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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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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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Bankruptcy Filers: What is your secret? What makes you human?

fresh-financial-start-bankruptcyThe other night as I was engrossed in a murder mystery series on television, I found myself struggling to keep up with the twists and turns as the plot developed. Each and every character had so many secrets; ones you would never had known existed had they not fallen to their knees and confessed to them in the final scene.

It made me think of the board game Clue. Did you ever play it? Entertainment based on the same principle, it is a murder mystery game designed to sharpen your detective skills by identifying the scene of the murder, the weapon used and the murderer themselves. Hours of fun could be had with this game, as you would tactically choose different strategies to either withhold or provide information to the other players in the game, determining the likelihood of anyone solving the crime.

This got me thinking. What information have you shared with those around you, and what do you withhold?Maintaining that element of mysteriousness and privacy is a human survival instinct – we are protecting ourselves. Secrets – we all seem to have them, hidden behind the smiling exterior we want everybody else to see and believe… such is the complexity of human nature.

I tried to apply this to my own situation, and thought about what information I withhold from those around me. To the frustration of those closest to me, I am very private by nature and much more of a listener than a talker. For example: despite my young age, I have moved abroad twice, most recently to America. And I can honestly say it has been the hardest thing I have ever done. I kept this a secret from my nearest and dearest, but adjusting and integrating into a completely different culture, coupled with the financial stresses of such a move, really took its toll on me. I often wondered if I made the right choice, and so eventually decided to share my burden with my family. I wanted to turn this around, and focus on the positives. They helped me see that despite everything, the move strengthened me. It showed me new experiences, new cultures, new people…a way of life that was new and interesting to me. I learned from it. As they said, this was a great opportunity for me – regardless if it turned out to be the wrong one – and that nothing is permanent. If you don’t like something, change it. It was my chance to start fresh, somewhere new. Similar to those struggling financially, I was offered a clean slate to build a life again.

So perhaps this was a little longwinded in getting the message across, but I just want to convey that no matter how bleak things may seem, you too can start fresh and learn from your experiences, as I did through mine. Your struggles are not permanent. If you don’t like your financial situation, you can take the necessary steps to change it. You can take the required Credit Counseling and Debtor Education, to get you on your way to having your debts discharged. You can also learn about budgeting, and research financial rebuilding tools to help get you on your feet afterwards. And in the meantime, try sharing your financial worries with those closest to you…as mentioned several times on this blog, a problem shared is a problem halved.

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An Award For All You Bankruptcy Filers!

The bankruptcy world is tough – the concept itself is tarred with stress, frustration and an enormous amount of emotional upheaval. Despite it offering an opportunity for filers to start fresh, free of financial stress and worry, this factor is overlooked predominantly by one thought: I am struggling financially. I don’t know how I am going to get through this.

Well, you know what? You will get through it. You will persevere, file, have your debts discharged if you qualify, and become a brand spanking new ‘financially responsible’ version of your former self. You will face challenges and tough moments throughout the duration of your filing, but you won’t give up. Your determination to be financially stable and successful will drive you through the required Credit Counseling and Debtor Education, propelling you towards the light at the end of your financial struggles.

And for that you deserve recognition. So, to each and every one of you reading this blog, please accept this Affordable Bankruptcy Courses medal for your strength and courage. Your courage in acknowledging you needed help financially, and your strength for wanting to right this wrong and become financially strong and independent.

Don’t become downcast by the battle of bankruptcy – in making the decision to become debt free, you have already won.

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The Perfect Menu For All You Bankruptcy Filers

bankruptcy-menuPerfect? Probably a word you never thought you would see in the same sentence as the word bankruptcy. But, it just happened. You have stumbled upon the latest post by Affordable Bankruptcy Courses, detailing the perfect menu for those considering filing for bankruptcy. (It would be safe to say that I have a mild food obsession).

If you found out that today was to be your last day on earth, how would you spend it? Reminiscing, worrying, reuniting with friends and family, mulling over the accomplishments and failures of your life and wishing you had started ticking off the items on your bucket list a little sooner? Or perhaps – if you are like me – you will be thinking about the most important thing…your last meal. I wish I could say I was joking, but my aforementioned love for food deems it pretty high up on the agenda.

Filing for bankruptcy is an incredibly stressful time for each and every one of you, and every day you wake up; you may struggle to see the light at the end of the tunnel. In short, it may feel like, gradually, you are just getting increasingly more stressed and nearing the end of your patience. So, we put together a metaphorical bankruptcy menu to help you get your teeth stuck into the bankruptcy process. So put on your napkin, settle down at the table and get ready for the feast:

Appetizer

Credit Counseling– Make sure this is EOUST-approved. Prior to filing for bankruptcy protection (both Chapter 7 and 13), completion of this briefing is required within 180 days.

Entrée

It’s time to file for bankruptcy. Make sure you find a licensed, approved attorney to help you throughout this process, and are clued up on the bankruptcy basics.

While waiting for the next course, why not wet your palette with some light reading? Guaranteed to keep your interest until dessert arrives. Because how could any menu be complete without it?

Dessert

Debtor Education – again, EOUST-approved. This is required prior to your bankruptcy case being discharged. It can be taken by an individual or married couple who have already completed their Pre-Bankruptcy Credit Counseling and have filed for bankruptcy

Dish Of The Day:

By writing a response to this post – any other post on the Affordable Bankruptcy Courses blog – you get an Affordable Bankruptcy Courses eBook, full of valuable, informative content to get you through your bankruptcy! What’s more, this is included within the menu, so you don’t have to pay a penny to get it! Comment now!

Dig in! Enjoy the tasty treats Affordable Bankruptcy Courses has to offer. Because with us, it is as easy – and delicious – as ABC.

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Authors To Inspire You Through Bankruptcy: Emily Dickinson

famaous-author-bankruptcy-inspirationFamous for capturing the hearts of millions through her written word, Emily Dickinson is the next author to feature in the Affordable Bankruptcy Courses “Authors To Inspire You Through Bankruptcy” series. An American poet born in 1830, Emily’s brilliance was sadly not discovered until after her death, when collections of her poetry became available to the public. Since then, she has been revered as a highly influential American poet – and even now, is considered one of the most important to date.

During bankruptcy, it is easy to become preoccupied with thoughts and stresses concerning your finances, but it is important to try and keep things in perspective. As Dickinson wrote, “Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.” By this, she is saying that you may be struggling, but you are alive! And instead of just surviving, you want to live. Do not let bankruptcy rule your life, as difficult a concept as that may seem right now. Take things slowly. Set yourself milestones – for example, learning how to budget effectively – and find happiness in accomplishing these. Find joy in the small things, for you may soon realize they were actually the big things. Appreciate your friends and family during this difficult time, and partake in your favorite past times to remind yourself of what it feels like to enjoy each day and be happy.

She had a quirky way of getting her message across; by placing a lot of significance in simple phrases that require several real-throughs before the true concept and meaning is properly grasped. For example, upon first glance, Dickinson’s phrase “forever is composed of nows,” could be deemed confusing. What exactly does it mean? Does it even make sense? In short, yes. By living in each moment – each ‘now– and making decisions and adopting attitudes based on the here and now, you are determining your future – your ‘forever. Who you are now, and the decisions you make now, determine the path you take and the person you will become. So make the decision to tackle your bankruptcy. Take the required Credit Counseling and Debtor Education courses, and get on the road to a fresher financial future.

Dickinson believed highly in the power of possibility. Her work itself is scattered with possibility, in encouraging her readers to adopt her positive ‘can do’ attitude – “I believe in possibility…dwell in possibilities…the possible’s slow fuse is lit by the imagination.” In saying this, she is reinforcing the fact that your mind has more influence than you may realize.  Tell yourself you can do something, and your world opens up. Possibilities only become apparent when you open your mind up to them; when you imagine. Imagine you can get through this bankruptcy filing, and you will. You will become a stronger person because of it. How are we so sure? Well as a wise American poet once said, “A wounded deer leaps highest…”In being ‘wounded’ by bankruptcy, when you shakily stand up on those deer legs of yours, you are going to be able to jump higher than you ever could before. Why? Because you went through an incredibly difficult, life-changing situation…and survived.

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