Category: ‘Bankruptcy Law’

Top Debt Mistakes to Avoid

August 18, 2017 Posted by kingcade

From credit cards to car loans, there are many ways to get in over your head with debt.  Here are some common debt mistakes to avoid.

  1. Credit card debt. Avoid this at all costs- if you can.  Most of these cards come with high interest rates, so any remaining debt at the end of the month increases daily.  Make sure you are only using credit cards on items you can (and will) pay off each month.
  2. Amassing bad debt. Borrowing money should be something you do as an investment in your future.  Student loan debt and a mortgage loan are examples.  In contrast, “bad debt” is money you borrow for purchases that decrease in value.
  3. Paying late. Constant late payments or missing payments can cost you penalties and lower your credit score. If you struggle to remember your payments, take advantage of automatic payments.
  4. Paying only the minimum. Making minimum payments on your credit card is tempting, but it will ultimately cost you more money due to the loan debt interest rate.
  5. Not budgeting. The only way to get out of debt is to stop living beyond your means, and the only way to stop living beyond your means is to stick to a strict budget.
  6. Ignoring your lender.  Lenders want their money, and they want you to be able to pay it- even if that means settling for less. Do not ignore their calls.  If you cannot afford to pay, tell them.  Never promise to pay or give your bank account information if you cannot afford to pay.  Chances are, a simple conversation will lead to a solution, whether that is a lower interest rate or a simple payment plan.

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If you have any questions on this topic or are in a 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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

The Costs of Deferring Your Student Loans

August 17, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Many Americans are struggling to pay back their student loans.  According to a recent study, 30 percent of direct loans are in deferment.  When a borrower defers a student loan, temporarily suspending repayment due to unemployment or other financial hardship- the interest on the loan continues to accrue.  If no payments are made during the deferment period, the interest will capitalize and be added to the total amount of the loan.

Interest rates are expected to rise in 2018.  Undergrads will pay 4.45 percent on loans distributed from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, which is up from 3.76 last year. There are limited time frames for how long a loan can be in deferment.  Deferring your student loans can also eliminate your eligibility for certain public forgiveness programs.

Deferring your student loans can be costly.  Here are some alternatives:

  • Utilize income-driven repayment plans offered by your lender;
  • Refinance your student loans;
  • See if your employer offers loan assistance to employees;
  • Forbearance, which suspends student loan payments is typically at the loan holder’s discretion. These specific qualifications are detailed on the government’s Federal Student Aid

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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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Record High Credit Card Debt Exceeds Previous Numbers Set Prior to the 2008 Recession

August 16, 2017 Posted by kingcade

U.S. credit card debt is just over $1 trillion, exceeding the previous high set in April 2008 right before the Great Recession. The average amount of credit card debt per household is $9,600. That equals about 17% of the average U.S. household income. Since the average interest rate on a credit card is 16%, and about 24% for those with “less than perfect” credit, that debt grows between $1,600 and $2,300 each year.

A recent survey found millennials’ knowledge on credit card use troubling. A few millennials (6%) actually believe that missing a credit card payment would “improve” their credit rating. 17% said missing a card payment would have no effect on their score. Some 36% have maxed out credit cards and 48% carry card balances over to the next month, paying high interest rates and other monthly fees.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in a 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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

How do you know if it’s the IRS Contacting You?

August 11, 2017 Posted by kingcade

When the IRS contacts you, their first form of communication is through the U.S. Postal Service.  The IRS will NEVER initiate contact though email, social media or text messages.

Here are some additional ways the IRS will contact tax payers. It is important to be aware of these so you do not fall victim to an IRS-related scam.

  • An IRS agent or tax compliance officer may call you after mailing a notice to confirm an appointment or discuss an item for a scheduled audit;
  • Private debt collectors can call taxpayers for the collection of certain outstanding inactive tax liabilities- but only after the taxpayer and their representative has received written notice;
  • Private debt collectors for the IRS must respect taxpayers’ rights and abide by the consumer protection provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

All payments should be made to the U.S. Treasury.  Taxpayers should never use a prepaid debit card or wire transfer to make a payment.  Specific guidelines to make tax payments can be found at irs.gov/payments.

IRS employees will NEVER:

  • Be hostile or insulting;
  • Demand payment without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount;
  • Require a specific payment method (i.e. – a prepaid debit card);
  • Threaten lawsuits, arrest or deportation for not paying;
  • Request credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

A special page on IRS.gov, “How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door,” helps taxpayers determine if a person claiming to be from the IRS is legitimate or a scammer.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in a 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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

http://www.examiner-enterprise.com/business/20170806/how-do-you-know-when-irs-is-contacting-you

 

Senate Approves Legislation to Fight Scammers who Target the Elderly

August 10, 2017 Posted by kingcade

A new law protecting seniors, The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act, passed unanimously and strengthens the federal reporting system for fraud complaints and requires the FTC to monitor fraud schemes targeting seniors.

This story and thousands more like it prompted the new law:

A Duluth elderly mother had picked up the phone to happy news. She had won the lottery- $2.5 million and a new Mercedes!  But before she could claim her prize, the contest organizers needed something from her.  You can probably guess what it was.  In a matter of days, the phone scammers had defrauded the 82-year-old woman out of $47,000, forcing her into bankruptcy.

Seniors are extremely vulnerable and face a constant influx of lies and scams to their mail boxes, inboxes even their phones. These phony contests, fraudulent charities, fake investment opportunities, even scams involving their supposed “grandchildren” who got in trouble overseas and need money wired to them, immediately- all attempt to drain seniors’ of their hard-earned life savings.   A new fraud scheme targeting seniors appears almost daily, according to a fraud investigator for the AARP.

The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act of 2017 strengthens the federal reporting system for fraud complaints and requires the Federal Trade Commission to monitor the market for fraud schemes targeting seniors.

This bill directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to establish an office within the Bureau of Consumer Protection to advise the FTC on the prevention of fraud targeting seniors and to assist the FTC in monitoring the market for mail, television, Internet, telemarketing, and recorded message telephone call (robocall) fraud targeting seniors.

The office must: (1) disseminate to seniors and their families and caregivers information on the most common fraud schemes, including methods of reporting complaints either to the FTC’s national toll-free telephone number or to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network, where complaints become immediately available to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, state attorneys general, and other appropriate law enforcement agencies; (2) provide, in response to a specific request about a particular entity or individual, publicly available information regarding the FTC’s enforcement action; and (3) maintain a website as a resource for information on fraud targeting seniors.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in a 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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

http://www.startribune.com/senate-signs-off-on-legislation-to-fight-scammers-who-target-the-elderly/438744333/

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/81