Archive for: ‘May 2014’

Foreclosure: Bad for your Neighbor’s Health?

May 15, 2014 Posted by kingcade

According to research published in the American Heart Association Journal, Circulation, the stress associated with living near a foreclosed home increases the chance of developing high blood pressure. Foreclosures are known for decreasing the property values of neighboring homes, but new research suggests it can also affect the health of your neighbors.

The study tracked 1,750 Massachusetts residents from 1987 through 2008 and found that each foreclosure within 100 meters of a person’s home affected their systolic blood pressure, the top number in the reading. According to the study, neighbors may be worried that foreclosures are hurting their home values or the safety of their communities, and that this anxiety can boost blood pressure. The study was controlled for age, income, education, race, sex and other factors, including whether the participants were taking blood-pressure medications. It also considered alcohol consumption and weight and found that both increased when there were foreclosures nearby.

Homes that lapse into foreclosure but are quickly purchased do not appear to lead to a rise in blood pressure, whereas homes that are seized by banks and stand vacant do, according to the study. The increase was not significant enough to present a huge health risk, but it does suggest that the housing crisis extends beyond the economy into the public health arena.

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Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Sallie Mae Faces Nearly $200 Million in Penalties for Cheating Active Duty Troops

May 14, 2014 Posted by kingcade

Sallie Mae and its former loan unit, Navient have struck a deal with federal authorities to resolve allegations that it cheated active duty troops and other borrowers who were being charged late fees.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), service members have complained that companies such as Sallie Mae and Navient have told them they could not receive protections under the law unless their loans were in forbearance or deferment.

Sallie Mae and Navient more than doubled to $173 million- the amount they have set aside to cover settlements resolving these allegations brought by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) and the Dept. of Justice. Navient has acknowledged the federal government’s investigation into allegations the company cheated active-duty troops in violation of the Service Members Civil Relief Act from November 28, 2005 to present day.

Under the Service Members Civil Relief Act, loan companies must reduce the interest rate on student loans to no more than 6 percent upon request by active duty troops. As of 2008, the law extended beyond private student loans to include federal student loans.

In addition, troops have told the CFPB that their servicers wrongly told them the 6 percent interest-rate cap expired annually, and they were required to submit additional paperwork to retain it. Others were discouraged from applying for the protections contained in the service members’ law, while some were mistakenly told that the benefits are only available to those in combat zones.

Furthermore, some service members told the CFPB that they were told to provide end dates for their tours on active duty, a requirement that is virtually impossible to meet, since officers in the armed forces are usually not told when their tours will end.

Rohit Chopra, the consumer bureau’s top student loan expert, told the Senate “that companies that fail to comply with the service members’ law may be cheating borrowers in other ways.”

A settlement resolving the service members’ allegations would need to be approved by the Education Department and require the companies to establish a $60 million fund to compensate troops for violating the service members’ law when it comes to student loans.

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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 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.

Think Cash is King? Not according to a recent study

May 13, 2014 Posted by kingcade

A new report from Bankrate shows credit card debt is on the rise. Nearly 8 out of 10 Americans carry less than $50 in cash on a daily basis and nearly 1 in 10 customers do not carry cash at all. This study comes at the same time the New York Federal Reserve is saying U.S. household debt rose by $129 billion in the first quarter, totaling $11.65 trillion.

Many agree that paying with cash makes consumers more conscious of their spending. We are quickly moving to an all-digital age, subject to hackers. But not everyone is seeing the death of paper money as a bad thing. A Chief Risk Strategist for Chapwood Funds says, “Carrying cash guarantees that you are losing money over time with interest and inflation.”

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If you are in a financial crisis and are considering filing 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.

Seven Mistakes your Credit Card Company WANTS you to Make

May 9, 2014 Posted by kingcade

1.) Letting your rewards or miles expire. Letting your credit card rewards points or miles expire is a common mistake. Make sure you read the fine print and know the rules of redemption or you could lose out big time.

2.) Paying only the minimum each month. You know you should pay more than the minimum and cut down on the interest you are paying for “borrowing” the balance. Thanks to the Credit CARD Act of 2009, your bill tells you how much it is going to cost you to pay off the balance over time.

3.) Paying late now and then. The credit card company wants you to pay, but doesn’t mind if you pay late. The credit card company can raise the interest rate on your new purchases as long as they give you 45 days’ notice. Not to mention the late fees of $29 to $39 you can incur.

4.) Ignore the mail. Not paying attention to your statement is a mistake the credit card companies hope you will make. These statements can contain valuable information such as fraudulent charges, which you will not have to pay- as long as you inform the credit card company right away- or notifications that your interest rate has increased.

5.) Using a balance transfer to rack up more debt. You transfer your outstanding balance to a card with a low or zero percent interest rate thinking you will save money. Shifting your debt around does not mean you are debt free. If you decide on a balance transfer, make sure you pay off your balance before the end of the promotional period and avoid adding additional charges to the card. Also be aware of balance transfer fees associated with these cards.

6.) Opting to go over your credit limit. Under the new law, if you do not opt in and you attempt to buy something that will put your balance over your credit limit, the transaction could be declined at checkout. If you opt in to this trap, it can cost you. You can face over-limit fees and higher interest rates on your credit card balances.

7.) Paying more fees than you earn in rewards. The goal is to maximize the rewards offered by your credit card company. If you do not travel, why sign up for an airline credit card? It is best to choose a card with no annual fee even if it has no rewards points program. Keep in mind, if you carry a balance even for one month beyond any promotional interest period, the interest you will pay can quickly diminish any rewards points you may have earned.

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If you are in a financial crisis and are considering filing 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.

Actor Mekhi Phifer Files for Bankruptcy

May 7, 2014 Posted by kingcade

Actor Mekhi Phifer has filed for bankruptcy, TMZ reports. The 39-year-old actor, best known for his role as Dr. Greg Pratt on NBC’s “ER” has racked up approximately $1.2 million in back taxes, $50,000 in lawyer fees and $4,500 in back child support, according to legal documents obtained by TMZ.

Legal documents reveal he spends around $11,600 in monthly expenses, but only brings in $7,500. In addition to his role on “ER,” from 2002-2008 he is also well known for his role opposite Eminem in the movie “8 Mile.”

According to TMZ, Mekhi’s list of assets include: a leather bed, a 12-year-old Segway (valued at $1,500) and a large collection of firearms.

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If you are in a financial crisis and are considering filing 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.