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Is There Really a Need for Bankruptcy Education and Counseling?

 

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Receiving Bankruptcy Counseling

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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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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Bankruptcy Attorneys: We want your feedback! FREE eBook Available!

Here at Affordable Bankruptcy Courses, we are working on delivering the best level of customer service to each and every one of you bankruptcy attorneys. When considering filing, the last thing your clients want is added stress to an already stressful ordeal. So when taking the Credit Counseling and Debtor Education courses required to begin the process of discharging their debts, they want the best. So do you; you want for the best for your clients.

So how can we be the best? Let us know. We want your feedback. And to each and every one of you leaving feedback in the comment section below, we will send you a FREE, exclusive Affordable Bankruptcy Courses eBook – full of valuable, informative content to help you and your clients through your bankruptcy.

Think bankruptcy courses, think Affordable.

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The Bankruptcy Video Game: Would You Buy It?

bankruptcy-gameAre you, or have you ever been, an avid video gamer? Could you easily watch the hours fly by as you engage with quirky characters from virtual realms, defending fictitious countries against demons and dragons? I always remember such a sense of satisfaction whenever your weapon of choice would completely destroy the enemy. Bankruptcy demons, watch out.

One of the main purposes of a video game – despite being a fantastic way to procrastinate during exam season – is the offering of an escape from reality. It allows us to forget our stresses and strains for a short time – or a long one, depending on how soon those impending exams are. As your typical ‘angry-at-the-world’ teenager, I also took great comfort in the fact that putting my metaphorical gaming hat on and disappearing into an interactive dimension made it a lot easier to block out the people around me.

Regardless of who you are, people’s unwarranted contributions and opinions can still grate. No matter what you are struggling with, people will claim to understand your situation even better than you do yourself. In going through bankruptcy, there will be an abundance of people offering their points of view on the subject, and more often than not it will be from those who have never truly contemplated the true stresses and strains associated with such a financial struggle.

For example.

“It could be worse.”

Don’t you just hate that expression? It is almost as bad as, “We’ve all been there” – but not quite. There you are, allowing yourself a short amount of time to wallow in some self pity, and someone comes along and takes your right to complain straight out of your hands. “It could be worse,” they say, “Imagine if X, Y, Z…” They then proceed to rattle off a list of – admittedly awful – circumstances that could worsen your predicament quite significantly. But sometimes during periods of struggle and distress, all we need is an empathetic ear.

We want to complain that we are struggling. We want to dwell on the fact that the process of having our debts discharged is a tedious and laborious one. It is stressful. Not the end of the world, admittedly, but stressful nonetheless.

In short, we want a pick-me-up. It is nice to be reminded that in filing for bankruptcy, you are not defining who you are as a human being. It does not constitute your character or genetic makeup. It is not a determinant of your future successes. Consider it one of life’s inconveniences that you are currently suffering through, and so long as you are being proactive in rectifying the financial wrongs, you are allowed to let yourself experience whatever emotions come to hand.

At Affordable Bankruptcy Courses, we are experienced in the bankruptcy arena and the wide emotional spectrum that comes with it. Fear, anger, sadness…we’ve seen it all. We offer people their much-needed escape from reality during this time, in helping them towards the discharging of their debts. There are no demons and dragons in our world, just the Credit Counseling and Debtor Education needed to get you on the road to financial success.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you are welcome to play our video gameentirely metaphorical, but unbeatable in terms of the rewards you reap from playing. That way you can proactively tackle your financial struggles while always looking forward. And if you feel like taking a moment to yourself, that is entirely warranted. Allow it.

In short: even though it is never a good thing to dwell in negativity, sometimes we just need to let it out of our system. And that is ok, so long as it is sporadic. After a short amount of wallowing, it is time to pick yourself up and remind yourself of the positives.

Like ice cream. No matter how bad things get, Ben & Jerry will always be there for you.

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Social Media Frenzy: Some Alarming Statistics For Bankruptcy Attorneys

bankruptcy-attorney-social-mediaHopefully, it is reading our previous posts on becoming social media savvy and utilizing social media marketing to promote your business that brought you here. If the use of online resources to extend the reach of your marketing campaigns has sparked your interest, then you are not alone. 22% of all Americans check social media multiple times a day. That’s almost a quarter of the US population! So in having an online presence, you are exposing your business to this 22% not just once, but four times over.

And that’s just America. Social media is trending worldwide, and is growing at an exponential rate. It is now the top internet activity, even trumping email. Believe it or not, since 2012, the number of Twitter users in the 55-64 age bracket alone has increased a staggering 72%. Every 2 seconds, someone new joins LinkedIn. And did you know, YouTube reaches more American adults than any cable network?

Yes, social media is booming. So if you aren’t currently using it to market your bankruptcy law firm, now would be a great time to start. At Affordable Bankruptcy Courses, we use it to market our Credit Counseling and Debtor Education courses. Always be mindful of how to reach your target audience when implementing your online marketing techniques. For example, 71% of people access social media from a mobile device. So make sure your content is mobile-friendly, especially if you are marketing to tech savvy teenagers – 98% of them use social media. And with over 189 million ‘mobile only’ users on Facebook alone, you don’t want to miss out on brand exposure by overlooking this simple, yet effective concept when designing your Landing Pages.

You might not think posting a tweet a day would make much difference, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Allow us to introduce you to the concept of content sharing! On Facebook, 4.75 billion items are shared daily. On Twitter, 190 million tweets are sent daily. So in posting your one tweet, it might catch the attention of a handful of consumers, who re-tweet your content. This is then seen by their followers, who may also share it online. The chain continues, and before you know it, you may even become the next Katy Perry – the most followed account on Twitter!

And it isn’t just text you can share. A large amount of engagement via social media is done through images. Pinterest – a site where users create and share visual content – was the fastest growing social network of 2013. And almost a quarter of teenagers deem Instagram their favorite social media platform. So by creating your own graphics, or sharing visual content through your business’ social media pages, you are catching the attention of the visual learners out there, and exposing your brand to even more people. And through content sharing across the web, your customers are actually doing most of the work for you! That’s the magic of Social Media Marketing!

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Bankruptcy? Oh, Crumbs.

bankruptcy-metaphorYou may have read the news this week about Crumbs Bake Shop closing all its stores. Since its establishment in 2003 it rapidly became a successful New York chain, though suffered as the excitement surrounding the infamous ‘cupcake craze’ died down. Perhaps inevitable, given that the cronut and ramen burger suffered the same fate in recent years. Yes, the hype surrounding food crazes is often dramatic, yet short-lived. Currently, the health conscious individuals among us have propelled juice cleanses and gluten free food to center stage…but for how long?

The takeaway is, fads may come and go, but the components – the ingredients – stay the same.

It is the same concept regarding bankruptcy, and the need to rebuild after. As tough an ordeal as a bankruptcy filing can be, the key components remain the same – comparable to baking a Victoria sponge cake. The toppings and decoration may vary – similar to the creditors and debts listed on your credit report – but the sponge itself remains constant.

For your bankruptcy cake, you need to find an EOUST-approved provider of the required Credit Counseling and Debtor Education to be able to discharge your debts, as well as a licensed bankruptcy attorney. You need to grasp how to budget effectively, and research other rebuilding tools and resources to start fresh once your filing is completed. Mix these ingredients in a bowl, with a sprinkle of optimism and faith in yourself, and your mix is ready.

Cheesy? Perhaps this should have been a cheesecake recipe?

Step 2. Similar to monitoring the amount of time your cake spends in the oven, you need to keep close tabs on your spending habits. As previously mentioned, budgeting is essential when embarking on the road to financial stability and success after a bankruptcy filing. It can be a struggle at first, but once you get into the routine of monitoring where each and every dollar goes, you will feel a lot more positive. You will have control of your finances – the best way to ensure you never have to file for bankruptcy again!

Did your cake burn around the edges? Cut these areas off. There is no room for self-doubt in this delicious culinary masterpiece. Don’t worry if the cake isn’t level, or perfectly round in shape. We aren’t aiming for perfection here. Try not to put any extra pressure on yourself by having unrealistic expectations, because that is just setting you up for failure. In just achieving one small thing each day and setting smaller, more manageable goals, you are offering yourself the best opportunity to succeed – in all areas of life.

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