Debt Relief

Growing Number of Personal Loans Could Mean Danger for U.S. Economy

The rise in personal loan debt has financial experts worried. According to a recent study from Equifax, personal loans are up 10 percent from the previous year. In fact, all three major credit agencies report a double-digit increase in the use of personal loans over the past few months.

More often than before personal loans are being utilized by consumers looking to pay for unexpected or needed expenses. In fact, personal loan debt was reported as being the fastest growing category of consumer debt.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit Card Debt, Debt Relief, student loan debt

Good Debt vs. Bad Debt: Do You Know the Difference?

When it comes to debt, not all debt is created equal. If the money being borrowed helps increase the borrower’s net worth or income, that debt is considered “good” debt, while bad debt only worsens a person’s financial situation.

Good Debt

Good debt is any obligation that would increase a person’s net worth or income. While it does involve a financial obligation to repay a debt, it can also be something positive or beneficial to the consumer.  Good debt also tends to come with a lower interest rate on the amount owed. Mortgages are one example of good debt because the person who takes out the loan ends up with an asset that will increase his or her net worth. Car loans are also considered good debt since they are attached to an asset, namely a car. Student loans are another type of debt that are considered good debt, especially when it comes to obtaining a desired degree and furthering job prospects and earning power for the borrower. These loans may not be attached directly to an asset, but they tend to have lower interest rates, especially if the loans are federal student loans.

Bankruptcy Law, Debt Relief

The Differences Between Secured Debt and Unsecured Debt

When it comes to debt and how it is handled in a bankruptcy case, two main categories exist, namely secured and unsecured debt. Even if you are not at the point yet where you will be filing for bankruptcy, knowing the type of debt involved can make a big difference, especially when money is tight, and you are worried about which debt to pay first: the mortgage or the credit card bill.

The main difference between secured and unsecured debt is the fact that one debt is secured by collateral and the other is not. Secured debt is debt that is guaranteed by collateral, which is something of value that the lender can seize for payment in the event the borrower is no longer able to pay on the debt.

Mortgages and auto loans are classic examples of secured debt. If you default on your mortgage or your car loan, the bank can foreclose on your home or repossess your vehicle to satisfy the debt. In comparison, unsecured debt is debt that is issued to someone but is not guaranteed by collateral.  The most common types of unsecured debt include payday loans, credit card debt, student loans, and medical bills.

When you are not able to continue paying on your unsecured debt, the lender cannot collect your property to satisfy the debt. However, they can report your account as delinquent, which will hurt your credit score. They can also pursue a legal judgment against you for the debt, resulting in a possible wage garnishment.

For the most part, secured debt tends to carry a lower interest rate on the amount owed. The main reason for this difference is the lender has some type of guarantee that they will receive payment, even if you default later. The lender does not have that same guarantee with unsecured debt. It is for this reason that unsecured debt tends to carry a higher interest rate because the investment is seen as more risk for the lender.

When it comes to a bankruptcy case, 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 Law, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

What Happens When You Stop Paying Your Credit Cards?

Missing credit card payments can come with some serious financial consequences. How a credit card delinquency is handled depends on how long the bill has gone unpaid. A credit card payment is considered “late” if it has been unpaid for at least 30 days after the due-date. However, credit reports list delinquencies in different ranges as to how late the payment may be, and includes the following categories:

  • 30 to 59 days late;
  • 60 to 89 days late;
  • 90 to 119 days late;
  • 120 to 149 days late;
  • 150 to 179 days late;
  • Over 180 days late.

Your credit report will not show a missed credit card payment so long as it has been made no later than 29 days past the due date. After 30 days has passed, the credit card company will likely charge a late fee and potentially increase the interest rate on the card. This fee and interest rate hike will be reflected in the next month’s bill.

However, if a genuine mistake was made or a valid reason exists for why the payment was missed, you should contact your credit card company immediately to see if they will waive the fee as a courtesy. If you have been a good customer up until this point and have a good payment record, most credit card companies will understand and be willing to work with you.

Whether they waive the fee is one issue, but the credit card company will likely report the fact that you missed the payment to the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Your credit score will likely drop once this report has been made. If you have an otherwise stellar credit score, you can see the hit more noticeably as opposed to someone who has a lower credit score. This single missed payment can remain on your report for up to seven years, but if you are able to continue making your payments on time after this mistake, your score will rebound, and creditors will see that you are not a future risk.

If you are 60 days late in making your payment, the financial consequences will be more severe. You will incur late fees and a likely a higher interest rate, even more than the one you received when 30 days late. The credit card company may also bump the interest rate to a penalty APR, which can be expensive and can get as high as 29.99 percent. It is likely that this penalty APR will stay with you for up to six months before the card holder decides to lower the interest rate. The higher the interest rate, the longer it will take for you to pay down your credit card debt completely. You may find that the high interest rate is all you are paying with monthly payments and that you are not making any dent in the principal.

Payments that are 60 days late can hurt your credit, but just like with payments that are 30 days late, you can eventually bounce back from this slip so long as you demonstrate smart financial behavior.

However, as soon as your payments are past 90 days late, the credit card company will likely turn the account over to a collection agency. Many will wait until the payments are more than 180 days past-due before turning the account over to a collection agency and will simply try to collect on the debt themselves first. As soon as you are past 90 days, you will either be notified that the card company has sent the account to an in-house collection department of outside collection agency. After 90 days, not only will fees and penalties increase, but the cardholder may also lower your card’s credit spending limit.

If the account is more than 120, 150 or even 180 days late, this means you have missed at least four payments. You will see many of the same consequences that come along with being 90 days past-due, but the consequences are understandably harsher. Debt collections calls will increase significantly. If, at this point, the account was not previously sent to collections, the debt will likely be sold to a third-party collection agency. This step of selling the debt to a third-party collector is known as a “charge-off,” which basically means the credit card company has written the debt off as a financial loss on their books. It does not mean the debt is forgiven or gone, but it means a new company that has the right to collect on the debt owns the account. If your debt has been charged-off, this will reflect very negatively on your credit report.

You can work with the debt collectors on settling the account, potentially paying for a less than full balance, or you may consider consulting with a bankruptcy attorney. It is important that you act quickly, however, in the event the debt collector files a collection action and obtains a judgment against you on the debt and a wage garnishment. So long as the debt is within the Florida statute of limitations for collections, which is five years, the debt collector is within its rights to file a legal action against you to pursue collection on the debt. However, if a bankruptcy case is filed before a judgment is issued, the automatic stay will put an immediate halt to the collection matter to allow for the bankruptcy process to occur. Since credit cards are unsecured debts, bankruptcy is often the best option for an individual struggling with insurmountable credit card debt.

As bankruptcy attorneys, we see credit card debt as one of the most common problems facing those with serious financial challenges.  It is not surprising with the high interest rates, unreasonable fees, harassing debt collection calls, penalties and never-ending minimum payments that do not even make a dent in your actual debt. We offer additional tips for eliminating credit card debt on our blog.

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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.

 

Debt Relief, Student Loans, Timothy Kingcade Posts

How Student Loan Debt is Different From Other Debt

Debt plagues so many Americans today, but the type of debt varies from person to person. When it comes to debt collections or even bankruptcy, how the debt is treated depends on the type of debt. Student loan debt is one category that is treated differently than other common debt categories involved in bankruptcy.

Student loan debt has doubled since the most recent recession, which presents a major problem for many borrowers who are struggling to repay their loans, so it is extremely important to understand how student loan debt is treated in bankruptcy and collection matters.

Debts normally fall into two different categories: secured and unsecured. Secured debt is “secured” by either another person or an asset purchased, meaning if the consumer defaults on the debt, the lender has recourse to seize the asset.

Unsecured debt is not connected to another person or asset and commonly includes credit cards, personal loans, and medical debt. Student loan debt is also another form of unsecured debt, although it is not treated the same way as other unsecured debt. One major difference is the fact that student loan debt does not go away so easily.

If the borrower fails to pay on a student loan, the lender will likely initiate a collection action, which will result in a judgment against the consumer and likely a garnishment of that person’s wages. The same situation occurs with any other unsecured debt, but the difference is student loan debt is not easily discharged through bankruptcy.

It is possible, but the legal standard that needs to be met for this to be done is quite strict. The borrower will need to prove to the court that a good faith effort has been made to repay the loan, as well as proving undue hardship that is likely to continue if the debt is not discharged. It is not an easy burden of proof, and if the court does not discharge the debt, it will remain with the individual once the bankruptcy is over.

Student loans include both federal and private loans. Those loans that are federal are backed by the federal government and are disbursed by the U.S. Department of Education. On the other hand, private loans are backed by private lending institutions. The difference is critical in that federal student loans are not restricted by a statute of limitation when it comes to collecting on the debt.

In addition, federal loans have certain protections that private loans do not and offer different types of repayment plans in the event the borrower’s life circumstances change. For the most part, federal loan repayment terms are around ten years, but they can be extended or graduated or even income-based in terms of repayment. Additionally, some federal loans offer forgiveness programs.

Private student loans are oftentimes a last resort when it comes to financing education. However, many students max out their federal lending and have no choice but to supplement with private options given the cost of education.

It is currently estimated that somewhere around 40 percent of all student loan borrowers will default at some point on their student loans. Many different mistakes can be made when it comes to student loan repayment. If you believe you qualify for student loan debt relief, speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney about your options.

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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. 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, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

The Key Differences between Secured Debt and Unsecured Debt

There are two main types of debt, these include: Secured debt and unsecured debt.  Knowing the difference between the two can help you prioritize paying off your debts and keep your assets.  Secured debts are tied to an asset that is considered collateral for that debt.  Lenders place a lien on the asset, giving them the right to repossess it if you stop making payments on the loan.  Examples of secured debt include a car loan and a home mortgage.  A title loan is also a type of secured debt.

When it comes to unsecured debts, lenders do not have rights to any collateral for the debt.  If you fall behind on payments or stop paying all together, the lender can generally not take any of your assets for the debt.  The lender can take other actions against you to collect on the debt.  For example, file a lawsuit against you and ask the court to garnish your wages.  Unsecured debt can include credit card debt, student loans and medical bills.

So how do you know which debts to prioritize? Secured debts, those tied to a specific piece of property, are typically the best choice to pay first.  These payments are often harder to catch up on if you fall behind and you risk losing essential assets, like your home or vehicle.  Here are some ways bankruptcy can affect your debts– both secured and unsecured.

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:

https://www.thebalance.com/the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts-960181

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Timothy Kingcade Posts

The WRONG Reasons to File Bankruptcy

Although you may be receiving unwanted collections calls and falling behind on some bills, bankruptcy may not be the best option for you. There are certain types of debt which bankruptcy cannot erase. For example, back child support, alimony obligations, student loans and certain tax debts are non-dischargeable in bankruptcy.

Below are four reasons you should NOT file for bankruptcy:

1. You cannot make small payments on unsecured debt. Unsecured debt consists of most credit card debt and medical bills. In other words, it is debt that the lender has allowed you to run up without asking for a collateral in return. If you default on unsecured debt, the lender has nothing to repossess. Most consumers think that failing to make these payments will result in wage garnishment or other significant consequences.   However, most lenders cannot take action unless they sue you. This can oftentimes be a lengthy process, providing you time to come up with the payments. If the amount you owe is small, the lender may write it off as uncollectable, rather than taking legal action. There are also options such as the negotiation of your interest rate or being placed on a realistic payment plan.

2. You want debt collectors to stop contacting you. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires debt collectors stop contacting you if you ask them. You must send the collection company a certified letter requesting this. After you have taken such action, it is against the law for the collection company to contact you, except to let you know they are either going to take legal action against you or stop their collection efforts.

3. Most of your debts are from recent income taxes, court judgments, child support payments or student loans. These are some of the debts that are oftentimes non-dischargeable in bankruptcy court. Filing for bankruptcy will not relieve you of these type debts.

4. You do not have any assets or income outside of Social Security, unemployment or welfare. Creditors cannot garnish your Social Security income, unemployment or welfare, even if they sue you. It is not necessary to file bankruptcy if you do not have an income that creditors can take or assets they can seize.

Click here to read more on the wrong reasons to file bankruptcy.

If you are in a financial crisis and are considering filing 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.