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Beware Companies Promising Student Loan Relief

Student loan help

You don't need to pay for student loan help

Image source: Flickr user Betsy Weber

Student loan debt now averages nearly $30,000 per borrower. For some, their debt is less than this but, for many others, it's much more than this median amount. No matter how much you owe in college debt, if it's more than you can afford, you're likely looking for solutions. If your school loans are federal loans, there are a number of helpful solutions for those that legitimately can't afford their loans. But there are also a number of illegitimate solutions that you should avoid. Today we'll show you how to avoid these bad solutions that can actually get you into deeper debt and to look to those that can truly help.

Banks Investigated for Violating Bankruptcy Law by Keeping Old Debt on Your Credit Report

Bank of America

Bank of America and other banks investigated for bankruptcy law violations

Image source: Flickr user torbakhopper

The whole purpose of bankruptcy is to get you a much-needed financial fresh start. It's a serious step to take and not one to be taken lightly. Once you make that leap, the law protects you and promises you a clean slate on eligible debts. But a new investigation by the US Justice Department indicates that many large banks are skirting bankruptcy law and are allowing zombie debts to linger on consumers' credit reports post-bankruptcy. Here's what you need to know and how to protect yourself.

If a Creditor Sues You – You Should Show Up in Court Even If You're Broke!


Don't avoid court if it's necessary

If you're received a notice in the mail that one of your creditors is suing you, you may be in a panic. When you can't pay your bills and have to let some of your debts go delinquent, this is a likely consequence. The usual responses to a debt lawsuit that we see are that people ignore it because they know they can't pay it, that they don't want to take the time to deal with it or they hope, if they don't show up, that nothing bad will come out of it (the old head in the sand approach). None of these strategies are wise. We'll show you the flaws in each, then tell you exactly why you should show up in court no matter what.

Celebrity Bankruptcy: Flex and Shanice Tell How They Overcame Financial Disaster

Flex Anderson and Shanice

Flex Anderson and Shanice survived money troubles and came away stronger

Today in celebrity bankruptcy news, we bring you a tale of two married celebs that used bankruptcy to conquer their debt and get a new lease on life. In 2001, actor and comedian Flex Anderson was cast in a starring role in the UPN show One on One. His wife Shanice was an R&B hitmaker who was Grammy nominated for her single I Love Your Smile. They were pulling in more than a million bucks a year but, five years later, they were struggling and eventually were evicted from their home. Today we'll look at how these two used bankruptcy to get a fresh start and have remade their lives.

Thanksgiving for Less – 6 Tips to Spend Less on Turkey Day

Thanksgiving dinner

You can do a great Thanksgiving on a budget

Image source: Flickr user terren in virginia

A big Thanksgiving can be costly to put together, particularly if you host a lot of friends and family for the big day. If you're on a budget – like most people – you don't want to spend a fortune on the meal, but you also don't want to disappoint your diners. And, since Black Friday offers some of the best gifting deals, it would be nice to have some money left over to shop. Check out these six tips to spend less on your meal without skimping on the celebration.

Supreme Court May End Lien Stripping. How Filing Bankruptcy Now Can Help

Supreme Court

Supreme Court takes on lien stripping in bankruptcy

Image source: Flickr user Mark Fischer

We've written here before about lien stripping, but here's a quick rundown on what it is and how it helps consumers. Lien stripping is usually only possible in Chapter 13 and only for second mortgages, not first mortgages. Currently, in most court jurisdictions, it's acceptable to ask the bankruptcy court to wipe out a second mortgage to the extent it is not supported by equity in your home.

5 Things to Avoid Doing Before You File Bankruptcy

No, no, no

Do not do these things if you're planning on filing bankruptcy

Image source: Flickr user sboneham

If your finances are out of control and you just can't pay your bills and debts, you may be looking for alternatives to get you out of this difficulty. Bankruptcy is one of those possible solutions. Depending on how much you earn, the type of bills you have and your assets, it may be the best option to get you a meaningful fresh start. If you are considering it, or want to at least keep this option open, there are some things you need to avoid doing. When potential clients come in to see us, if they have been doing these things, we may have to advise they wait before filing bankruptcy. In order to keep your path to the best debt relief options clear, read these tips and avoid these activities.

Behind on Your Timeshare? How This Plays Out in Bankruptcy


Timeshares can be costly and add to financial problems

Image source: Flickr user Grace Garcia

Investing in a timeshare can be one of the costliest and poorest uses of your hard-earned money. No matter the spiel the salespeople offer, timeshares are often much costlier than simply paying for your vacations as you go. These are major expenses and, if you begin having money troubles, can quickly become problematic. Timeshares also often have aggressive collections agents that don't take lightly to you not paying your installments on time. And missing payments can ruin your credit. If you do decide to file bankruptcy, you may wonder how your timeshare will be handled.

Celebrity Debt News: Rapper Ginuwine Is on the Brink of Bankruptcy


Rapper Ginuwine reported to be on the brink of bankruptcy - what happened?

Today we bring news of another big celebrity in big money trouble – rapper Ginuwine, otherwise known as Elgin Baylor Lumpkin. Despite a decade of platinum and multi-platinum selling albums, Ginuwine is drowning in most every type of debt and, according to his financial rep, is on the brink of filing bankruptcy. A couple of things seemed to have led to this financial conundrum and these are problems we can all understand.

5 Tax Implications of Filing Bankruptcy

Income taxes

Bankruptcy can help resolve income tax issues

Image source: Flickr user Consumerist Dot Com

They say the only inevitable things in life are death and taxes. Nearly everything in life has some sort of tax consequences – marriage, divorce, jobs, charitable donations, having kids, going to college, buying a car, even putting gas in that car – everything. Whether it's income tax, sales tax, use tax, life is a never ending cycle of taxes. So it should be no surprise that bankruptcy also comes with certain tax implications as well.

Does the Automatic Stay Protect Your Co-Debtor, Co-Signer or Spouse from Collections?

Stop and stay

The automatic stay in bankruptcy may or may not protect your co-debtors

Image source: Flickr user Stuart Heath

No matter which chapter of bankruptcy you choose, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, as soon as you file, an automatic stay kicks in that stops debt collection efforts. The automatic stay is designed to keep creditors off your back while the Trustee evaluates your petition and verifies what you can afford to pay. With a Chapter 7, the stay will last until you receive your discharge. After that, you should be in good shape because your eligible debts will be evacuated and any surviving debts will be easier to deal with. With a Chapter 13, the stay will last the length of your repayment plan so long as you keep up with your payments. But in either case, how does this affect your co-debtors, co-signers or spouse?

North Carolina Median Income Drops for Bankruptcy – What This Means to You

Income level

Median income level changes could cause bankruptcy issues

Image source: Flickr user Fibonacci Blue

The US Census Bureau collects information not just on population but also on economic realities of people across the country. From this information, they compile and release statistics that inform many government and judicial processes. One of these is the state median income that determines whether or not you pass the means test for bankruptcy and if you're eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy – the form of bankruptcy that offers the most complete debt relief.

How to Get a Good Deal on Reaffirmation Agreements in Bankruptcy


Financed your appliances? How to keep them in bankruptcy?

Image source: Flickr user Sunset Removals

When you choose to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to get rid of debts you can't afford to pay, most unsecured debt is wiped away as part of your fresh start. This includes credit cards, medical bills, past due utility balances and more. But if you have financing agreements that are secured by assets, you'll have to make some tough decisions about what to do if you're behind on the payments. One of the options you can pursue is a reaffirmation agreement.

Dwayne Wade Facing Foreclosure – Celebrity Money Problems

Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union

Dwayne Wade facing foreclosure despite $100 million net worth

If you're a fan of hoops, you know the name Dwayne Wade. The 6'4” NBA guard plays for the Miami Heat and rakes in nearly $19 million a year in salary alone and another $11 million annually in product endorsement fees. He ranks #55 on the Forbes list of most powerful celebrities and is married to actress Gabrielle Union who herself has a net worth of around $12 million. So with all this money floating around, why is Wade facing foreclosure on a $1.2 million home?

Can You Go to Jail for Not Paying a Debt?

Arrested man

Can you be arrested over debt? 

Image source: Flickr user Chris Yarzab

Debt collectors can employ some pretty scary and nasty tactics. One of the most common is to threaten you with actions they're not actually able to take. This includes threats of arrests, warrants and jail time. As a rule, you cannot go to jail for not paying a regular old everyday bill. If you have unpaid court fines or are behind on your alimony or child support, you can face a warrant.

Do You Have to Give Back Stuff You Bought with Credit Cards If You File Bankruptcy?

Credit cards

Will things you purchase with credit cards have to be given back if you file bankruptcy?

Image source: Flickr user _Dinkel_

If you're drowning in debt and considering bankruptcy, you may be worried what will happen to your stuff. This is a valid concern but, most likely, you won't have to hand it over. If you have spent heavily on your credit cards, you may wonder if you'll have to give back your clothes, flat screen TV and the other goods you bought with your plastic if you file bankruptcy. Generally speaking, you shouldn't have to. Today we'll take a look at when you can keep your purchases and when you'll likely have to give them back.

Debt and I Do's: 5 Things to Consider When Marrying Someone Who Filed Bankruptcy


Happily ever after is great, but what about the money? Marrying after bankruptcy takes planning

Image source: Flickr user Jason Sussberg


If you've found Mister or Ms Right and are ready to commit to happily ever after, that's great. But what if the love of your life has had money troubles and recently filed bankruptcy? This takes some serious thinking, not because bankruptcy itself is a red flag, but because you want to be sure your new marriage gets off to a good start and you're financially compatible. Today we look at five considerations before you walk down the aisle.


What Is a Motion for Relief and What Does It Mean When a Creditor Files One Against You?


What does it mean when a creditor files a motion for relief?

Image source: Flickr user redjar

When you're filing for bankruptcy, you're focused on yourself and getting debt-free (and you should be). But there are other parties involved in the process – those you owe. Most of the time, creditors accept a bankruptcy filing and don't try and fight it. But sometimes, particularly with a mortgage or auto loan, they may push back and ask for a motion for relief. Today we'll explain in plain language what this is, what it means and when it's a big deal and when it's nothing much to worry about.

Paying for College – Should You Go into Debt to Pay for Your Child's Education?


College costs keep rising, what's a parent to do?

Image source: Flickr User snickclunk

College costs keep rising every year, sometimes drastically and for many parents, this is scary. How will you pay for your child's education? Will you need to borrow? How much can you afford? Should you cover it 100% or make your student foot the bill for their own education? This is a hot button issue because, naturally, you want the best for your child, but is it right to ask parents to sacrifice their own financial well-being to kick start the future of their offspring? 

How Long Can You Stay in Your Home if You Surrender it in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Moving day

You may be able to stay in your house for a while after a Chapter 7 surrender

Image source: Flickr user John Benson

If you're deep in debt and behind on your mortgage, you may be scrambling for solutions. Chapter 7 is an answer to many debt dilemmas and can even help you sort out a mess with your house. One of the options that many people aren't comfortable considering, though, is surrendering their home. It's a scary idea - letting go of the home you bought, lived in and cared for - but if you truly can't afford the home, it may be inevitable.


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