Credit Card Debt

How Credit Card Debt Affects Your Health

Credit card debt can cause a lot of damage, and not just to your credit score. Credit card debt can cause stress and wreak havoc on relationships. It can also lead to depression, anxiety, and other health problems. Once you are in debt, reaching your financial goals becomes much harder. Spending money paying debt leaves you with less money for retirement savings, purchasing a home, and achieving other financial milestones.

According to a recent study, carrying significant debt can lead to more than just a bad day. Researchers followed a group of baby boomers, starting when they were between the ages of 28 and 40 and then checking in with them again in their 50’s and older. The group was then separated into subgroups based on how much unsecured debt they had. According to the data, the more unsecured debt a person had, the higher level of physical pain he or she lived with when compared to individuals in the other groups.

This study is not the first one conducted on the effects of debt on consumers’ overall health. This research, however, does show that a link exists between physical pain and how much debt a person is carrying.

The study evaluated the financial and health situations of 7,850 people within the Baby Boomer generation, originally starting with their responses the 1979 National Longitudinal Study of Youth. The researchers found that individuals who consistently carried high debt levels had a 76 percent greater chance of reporting daily chronic pain in their lives as compared to consumers who reportedly had very little to no debt.

Even individuals who had taken steps to reduce their overall debt load reported higher levels of physical pain with a 50 percent higher chance of individuals within this group feeling chronic pain.

Several different factors can play into why debt has such a negative impact on a person’s health. If a person has a significant amount of debt, he or she likely has fewer resources to use towards other areas of his or her life that would help prevent any medical issue, including adequate healthcare and preventive medicine.

Additionally, debt can lead to extra stress on that person, which can result in higher blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and other serious health issues.

It is for this reason that experts recommend consumers rid themselves of their debt load as much as possible, whether this be through payment plans with the creditors, debt consolidation or filing for bankruptcy.

When it comes to filing bankruptcy, secured debt is handled differently than unsecured debt. If you are filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, unsecured debt normally ends up being discharged at the end of the case, while secured debt can stay with the asset. If you are struggling to pay unsecured debt, such as credit cards or medical bills, filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case may be a viable option for dealing with the debt. If you are struggling to pay for both secured and unsecured debt, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case may be a good option to allow you to continue paying on your mortgage and stay in your home while discharging unsecured debt at the end of the payment period. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can evaluate your financial situation, after looking at the different types of debt you are carrying to determine which plan is best for you.

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If you have 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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Bankruptcy Trends

Latest Bankruptcy Filings Mixed

August and September 2021 bankruptcy filings have been mixed. While certain types of bankruptcy cases have increased, others have gone down, according to data from Epiq’s AACER bankruptcy information services.

According to Epiq, overall bankruptcy filings for all chapters have declined by four percent, with 32,263 new filings made in August 2021 to 30,907 new filings reported in September 2021. Additionally, individual Chapter 7 filings decreased by nine percent between August and September.

Individual consumer bankruptcy cases were not the only forms of bankruptcy on the decline. Epiq also reported the total number of commercial Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings were down by six percent with just 247 new cases filed.

While Chapter 7 filings may have decreased, the total number of Chapter 13 filings increased by six percent with 9,930 cases reported. These figures continue the trend reported with new Chapter 7 filings decreasing every month since March 2021 with new Chapter 13 filings increasing monthly since May 2021.

In addition to new filings, the total number of open bankruptcy cases also continued to decline since the start of 2021. As of September 2021, total open cases went down 11 percent, ending with 773,652 total open cases as of the end of the month. Overall, the number of bankruptcy cases has decreased by 98,556 since January 2021.

With COVID relief programs, such as the eviction moratorium, expiring at the end of September, financial experts do not anticipate the downward trend to continue. In fact, they predict that these trends will quickly change with new filings increasing over the course of the next several months.

It all depends, however, on whether states continue with the various financial relief programs. States, such as California, have extended their own rent reimbursement programs to stave off new bankruptcy filings. Other states, however, have chosen to simply let their programs expire with the federal relief ones.

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If you have 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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

Will a Bankruptcy Filing Remove a Vehicle Repossession?

A bankruptcy discharge will relieve the filer of his or her debts, which means that the person can walk away with a clean financial slate.  However, a bankruptcy case does not remove all debts from the consumer’s credit report. In fact, certain debts and the legal proceedings associated with them can be difficult to remove, including vehicle repossession.

A consumer bankruptcy case, including Chapters 7 and 13, should remove negative marks on the consumer’s credit report. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case this is accomplished by liquidating the consumer’s assets that are not otherwise protected under a bankruptcy exemption and using those funds to pay off the consumer’s debts. Those not paid are then discharged at the end of the bankruptcy. Under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, the consumer works with the bankruptcy trustee on a repayment plan that lasts between three to five years. At the end of that time, the remaining debts are discharged from the consumer’s record.

Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

When Is Filing for Bankruptcy the Best Option?

Making the decision to file for bankruptcy is never an easy one. Many individuals hold off on filing for fear of what it will do to their credit or worse, fear of the unknown. For many consumers, taking that first step and initiating a bankruptcy case can be the best option for them. The key is deciding when to take that step.

The longer a person stays in debt, struggling to pay bills, defaulting on liabililities, the worse the financial damage will be.  Not to mention the emotional toll it takes.  By not taking action, a person can risk being sued by thier creditors or having their wages garnished. Credit card companies, creditors and even the IRS can take legal action to garnish your wages to pay off outstanding debt.

Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

Understanding the Ins and Outs of Bankruptcy

The thought of filing for bankruptcy can conjure up all kinds of emotions. For many, all they know of bankruptcy is what they have heard from others or seen on television advertisements. However, the following information can be helpful in terms of understanding the ins and outs of consumer bankruptcy.

Types of Consumer Bankruptcy.

If a consumer is considering filing for bankruptcy, he or she has two options available. These options are based on the specific chapters within the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The first option is called Chapter 7 bankruptcy, often referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 case tends to take only several months to complete and involve the filer working with the bankruptcy trustee to sell nonexempt assets and pay off qualifying debts. At the end of the case, the remaining consumer debts held by the filer are discharged. However, to qualify for filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the filer needs to be below a certain income threshold per the bankruptcy court’s means test.

The other option is Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which takes three-to-five years to complete and involves the filer working with the bankruptcy trustee to complete a structured repayment plan on the consumer’s debts. Chapter 13 cases, since they take longer, do cost more in terms of legal fees.

Credit Card Debt

Three Credit Card Mistakes To Avoid

A credit card can be a useful tool when it comes to improving a consumer’s credit score or financing large purchases. However, when credit card spending gets out of hand, it can be easy for that balance to grow out of control. The following tips can be helpful for consumers using credit cards to pay for daily expenses.

Avoid Maxing Out Credit Cards

Most credit cards come with a maximum spending limit, and while it can be tempting to rely on that figure when making credit card purchases, it is important that consumers avoid reaching that maximum amount. One reason for avoiding this is a maxed-out credit card can reflect negatively on a consumer’s credit score. If a consumer uses more than 30 percent of his or her available credit, his or her credit score will be reduced. This reduction occurs because credit utilization ratios are considered by credit reporting agencies when calculating a person’s credit score. Many credit cards also tack on fees to the person’s balance if he or she goes over the card’s limit.

Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

The Three Most Common Fears People Have When Filing for Bankruptcy

The fear of losing everything is a very real concern for those contemplating bankruptcy. However, this is one of the most common bankruptcy myths, and can keep individuals who are drowning in debt from obtaining a fresh financial start.

To make the bankruptcy process a little easier to understand, we have dispelled the top three fears people have when filing for bankruptcy.

Consumer Bankruptcy, Debt Relief

Defaulting on Debt v. Filing Bankruptcy

It can be tempting to want to walk away from debt in lieu of filing for bankruptcy. But doing so will not provide the consumer with the clean slate that a bankruptcy discharge offers. It is often better to face these debts in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case instead of choosing to default on them.

Whenever a consumer fails to make payments on a loan or financial obligation, this failure to pay is otherwise known as a default. Lenders all have their own requirements on what exactly qualifies as a “default,” including how many payments have been missed before the account is officially considered in default.

Consumer Bankruptcy, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Small Business Bankruptcy

U.S. Bankruptcy Filings Drop 38 Percent

Bankruptcy filings are on the decline, according to a recent report.  Statistics released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, reveal bankruptcy filings dropped 38.1 percent for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2021. This dramatic drop in filings coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic, which first disrupted the economy in March 2020.

Bankruptcy filings fell for both personal and business bankruptcies. Non-business filings fell by a total of 38.8 percent, while business filings fell 13.9 percent.

Lawyers in the News, Legal Awards

Kingcade Garcia McMaken Awarded ‘Best Bankruptcy Lawyers in Miami’ for 2021

The Miami-based bankruptcy law firm of Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been awarded one of the ‘Best Bankruptcy Lawyers in Miami’ for 2021, by Expertise for obtaining the highest scores in consistency, qualifications, reputation, experience & professionalism.

“We are extremely honored to have received this award,” says Founding Partner and Managing Shareholder, Timothy S. Kingcade. “In today’s competitive legal environment, clients have an increasing number of options when choosing an attorney. It is important that clients and potential clients know how serious we take quality customer service and business ethics. This is a true testament to the commitment we have to our clients and the standards we uphold as a law firm.”