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Proposed North Carolina Garnishment Law Could Ruin Finances, Increase Bankruptcy Filings

North Carolina Senate

North Carolina lawmakers proposed consumer garnishment

Image Source: Flickr User Gerry Dincher

One of the most powerful tools in a debt collector's or creditor's arsenal is the ability to garnish wages. In North Carolina, historically, wage garnishment has been barred to most creditors for nearly 150 years. As it stands, if you live in NC, your wages can be attached only for past due income taxes, child support and child support in arrears, and defaulted student loans. But now, state Senator Andrew Brock has introduced a law that would strip valuable protections from cash-strapped consumers in North Carolina that could be devastating.

April Is North Carolina Beer Month – How Craft Brew Boosts Our State Economy

Highland Brewery, NC

Highland Brewery is part of the growing craft beer market in North Carolina

Image Source: Flickr user mdl70

For those of you that like beer over and above six packs you can pick up at the local Food Lion, you'll be pleased to know that April plays host to the third annual NC Beer Month. This year, more than 90 local North Carolina breweries are participating in a wide array of events. Not only is this a great opportunity for craft beer lovers to indulge and try new blends, but it's a huge boon to our state economy. When you think beer, you don't usually ponder its economic impact, but perhaps we should.

How Do Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Repayment Plans Work?

Confusion

Wonder how a Chapter 13 payment plan works?

Image Source: FreeImages.com

If you have a mountain of bills you can't pay but have significant assets or income, you may not qualify for a Chapter 7, but anyone can qualify for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The good news is, with either chapter you'll get immediate relief from harassing collection calls. And with a Chapter 13 repayment plan, you'll have time to catch up on back payments on your mortgage, car loan, income taxes or other past due balances. Today we'll explain exactly how a Chapter 13 repayment plan works so you'll know what to expect if you choose this debt relief option.

Can Illegal Aliens File Bankruptcy? The Answer May Surprise You

Immigration

Illegal immigrants can use bankruptcy protection

Image Source: Flickr user Elvert Barnes

There's no denying that the United States has thrived because of immigration, but illegal immigration in today's era is hotly debated. No matter where you stand on the issue of undocumented workers, the fact is that there is a significant influx of illegal aliens into our state. Between 1990 and 2000, North Carolina was the state with the greatest increase of immigrants with a 274% boom during that decade. Roughly 7.5% of our state's population is made up of immigrants or a little more than 750,000. The question at hand is whether these undocumented workers can file bankruptcy if their debts grow to be unmanageable.

Aggressive IRS Scam Steals $15 Million from Innocent Victims – What to Watch For

Consumer scams

Consumer scams can put you in financial danger

Image Source: Flickr User Mark Roy

We like to keep our readers apprised of the latest scams that are making the rounds. Today we'll take a look at one of the most “successful” fraud schemes based on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Since this scam first gained traction in 2013 until today, it has stolen more than $15 million from unwitting victims many times pushing their targets to the brink of financial disaster. If you're already struggling to pay your bills, a scam like this is the last thing you need. Here's what you need to know.

Why You Shouldn't File Bankruptcy Without an Attorney

Lady justice

Should you try and act as your own bankruptcy lawyer?
Image Source: MorgueFile.com

According to research by Credit Slips, roughly 10% of bankruptcy filers nationally file without an attorney. Representing yourself rather than using an attorney is called “pro se” and the percentage of consumers that choose to go this route for their Chapter 7 or 13 may be much higher or lower depending on the region. In some areas, as many as 30% of filers try to file without an attorney. While this is one way to save money, the results you get are far less reliable.

5 Misconceptions About Filing Bankruptcy

Five things

Five misconceptions about bankruptcy

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Many people have a negative reaction when they hear the word “bankruptcy” - which keeps consumers that are too deep in debt to dig out from considering it a solution. This unfavorable perception can keep you from getting the financial relief you need and deserve. Today we'll take a look at five of the biggest misconceptions surrounding bankruptcy and why you should reconsider if you're struggling with unmanageable debts.

Is 2015 the Year of Debt? Why Many Consumers May Get In Over Their Heads This Year

Money problems

In debt in 2015? Watch out for easy credit!

Image Source: MorgueFile.com

2015 is well under way. We're one-fourth of the way through the year - for those among you that made a New Year's resolution to be smarter with your money, how are you doing? Now that the economy is improving, and people are back to work, credit is loosening which means you may have more access to get yourself into more debt this year. Here are some of the anticipated changes in finances and credit this year that may impact you so you can prepare and not get in over your head.

How Bankruptcy Is Different If You're in the Military

Armed services

Armed services can benefit from bankruptcy

Image Source: MorgueFile.com

North Carolina has hundreds of thousands of military members, both active duty, and reserve. Our state has the fourth largest active duty military population. And military members, more so than civilians, tend to have money problems. A survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that service members are twice as likely to carry credit card debt over from month to month. Their research also found that service members are doubly likely to pay less than the minimum payment on credit cards.

5 Simple Steps to Get a Car Loan After You File Bankruptcy

Car loan

You can get a car loan after bankruptcy

Image Source: MorgueFile.com

One of the major concerns we hear from clients considering bankruptcy relate to their vehicles. Those who have a vehicle that's a recent model and in good shape worry that they might have to give it up if they file Chapter 7 (usually not). Those who have a vehicle but are behind on payments worry they may lose their car if they file bankruptcy (in Chapter 13, usually not). And those who know they'll need to buy a car in the near future but also need to file bankruptcy now worry they won't be able to get a car loan - this is not accurate. You should be able to get a car loan after bankruptcy and without waiting too long. Here are five simple steps to make sure you can buy a car when you need it.

What's the Difference Between Business Bankruptcy Chapter 7 and 11?

Business closing

Business struggling? Bankruptcy may help

Image Source: MorgueFile.com

If you own a business that's struggling financially and isn't likely to recover without an intervention, bankruptcy may help you regain your footing. Alternately, if your business has faltered to the point that recovery is not possible, bankruptcy can prevent your business failure from ruining your personal finances as well. Today we'll look at the two business bankruptcy chapters most commonly used by small business owners, Chapter 7 and Chapter 11, their differences, and the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Did JPMorgan Chase Cheat You? $50 Million Owed to Homeowners Over Bankruptcy

JMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase Paying $50 Million for Lying to Bankruptcy Court and Filers

Image source: Flickr User Michael Premo

When you're struggling to make your mortgage payments and are just getting by, that's hard enough. But it's doubly so when your mortgage lender is cheating you. After a lengthy Department of Justice investigation into the shady tactics of Chase related to homeowner bankruptcy, they negotiated a $50 million settlement. More than 25,000 impacted homeowners will receive cash payments, loan forgiveness or mortgage credit.

Scam Alert: New Personalized Scamming Called Spear Phishing Grows in Popularity

Internet scam

Phishing scams have a dark new iteration

Image source: Pixabay.com

We like to keep our readers apprised of the latest scams, and a new one has recently come to our attention. We've written before about Phishing Scams, which try to gain access to your usernames, passwords, or credit card information via email by pretending to be a trusted resource. Common phishing scams include emails purporting to be from eBay, PayPal, your bank, or your credit card company. These missives tell you that your account was compromised or must be updated. Then when you log in by clicking a link in the email, they record your user name and password and use it to steal your identity, drain your accounts or make unauthorized charges.

Is North Carolina Job Growth a Bad Thing? One Study Says Yes

North Carolina

North Carolina's job picture may be less rosy than we thought

Image source: MorgueFile.com

It's always nice to hear that the economy is improving but even better to hear that it's specifically improving in North Carolina. Job growth in our state is outstripping many other regions and seems quite impressive, and we've enjoyed a 2.5% rise in disposable income across NC. But new research from the NC Policy Watch, the improving employment numbers are not as rosy as reported.

White House Pushes to Make it Easier to Discharge Student Loans in Bankruptcy

White House

White House proposes new student loan bankruptcy measures

Image Source: Flickr user Phil Roeder

President Obama is leading the charge to make student loan debt more manageable for borrowers. With the passage of Pay As You Earn, repayments dropped to as low as 10% of disposable income for many borrowers. And by handing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau oversight on student loan servicers, many unethical and strong-arm debt collection tactics have now ceased. Now the administration is pushing to make it easier for cash-strapped debtors to get student loan relief in bankruptcy. This is a move applauded by the President of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), Ed Boltz.

5 Emotional Effects of Extreme Debt, Bankruptcy and Recovery

Sadness

Excess debt brings intense emotions

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Being stuck in a circumstance of overwhelming debt can cause you to go through some seriously negative emotional repercussions. Money stress is one of the major sources of marital discord and can be a factor leading to divorce. This can make everything much worse. When you're living paycheck to paycheck and stuck in a financial mess, it can be hard to think clearly, make plans or have any peace of mind because you're focused on staying afloat. Here's a look at some of the emotions you're likely dealing with and how finding a debt solution can help you feel better.

New Credit Bureau Changes Could Improve Your FICO Score ASAP

Credit score

New rules can raise your credit score

Image Source: Unsplash.com

Earlier this month, the three major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – announced a change to their credit scoring methodologies that will benefit a great many consumers. The agreement also promises to make credit file errors easier to fix. These are some of the biggest changes that have hit the credit report world in a long, long time. Today we'll take a look at how these changes could impact you and how to take advantage of them to improve your credit score.

Consumer Alert: Beware a New Twist on the Old Overpayment Scam

Fraud alert

Fraud alerts protect consumers

Image Source: Pixabay.com

In today's fraud alert, we revisit a classic scam that has been brought back to life by fraudsters intent on stealing from decent, hardworking consumers. It's the overpayment scam. This one has come in a variety of forms. Most recently, it's been used on Craiglist or a classified ad that you have placed to sell something. It can be as something relatively small like a table or antique item or something as large as a boat or a car. We'll show you how the classic version of this scam works and how the latest iteration is being perpetrated so you can protect yourself from all forms of the overpayment scam.

Infographic Reveals Shocking Famous Bankruptcies from the 1600s Thru 2015

Famous bankruptcies

Famous bankruptcies through history are fascinating

Image Source: Flickr user Tim Evanson

We often write here about celebrity bankruptcies, but not because we want to sensationalize the financial problems of famous people. Instead, we look for the lessons that everyone can learn from these high profile devastating debt profiles. While these once rich and still famous faces may have gone from rags to riches and back to rags, they often have more in common with most of us than you would imagine. It's often the same type of factors that lead to bankruptcy no matter the income or number of Twitter followers of the consumers. Divorce, unemployment, and other major life events are the most common drivers of bankruptcy for the average consumer and the celebrity consumer alike.

Yes, You Can Keep Your Home In Bankruptcy

Protect your home

Get bankruptcy protection for debt but keep your home

Image Source: Morguefile.com

Many people struggling with their debts and living paycheck to paycheck may have considered bankruptcy but fear they'll lose their home if the file. This leaves them mired in untenable debt with little for an improvement in circumstances. But fear not – in most cases, you can enjoy the benefits of bankruptcy and keep your home. In fact, your finances may be greatly improved by filing bankruptcy. Here's what you need to know about getting debt-free while protecting your home.

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