Archive for: ‘February 2016’

Americans Underreport Credit Card Debt by $415 Billion

February 29, 2016 Posted by kingcade

A recent study conducted by NerdWallet showed that consumers are underreporting their credit card debt. In December 2013, lenders reported approximately $683 billion in outstanding credit card debt, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. However, Americans only reported having $268 billion in credit card debt.

The $415 billion discrepancy in reported credit card debt was far greater than any other type of debt, including student loans and mortgage debt. The reasoning is likely due to the stigma surrounding credit card debt, according to NerdWallet.

According to the study, 70 percent of Americans think credit card debt has a more negative stigma attached to it than any other type of debt. Mortgage and student loan debt is often considered “good” debt and credit card debt is considered “bad” debt. As a result, consumers may be underreporting credit card debt because they are ashamed of the amount of credit card debt they have. The survey also found that 35 percent of Americans would be embarrassed to tell others they have credit card debt, significantly more than any other type of debt.

How to pay off your credit card debt

Credit cards typically have the highest interest rates among other types of debt, therefore it is important to pay them off as quickly as possible. The first thing you need to do is figure out exactly how much you owe. You can do this by logging into your credit card account’s website. While you are logged in, note the balance, interest rate, minimum payment and due date.

Once you have determined how much you owe with each credit card account, make the account with the highest interest rate your top priority. Pay any extra that you can each month on that account. Once it is paid off, move on to the account with the second highest interest rate, and continue paying off each account by the highest interest rates.

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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, 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

South Florida Foreclosures Continue to Decline

February 26, 2016 Posted by kingcade

Once a foreclosure hotbed during the U.S. economic downturn, South Florida’s housing market continues its recovery in the New Year.  The number of homes in some stage of foreclosure reached 3,063 during January, according to RealtyTrac.  That is approximately one in every 808 homes- a rate that has fallen by 45 percent compared to January 2015.

Miami-Dade had the most foreclosures out of South Florida’s three counties with 1,358 homes in distress. Broward and Palm Beach counties had 919 and 786 last month.  The decrease in foreclosures means South Florida now ranks 22nd in the nation for properties in financial distress.

Nationally, the trend was similar.  A total of 95,186 homes were in some stage of foreclosure last month, a decline from 11 percent compared to the same month a year ago.  The U.S. is now at its lowest foreclosure rate since 2008, according to RealtyTrac.

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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.

Student Borrowing Affects Retirement and Home Ownership

February 25, 2016 Posted by kingcade

New data released from The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College revealed that student loan debt is preventing Americans from saving for retirement. Student loan debt has reached massive levels, with 40 million people stuck with at least one student loan. It accounts for more than 30 percent of non-mortgage related household debt. According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve, more than 27 percent of student loan borrowers in repayment are delinquent on those payments.

The report found that student loan debt has the same impact on retirement savings as unexpected healthcare costs. This means that a greater percentage of households are at risk of not being able to maintain their standard of living in retirement, because they are unable to save while they are in the workforce.

Most college bound students are not thinking about retirement when they take out student loans for expensive degrees. Unfortunately, if students choose a degree that will prepare them for a low-earning career or a career with a deficit in jobs, student loans are going to be harder to pay back.

Student loan debt is not only affecting retirement, it’s also affecting borrowers abilities to purchase homes and buy new cars. Many borrowers are unable to obtain a mortgage because their student loans push their debt-to-income ratio disqualifies them.

The Center for Retirement Research used the National Retirement Risk Index, which measures the percentage of working households age 30 to 60 who are on track to be able to maintain their standard of living in retirement. It looks at what a person’s age 60’s retirement security would be if the person had the same level of student loan debt as today’s average, $31,000.

The Center found that the percentage of people at risk went from 51.6 percent to 56.2 percent, a 4.6 percent increase. Although it doesn’t seem like a great increase, a 19.6 percent across-the-board cut in Social Security benefits would raise the index by 10.7 percentage points. This means that the impact is roughly half of the impact of an unprecedented move such as cutting Social Security benefits.

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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.

Student Loan Relief Tax Bill Introduced in Congress

February 24, 2016 Posted by kingcade

Congressman Austin Scott (R-GA) recently introduced the “Student Tax Affordability and Relief Act,” into the House of Representatives. The bill would provide gross income exclusion for amounts that employers pay on employee student loans.

The bill excludes from gross income amounts paid as “qualified student loan payment assistance.” It defines their assistance as “amounts paid or incurred by an employer under a plan for the exclusive benefit of the employees of the employer to provide such employees with student loan payment assistance.” The bill provides a taxable limit of $10,000 per year.

Student loan debt has been an economic concern for some time. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported in 2013 that the amount of outstanding student loan debt exceeded $1 trillion.

Individual states have recognized the economic ramifications of student loan debt and are taking matters into their own hands. States such as New York and Virginia have introduced their bills to assist struggling student loan borrowers. New York’s program will pay up to two years of student loans for eligible residents. While one of Virginia’s pending bills would allow students to refinance their student loans.

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, 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 to Get a Loan After Bankruptcy

February 23, 2016 Posted by kingcade

Many Americans believe their credit will never be the same after filing for bankruptcy. However, if you take the right steps, it’s possible to build a good credit score while you wait for bankruptcy to fall off your credit report.

If you developed bad financial habits that led to your credit problems, improving your credit score may be difficult. It is important to remember that it is possible to get your credit score to 700 within three years after filing for bankruptcy. If you are able to improve your credit score after bankruptcy, your odds of getting approved for a new loan are much higher.

Below are some tips to help you get a loan after bankruptcy:

Check your Credit Reports.

Although bankruptcy damages your credit score, having debts discharged will likely improve your chances of getting approved for new credit because your credit-to-debt ratio will be lower. However, you still want to check your credit history to make sure your bankruptcy was reported correctly to the three major credit-reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).

You should also make sure that all of the accounts involved in your bankruptcy have a zero balance and are labeled as discharged. This will tell all of your prospective lenders that your income is now yours to spend.

Build a Positive Payment History.

Make sure to pay all of your bills on time after filing for bankruptcy. You want to prove to lenders that you are moving forward in a positive way. One of the best ways to build a positive payment history is to keep one account open with a zero balance. This does not mean that you should not use the account; it means you should make small purchases and pay the balance in full each month.

 Shop for (Re-) Starter Credit.

If you do not have any credit accounts open after filing for bankruptcy, apply for a secured credit card or credit-builder loan at your local bank. These types of credit are designed specifically to help people fix their credit scores.

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, 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.