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. 

Debt Relief

Debt Relief Services: Helpful or Harmful?

Although filing for bankruptcy can provide considerable relief to those who are facing insurmountable debt, bankruptcy is not always the best choice for everyone. While some may not qualify for bankruptcy, others may wish to use an alternative solution to solve their debt problems. This is where debt relief programs come in, claiming to help consumers negotiate with their creditors and provide a solution to settle the debt.

However, is it safe to use a national debt relief organization to resolve your debts? While some report positive experiences with these companies, others (many others) have reported negative experiences that resulted in them spending more money in the long run. Also, many consumers have been taken advantage of by debt relief companies that ended up collecting fees without actually providing any debt relief services.

Bankruptcy Law, Debt Relief, student loan debt, Student Loans

Student Loan Borrowers Diagnosed with Cancer Still Waiting for Promised Relief

In September 2018, President Donald Trump signed a bill into law, allowing student loan borrowers who have been diagnosed with cancer to delay their federal student loan payments. This new law was created to allow these individuals to focus on their treatment and not their student loan obligations through the course of their medical treatment and six months afterward. However, just nine months after the law took effect, borrowers who have requested this deferment are still waiting for approval.

The delay seems to be due to the U.S. Department of Education not yet providing student loan providers that administer its federal student loan programs an official application through which qualifying borrowers can apply. While the law may be in effect, service providers have no way to implement it.

The Department of Education insists that they are taking steps towards resolving this problem and creating an application for the cancer deferment. However, many borrowers are questioning why this was not done previously. As of January 2019, the Department of Education asked that the Office of Management and Budget conduct an emergency review and approval of the cancer deferment form created.

The Department of Education is also requiring a 60-day comment period on the proposed form, which is delaying the process even further. With cancer patients, time is of the essence. Many consumer advocates question why the comment period was not shorted to 30 or even 15-days.

Student loan servicers are offering temporary forbearances for borrowers who are seeking the cancer deferment. However, forbearance does not stop interest from accruing on the debt while payments are paused. Deferment, on the other hand, puts payments on hold while pausing interest from accruing, as well.

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. There are ways to file for bankruptcy with student loan 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 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, Credit Card Debt, Debt Relief

Debt Consolidation vs. Bankruptcy: The Pros and Cons

If someone is struggling with large amounts of debt, they may be weighing their options between debt consolidation and bankruptcy. There are positives and negatives to both- but ultimately, it depends on a person’s specific financial situation and life circumstance as to which choice is the right one for him or her.

What is Debt Consolidation?

Debt consolidation involves combining a person’s older debt from various sources into one new debt. This consolidation could be done by taking an unsecured personal loan to pay for the total amount owed or by transferring balances from multiple credit cards into one credit card.

Debt consolidation involves making payment to one lender, oftentimes at a lower interest rate.  These are two of its appealing factors.  However, we can tell you that debt consolidation rarely provides a long-term solution.  Our attorneys have helped many clients who were promised one result from a debt consolidation company only to receive far less, and stuck with the remaining debt.

Here are some of the disadvantages of debt consolidation.  

  • The debt cycle continues: While this option allows the consumer to consolidate multiple sources of debt, it only pays off that debt to combine it into one larger balance. Many consumers make the mistake of utilizing debt consolidation only to continue the cycle of debt.
  • Delaying the inevitable: Debt consolidation is oftentimes used as a ‘temporary’ fix, only delaying the inevitable. If a person is struggling to pay off various forms of debt, particularly if that debt is medical debt, credit card debt or personal loans- bankruptcy might be a better option, as the consumer would receive a complete discharge of these debts.

Choosing Bankruptcy as an Option.

Depending on an individual’s income and amount of debt, pursuing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case may be the wisest option to discharge the debt or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case to reorganize and pay down qualifying debt. One factor to keep in mind is debt consolidation is a big business. It can be successful for some people, but for others, it may not provide the long-term solution the consumer needs.  The attorneys at Kingcade Garcia McMaken have helped thousands of people restart, rebuilt and recover through bankruptcy.

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.

Related Resources:

https://studentloanhero.com/featured/debt-consolidation-vs-bankruptcy/

 

 

 

Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

How to Avoid the Most Common Debt Consolidation Traps

The debt consolidation industry is filled with pitfalls for consumers. Many of these for-profit companies prey on those struggling with insurmountable debt. Debt consolidation refinances your debt and rolls multiple debts into a single, lower monthly payment. You can use either a personal loan or a credit card to consolidate the debt.

However, this option doesn’t come without risk. What you may not know is that some debt consolidation companies charge high interest rates to go along with the new monthly payment plans they set up for clients. It is important that consumers do their research through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to make sure the debt consolidation company is not a scam, as many do exist.

Some of the biggest pitfalls in debt consolidation occur when a consumer falls prey to one of the many scams out there. The Internet is full of scam artists who pretend to be online lenders offering deals that are simply too good to be true to people who are struggling financially. Many of these individuals have been turned down for credit and loans in the past, so they may jump at the chance when someone offers them the opportunity of a reduction in debt.  Debt consolidation is oftentimes a temporary fix to a bigger problem.

Before agreeing to any deal found online, the consumer needs to conduct a thorough background check on the company before going any further. If the company is asking for a large fee upfront or requires the person to make several months of payments before starting, these statements may raise some red flags that it is a scam. The Better Business Bureau is another good resource to see if the company has complaints filed against them.

Another mistake many consumers make is to apply for multiple loans at the same time in hopes that one will be approved. However, what they are not aware of is the fact that every loan application triggers a look into the person’s credit history. Every time a lender pulls someone’s credit history, this causes that person’s credit score to drop.

One helpful tip before making any decisions on a consolidation loan is to know where the consumer’s credit score stands before making any applications. That way the consumer can ask the lender what minimum credit score they require before applying.

Additionally, many consumers make the mistake of assuming that they do not need to keep making payments on their current credit cards while waiting for the debt consolidation process to finalize. Even if the consumer is approved for a balance transfer, he or she will still need to pay at least the minimum payments on the multiple credit cards since balance transfers can take a couple of weeks to process. Check the balance on each card even after the transfer goes through or loan payment is made to ensure that no balance is left on the card. If the card does still show a small balance, be sure to make payment by the due date to avoid a late fee and negative hit to your credit score.

Click here to read more on this story.

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, Credit Card Debt, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

The Top Ways To Get Out Of Debt

Debt is a weight that can drag you down and make you feel like you are drowning without any way out.  Having extreme debt can affect your health, happiness and personal relationships.  Getting out of debt can be an even bigger struggle, if you do not devise a plan that works for your specific situation.

Debt Consolidation

One popular method of paying off debt is through debt consolidation. What consolidation means is the consumer’s debt is combined into one, single debt amount owed. Debt consolidation can be done through many different methods. A consumer can apply for a personal loan or consolidation loan to pay off all of the debts with the monies from the loan. This method allows you to only make one payment to one creditor rather than multiple creditors.  With this method, we strongly advise that you do your research. Not all debt consolidation companies are reputable, and it is important you understand the terms of the loan before signing on the dotted line. For most debt consolidation loans, you need good credit to be approved. If you are already struggling financially, many lenders will see you as a risky bet and will avoid lending to you without a co-signer or at least some collateral to secure the debt.

Credit Counseling

Many different credit counseling resources exist, and they usually involve a professional counselor who will work with the debtor on understanding his or her financial situation and researching possible options to get out of debt. Credit counselors often will work with the individual to organize and manage their debt, and the counselor will also contact the debtor’s creditors on payment arrangements, including creating payment plans or negotiating lower interest rates. Credit counselors can also put together a debt management plan that allows the debtor to make lower monthly payments through the debt counselor who, in turn, pays the individual’s creditors.

Like debt consolidation companies, it is important that you do your due diligence in choosing a credit counselor. Less-than-reputable agencies do exist, so make sure you choose someone who has your best interests in mind. Know that a credit counselor cannot make certain promises, such as guaranteeing that your creditors will work with them or that they will be able to directly reduce your debt. While they can certainly work towards that goal, lenders are not obligated to work with credit counselors. If a ‘credit counselor’ is promising you this or telling you that they can completely eliminate your debt by having you pay a low monthly payment to them, this is a BIG red flag.

Debt Settlement

Another potential option for paying off debt is through debt settlement. This process normally involves a third-party company that works with a debtor’s creditors to allow the debtor to pay a lower amount than what is owed. However, with this option the likelihood of scams is very high. Many of these companies have been reported for taking the debtor’s money and never negotiating on the debt. Additionally, debt settlement can result in a person’s credit taking a rather serious hit due to the fact that the debtor will normally have to stop making payments to the creditor, pushing the accounts into default. Unless the creditor agrees to work with the debt settlement company, a judgment can easily be issued against the debtor, resulting in wage garnishment to satisfy the debt.

Filing for bankruptcy

Debt can be complex and oftentimes frightening to deal with. Many times, people are hesitant or feel ashamed to ask for help. However, not properly dealing with debt can only make problems worse. Rather than run the risk of being sued by a creditor or have your wages garnished, it is best to deal with your debt head on. There are a number of debt relief options available, including filing for bankruptcy, which can completely wipe out unsecured debts like credit cards, medical bills, personal loans and more- and give you a fresh financial start. Exploring these options with the guidance and support of an experienced attorney can help you make the right decision.

Do not let your debt cost you another sleepless night. Here are some of the signs that bankruptcy is right for you. 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. The consultation is free, the relief is real! You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

 

Bankruptcy Law, Credit Card Debt

A Growing Number of Americans Have More Credit Card Debt than Savings

Many Americans are fighting a never-ending battle between saving money and barely making enough to pay their day-to-day expenses. More and more Americans are relying on credit cards to not only pay for big expenses but everyday expenses, resulting in a major imbalance when it comes to credit card debt and emergency savings. In fact, for many Americans, that emergency savings is essentially non-existent.

According to a new study published by the personal finance company Bankrate, nearly 30 percent of Americans have more credit card debt than they do money in savings. This number is up from 2018 when 21 percent claimed they had more credit card debt than savings.

The increased reliance on credit cards could be indicative of the fact that many households are under a great deal of financial strain. According to Bankrate, 41.2 percent of households nationwide carry some level of credit card debt with the average balance being $5,700. Income may be increasing at a rate of about three percent annually, but the cost of living is surpassing that. Oftentimes, the increase in pay does not keep up with the jump in basic living costs.

According to Federal Reserve data, 39 percent of American consumers say they have enough money in savings to cover a $1,000 car repair or unexpected emergency room visit. The level of savings, of course, does vary by income classification. In 2018, the median American household had $11,700 in savings, but for those who do not have enough to meet even just a $1,000 bill, this amount of savings is never realized.

The recent government shutdown did not make this financial situation any easier for many struggling consumers. The shutdown and lack of pay forced government workers to take on debt just to keep up with expenses, which added to the debt many already carried before the shutdown occurred.

Click here to read more on this story.

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, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Generation X Carries Most Debt Out of All Generations

Debt presents a problem for many Americans today, but one generation clearly stands out among the rest in terms of holding the most consumer debt. In fact, according to a recent study published by LightStream Survey conducted by the Harris Poll, nearly 80 percent of all members in the Generation X, ranging from ages 36 to 51, have some level of debt. The report showed that eight in ten members in this age category carry debt.

Coming in just below this were members of the Millennial generation, consumers between the ages of 20 and 35. Approximately 75 percent of all members in this age group carried debt. The next group was the Baby Boomer generation, which includes individuals between the ages of 52 and 70, with 69 percent of them carrying some type of debt.

While all three of these generations carry debt, it is the mindset of those in the Gen X category that presents the most cause for concern. Those surveyed in Gen X reported that they felt it was impossible to pay off a significant debt once it was incurred. Additionally, 25 percent of those in this demographic reported that they were not confident in how they were handling their finances. However, in the survey data, these individuals did state that they would be willing to give up hobbies or extracurricular activities to get rid of their debt payments, which does show some promise.

On average, individuals in Generation X carry $30,334 in “non-mortgage debt.” In comparison, Baby Boomers hold $27,513 and Millennials hold $22,784 in non-mortgage debt.

Getting out of debt can also be problematic for individuals in this generation, as well. Those who are younger may be able to use their savings or cash in their investments to reduce their debt, but it may be too difficult for Gen X members to dip into their retirement savings to pay off debt.

If you are struggling with insurmountable debt, dipping into retirement savings is never advisable.  These are protected in bankruptcy along with the following bankruptcy exemptions in Florida. Many individuals are already struggling to pay for obligations, including helping aging parents as well as adult children. While they are not quite at the age of retirement, they are approaching that point, making it too close for comfort to use retirement savings.

Continuing to struggle with debt is a slower, less effective way to pay it off.  Many different debt relief options exist, including debt consolidation, debt settlement or negotiation and bankruptcy – but it is important that as a consumer you research your options carefully.

Click here to read more.

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, Credit, Credit Card Debt, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Beware of ‘Get Out of Debt Quick’ Scams

Getting out of debt is a goal for many people, and in a perfect world, a ‘get out of debt quick’ offer sounds too good to be true.  However, just like the ‘get rich quick’ schemes, if it sounds too good to be true, odds are it probably is too good to be true.

Debt relief companies prey on consumers who are drowning in debt and going through a great deal of personal stress as a result. While some legitimate debt relief companies do exist, the majority of them are looking to scam individuals who are desperate to get out of debt at all costs and find relief from the numerous collection calls they are receiving.

One of the most important steps an individual can take before choosing to work with a debt relief company is to thoroughly investigate and research the company. With online resources available, as well as review websites, it is easy to find out quickly whether a debt relief company is legitimate or not.

Most importantly, never pay an upfront fee to one of these companies. If the company is requesting this, it is highly likely you will never hear from the company again after the initial fee has been paid. In addition, if the company is guaranteeing that they can eliminate all of your debt that should be a red flag as well. No debt relief company has the ability to guarantee that a creditor will forgive any debt. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission has warned against these types of statements. If a debtor comes into contact with a company that makes any of these statements, the FTC encourages the individual to file a report and expose a possible scam.

The main question you should ask is: How much progress can be made through lifestyle changes and spending habits?

If smarter spending and lifestyle changes are sufficient, a debt management or debt consolidation program may be the best choice. These types of programs work on the balances with the highest interest rates first or consolidate debts by taking out a new loan with a lower interest rate to pay off older balances first. Debt management or consolidation normally requires a monthly fee. These companies will work with your creditors to lower the total debt balance.  The hope is that creditors will rather receive a lower lump-sum payment on the debt rather than risk not being paid at all in a bankruptcy situation.

However, sometimes the  debt amount can be just too much to handle. Debt settlement may be the best option in these cases, or even bankruptcy if the settlement of the debt is still not enough. Debt settlement can take anywhere from between two to four years for a company to work with creditors to pay down debt. If bankruptcy is the best option, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be completed in three to six months while Chapter 13 can take anywhere from three to five years.

Make sure and explore all of your options and make the best decision for your situation. A bankruptcy attorney can help decipher these options and give recommendations on what would be ideal and in your best interest.

Click here to read more.

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.

 

 

 

 

Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Debt Consolidation: What will it do to my credit score?

Accumulating debt each month can be stressful and overwhelming.  As you research options to lower or eliminate your debt, consolidating credit cards or loans may seem like a good option.  But many wonder what effect this will have on their credit score.  It all depends on how you consolidate and what you do with your debt moving forward.

  • Debt Consolidation Loans. This is one of the most popular forms of consolidation. But finding a loan that has decent terms, when you have less than perfect credit can be challenging.  Double-check certifications to make sure that you are working with a legitimate consolidation company.  Scams are prevalent in the loan consolidation business.  Effect on Your Credit: Consolidating credit cards with high balances using an installment loan with fixed monthly payments may improve your credit rating for a period of time. But at the same time, any new loan can cause a short-term dip in your credit score.
  • Debt Management Plans (DMPs). These type plans are oftentimes confused with debt consolidation. DMPs are offered through credit counseling agencies.  You make a “consolidated” payment to the counseling agency, which then pays your creditors- usually at a reduced interest rate.  This option requires you to close or suspend your credit card accounts. Effect on Your Credit: If you have a good credit score and adhered to a creditor’s repayment terms in the past, a DMP could have a negative impact on your credit as it indicates that you are experiencing or have experienced difficulty with payments.
  • Credit Card Debt Transfer. Transferring high interest credit card debt to a card with a lower rate or 0% interest rate card is another way to consolidate.  However, it is important to always read the fine print.  Effect on Your Credit: It depends on how you use the transfer. You will often see a temporary dip in your credit score when opening a new card.  You may also lose points if you open a new card and use a majority of the credit line to consolidate.

Paying down debt can have a tremendous impact on your credit scores. The biggest risk, though, is that it is easy to run up new balances on the cards you paid off in the consolidation.  When paying down debt, periodically check your free credit report to see where you stand.

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 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.

Related Resources:

http://blog.credit.com/2017/11/will-debt-consolidation-help-or-hurt-your-credit-64133/