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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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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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Success After Bankruptcy – Is It Possible?

new-horizonFiling for bankruptcy can be a scary process, especially if you are not knowledgeable on the subject. However, it is important to remember it is also a financial lifesaver, in that it provides the option of debt relief for those struggling financially – depending of course, on whether you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is known as ‘liquidation bankruptcy’ in that it wipes your slate clean of all your debts, and Chapter 13 is termed ‘reorganization bankruptcy’ as it offers the filer a fresh start in the form of a debt repayment plan.

If you are fearful of filing due to ‘bankruptcy shame’, then read on. In this day and age – contrary to popular belief – appearing on the big screen and living in the bubble of Hollywood does not protect you from bankruptcy. We regularly hear of cases of the rich and famous who have filed for bankruptcy protection, who then afterwards still go on to become hugely successful. Such examples are Walt Disney, Milton Hershey, Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford, Mike Tyson and Burt Reynolds, to name a few. Mark Twain is another example, who was insistent on repaying the debts he had accrued, despite having had them discharged in the bankruptcy process. He was true to his word and did so, and then went on to write several of his now classic books.

Large organizations can also seek bankruptcy as a necessary business decision – just last month, the sandwich chain Quiznos announced they were planning on filing, claiming staggering debts of $570 million. Lehman Brothers also hit the headlines in 2008 with their debts of $600 billion, forcing them to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. And how could we forget the infamous rise, fall, rise rollercoaster of the Twinkie?

This just goes to show that no-one is exempt from bankruptcy. And, post-filing, your financial struggles do not determine your future. They are merely a ‘blip’ on your financial radar, and can be the kick-start you need towards a brighter future free of financial worry and stress.

Considering Filing? Use Affordable Bankruptcy Courses!

If you are in the situation where you are considering filing for bankruptcy, the first step is to find a reputable, U.S Trustee-approved provider of a Credit Counseling Briefing – to be completed prior to filing – and Debtor Education, to be taken before debts can be discharged. The two courses required by law as part of the bankruptcy filing process.

Affordable Bankruptcy Courses offers both of these at very affordable prices, and there is no phone call requires for certification! These are available 24/7, in both English and Spanish.

Your Financial Freedom is Right Around The Corner!
Sign up for your Credit Counseling Briefing now for only $15 per household!

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When Will the Government Shutdown End?

government-shutdownPresident Obama, in a media briefing October 8, tried to pressure the GOP to accept a short-term increase in the nation’s debt limit and a reopening of the government while budget talks proposed by House Republicans continue to take place. The President warned of the risk of “a very deep recession” if the government shutdown continued and the debt limit wasn’t increased.

Continued Stalemate in Congress

For their part, House Republicans are calling for face-to-face negotiations with Democrats and the President. Meanwhile House Republicans had planned to vote on legislation that would set a framework for budget talks. Senate Democrats were planning to introduce a debt-ceiling bill to extend the borrowing authority of the U.S. through 2014, after mid-term elections take place. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stated that Democrats would negotiate with House Republicans if House Republicans first agreed to end the shutdown and increase the debt limit.

The effect of the shutdown so far on stocks has been that the Dow Jones Industrial Average has been down by nearly 160 points for the past week. The rate the government pays to borrow for a month rose to its highest level in 5 years. Investors are worried about the possibility of the U.S. defaulting on its debt. Dire consequences are predicted if the debt ceiling isn’t raised: home values could fall while the cost of borrowing could rise.

We Make the Bankruptcy Process Simple and Affordable

If the government shutdown is having a negative impact on your finances, you may need to consider if bankruptcy is an option for you. You must complete two required courses in order to complete your bankruptcy: one before you file for bankruptcy and one after you file for bankruptcy. These courses are required if you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The credit counseling course must be completed within 180 days before filing for bankruptcy and the debtor education course must be completed after filing for bankruptcy. Both of these courses must be provided by agencies approved by the U.S. Trustee Program. Two states, Alabama and North Carolina, do not come under the U.S. Trustee Program. In these states, courses must be approved by Bankruptcy Administrators.

We offer both the pre-filing credit counseling and the pre-discharge debtor education course at affordable prices. The first credit counseling is only $15 per household and the second debtor education course is only $19 per household. If you have already filed for bankruptcy you must complete the debtor education course before the bankruptcy court will discharge your debts and complete your bankruptcy.

We have partnered with Advisory Credit Management, one of the nation’s leading approved agencies, to provide you with the credit counseling course. Other reasons to take our courses:

  • They are web-based and interactive
  • They are available in both English and Spanish
  • They cost the same whether you take it individually or with your spouse
  • The certificates of completion are sent directly to you electronically


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The Filing Procedure Under Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a legal process where the debts of the filers are discharged, which allows for a fresh financial start.  If you file under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee may liquidate your non-exempt assets to pay off the creditors.  Before you file bankruptcy, make sure you consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to discuss your options and to file a petition with the bankruptcy court.

A Sneak Peek at Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

You need to file a petition with the bankruptcy court when you want to eliminate your financial debts under Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In addition, you’ll need to list all of your assets as well as your liabilities on the form and submit it with other financial documents, which your attorney can complete for you based on the information you provide to him/her.

Your attorney will also make sure that the creditors are listed in the schedule along with correct mailing addresses.  You’ll also need to list the debts that are non-dischargeable.  If you fail to list your property in the schedule, then your petition can be rejected by the bankruptcy court. Generally, the schedules are filed with the bankruptcy trustee in the district where you reside.

The court appointed trustee provides notice to all the creditors, and the court may place automatic stay once you file petition. This will prevent the creditors from any further collection activities.

Meeting with the Creditors

The filers and their attorneys are required to appear at the meeting with the creditors and the trustee may inquire about their assets and liabilities. In this meeting, the creditors can also question the debtors on this subject.

If there are any assets that are not exempted, then the trustee regains control over the assets. These assets are liquidated under the supervision of the trustee and the fund is used to pay off the creditors.

Credit Counseling Course is Required

You’re required to complete a Credit Counseling Course within 180 days prior to filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You need to complete your counseling session with the help of certified counselors. This requirement was added when the bankruptcy laws were overhauled in 2005. You must get the counseling from an agency that has been approved by the United States Trustee’s Office; you can find a list of approved counselors on their website. If you don’t get credit counseling and file a certificate of completion with the court, your case will be dismissed.

Debtor Education Course is Required

In addition to completing a Credit Counseling course, a Debtor Education Course (also known as Financial Management) must be completed after filing for bankruptcy but prior to discharge.  The course provides budgeting and financial planning resources for the future. Failure to complete this course will result in your case being dismissed or your discharge denied.

Once your requirements have been fulfilled, your debts can be discharged giving you a new opportunity to achieve financial freedom and start fresh.         

This is a guest post by Andrew who writes for financial communities.


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4 Types of Bankruptcy To Be Aware Of

Are you suffering from excessive debt burden? Do you find it troublesome to make the debt payments? If this is your situation, then choosing bankruptcy could be a suitable option for you. With the help of bankruptcy, you can get relief from the enormous debt problems either partially or completely. However, you need to know that when you file for bankruptcy, it will remain on your credit report for 7 to 10 years. As such, bankruptcy hurts your credit score to a great extent. There are different types of bankruptcy methods including Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, and Chapter 13. Read on to learn more about them:

  1. Chapter 7 – A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common type of bankruptcy that is filed by the consumers. All your assets get liquidated and your outstanding debts are wiped out completely. Chapter 7 bankruptcy pardons the debtors who have a financial crisis such as credit card bill and medical debt. By filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will be able to eradicate credit card dues or medical bills. This kind of bankruptcy is available for the individuals, couples, business partners and corporations. When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it stays on your credit report for 10 years.
  2. Chapter 11 – With the help of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, business owners get a suitable opportunity to reorganize their debts. The debtor’s claims of creditors are either paid partially or completely by the debtor. The reason for reorganizing the debt is to restructure them so that the debtor can function better with the debts. However, you cannot file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy if a petition was discharged in the last 180 days. Besides this, a bankruptcy petition cannot be filed unless the debtor has acquired credit counseling from an approved credit counseling agency in the previous 180 days.
  3. Chapter 12 – Chapter 12 bankruptcy was designed particularly for the reorganization of family farms. More than 50% of your income must be derived from farming or fishing in order to qualify for this kind of bankruptcy. Chapter 12 is only available to the individuals whose debts meet specific debt restrictions. A family farmer may either be an individual, a corporation or a partner.
  4. Chapter 13 – A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a debt repayment plan that is available to individuals and married couples who have debts that fall within a definite statutory amount. Chapter 13 bankruptcy enables the debtors to pay off either some or all of their debts from their income over a period of 3 to 5 years. When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it will remain on your credit report for 7 years.

 

Thus, these are the different kinds of bankruptcy that you need to be aware of when you decide to file. It is always best to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney before proceeding with any type of bankruptcy.

This is a guest post by Andrew who writes for financial communities.