a key reason more seniors are filing for bankruptcy.  Another reason for the uptick in bankruptcy filings among Americans 50 and older is the rising cost of healthcare.  We recently did a posting on Tips for Seniors to Avoid Medical Debt. The 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act made it more difficult for some consumers to qualify for bankruptcy, but it did not change the number of people who had more debt than they could afford to pay.

Making matters worse for older Americans are the collection practices of unscrupulous debt collectors. A recent report from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that debt collection was the most-complained about product or service for consumers over 62.

Bankruptcy brings with it emotional relief and getting their case filed and debts discharged relieves so much stress for our clients.  Seniors can protect assets through bankruptcy. Social security, 401(k)’s, pensions, qualified profit-sharing plans, and individual retirement accounts worth up to $1.245 million are all exempt from creditors during bankruptcy. This means that retirement income and savings are out of reach and protected under federal law. Protecting equity, which is the value of a property, minus the amount owed, is important for seniors. Using a homestead exemption, designed to protect the equity of a main residence in a bankruptcy, will usually keep retirees from losing their homes. Florida homeowners can take advantage of the fact that Florida does not have a limit on the equity that is exempt.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have any 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.

Cyber Monday: Online Shopping Safety Tips

November 27, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Cyber Monday is expected to be the biggest online shopping day of the year with $6.6 billion in sales. While consumers are busy capitalizing on the best holiday deals, it is important to remember to safeguard your personal information and shop safely. Scammers will be working overtime today and throughout the holiday season looking for ways to access shoppers’ personal information to open up new account in their names, take out loans, and even file for unemployment assistance.

Shopping online has become the preferred method of shopping for many consumers.  In fact, according to Adobe Digital Insights consumers have spent $28.6 billion shopping online the first 21 days of November, up nearly 18 percent over last year.

The biggest threat consumers’ face when shopping online is identity theft.  When you shop online, a lot of your personal information is required for you to make a purchase.  Make sure you are shopping online at credible websites, merchants and trusted retailers.  Be wary of websites that are selling “too good to be true” offers.  Usually, they are just that.  Verify a secured connection by looking for a padlock in the browser address bar and make sure the web address starts with https://.  The “s” stands for secured.

Here are some additional online shopping safety tips to remember this Cyber Monday and throughout the holiday season.

  • Make sure you are purchasing items using a credit card with a chip in it. The e-chip generates a unique code for each transaction.
  • Do not use free Wi-Fi on your mobile device. When shopping online, make sure you are using a secure Internet connection.  Do not do any sort of transaction that involves personal, financial, or credit card information while using an open and unsecured Wi-Fi connection.  Use your own data plan or home wireless system to purchase online safely. Not doing so can leave you vulnerable to fraudsters adding malware to your device and when you go to make a purchase or login to your bank account, they can record sensitive personal information and passwords.
  • Beware of phishing scams. This is how many criminals get your credit card and personal information, often posing as trusted retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart, offering huge discounts.  Never click on the links provided in these emails.
  • Dedicate only one credit card to online purchases. Credit cards generally offer better purchase protection and fraud dispute than other payment method.  Use a second account to pay bills, groceries, etc. This way if the card is compromised, it is easy to simply close out the account and request a new card.
  • When entering payment information online, you should verify that HTTPS is in your address bar to protect yourself from identity theft. URLs that begin with https:// instead of the standard http:// are secured by SSL – an internet security protocol.
  • Do not be fooled by confusingly similar website and domain names. Pay close attention to your retailer’s URL when shopping online.

The Department of Homeland Security offers useful and practical information at StopThinkConnect.org. Another online shopping consumer resource is the National Cyber Security Alliance at StaySafeOnline.org.  If you have been a victim of cyber crime, or get suspicious phishing emails, report them to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center at IC3.gov. This site posts alerts on data breaches and emerging internet crime schemes.

If you have any 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.

Related Resources:

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/features/deals-shopping/sfl-cyber-monday-online-safety-tips-from-a-cybersecurity-expert-20171126-column.html

How the Tax Reform Could Affect those Paying off Student Loans

November 24, 2017 Posted by kingcade

As lawmakers consider two different bills that would overhaul the tax code, several changes on the table could affect Americans who are paying student loans. The House version of the bill would eliminate some tax benefits for those with college costs. However, the Senate version of the bill would leave most of them untouched. Both bills would eliminate many tax breaks, however; they would also roughly double the standard deduction.

If you are currently paying off your student loans, you can use the student loan interest deduction to lower your taxable income by as much as $2,500. It is an “above the line deduction,” meaning it can be claimed without itemizing. It is available to borrowers with modified adjusted gross incomes up to $65,000 or $130,000 of couples filing jointly. The current tax deduction saves people a maximum of $625 per year. The proposed House bill would repeal the deduction while the Senate bill would keep it in place.

If you are paying for your child’s tuition you can currently claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit for up to $2,500 per child enrolled in college each year. The full credit is available to couples earning up to $160,000 per year and an individual earning up to $80,000 per year. The proposed House bill would expand eligibility to a student’s fifth year at a reduced benefit and the Senate version would keep the credit as it is.

Click here to read more on this story.

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all 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.