Credit Card Debt

What to Do After Paying Off Your Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt is a source of stress for many consumers. Once a large balance is accrued, the high interest rates can make credit cards nearly impossible to pay off.  Whether you have been able to pay off your credit card debt or have had the debt discharged in bankruptcy, it is important to modify your financial behavior moving forward.   

Monitor Your Credit Score 

Consumers should monitor their credit reports on an annual basis to ensure that there are no inaccuracies. Once a credit card is paid off in full, that should reflect on the person’s credit report. Additionally, paying down a large sum of debt will have a positive effect on the consumer’s credit score. As the person’s credit score goes up, his or her chances of being approved for financing in the future also improves. After paying off debt, the consumer should check his or her credit report to ensure that this payment is reflected on his or her score. To make sure that the consumer’s credit score improves, periodic monitoring of his or her credit report should also occur.  

Credit Card Debt, Debt Relief

Average American Consumer Carries over $90,000 in Debt

Most American consumers carry some form of debt. In fact, debt has become a way of life for many Americans. Whenever a big purchase needs to be made, consumers will often apply for financing to pay for this purchase. This can include items like a home, car, furniture, or even for basic purchases.  

According to data from the credit agency, Experian, as of 2019, the average American consumer has $90,460 in debt from various sources, including mortgages, student loan debt, personal loans and credit cards. Escaping this debt load can be tricky, and Experian’s data shows that certain generations struggle more than others when handling consumer debt. 

Bankruptcy Law, COVID-19, Small Business Bankruptcy

Personal and Business Bankruptcies Increase in the Month of July

The number of individuals and businesses seeking bankruptcy protection increased last month, while the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues. Financial experts have predicted this jump for months since states began to shut down in mid-March.

According to the legal-services firm, Epiq Systems Inc., the number of businesses that have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy increased by 52 percent when compared to July 2019. Additionally, the number of personal bankruptcy cases have gone up. The number of personal bankruptcy filings are expected to increase, when the Covid-19 economic stimulus relief is cut or reduced.

Debt Relief

U.S. Household Debt Jumps the Most in 12 Years

The total amount of household debt carried by American consumers increased by $601 billion in 2019, according to recent figures from the Federal Reserve.  This increase represents the largest annual jump seen since before the 2007 financial crisis, according to officials at the New York Federal Reserve.

While total household debt has increased by $601 billion, the total amount outstanding has now reached $14 trillion for the first time. The last time the nation has seen national household debt grow this much was in 2007. At the time, household debt jumped by just over $1 trillion.

Debt Relief, student loan debt, Student Loans

An Alarming Number of Student Borrowers Have Made No Progress on their Loan Balances

A disturbing number of student loan borrowers who began their repayment plans between 2010 and 2012 have made little to no progress towards reducing the principal balance owed on their student loans. According to a recent report from Moody’s Investor Services, 49 percent of student loan borrowers whose loan repayment plans began during that time have made no progress. Even worse, many of them have seen their balances grow.

This problem could be due to several factors, including poor job prospects and low salaries in their first jobs after graduation. Depending on the degree pursued by each borrower, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to find a viable job that will allow the borrower to make appropriate payments to pay down their student loan debt.

Bankruptcy Law

Tips to Recover Quickly from Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy offers consumers a fresh financial start, but many people hold off on filing bankruptcy for fear of the negative effect it will have on their credit.  This is one of the most common bankruptcy myths,  and can keep individuals who are drowning financially from filing for bankruptcy. Bouncing back after bankruptcy is possible, and with proper discipline, it can be done relatively quickly.

According to a recent study by LendingTree, 65 percent of people who filed for bankruptcy in 2017, had a credit score of 640 or higher in two years.  The following tips can help you bounce back quickly after bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Law

Steps to Take Prior to Filing for Bankruptcy

Before filing for bankruptcy, certain steps can be taken in advance to make the process go much smoother. No matter what financial situation a filer may be in prior to pursuing bankruptcy, it always helps to come up with a plan to protect his or her assets and make sure that the filer receives the highest level of debt relief possible. This planning can be done individually by the filer, but it is often best to sit down with a bankruptcy attorney to receive proper advice on what to do.

Stop Using Credit Cards.

One of the main reasons why many people end up filing for bankruptcy is due to credit card debt or other debt to pay for daily expenses. As soon as someone decides to file for bankruptcy, it is always recommended that he or she immediately ceases using their credit cards. Bankruptcy courts will view creating more debt when the person knows that it will never be repaid as a form of bankruptcy fraud.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit Score

Tips to Help Seniors Bounce Back from a Bankruptcy Filing

With the rising costs of health care and inflation, it is not uncommon for seniors to seek bankruptcy relief. Although bankruptcy can remain on a filer’s credit report for seven to 10 years, depending on the type of bankruptcy, there are certain steps seniors can take to boost their credit score during this period.

Prepare a Budget

One of the most important steps a senior can take after filing for bankruptcy is to prepare a budget. Many agencies, including the AARP Foundation, will work with the senior to prepare one. Most seniors live on fixed incomes, which leave very little room for unexpected expenses, such as large medical bills or expensive home repairs. However, if senior consumers can put together a plan that gives them leeway to pay for the unexpected, this budget will help them prevent falling into the same financial situation, again.

Debt Collection, Debt Relief

5 Disclosures You Should Never Make to a Debt Collector

In life, honesty is always the best policy, but not when it comes to communicating with a debt collector. In fact, it is best to use caution when making any statements to a debt collector, as they could be recorded and used against a person later. By no means should the consumer lie to the debt collector, but he or she should at least use reasonable care when talking with someone who is collecting a debt.

It is important to be aware of the tactics that many debt collectors will use to get you to pay on a debt. They often will resort to scare tactics or bullying to put the individual in fear of losing his or her home or livelihood if he or she does not pay on the debt. One key piece of advice is to know that all consumers have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Bankruptcy Law

The Most Common Forms of Bankruptcy Fraud

Bankruptcy laws require that the filer be honest and open about his or her financial situation, including disclosing all assets and debts. While no one wants to lose property to pay off creditors, some assets must be sold during the bankruptcy case to pay off the filer’s debts. If a filer actively tries to hide or fails to disclose information in hopes of keeping it from the bankruptcy court, this is called bankruptcy fraud and it can cause your case to be dismissed.

Hiding Assets

Concealing assets is one of the more common forms of bankruptcy fraud. Approximately 70 percent of all cases where some type of fraud was reported involved concealment of assets. It can involve the person simply leaving a certain asset off the list of those reported to the bankruptcy trustee. It can also involve hiding the asset through a fraudulent transfer, including giving the asset to someone else to keep it during the duration of the bankruptcy case, with the intent that the person holding the asset will return it after the case concludes. If this type of fraud is discovered, the filer and the person holding the asset could be held liable for bankruptcy fraud.