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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.

4 Obstacles to Saving Money and How to Overcome Them

Good habits

Good habits are hard to develop, but worth it

Image source: Flickr user ThanhTung Nguyen

One of the most stressful financial situations is not having a safety net. Savings are important in both the short and long-run. In the long-term, savings represent a comfortable retirement when your ability to earn may be greatly diminished and you may have greater medical expenses and health problems. In the short-term, savings represent the ability to deal with hiccups like an unexpected car repair, higher than normal utility bill or any other money crisis that crops up.

Why Debt Settlement Plans Usually Fail and Can Actually Hurt Consumers

Debt relief

Debt settlement may not be the best option for debt relief

Image source: Flickr user The All-Nite Images

Ever see those commercials on TV promising to get you debt-free for less than you owe without filing bankruptcy? These money miracle ads are promoting debt settlement firms and while they sound great (who doesn't want to pay almost nothing on their debt?), they usually don't help with serious debt issues and even create bigger problems for the consumer to deal with. That's no deal at all. Today we'll take a look at why debt settlement plans usually fail, how they can hurt you and some better alternatives for meaningful debt relief.

How a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Can Help You Get Rid of a Tax Lien

Death and taxes

Nothing is so dreaded as death and taxes

Image source: Flickr user paul stumpr

Debt is bad enough but debt owed to the IRS can be downright terrifying. The IRS isn't one to call you on the phone and make threats – they just send letters detailing all the powers they have to take your money. And one of the most powerful tools in the IRS's collections arsenal is the ability to slap you with a tax lien for your unpaid income taxes. If you don't pay your federal income taxes, the IRS can put a lien on anything you own and earn. This includes your home, auto, bank accounts and paychecks.

Rich People Have Money Problems Too – See How Much You Have in Common with the Other Half

Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon

Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon before their split

When you see celebrities on the cover of magazines while standing in the checkout line at your grocery store, you may think they've got it all - fame, looks, money – and have no problems. But that's just the glossy face they put on for those photos shoots. Fame is certainly a creature all to itself, but money and the pains that go with it are universal. You may be surprised to learn that celebs have the same fears, trials and challenges that we do about their finances. Here are some commonalities to consider the next time you think a celebrity has a perfect life.

4 Ways to Rebuild Your Credit After Bankruptcy

Four things

Four ways to rebuild your credit

Image source: Flickr user Jukka Zitting

There's no denying that filing bankruptcy will lower your credit score, but for those behind on their bills, taking the hit should allow you to recover faster financially and begin rebuilding your credit. Continuing to drown in debt you can't afford will see your credit score continue going down, down, down with little hope to rehab it unless you win the lottery, get a big inheritance or some other money miracle. After you file bankruptcy and get your debts under control, there are clear steps to take to begin to rebuild your credit. Consider these four.

Use a Chapter 13 to Buy Time Before a Chapter 7 to Get Complete Debt Relief

Time

Chapter 13 can be used to buy time to make decisions

Image source: Flickr User Hartwig HKD

Sometimes using just one form of bankruptcy isn't enough to get our clients the complete debt relief they need. Other times, clients come to us unsure about whether they want to try and keep a home they're struggling to make payments on or just let it go. Some would benefit from the liquidation protection of a Chapter 7 but aren't ready to take that step or are in a situation where they have debt still accumulating they think they may not be able to manage. Today we'll look at some circumstances where you may want to file Chapter 13 to give you some breathing room and possibly convert to Chapter 7 later if...

Does AT&T Owe You Money? Millions of Customers Overcharged, Due Refunds

AT&T wireless

AT&T Wireless accused by FTC of mobile cramming

Image source: Flickr User Mike Mozart

If you currently have mobile service through AT&T or have had in the past five years, you may be owed some money for illegal and unethical billing practices by the carrier. The FTC has slapped AT&T for allegedly engaging in mobile cramming. As a result, the mobile carrier will have to pay a $105 million dollar settlement - this is the largest settlement ever demanded of a wireless carrier. We always want to keep our readers and clients up to date on scams and consumer issues so you can safeguard your money. Here's what the FTC has accused AT&T of doing and how to find out if you're owed money.

Start Planning Now for a Cheaper Christmas 2014 – 5 Tips to Save on the Holidays

Christmas gift

Save on Christmas this year!

Image source: Flickr User mac9416

Christmas comes with great expectations, particularly if you have kids that want a pile of presents. But to keep your spending under control, you need to set a firm budget and stick to it. On average, most families spend around $800 on Christmas allotting roughly $222 per child and per spouse. But if your child is hoping for a new iPhone or a game system, that money might not go very far toward their wants. Today we'll look at some tips to have a cheaper Christmas without dialing down the fun.

Injured and Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim? How Bankruptcy Affects Your Settlement

Car accident

Injured in a car accident? You may be eligible for a personal injury claim

Image source: Flickr User Rian Castillo

If you have been injured in a car accident, by medical malpractice or are anticipating another type of personal injury settlement (asbestos, workers compensation, etc.), and are also planning to file bankruptcy, you should let both your bankruptcy and personal injury attorney know. Why? So they can work together to get you the best possible relief on both fronts. Here are answers to some of the questions we've been asked by clients dealing with both debt and personal injury...

3 Debts That Can't Be Discharged in Bankruptcy (Usually)

Three

Three types of debt usually can't be eliminated in bankruptcy 

Image source: Flickr User Tim Samoff

Bankruptcy can offer meaningful solutions to those that are overwhelmed by their debts and can't afford to pay what they owe. Of the two types of bankruptcy filed by individuals or couples, chapter 7 offers the most complete debt relief for those that qualify. In a chapter 7, most unsecured debts are able to be discharged within just a few months of filing. With a chapter 13, you're given time to catch up on past due debts and see some of your unsecured debts discharged that aren't paid off in full during your repayment plan.

Protect Yourself at the ATM – 5 Tips to Keep Your Cash Safe

Card skimmer

Card skimmers can record your ATM card information

Image source: Flickr user ThisIsntExeter

We've written recently about a number of data breaches that have put your financial information at risk. Most noticeably, the Target and Home Depot breaches put tens of millions of consumers' credit card numbers at risk. To minimize risks until the companies had their systems safe once again, spending cash was recommended. But spending cash necessitates a trip to the bank or ATM and since ATMs are more convenient, they're the likely option. However, increasingly, even ATMs aren't safe.

8 Pieces of Miracle Money Advice for Everyone

Money

Money advice for everyone

Image source: Flickr User peddhapati

There is a lot of financial advice floating around in the world, but if you flip through a magazine or browse a web article with money tips, you may be left with the feeling that it doesn't apply to you. Today, we've got money tips that apply to almost everyone. Whether you're just starting out, are established with a family, are earning great wages or struggling along, check these out:

Owe Back Child Support or Alimony? How a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Can Help

Divorce

Divorce can cause major money problems 

Image source: Flickr User Jennifer Pahlka

One of the most common drivers of bankruptcy is major life events. We hear from our clients a range of causes that range from loss of a job, major accident or illness and break up of a marriage. This last comes with high costs. Not only are you doubling expenses by splitting into two households, but if children are involved, one parent often must now pay child support and possibly even alimony. This can stretch budgets to the limits and if there is any change in earnings, it can be easy to get behind on payments.

Bankruptcy Basics: The Importance of Providing a Complete List of Creditors

Important

Important bankruptcy tips

Image source: Flickr User Valerie Everett

If you're deep in debt enough to consider bankruptcy as an option, you likely owe money to a whole roster of creditors. What we see in our offices is that when our clients come in to discuss filing bankruptcy, they have a list of pressing debts that they are concerned about – credit cards, car loan, mortgage – but they really don't know exactly who all they owe money to. For some, they may not want to think about how extensive the list is of those they owe and for others, they simply don't remember who all they owe.

New Study Shows Filing Bankruptcy Can Literally Save Your Life

Mortality

Filing bankruptcy can save your life

Image source: Flickr User Alan Bruce

Many people use the word literally incorrectly (it's a pet peeve of mine). Literally means truly, honestly, actually. As in, my eyes literally popped out of my head would mean my optical orbs physically sprang from their spot on my face. Needless to say, it's not a word to use lightly. But now, a new study shows quantitatively that filing bankruptcy can literally save your life. Research from Harvard University and the Social Security Administration examined Chapter 13 filings and the real-life effects bankruptcy had on filers lives and the findings are incredible. Here's what the study titled Debt Relief and Debtor Outcomes: Measuring the Effects of Consumer Bankruptcy Protection found and how this debt relief option can keep you living longer.

Good News for North Carolina Seniors and 5 Ways to Protect Your Money

Seniors

North Carolina seniors better off than many other older Americans

Image source: Flickr User Jennier-O

We wrote last week about census data that showed that many in North Carolina are suffering under the yoke of low wages. But today, we have good news from the recent census that shows that seniors in North Carolina are actually doing quite well. Among adults age 65 and older, just 10% are living below the federal poverty level. Comparatively, California has a rate double this and Nevada and Louisiana at nearly double.

5 Things to Consider When Looking for a North Carolina Bankruptcy Attorney

Five

Five things to consider when choosing a bankruptcy attorney

Image source: Flickr user Scott

No one wants to be in overwhelming debt. It's stressful and can make you feel like your life has spiraled out of control – and in some ways, it may have. If you can't afford to pay your bills, if your phone is constantly ringing with calls from debt collectors and if living paycheck to paycheck has become a fact of life, you need help. Depending on what type of debts you have and how much you're earning, bankruptcy may be a helpful solution to get you the financial fresh start you deserve. To get the best results, you need a good attorney. Here are five things to consider:

Fraud Alert: Watch Out for Duke Energy Scam Causing Identity Theft

Duke Energy

New scam tied to Duke Energy

Image source: Flickr user Diamondback Truck Covers

We like to keep our readers current on scams that are circulating so you can be on guard and protect your personal information and your money. There's a new fraud operation making the rounds in North Carolina for you to be on the lookout for that centers around Duke Energy, or rather scammers pretending to be with Duke Energy. Because they're using a trusted name, it can be easier for fraudsters to gain the access they need to commit their crime.

4 Reasons to Consider Chapter 13 Bankruptcy to Save Your Home

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 can help you save your home

Image source: Flickr user Alexander Makarov

There are different forms of debt relief and not every type is a good fit for every circumstance. If you have been threatened with foreclosure or are concerned about the fate of your home, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may offer you more appropriate relief than a Chapter 13. The primary benefit of a Chapter 7 is that it gives you a completely clean slate, but it may not be the best solution depending on what's going on with your mortgage. Here are some things to consider.

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