Budgeting & Bankruptcy

Budgeting is a big part of bankruptcy.  You have to set your monthly expenses and stick to them, with a bankruptcy trustee to oversee your every monetary move. Bankruptcy is not the end of the world, but it is not necessarily the only resolution to your financial problems.  Depending on your situation, you may have other legal choices available which could bring you a better benefit.  You are not going to see those possibilities if you file bankruptcy yourself or pay a non-attorney service to fill out the forms for you. There are long-term consequences you need to know and understand before you file, plus there may be a better option for you, depending on your circumstances.  You would not take chemo if you did not need it.  Why file bankruptcy if another resolution will bring you a better outcome?  Seek competent legal counsel to discuss your specific situation and to help you decide if bankruptcy is the right choice for you. In the meantime, if you are trying to get a head start on your new year’s resolution towards better wealth management, the Federal Trade Commission has a free online budget calculator to help you balance your monthly expenses […] Read More

Baby Budget

Having a baby?  Congratulations.  Budgeting for a baby?  Good luck.  Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater has a free online calculator to help you find a ballpark figure of expenses for your little bundle of joy.  Remember, what you fail to budget for now, a Bankruptcy Trustee may help you budget for in the future, but that might not be your ideal future. You do not necessarily have to go broke caring for a baby.  Here is a link to CFO Atwater’s free online baby budget calculator: http://www.myfloridacfo.com/YMM/Calculators/BabyBudget.aspx If you are having trouble balancing your new bundle of expenses with your income, talk to an attorney before you file bankruptcy.  There are long-term consequences you need to know and understand before you file.  An attorney can review the specifics of your situation to help you determine if bankruptcy is right for you in the big picture as well as the small one.   Read More

Consult An Attorney Before You File Bankruptcy

When everything else goes wrong, talk to an attorney before you file Bankruptcy.  Yes, you can file Bankruptcy on your own.  Yes, there are non-attorney services that can help you file.  Yes, you can get a textbook and do your own brain surgery…but should you? “Bankruptcy” is best used as a term of recovery rather than an act of desperation.  It can give you a fresh start or reset.   Sometimes it is easier to rebuild credit from zero rather than to spend years paying off all the creditors.  Depending on your circumstances, Bankruptcy can help you rebuild quicker—it stops the bleeding and starts the healing. However, while Bankruptcy often takes care of immediate debts, it can create problems for your future in terms of your credit score.  Bankruptcy tends to limit more severely your ability to get a loan for a house, a car, or an education. Seek competent legal counsel to discuss the specifics of your situation and whether Bankruptcy is the best strategy for you.   Read More

Free Online Calculator for College Fund

Have a kid going to college?  The Jeff Atwater, State of Florida’s Chief Financial Officer has an online calculator to help you budget accordingly. Whether you are trying to determine cost of college, how to build an education fund, how much a student loan will cost, or work out how you will repay a student loan, the Chief Financial Officer’s website has a free online calculator, available at http://www.finaid.org/calculators/ . Before you turn to a life of crime to fund your child’s college education, try this calculator to help you make a more realistic picture of your financial future.  And remember, what you fail to budget for now, a Bankruptcy Trustee may help you budget for in the future.  Seek competent legal counsel before you file bankruptcy, possibly compromising your ability to get a student loan, or hurting the interest rate of that loan.   Read More

Bring Popcorn for Bankruptcy Movie Series

You bring the popcorn, the US Courts provides nine short films on bankruptcy.  Each film is less than five minutes—you can binge-watch without wasting your life.  You might even learn something. The US Courts website has a free online film series geared toward the general public about bankruptcy.  Topics include:  “Introduction,” “Types of Bankruptcy,” “Limits of Bankruptcy,” “Filing for Bankruptcy,” “Creditors’ Meeting,” “Bankruptcy Crime,” “Court Hearings,” “The Discharge,” and “Legal Assistance.” While they are informative about the basics of bankruptcy (and you can enjoy them from the comfort of your own home) consult competent legal counsel before you file bankruptcy.  There are long-term consequences you need to know and understand before you file.  An attorney can review the specifics of your situation to help you determine if bankruptcy is right for you. To view the US Courts bankruptcy films, go to their YouTube channel at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=12&v=jobpaNCY-LU   Read More

Marching Into Home Foreclosure

I was in marching band in Utah, and our last show, we marched into the pool…kind of like home mortgages bundled into mortgage-backed securities. Safety in numbers, investors thought, no way they will all default at the same time.  And thus, homeowners across America marched into foreclosure together. Though many homeowners went together into home foreclosure, there was not a single solution to fit every situation.  Instead, there were many choices.  The best choice for the homeowner depended on the homeowner’s circumstances.  The same is true today, with choices including: Refinance Forbearance Short Sale Mortgage Modification Reverse Mortgage Hardest Hit Fund (And sometimes) Bankruptcy You may need to get a third-party professional involved in order to complete a resolution.  A legal defense of your home foreclosure gives you time to pursue a resolution to bring you the best benefit.  Consult competent legal counsel to review your situation and which strategy is right for you.   Read More

Strategies May Vary with Foreclosure Defense

This little piggy’s house went to short sale. This little piggy refinanced his home. This little piggy got a reverse mortgage. This little piggy got a modified loan. And this little piggy cried, “Free!  Free!  Free!” all about his home. Homeowners in foreclosure have one thing in common:  missed mortgage payments.  Beyond that, there is no single solution to deal with home foreclosure.  It depends on your circumstances—how much equity is in your home, if you are unemployed, if you are retired, if you are raising children or a caregiver for a family member, or if you have a medical hardship. Some of the foreclosure resolutions include: Refinance Forbearance Short Sale Mortgage Modification Reverse Mortgage Hardest Hit Fund (And sometimes) Bankruptcy However, you may have to get a third-party professional involved in order to complete a resolutions.  A legal defense of your home foreclosure gives you time to pursue a resolution to bring you the best benefit.  Consult competent legal counsel to review your situation and which strategy is right for you. …By the way, the fifth little piggy was dreaming.  A free home is not the standard result of a foreclosure defense. Read More

Bankruptcy Trigger

Carefully examine your financial targets before you pull the bankruptcy trigger.  While bankruptcy often takes care of immediate debts (and usually stops foreclosure), it has long-term consequences.  It may fix present problems, but create problems for your future in terms of your credit score.  Bankruptcy tends to limit more severely your ability to get a loan for a house, a car, or an education. Bankruptcy carries long-term consequences you need to know and understand before you file.  While it is a drastic measure, bankruptcy could be the deep beginning to financial recovery. To learn more about the basics of bankruptcy, the US Courts has a collection of short films online for free to give you general information at http://www.uscourts.gov/multimedia/videos.aspx.  Talk to your attorney about the specifics of your situation to help you decide if bankruptcy is right for you. Read More

Bankruptcy Blues

Bankruptcy may not be the bargain you are looking for.  Yes, Bankruptcy stops home foreclosures in most cases.  Yes, Bankruptcy gets creditors off your back.  Yes, you can file Bankruptcy without a lawyer…that does not mean you should.  There are long-term consequences you need to know and understand before you decide to file Bankruptcy.  While Bankruptcy often takes care of immediate debts, it can create problems for your future in terms of your credit score.  Bankruptcy tends to limit more severely your ability to get a loan for a house, a car, or an education. However, Bankruptcy can be the beginning to financial recovery.  Bankruptcy is not for everyone, but sometimes Bankruptcy is the only way to have a meaningful conversation with your mortgage servicer.  A Bankruptcy Mediation requires the representative to appear in person (not by telephone) and to have authority to make a deal.  Furthermore, there are monetary consequences for non-compliance with the rules, and there are audit trails for when you sent stuff and when you did not. To learn more about the basics of bankruptcy, the US Courts has a collection of short films online for free to give you general information at http://www.uscourts.gov/multimedia/videos.aspx.  Talk to […] Read More

Everything in Home Foreclosure

On the radio show my brother, Stephen, likes to ask me what is going on my world:  Everything.  Home loan originators have done things badly and home loan servicers have done things badly…resulting in Everything that can go wrong for a homeowner often goes much much worse. Examples include a homeowner making payments on a permanent loan modification, and then those payments not being accepted by a new loan servicer.  In another case, two banks were foreclosing on the same mortgage, while the homeowner had receipts showing she had made all the payments.  For numerous other homeowners, lenders lose information faster than they slough skin cells.  (Not all lenders and loan servicers are this way, but some are.) On the other side, homeowners may not have Everything, but they do have choices when it comes to home foreclosure.  It depends on where they are in the process, what their situation is, and what their goals are as far as which strategy will bring them the best benefit.  Some of the strategies include: Refinance Forbearance Short Sale Mortgage Modification Reverse Mortgage Hardest Hit Fund (And sometimes) Bankruptcy A Foreclosure Defense can help homeowners find the time to pursue an alternative to […] Read More