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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 Rebirth of Detroit? Facts & Figures From The Largest Municipal Bankruptcy In US History

detroit-bankruptcyOn July 18, 2013, US history was made. Detroit, the largest city in the State of Michigan, filed for bankruptcy after failing to maintain control on its estimated $18-20 billion of crippling debt. This figure made the now infamous Detroit bankruptcy the largest municipal filing in U.S. history. Additionally, no other U.S city with a population even half as large as Detroit’s 714,000 has ever had to file – the closest was the 2012 bankruptcy filing of Stockton, California, boasting a population of little over 290,000.

It is hard to believe that over a year has passed since that announcement was made. Time flies.

Towards the end, things were getting rough in Detroit – with a reported 5,000 cases of arson and over 80,000 homes destroyed. Morale was low among the residents, and with unemployment up over 18%, revenue down 40%, and three times the number of retirees claiming benefits over the number of employed workers, how could you blame them? The facts and figures surrounding the Detroit bankruptcy filing really are quite alarming.

A year may have passed since the city filed, but Detroit was experiencing a decline in the years leading up to its end. For example, it had 11,000-12,000 fires every year in the decade prior to bankruptcy. Industry was also on the decline – in the last 60 years alone, the number of manufacturing jobs in Detroit dropped from 296,000 to just 27,000, – that is a 91% decline. The city’s state of affairs became a sorry sight at the end, particularly when comparing it to what it once was: a thriving US community with the highest per-capita income in 1960. But nowadays, things are very different. Today there are around 78,000 abandoned homes in Detroit, many of which can be bought for less than $500. That’s less than what you would pay for a new computer.

However, this is not expected to last. It is hoped that by September 2014, Detroit will be out of the bankruptcy court. Plans are in motion to form an optimistic future for the city and its residents: natives are being recruited back into the city, as well as $816 million being used to limit pension cutes and protect the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) from a fire sale. Since the filing in 2013, 50,000 streetlights have been replaced, homicides are down 18%, trash collection has become privatized and robberies are down 25%.All of these initiatives are steps in the right direction, towards the rebirth of Detroit as the thriving economy it once was.

This just goes to show that no matter how drastic your financial situation is, or how publicized it becomes, the situation is not permanent. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you need to know that there is always a way back to full recovery, and you can always get back on the road towards a fresher financial future. There are many EOUST-approved providers of the required Credit Counseling and Debtor Education, to help you on your way to having your debts discharged. No matter what your situation, by being proactive about your financial future, you too can start fresh with a tighter grip on your finances and a spring in your step!

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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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Cycle Your Clients Through Bankruptcy

bankruptcy-cycleAs a competent and experienced attorney in the industry, you know all too well that bankruptcy is an interesting concept – lasting an indeterminate amount of time based on each individual case and their variants. Sometimes it sneaks up on people without them realizing it; other times they feel themselves standing frozen in its headlights as it moves towards them in slow motion, clear for all to see. Yet despite these differences, every bankruptcy filer experiences the same emotions: fear, panic, stress, anger, sadness, and then…relief.

Yes, the cycle of bankruptcy is all too common. To the bankruptcy attorneys out there, paying particular attention to this could put you one step ahead of your competitors. Being aware of the emotions your clients are experiencing enables you to most effectively cater to their needs. This makes happy customers, which means a good reputation for your bankruptcy law firm, leading to a successful business = smiles all round!

So, let’s get cycling!

Step 1: Fear“What am I going to do? I can’t file for bankruptcy; everyone will think I am a failure and it’s going to be so stressful, it’s going to be on my record forever and stop me from ever moving forward. Everyone will look at me differently.” The regular readers of this blog will know our sentiments on this: a bankruptcy is not a failure! It also does not define your successes in the future. Many rich and famous celebrities have even filed for bankruptcy, and went on to experience great success after their filing. Remind them that bankruptcy is not the end; it is the beginning of their new stress-free financial future.

Step 2: Panic“I am struggling; I have NO choice but to file. This is really happening to me! What am I going to do?!” We wrote several posts on authors to inspire your clients through bankruptcy, featuring Roald Dahl, George Orwell, Ernest Hemingway, A. A. Milne, Oscar Wilde, Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen and Stephen King. These posts were written with your clients in mind, to ease the panic involved in the bankruptcy process and the discharging of their debts. Advise them to take a look, and see if they are put at easy by any of the sentiments mentioned in our writing.

Step 3: Stress“How am I going to get through this? There is so much to think about and prepare, I don’t know how I can manage all of this on my own.” Now is a great time to let your clients know that they can do this. Inform them that they have already taken the most important step in the right direction, and that their bravery has not gone unnoticed. Remind them that they are not alone, and you are there to help guide them through every step of the bankruptcy process.

Step 4: Anger– “I can’t believe I got myself into this mess, I’m so angry at myself.” Dear bankruptcy filer…despite feeling overwhelmed at this point, all is not lost. Remind them that, and emphasize that they should never regret anything they once did, because it felt right at the time. Concentrating on their regrets and being angry with themselves is only wasted energy, and they need to be made aware of this. It is time to look forward and think about the changes they want to make, going forward.

Step 5: Sadness“I’ve never felt so low; this is really bringing me down.” It can be tempting for clients to partake in a moment of self-pity after being bitten by the bankruptcy bug; and it is up to you to help pull them out of it. Remind them of the importance of taking care of themselves, and to not let their emotions take over at this point.

Step 6: Relief“It’s over. I did it. Thank goodness.” Prepare for tears of relief, and congratulate them on their strength. Perhaps recommend they send a letter to their former self – such a method of self-recognition is great for stress relief, and is a reminder of how strong they proved themselves to be, in proactively trying to right their financial wrongs during such a difficult time. And as the whole process is over, perhaps offer them some advice on budgeting and how to repair and rebuild after filing.

Of course, taking individual differences into account, there will be many cases where your clients experience these emotions in different orders, often repeatedly and for varying durations of time. But so long as you are equipped with the knowledge of the how’s and why’s when dealing with them, you are still giving yourself the best possible chance to succeed. Remember our blog post on the superheroes of bankruptcy? That’s you! You can further enhance your superhuman powers by giving your clients a head-start in the race against bankruptcy – refer them to an EOUST-approved provider of Credit Counseling and Debtor Education, to enable them to get on the right path to discharging their debts.

That way, they can get through their financial distress with minimal upset – and you can hang your bankruptcy attorney superhero cape up at night with satisfaction, knowing you did the best job you possibly could in helping your clients through an incredibly trying time in their lives.

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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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A Cartoon Bankruptcy?

bankruptcy-cartoonJust because animated characters are confined to the limitations of the television screen, it doesn’t make their presence any less real. As one of the hundreds of millions of avid television viewers becoming interested – and then consequentially hooked – on the cartoons gracing our screens on a daily basis, I can honestly say I find a lot of the characters around today very relatable.

Take Homer Simpson. He is far from the brightest crayon in the box, but his core values remain constant. His heart is in the right place. Similar to that of Peter Griffin from Family Guy, his focus is on protecting his nearest and dearest, despite actually being the person putting them in situations of torment through his acts of buffoonery (anyone remember the time he barricaded his family in a bedroom upon believing Lisa’s dream about the boogeyman was real…?) Yet, we love him anyway.

And how about Felix the Cat? Developed in the silent era, this character successfully made the infamously difficult transition to sound, following the birth of Mickey Mouse in 1936. He was even selected to be the mascot for Strike Fighter Squadron 31. So why was he so popular? A playful little cat, he brought joy to audiences by embedding important values throughout his childish play. “A champion never lets anything stand in his way,” he would say while getting up to his countless acts of mischief.

So what is standing in your way? You find yourself sinking financially, considering the need to file for bankruptcy…what is stopping you?

Perhaps it is fear of the unknown? Many cartoon characters display acts of remarkable strength, both physically and mentally.  Admitting you are struggling financially is not a weakness. It is a strength! And in taking that first step, you are one step closer to that ‘unknown’ – a brighter financial future. Nothing scary about that! Do what is best for you, even when it seems that the world is against you. Like the cute but deadly Powerpuff Girls say in the face of adversity, “We fight crime. That’s what we do! Duh.”

Maybe it is the stigma attached to bankruptcy that is causing you concern? “What are people going to think of me if I file?”Well. The value of true friendship is that no matter what, you have a solid support network. No financial struggle is going to cost you that friendship, and your foundations are so secure that their opinions of you will not change. The tales of Winnie the Pooh were littered with this sentiment. “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard,” he would say of his enviable friendships in the Hundred Acre Wood. When Winnie said he wasn’t feeling himself, Piglet said, “There there. I’ll bring you tea and honey until you do.” No matter what you are going through, your true friends will be there for you, by your side. “I wonder what Piglet is doing,” thought Pooh. “I wish I were there to be doing it, too.” Do you have your own Piglet? Tell them your struggles. A burden shared is a burden halved.

The messages embedded within cartoon storytelling stretch far and wide. Take Snow White. She was such a lovable Disney character. Coming from humble beginnings, she proves that you too can have your happy ending, and that your present situation – whether it be financial or otherwise – is not permanent. Just be true to yourself, and you can determine your own future. Don’t want to be struggling financially anymore, and up to your knees in debt? Then you can change it! Start looking for EOUST-approved providers of Credit Counseling to get on the path to discharging your debts and living a happier, more careful life – leaving you more time to enjoy the simpler things, such as singing to woodland creatures and cleaning up after your seven messy house-mates. Hi-ho!

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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.