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Is There Really a Need for Bankruptcy Education and Counseling?

 

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According to recent statistics, Americans filed 936,795 bankruptcies in 2014. Though these are shocking numbers, there’s no denying that it’s been a hard financial decade for many Americans; and many families are just starting to recover.

In many cases, people don’t expect to learn anything from the bankruptcy process. They think you just declare bankruptcy and some governing body says yes or no based on the information you’ve provided, and that’s it. However, not only is the bankruptcy process more complicated than this, you must also complete credit counseling and take bankruptcy education courses to help you understand how you arrived at your bankruptcy in the first place.

 

Lawmakers designed these courses to:

  1. Truly assess your financial situation,
  2. Help you make better financial choices in the future, and
  3. Help you genuinely understand credit

Though many people may feel an aversion to finance, most Americans would benefit from a required financial education course in high school and/or college; before entering the working world. Bankruptcy courses provide the much needed guidance that most Americans would likely admit to never getting otherwise.

What to Expect

If you are considering bankruptcy, the first step would be to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. While an attorney is not required to file for bankruptcy, most experts recommend working with one (even for simple Chapter 7 bankruptcies), just to ensure that all of the necessary legal paperwork is completed in a timely matter and to guide you through the process.

Within 180 days of filing, you have to complete a Credit Counseling Course. This course is really a review of your finances. An expert will help you go through your finances and expense to debt ratio, to decide if you have any other alternatives to bankruptcy, like debt consolidation. Even if your credit counselor recommends a repayment program, you don’t have to follow his/her advice. You do, however, have to present a Certificate of Completion to the judge, or else your case can be dismissed.

Before your case closes, you have to take a Debtor Education Course. You need to show the judge a Certificate of Completion for this course as well. If you’ve filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you have to complete the course before making your last plan payment. If you’ve filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you have to complete the course within 60 days of your 341 Hearing. This course helps you:

  • Learn to use credit wisely in the future,
  • Manage and budget money,
  • Make sound financial decisions, and
  • Truly enjoy your bankruptcy as a relief from financial distress, (by not creating more financial distress)

Contact us to learn more about our affordable, convenient and government approved bankruptcy courses! 

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Four Things You Can Do To Raise Your FICO Score

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Have you just exited bankruptcy and want to prepare for some big life changes such as buying a house or new car? You’ll want to first improve your FICO score. FICO is the score used by lenders to help them determine if you’re a good credit risk. While standards vary by lender, a FICO score above 640 should get you a pretty decent loan. But a little improvement never hurt anything. Below are a few things you should do to improve your FICO score:

1. Use your credit cards. It’s understandable that you want to be frugal after bankruptcy, but having an inactive credit card on your credit report can actually bring down your FICO score. To avoid problems, try to use your card at least once every few months, but pay it off immediately.

2. Get more credit. If you have a short credit history with very little credit line variety, make sure you get at least one type of various credit lines. For example, having both a credit card and installment loan is a good way to improve your FICO score and show lenders that you can manage different types of debt.

3. Don’t keep your credit cards at the limit. If you’re keeping a balance on your credit card try to keep it at no more than 50% of your available credit. Lenders will shy away from anyone who is maxing out their credit line. That screams credit risk.

4. Don’t become a credit hound. While exiting bankruptcy is an exciting time to rebuild your finances, chasing after too many credit lines can drag down your FICO score. Choose a small number of credit applications to fill out so that you don’t appear desperate for credit.

If you want to make the most of your post-bankruptcy life, create a strategy to improve your FICO score.

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Consumer Education Services Inc. Acquires Affordable Bankruptcy Courses

Raleigh, NC. March 20, 2015Consumer Education Services Inc. (CESI), a non-profit credit counseling organization since 1998, announced today that it has acquired Affordable Bankruptcy Courses. CESI’s acquisition of Affordable Bankruptcy Courses advances its mission of offering comprehensive personal financial education and solutions for all life stages and milestones.

The Affordable Bankruptcy Courses platform has been used to provide online Pre-Bankruptcy Credit Counseling and the Debtor Education Course since 2012. Through what can be a complex and confusing time, Affordable Bankruptcy Courses serves to provide an easy to use platform to complete the required bankruptcy courses while educating consumers.  The online Pre-Bankruptcy Credit Counseling is offered at $15 per household and online Debtor Education is $19 per household.

“Offering the highest quality bankruptcy counseling program in the industry allows us to further serve the needs of our valuable customers, especially those who are at a critical crossroad in their financial future,” said Dr. Diane Chen, CESI’s CEO.

CESI has worked closely with the Executive Office of U.S. Trustees (EOUST) to meet the new requirements by updating Affordable Bankruptcy Courses’ software platform and integrating comprehensive training for their counselors. Bankruptcy attorneys and their clients can expect to receive fast, easy, and affordable bankruptcy courses powered by one of the nation’s leading credit counseling agencies.

Questions? Speak with an Attorney Relationship Manager

info@affordbk.com
http://www.affordablebankruptcycourses.com


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9 Things You Need to Know About the Debtor Education Course

debtor education course questionsDuring bankruptcy, you may be experiencing a range of emotions—everything from fear to confusion. Not to fret. We’ve compiled a list of the 9 most commonly asked questions (and what you need to know) when it comes to getting your debts discharged through bankruptcy.

One of the final steps during the bankruptcy process is completing the Debtor Education Course. What’s that? Keep reading…

In compliance with the Bankruptcy Code, all bankruptcy petitioners are required to complete a Debtor Education Course, after filing for bankruptcy but before discharge. The bankruptcy petitioner is also required to have already completed Credit Counseling, which must be done prior to filing for bankruptcy.

1. Who needs to take a Debtor Education Course?

If you are filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, completion of the Debtor Education Course is required by law.

2. I already completed the Credit Counseling. Why do I need to take the Debtor Education Course, too?

The Credit Counseling assesses your current financial situation to help determine if bankruptcy is the best option. On the other hand, the Debtor Education Course helps prepare you for the future with financial planning and budgeting tips to help you better manage your finances.

3. Is the Debtor Education Course the same as Financial Management?

Yes. Although it is most commonly referred to as Debtor Education, you may also hear Financial Management Course, Pre-Discharge Bankruptcy Course, Post-Filing Course, or some other variation. They are all the same and must be completed after filing for bankruptcy but before debts can be discharged.

4. Is there a time requirement?

Yes, a minimum of 2 hours must be spent within the course as required by law.

5. Who offers the Debtor Education Course?

This course can be completed online or by phone with an EOUST-approved provider.

6. When do I need to complete this course?

For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must complete the course within 60 days of your meeting of creditors (also known as a 341 meeting). For a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must complete it before making your final payment or before filing a motion requesting a discharge based on hardship.

7. Can I take the Debtor Education Course when I take the Credit Counseling?

No. These cannot be completed at the same time. As required by law, you must complete the Credit Counseling before filing and the Debtor Education after filing—refer to the next question for exactly when.

8. Can my spouse and I take the course together?

Yes. You can both take the course together and separate certificates of completion will be issued for both of you. Some providers offer the courses at no additional charge for joint filers.

9. How do I get the certificates of completion?

The provider will email your bankruptcy certificate(s) to you and/or your attorney.

Feel a little better now? The good news is that if you’re reading this, chances are bankruptcy is almost behind you. Don’t delay your fresh start and register for the Debtor Education Course now for only $19. Put your bankruptcy in the past and get ready for a clean slate when it comes to your financial future!

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As Easy As ABC…Affordable Bankruptcy Courses!

It has been a long week, and what better way to wind down than with a light-hearted anagram?

Approved provider of Credit Counseling
Financial freedom 
Fresh start for your finances
Offering you… 
Relief from debt
Debtor Education Course – found here
An opportunity for you to have your debts discharged
Bankruptcy courses – both pre and post filing
Learn new skills – budgeting, financial rebuilding
EOUST-approved

Think bankruptcy courses, think Affordable. Thank you to all our dedicated readers who have been reading our posts thus far.

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What Do Bankruptcy And Animals Have in Common?

if-bankruptcy-were-an-animalWhen sitting down to write this post, I had a long hard think: If bankruptcy were an animal, what would it be? Would it be a fierce predator, ready to make its attack on its unassuming prey, or would it be the prey itself, quivering behind a bush and plotting its escape?

Sometimes you may feel like bankruptcy is the predator and you are the prey – something that on first glance, you are entirely justified in believing. But let’s take a step back for a moment and think. Bankruptcy is a form of debt relief. It did not occur to cause you financial problems; it is there as a result of them. In short: by discharging your debts and filing for bankruptcy, you are able to start fresh financially. It ends your financial worries.

You could almost go as far as to say bankruptcy is rescuing you from a financial future riddled with stress and debt. So referring back to the question at the beginning of this post: if bankruptcy were an animal, what would it be? Which animals spring to mind when thinking of rescue?

Perhaps a seeing eye dog? Fiercely loyal to their owner during times of need, these dogs are specifically trained to provide a service to the visually impaired. They are protecting them against unexpected obstacles, and ensuring they reach their destination safely and unharmed.

I’m sure you can see where we are going with this. Isn’t this exactly what bankruptcy does? It provides a service to those struggling financially, protecting them against their mountain of debt and ensuring they are put forth on the road to a fresher, brighter financial future – safely and unharmed. Just like a seeing eye dog, bankruptcy guides people along the right path. Credit Counseling, Debtor Education…these are both found on the route to your fresh start.

At first this may seem like a far-fetched comparison, but the point to note is that the negative perception of bankruptcy is far from the truth. Upon reflection, the opportunity to have your debts discharged through bankruptcy is actually something to feel good about. It is your opportunity to begin again. Like a cat – you are being given an opportunity to use the 2nd of your 9 lives. And this time you will land on your feet. Just like a cat always does.

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The Song Of Bankruptcy: Your Melody of Money

bankruptcy-musicFor as long as we can remember, recording artists put pen to paper – and hands to instruments – to showcase their musical talents to their adoring public. Most songs follow the same pattern in most cases: chorus, verse, repeat, then after the orchestral climax in the middle as the song gets into full swing, it comes to an – often abrupt – end. Often the focus is about love – first love, happiness, unrequited feelings, heartbreak or otherwise. And each and every song conveys a message; more often than not about that love and the happiness – and tragedies – that accompany it.

So how is bankruptcy similar to this?

During this time, money is not exactly the object of your affection, but it is taking center stage in your thought processes right now. So to put it into a musical context, the song of bankruptcy would not be a consistently happy one – similar to those countless melodies you hear filled with the agonizing pain of unrequited love. But oftentimes, it is the sad, songs of a slow tempo that tug at your heart strings the most, and are the most relatable.

It would perhaps start in a melancholy fashion, and will feature many twists and turns up until the finale – a much welcome finale in the case of bankruptcy and financial woes. We even wrote a post on this recently, on the emotional bankruptcy cycle. Stress, anger, sadness…these are all completely normal emotions to experience during this time in your life. You, among all the hundreds of thousands of other bankruptcy filers each year, are all experiencing the same thing. And your bankruptcy song will follow very much the same pattern as the filers around you.

It may not have a large accepting audience, but that is nothing to concern yourself with at this stage. To quote the famous Dr. Seuss, “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” Surround yourself with true friends when showcasing your bankruptcy melody. They will stick by you through thick and thin. Even if you have difficulty singing in tune or strumming a guitar. 😉

There are many steps to take into consideration in the process of having your debts discharged – predominantly finding an EOUST-approved provider of the required Credit Counseling and Debtor Education. These would form the body of the first and last verses, respectively. And the remainder of the song is all about you. What do you want to sing about during this time? How have your financial troubles impacted you? Now is your time to relieve yourself of this stressful burden for just a few moments, and envisage life after filing –financial freedom, lower stress levels, and for those of you who are tone deaf, there will hopefully be no reason to subject your friends and family to any more singsongs. 😉

If you aren’t one for singing, perhaps try our bankruptcy video game? It doesn’t matter how you keep your spirits high during a period of financial distress, so long as you have an outlet to effectively do so. When making the strides to eliminate your debts, remember the most important person in all of this: you. Remember to be kind to yourself and keep your spirits lifted. Just like how a heart-warming song does for the soul.

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