Foreclosure Figures

Home foreclosure is no longer making headlines like it did in the Recession, but Floridians are still feeling the impact from the economic downturn according to a survey by the University of South Florida and the Nielsen Company. Though Florida foreclosures have decreased, Florida ranks number two nationally in highest foreclosure rates in the third quarter, according to RealtyTrac.  They reported numbers in our area for September as follows: Clay County – One in every 368 * Duval County – One in every 541 Flagler County – One in every 497 Nassau County – One in every 516 Putnam County – One in every 506 St. Johns County – One in every 1,200 (* Note that Clay County is in the top five foreclosure counties in Florida.) While foreclosure is not currently the forefront of the news, if it is affecting you, then it is the headline of your financial life.  There may be a legal resolution.  Seek competent legal counsel to learn what legal choices you may have.   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

Tips to Avoid Debt

Weird Al Yankovic has a new album, and was releasing one song a day to promote it.  Weird Al is a vegan.  Makes you wonder where does he get all that energy without eating meat?  It is like that mysterious debt that piles up out of nowhere. From medical hardships to mortgages, to student loans and auto loans, credit cards, gym memberships, and phone contracts—debt adds up to subtract from your bank balance.  Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to save yourself: Make a budget.  Let this free online budget calculator to help you balance your monthly expenses with your monthly income: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-1020-make-budget-worksheet.pdf. Pay yourself.  Set money aside to go into a savings account or investment at regular intervals.  You may be able to arrange an automatic withdrawal from your checking account or divert part of your payroll direct deposit.  What you do not see in your wallet may make a nice bonus for you later. Keep it going.  If you get a raise at work, divert that added income into a savings account, or if you pay off a car, keep up the payments but into your own account. Debt and taxes are a part […] Read More