Category: ‘Timothy Kingcade Posts’

Student Loan Mistakes to Avoid in your 20’s

August 8, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Student loan debt can feel like a dark cloud hanging over your future- particularly if you just graduated college and may not have landed your “dream job,” yet.  Here are some mistakes to avoid early on when paying back your student loan debt.

  1. You wait until the end of the grace period to begin making payments. Upon graduation, your lender will likely give you a grace period of six months to start paying back your debt. Nice of them, right? Wrong.  On the contrary this is a trap.  Most student loan debt begins accruing interest immediately upon graduation.
  2. You ignore the auto pay option. Automatic payments will deduct the amount directly from your checking account, ensuring you do not incur late fees or penalties.  Most loan providers will also give you a 0.25 percentage discount if you do this.
  3. You fail to plan. It is important to strategize- particularly if you have multiple student loans with different lenders and different interest rates. The way you pay these off can make a big difference in how much interest you will pay in the long run.
  4. You do not consolidate your federal loans and refinance private loans.  If monthly payments are too much for you, look into whether you qualify for an income-based repayment plan.  Consider consolidating federal loans into a federal direct consolidation loan and refinancing your private loans.
  5. You do not make your student loan debt a priority. Financial experts advise to first prioritize your company’s 401(k) match program. Second, work to establish an emergency fund that will cover your living expenses for at least three months.  Repaying your student loan debt should be at the top of this list.

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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.

 

Debt Questions you may be Afraid to Ask

August 4, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Talking about debt can bring up all sorts of emotions, leaving some to worry in silence about their own debt or a family member’s finances.  Here some answers to some of the most common questions about debt.

Can I inherit my spouse’s or family member’s debt after they die?  This depends on the debt. The assets left behind after a death typically go towards paying off that individual’s debt.  After that runs out, the creditor typically suffers the loss.  Co-signers when it comes to student loans, mortgage debts and joint credit cards will likely be on the hook for any remaining balance.  Know the dangers co-signing a loan and make sure and carry enough life insurance to cover all of your debts.

Is there a limit to the amount of debt I can take on?  The answer is no, but it depends largely on the type of debt.  Lenders sometimes offer you more credit than you can pay back.  Think of a loan you would take out to start a new business or taking out a mortgage to purchase a new home.  Even if you qualify for the loan, be realistic about what you can afford to repay.

Can I be arrested for outstanding debt?  The answer is no.  The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) bars debt collectors from harassing and threatening you with arrest or jail.  However, they can sue you for payment.  Know your rights when dealing with debt collectors and consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney before receiving a court summons or being sued by a creditor.

If I file for bankruptcy, will ALL of my debt be erased?  Alimony and child support obligations cannot be erased in bankruptcy.  Student loans, certain tax debts and judgments against you can be difficult to get discharged as well.

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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.

Rebuilding Your Credit After Bankruptcy

August 3, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to get a fresh start financially and erase past debts, but a legitimate concern consumers have is the effects it will have on their credit score and their ability to take out credit again.

One of the biggest misconceptions about filing for bankruptcy is that it will ruin your credit score and your financial future.  To the contrary, after filing for bankruptcy you can begin restoring your credit right away.

Here are some steps you can take to begin rebuilding your credit after filing for bankruptcy:

Create a budget.  This will help you stay on top of your finances and is something you should have gone over in the “pre-discharge” credit counseling.

Build an emergency fund.  Research shows that having as little as $250 saved up for an unexpected expense can protect families from having to resort to pay day loans and credit cards.

Plan your post-bankruptcy credit strategy.  Assess your situation by first checking your credit score.  Dispute any inaccurate information on your credit report and have this corrected immediately.  Remember, a Chapter 7 filing will wipe out your debts, but it does not wipe your credit reports clean.  Make sure and double check all three reports.

Here are some ways to access to new credit while rebuilding your score.

Secured loans are typically offered by credit unions or community banks.  One type of secured loan involves borrowing against money you already have on deposit.   The other type can be made without upfront cash.  Instead, this money is loaned to you and is placed in a savings account and released to you only after you have made the necessary payments.  In return, the financial institution agrees to send a report to the credit bureaus.

A secured credit card is backed by the deposit you make and the credit limit is typically the amount you have on deposit.  This can help repair your credit while you wait to become eligible for an unsecured card.

A co-signed credit card can improve your score, but it is definitely a big ask. Essentially, this individual (the co-signer) is risking his or her own credit history for you and will be on the hook if the full amount is not paid on the card.

If asking to co-sign is too much, an authorized user status will work.  Basically, you are an authorized user on that person’s credit card.  Just make sure the credit card will report the payment activity by authorized users to the credit bureaus, otherwise it will have no effect on your score.

A lighter debt burden automatically makes you more desirable to lenders, so be vigilant about paying on time.  Keep your credit card balances relatively low compared to the card’s limit.  For example, less than 30% is typically advised while using just 10% of the available credit is even better.

Still not convinced?  A testimonial from one of our clients in regards to their credit score after filing for bankruptcy.

My credit score said on all three reports 775, I couldn’t believe that I had such a great score before 10 years. Tim for me was the best move I have made for my situation. I have no regrets, I am glad the past is the past. – Bill T.

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:

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/rebuild-credit-after-bankruptcy/

The Cost of Bankruptcy and How to Pay for It

August 2, 2017 Posted by kingcade

You are struggling financially and need to file for bankruptcy.  A common question is how I can afford the cost of hiring an attorney when I can’t even meet my bills?  Many people think they cannot afford to file for bankruptcy.  However, bankruptcy laws allow you to eliminate some debts and lower payments on others.   This now “freed-up” money, oftentimes hundreds of dollars a month, can be used to cover the cost of your bankruptcy attorney and filing fees.

The U.S. Federal Bankruptcy Laws were designed to give you a fresh start and a second chance when it comes to your finances.  

When it comes to the cost of bankruptcy, you will face two expenses: the court filing fees to handle your case and the attorney fees for your bankruptcy lawyer who files your case and represents you in court.

There are several types of bankruptcies to choose from, but the most common consumer bankruptcies are Chapter 7- where most of your debts are forgiven, and Chapter 13- where your debt is reorganized and restructured into a payment plan.

Filing fees remain the same nationwide, but your attorney fees can vary greatly, depending on location, the complexities of your case and your attorney.

  Chapter 7 Chapter 13
Filing fees $335 $310
Attorney fees* $500 – $3,500 $1,500 – $6,000
Total $835 – $3,835 $1,810 – $6,310

 

Here are some tips on how to pay for your bankruptcy:

  • Work out a payment plan with your attorney. Payment plans can vary.  Some lawyers allow you to spread the payments over six months, others over three months.  Most will want payment in full before filing your case.  The simple reason: Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates most of your debts, so you would not be legally obligated to pay your attorney any outstanding fees after filing.
  • Raise the money. Try to earn some additional income.  Consider having a garage sale, selling items on consignment, on Ebay or Craigslist (i.e. – think old electronics, hand bags, etc.) or taking on a part-time job to earn some fast cash.

Consumers who owe debt know the fear associated with going to the mailbox, answering the phone when it is an unknown number.  This fear is eliminated once hiring an experienced bankruptcy attorney.  Debt collectors must stop contacting you immediately and communicate only with your attorney- thanks to the protections in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

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:

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/bankruptcy-costs-pay/

 

Changes to Healthcare could lead to More Bankruptcies

August 1, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, personal bankruptcy filings dropped about 50 percent, from 1,536,799 in 2010 to 770,846 in 2016.  Studies have shown medical debt as the leading cause of personal bankruptcy filings.  As legislators and the executive branch renew their efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, there is concern about what that will do to coverage and premiums.

A study conducted by the American Medical Association in 2007 found that 67% of those who filed for bankruptcy cited medical debt as a major factor.  For middle class homeowners, the issue of medical coverage was even more influential, with half of all foreclosures caused in part by medical debt. The uncertainty about the fate of healthcare coverage for many Americans may cause the number of bankruptcies and foreclosures to increase in the coming years.

The current healthcare bill that is being debated may result in 22 million to 32 million Americans losing a portion of their current healthcare benefits.

Click here to read more on this story.

Those who have experienced illness or injury and found themselves overwhelmed with medical debt should contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney. In bankruptcy, medical bills are considered general unsecured debts just like credit cards. This means that medical bills do not receive priority treatment and can easily be discharged in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy laws were created to help people resolve overwhelming debt and gain a fresh financial start. Bankruptcy attorney 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:

https://www.consumerreports.org/personal-bankruptcy/how-the-aca-drove-down-personal-bankruptcy/