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6 Ways to Recover from a Holiday Over-Spending Disaster

Holiday stress

Are you freaked out over your Christmas credit card bills?

Did you just get your credit card statement for your Christmas spending? Is it more than you thought it would be because you overdid it? Americans spent 4% more on Christmas 2014 than the prior year which means even more regret in January 2015 than this time last year. But, what's done is done, no crying over spilled milk and all that. Today, we'll look at what you can do to deal with your budget-busting holiday debt.

Homeowner's Association Fees Can Follow You Beyond Foreclosure – Bankruptcy Can Help

HOA harassment

Many NC homeowner's associations can be very aggressive

If you live in a condo dwelling or neighborhood with a homeowner's association, you may already have found out that they can be very aggressive about enforcing community standards, but even more so about collecting what's owed them. HOA's charge maintenance fees usually on an annual or monthly basis that cover care of common areas and then also penalty fees for when you break rules like letting your grass grow or not collecting your garbage cans promptly.

10 Signs Bankruptcy May Be the Best Way to Cure Your Debt Problems

Wooden sign

Signs you shouldn't ignore that you've got money troubles

You know you've got money problems, but you're so mired in just getting by that you may not have a grip on the big picture. Without this perspective, it can be difficult to know if you can pull yourself out of your money troubles on your own or if you need a legal intervention like Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy to help you get out of debt. Today, we'll share 10 signs that you may need to stop trying to muddle through and take a more serious step.

How to Prioritize Which Bills to Pay to Stay Out of Financial Trouble

Paying bills

Prioritizing which bills to pay can be hard when you're making bad money choices

Many people that end up with financial problems and living paycheck to paycheck actually make enough to support themselves but just make bad money decisions. And it's not one big decision that pushed them into dire straits, but a series of small poor decisions. Taking a family vacation when you're behind on your mortgage because you don't want to tell your kids you're having money problems is an example of one of the types of poor decisions we're talking about. This is a litle bigger bad choice, but everyday smaller choices can also chip away at your financial stability.

Shut Down a Lawsuit By Simply Filing a Response

Hit with a lawsuit

You may be able to make a debt lawsuit go away

Getting sued is scary. That's a fact. Especially when it's over debt and even more so when you don't have the cash to pay the bill or money to hire a lawyer to defend you. When people get so behind on their bills that they can't dig out, they're tempted to take a head in the sand approach and just quit answering the phone, quit opening the mail and just hope it will all go away. Unfortunately, it won't, especially when it comes to a lawsuit. But the good news is, there is a way to get a lawsuit to go away without paying up and it's surprising how easy it is. Here's what you need to know.

Attorney Koury Hicks Obtains Bankruptcy Expert Certification

Koury Hicks

Attorney Koury Hicks

The law offices of John T. Orcutt are pleased to announce that attorney Koury Hicks has obtained his board certification in consumer bankruptcy law from the American Board of Certification. Hicks earned both his undergraduate and juris doctor degree from the University of New Mexico. He was admitted to the North Carolina bar in 2007 and is certified by the NC bar as a specialist in Consumer Bankruptcy.

What Is Charged Off Debt and Do You Still Owe It Once It's Written Off?

Charge off debt

What happens with charged off debt?

Image source: Flickr user Simon Cunningham

After you don't pay on a debt for six months, the holder of the debt may charge it off. This is an accounting term which means the company that loaned you the money (whether it's credit card debt, a medical bill or other type of debt) has recognized that you likely won't pay the debt and they don't want to keep it on their books anymore. This does not mean that the debt is gone or that the company won't do something about it. It's just against accounting rules to keep uncollectible debt among the assets on a company's financial reports.

New Health Plans May Increase Medical Debt – How to Deal with Doctor Bills You Can't Pay

Medical costs

Out of pocket medical costs are growing

Image source: Flickr user Phalinn Ooi

While the Affordable Care Act has increased the number of Americans with health insurance, the outcome for many has been that they are forced to pay more out of pocket for care and pay up front or not get the services they need. We'll take a look at how some health plans are increasing out of pocket costs, what you can do about it and what to do if you get in over your head with medical expenses you can't afford to pay.

3 Things to Do ASAP If Your Credit Card Company Sues You


Three things to do if a credit card company sues you

Image source: Flickr user i_yudai

If you can't pay your credit card bill and the situation goes on for a couple of months, after sending you statements, threatening letters and making some increasingly aggressive phone calls, it's very likely that you will be sued either directly by the credit card company, a collection firm acting on their behalf or a company that bought your credit card debt from the card issuer. If you get a notice that you're being sued over your unpaid credit card(s), you need to act swiftly and take these three actions to protect yourself.

Want to Make It Easier to Stick to Your Budget? Set Up a Fun Fund

Life is fun

Budget in a fun fund to make your finances less stressful

Image source: Flickr user UweRichterPhotography

When you hear the word “budget” you likely think about going without. Budget is about as welcome a word as “diet” or “colonoscopy.” Budgeting sounds like you'll be forced to skimp and that can lead to budget burn-out. It's hard to stick with something that feels like a punishment, but budget setting doesn't have to be all about denial. In fact, by establishing and sticking to a budget, you actually are making your life better by relieving long-term stress. But in the short-run, it may not feel so great. To alleviate some of the pangs of budgeting, be sure to budget in money for fun. Here's how.

How Long Does a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Take from Start to Finish?


How long does bankruptcy Chapter 7 take?

Image source: Flickr user Joe Lanman

It's important that you know what to expect before you start the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process and one of the most frequent questions we get asked about is timing. Today we'll show you how long it takes a typical case from when you come in for your first consultation with your bankruptcy attorney up through your discharge and a look at what you can expect along the way.

Can You Keep Your Small Business During a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Small business owner

Small business owners can turn to bankruptcy to help with excessive debts

If you're a small business owner and are experiencing significant money problems, you may worry that filing Chapter 7 means the death of your company. This is not necessarily true. Most Chapter 7 filers are able to keep their business while shedding much of the debt that's plaguing them. Today we take a look at how a Chapter 7 liquidation can impact you as a small business owner.

5 Ways to Get Your Student Loans Under Control in 2015

Student loan collections letter

Student loan debt collections can be a hassle

Image source: Flickr user B Rosen

Are you behind on your student loans? Are you just a payment or so late or are you so delinquent on your payments that you're considered as being in default? Either way, there has to be a better way. You don't want to spend another year struggling and stressing out over your past-due college loans, so today we take a look at five ways you can get your student debt under control for a better 2015.

How Does Bankruptcy Affect a Reverse Mortgage?

Reverse mortgage

How does a reverse mortgage work with bankruptcy?

Image source: Flickr user American Advisors Group

If you already have a reverse mortgage or are considering taking one out and are also so deep in debt that you're thinking about bankruptcy, you need to consider carefully. Even if you don't know what a reverse mortgage is, you've likely seen the TV ads for them featuring Henry Winkler or Fred Thompson encouraging seniors to take out a reverse mortgage on their home to have more money for their retirement. Reverse mortgages have many vocal critics, but for some consumers, they are the only way to stay afloat financially. Today we'll explain how a reverse mortgage works and how bankruptcy affects the cash flow associated with it.

How to Fight a Credit Card Rate Increase

Credit cards

Credit card rate hikes can be a huge hassle

Image source: Flickr user NapInterrupted

Just because you have a good credit card interest rate now doesn't mean that it will last. Credit card issuers love to raise interest rates and don't have to give you much notice. It's in the fine print of your credit card terms and conditions that your card issuer can give you as little as 15 days notice before hiking up your interest rates. Here's a look at some of the reasons card issuers will increase your rates and how to fight back against a rate hike.

What Are the Tax Consequences of Foreclosure and How Can You Avoid Them?


How can foreclosure activities affect your income taxes?

Image source: Flickr user Teresa Boardman

If you're behind on your mortgage payments and have been threatened with foreclosure, you may be looking for options to help you. One of the things you need to be aware of is that several options related to foreclosure have tax consequences that can be quite significant. If you're already in debt, you don't want to get deeper in over your head. Here's what you need to know about how foreclosure, short sales and other options that come with falling behind on your mortgage can complicate your tax situation and how these can be mitigated or avoided to save you money.

Can Same-Sex Couples File Bankruptcy in North Carolina?

Same sex marriage

How does bankruptcy law affect same-sex couples?

Image source: Flickr user Alicia J Rose

Now that most states allow same-sex marriages, other legal issues are cropping up, including same-sex divorce and same-sex bankruptcy. In North Carolina, same-sex marriage has been allowed since October 2014, when a District Court struck down the ban in response to a lawsuit. Since then, thousands of same-sex couples have been married in NC and should face no barrier in using the state and federal court system just as heterosexual couples can – and this includes the bankruptcy courts. Here are some things you need to know.

4 Way to Pay Your Credit Cards Down Faster

Credit card

It's possible to pay down credit cards faster than you thought possible

Image source: Flickr user Hakan Dahlstrom

Owing a pile of money on your credit cards can be depressing. You may feel like, no matter how much you pay, you won't get out from under them. In fact, if you stop swiping your plastic and get serious about ditching this high interest debt, you can conquer it more quickly than you ever imagined. Even if you don't have a bunch of extra money to devote to this debt, you can still defeat it and have a better financial future that's much less driven by debt. Here are four approaches to consider:

How to Protect Your Tax Refund if You're Considering Bankruptcy

Tax refund

You can protect your tax refund in a bankruptcy if you plan well

Image source: Flickr user eFile989

Roughly 80% of Americans get a tax refund. If you're one of these people that usually gets money back from the government for overpayment of taxes, are deep in debt and considering bankruptcy, you may not want to hand this money over if you can avoid it. There are ways to hang on to the excess tax money you are owed back, but you need to plan ahead to do so.

5 Common Excuses for Not Budgeting and How to Overcome Them

Excuses excuses

Stop making excuses about not budgeting

Image source: Flickr user Achim Hepp

Having a household budget is critically important for your long-term financial success, yet two-thirds of US consumers are flying blind without one. Budgets are critical because they help you live within your means, help you spend your money responsibly and help you set and achieve important financial goals. Not having a budget is like embarking on a road trip with a half tank of gas, no map and no idea about your destination. Unfortunately, many people make excuses not to budget. Today we'll reveal five common excuses we routinely hear about failure to set a budget and how to overcome them:


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