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4 Shocking Facts About Medical Costs That Can Save You Big Bucks

Medical costs

Medical costs aren't set in stone

Image source - Flickr User wonderlane

Medical costs are one of the leading causes of bankruptcy and can be a huge source of stress for many households. The best approach is to not let yourself get behind on medical bills and the best way to do this is to cut medical costs from the get-go. Today we'll look at some tips to reduce medical expenses both before and after the fact.

How to Save and Pay for Your Kids' College Even If You're Completely Broke

Saving for a rainy day

Yes, you can save for your kid's college even if you're broke

Image source - Flickr user Philip Brewer

If you've got kids, you likely hope they'll get to go to college one day even if you aren't a college grad yourself. But if you're struggling with money problems and having issues paying your bills, you may think it's not possible to put cash aside for college. This can lead to worries that your kids will be stuck with student loans and you may still be paying off yours. Today we'll take a look at some steps you can take to help ensure your kids can get to college even if you're broke.

5 Tips to Get Errors Off Your Credit Report Faster and Improve Your Score

Work on your credit

Find out how to get errors off your credit report

Image source - Flickr User Morgan

One of the things we advise here at the Law Offices of John T Orcutt is to get to work improving your credit soon after you receive your discharge for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy and while you're in Chapter 13. If you're trying to clean up your credit without resorting to bankruptcy or even if you have filed bankruptcy, there will be inaccuracies on your credit report. Roughly 25% of credit reports have errors and filing bankruptcy won't fix these. Here are five tips to help you clean up errors fast:

Can't Afford to File Bankruptcy? Debt Relief Is More Affordable Than You Think

Utterly broke

Too broke to file bankruptcy? Don't be so sure

Image source - Flickr User Dan Moyle

You know you're deep in debt. You know you can't afford to pay your bills. You know bankruptcy can help, but you think you don't have enough money to take advantage. What's often true is that when times are tight, many consumers that could greatly benefit from bankruptcy protection don't take advantage. It's a debt catch-22. But the fact is, you can afford to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Here's how.

3 Little Known Tips to Shut Down Debt Collectors for Good

We wrote recently that many here in North Carolina are struggling financially and dealing with past-due debt. Nearly 40% of NC consumers are dealing with debt collections and this can make life rough. Debt collectors can be ruthless when it comes to trying to get money out of you. But here's what you should know – the reason they're so aggressive is not because they're collecting on behalf of the creditor you owe.

Deep in Debt with Student Loans in Default? Have We Got Good News for You

Student loan debt

Student loan debt can drag you down - especially if your loans are in default

Bankruptcy can be a great way to unload debts you simply can't afford to pay, but there are some debts that even bankruptcy can't conquer. Alimony, child support and back taxes when you filed the returns late (or not at all) are all examples of debt that won't diminish in a Chapter 7 or 13 filing. Student loans can be decreased or discharged in bankruptcy, but usually only for those with serious and permanent medical conditions, ongoing poverty and/or the inability to earn a decent wage.

Living Together in NC? What Happens to Your Debt If/When You Break Up?

Bad break up

Protect your finances in case of a bad break up

Image source - Flickr User Satish Krishnamurthy

A decade or so ago, when things got serious between a man and a woman and they wanted to make a commitment, they got married. But these days, living together is often an interim step between boyfriend/girlfriend status and saying “I do.” And sometimes, the I do's never come – either because the couple choose to cohabitate without matrimony or because they break up.

Scam Alert: North Carolina Military Members Scammed by SmartBuy Get a Big Break

Military members

North Carolina Department of Justice announces help for military members scammed by SmartBuy

Image source - Flickr User The U.S. Army

If you've ever driven by Fort Bragg, Camp Lejune, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base or the other military locations in North Carolina, you'll notice the proliferation of businesses around the installations that specifically cater to and seek out military members and their families. Some of these businesses are legit, but others are there to take advantage of our men and women in the armed forces. One of these that was doing harm has been pursued by Attorney General Roy Cooper and will now pay nearly $7 million in damages.

NBA Baller Antoine Walker Talks Bankruptcy and Financial Ruin in New Documentary

Antoine Walker and Evelyn Lozada

NBA's Antoine Walker's turned to bankruptcy to save him

Image source - Big Stock Photo

We like to cover celebrity bankruptcy here to show how no matter what you earn, the same money problems can get the better of anyone. Today we take a look at retired NBA power forward Antoine Walker who filed bankruptcy, pulled himself through it and is now encouraging other professional athletes in financial literacy to avoid the financial troubles he's endured.

Combine Chapter 13 with Chapter 7 to Get More Complete Debt Relief (and Strip Liens)

Chapter 20

Chapter 20 may clear up more debt problems than one alone

Image source - Flickr User Nina Matthews Photography

For cash-strapped consumers that are thinking bankruptcy, one of the big factors when deciding which type of bankruptcy is best is whether you're a homeowner. If you are, are you current on your mortgage payments? Do you have a second or third mortgage? If you do have a mortgage(s) over and above your primary mortgage and you don't have a ton of equity in your home, a combination of the two bankruptcy chapters may give you the best possible outcome.

New Consumer Survey Shows the Recession Is Still Causing Problems in North Carolina


The effects of the recession are still lingering

Image source: Flickr Creative Commons User Rich Anderson

The Great Recession is over, or so say all the pundits, but perhaps someone should tell our wallets. For many families in North Carolina, the recession is still causing problems, even if it's gone - like a car wreck that's left us with residual aches and pains. A recent study published last month by the Federal Reserve on household financial well-being shows that many of us are still struggling. Let's look at some of the results and how they apply to us here in NC.

Deep in Medical Debt? Surprising Reason Your Credit Score May Be Going Up Soon

Medical bankruptcy

Medical bills will soon affect your credit less

Image source - Flickr User The All-Nite Images

One of the main concerns when you can't pay your bills is the impact it will have on your credit score. Your credit score determines how much you pay in credit card interest, for auto and homeowner's insurance, whether you can get a cell phone contract and if you can get a job you want. Medical bills are one of the leading causes of bankruptcy, but a new version of the calculation that will be implemented by FICO this fall will change things for those with lingering medical debt.

60 Days After Your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Discharge, It's Time to Get to Work on Your Credit


Rebuild your credit after Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Image Source – Flickr User Jewish Women's Archive

The whole purpose of bankruptcy is getting you a financial fresh start. This happens in several different ways. First is that you get to unload most of your unsecured debt (other than student loans, alimony, child support and some tax debts) so you have less debt to pay. Second is that it allows you to get a grip on paying the debt that remains. Third is the ability to begin improving your credit score right away.

Debt Dilemma! More North Carolina Consumers Than Ever in Collections

North Carolina consumer

North Carolina consumers are deep in debt and many in collections

Image source: Flickr Creative Commons User Joe Shlabotnik

Research group the Urban Institute has released a study titled Debt in America that shows the money woes with which many North Carolina consumers are suffering. In the South Atlantic region (which includes North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia), nearly 40% of consumers have debt in collections. This region has the fourth highest debt amount in collections compared to regions in the rest of the country.

Why Filing Bankruptcy Will Make You Better With Money and Why It Benefits You in the Long Run

Use your brain

Your brain does not operate well under stress

Image source: Flickr Creative Commons User Pierre-Olivier Carles

The time period leading up to when you file bankruptcy will likely be one of the most stressful in your life. You'll have unpaid bills piling up, past due statements rolling in and your phone ringing off the hook from creditors and their debt collectors calling demanding their money. This can affect your work and can lead you to make terrible decisions that will make your money matters worse. But what you may not realize is that filing bankruptcy can actually enable you to make better money choices.

Unemployed or Underemployed? How Filing Bankruptcy May Actually Help You Get a Job

Need a job

Unemployed? How bankruptcy may help you get a job

Image source: Flickr Creative Commons User James Lee

In a competitive job market, employers can be increasingly picky about whom they hire, even for entry level jobs. Criminal record screening is standard for most jobs but, increasingly, decent credit is a criteria. Historically, it was only jobs that involved finances, retail or cash handling that triggered a credit check but, more and more, employers are now implementing credit checks as part of their pre-employment screening for jobs where credit worthiness doesn't seem relevant.

Why You Should Stay in Your House Even if You Can't Pay Your Mortgage

Home sweet home

Why you should stay in your home even if you can't pay your mortgage

Image source: Flickr Creative Commons User Diana Parkhouse

If you can't afford to pay your mortgage payments and know you won't be able to get caught up, bankruptcy can be an excellent way to shed that debt, related debts and unsecured liabilities so that you can get a financial fresh start. But it's important to know that even if you stop making mortgage payments, you should absolutely not move out of your house. If you move out sooner than is wise, you can end up getting yourself in much worse financial trouble.

How Chapter 7 and 13 Affect Your Credit Differently and Which Rebuilds Your Score Faster

FICO credit score

How Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 affect your credit differently

Image source: Flickr Creative Commons User Simon Cunningham

For those deep in debt and looking for meaningful debt relief, both Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 can be great choices to shed bills you can't afford to pay. But there are big differences in how these options affect your credit and how quickly you can rebuild your credit after filing. With either bankruptcy option, your credit will take a hit. But let's be real. If you're struggling to pay your bills, your credit rating is probably already taking a beating so filing for debt relief can stop the FICO hemorrhage and allow you to start rebuilding, but which option is better for you?

Bankruptcy Tip: Don't Over or Undervalue Your Assets – What's Your Stuff Worth?


Valuing your assets properly is important in bankruptcy

Image source: Flickr Creative Commons User Kim Alaniz

One of the most important aspects of your bankruptcy is how much you own in assets. Some assets like your car or home may have a debt attached to them so these are valued at the fair market value of the asset less the amount of debt attached (this is called equity). But you also have to list your other assets including your household goods, clothing, electronics, artwork, jewelry, computers and pretty much anything you own. This can be tricky.

Are You at Risk of Losing Your Car Insurance After You File Bankruptcy?

Car insurance concerns

Can you lose your car insurance because you filed bankruptcy?

Image source: Flickr Creative Commons User Internet Archive Book Images

We wrote last week about the special concerns military members have when it comes to money troubles. Today we address another concern that can affect servicemen and women who bank with, have loans through or purchase insurance through USAA (United Services Automobile Association). Most members of the Armed Forces are familiar with USAA - it's a private financial institution that provides banking, investing and insurance products and services to those currently serving or that have previously served in any branch of the US military. Today we look at concerns with USAA and car insurance as well as other financial products that can be impacted during bankruptcy.


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