A recent Bankrate.com survey found that roughly 56% of millennials with current or past student loans have postponed major life events because of overwhelming debt. While many Millennials and Gen-Xers have more debts than assets, it is important to determine whether bankruptcy is the right option. Free advice is available through the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and consumers can consult with a bankruptcy attorney oftentimes free of charge for an initial consultation to discuss their options.
Consumers are advised to seek the advice of a credit counselor or bankruptcy attorney before they file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Filing for Chapter 7 means the unsecured debt (credit cards, medical bills, utility bills, etc.) will be discharged while filing for Chapter 13 requires consumers pay their debt for a set number of years before having a certain portion of that debt discharged.
Since changes to the bankruptcy laws in 2005, consumers now have a harder time filing for Chapter 7 and certain loans, like private and government-backed student loans are no longer dischargeable. Consumers who file for Chapter 13 are typically on a five-year plan, having to pay back a portion of their debt. Depending on the debtor’s income and living expenses, monthly payments can be as low as $50 a month.
Consumers should be prepared to provide documents such as paycheck stubs, tax returns and bank statements to their attorney. To receive the best interest rates possible, consumers who file for bankruptcy are advised to wait 24 months after their bankruptcy has been discharged, which means it was accepted by the bankruptcy court, to access credit again from credit card companies and some mortgage and auto loan lenders.
Rebuilding your credit score slowly is the best course of action. Examine your current household expenses, come up with a realistic budget and seek entry-level credit options to help establish a new record of timely payments. Monitor your credit score regularly. You can begin the process by getting a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Transunion. You can download a copy of your free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com. As your credit improves, take advantage of opportunities to qualify for better credit terms- and always remember when it comes to credit cards, keep your balance well below the assigned credit limit.
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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.