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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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Note To Self: Dear Bankruptcy Filer…

bankruptcy-letterDear Bankruptcy Filer,

I know how you’re feeling right now. Overwhelmed doesn’t even cover it. Anxiety, sleepless nights, accompanied with the return of that childhood nail biting habit you thought you had conquered…yes, I noticed.

Stop. You need to realize, this is not permanent. Think of it as a blip on your financial radar. A pretty irritating blip, but a blip nonetheless. Why do I say that? Because – and did I mention – this is not permanent.

You won’t lose all your assets. In Chapter 13 bankruptcies, the courts have no right to take and sell your assets, given that you establish some kind of repayment plan over the span of a few years to repay all that you owe. And most Chapter 7 filings are ‘no asset’ cases.  So, in both instances, all those hours you spent making your house a home will not have been in vain.

And did you know, federal law prevents against discrimination towards those who have filed for bankruptcy? So you can clear that worry out of your head right now. You will still be employable, and will once again be able to work, earn, save, and live.

You won’t have bad credit forever. And…you can still have access to credit after you file. After-bankruptcy tools and resources are available in abundance to help you repair and rebuild your credit to help you back on your feet again. Take a look at Start Fresh Today Plus to give yourself a head-start. Isn’t that comforting? Almost as soothing as the feeling of drinking a hot chocolate on an ice cold day.

Let’s add a few marshmallows in there too, to sweeten the deal: Your slate is being wiped clean! In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, most – if not all – your debts are cancelled, and are even used to pay your creditors. You are starting fresh. Bankruptcy can also prevent foreclosures and repossession of your property and belongings, debt collection harassment and wage garnishments.

And you know what is even more heart-warming? There is a great company available to help you through bankruptcy. They offer both the Credit Counseling and Debtor Education courses needed to complete your filing. Write this down and look them up: Affordable Bankruptcy Courses. Visit their site now to kick-start your journey towards financial freedom.

And…stop stressing. Start living.

Signed,

Your Future Self.

P.S. The hot chocolate was delicious.

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