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Everything You Wanted to Know to Make a 2011 Bankruptcy Work for You, Part One.

Since the real estate reckoning of 2007 launched what would become a global economic meltdown, average Americans just like you have been taking advantage of the sure-fire safe havens of personal bankruptcy. But part of successfully joining the more than 1.5 million people who will file in 2011, is planning for life following the fruition of that bankruptcy.

In fact, with so many people facing income deficiencies due to underemployment or unemployment in 2011, it’s work revisiting the best advice for an effective bankruptcy.

The New Savior of the Middle Class is…

Forget federal stimulus or tax cuts for the wealthy or even a new, formal jobs plan. Because according to a new analysis of Census data from the Center for American Progress, a boost in incomes of the union members by just one-tenth, "would increase middle-class incomes by $1,479 per year -- even for those who aren’t members."

Women Recover From the Recession Slower Than Men

While men were the ones initially reeling from the recent recession, women are now the ones with more and more reason to worry.

According to an Institute for Women’s Research Policy report released Monday, even though unemployment levels have steadily decreased for men over the past year, very few women are able to return to work in 2011, resulting in a significantly higher percentage of female Americans who continue to have deep concerns about their financial futures. The Women’s Research Policy report surveyed 2,746 American adults 18 years and older from September to November 2010.

Pawn Shops Go Upscale

It’s not too terribly surprising that pawn shops have done very well in the wake of the economic downturn. With more and more average Americans stuck at the lower end of the income spectrum due to the new economy’s trademark unemployment and underemployment, a great many average Americans were forced to rely regularly on consumer credit to pay for their everyday bills, goods and services.

As a result, pawn shops have thrived throughout the recent economic malaise, providing the industry with new, low risk opportunities at the [literal] expense of unwary borrowers who will avoid defaulting on this type debt at all costs—just so they can keep this credit in an uncertain economic environment.

Exiting the Summer of our Economic Discontent

As we officially fling ourselves into a new financial outlook for fall, it’s worth remembering that the nation just exited the economic equivalent of “the summer of our discontent,” during which financial concerns seemed to prompt unprecedented dissatisfaction with the federal government. In fact, a mid-August poll from the Pew Research Center showed that public satisfaction with the federal government dropped to 11%--the lowest percentage since 1997. In reality, the number of Americans upset with government doings (or lack thereof) has doubled since March 2011 (26% of Americans say they’re angry at the federal government, up from 14 percent in March and 12 percent in 1997), signifying that our collective frustration over financial concerns is only getting more palpable as time progresses.

Overwhelming Withdrawals From U.S. Food Banks Reveal A Country of Depleted Budgets

After suffering through years of an economic downturn driven by a mortgage crisis, rising consumer debts, and mounting health care costs, of late many average Americans are increasingly hungry for the country to rebound financially. Unfortunately, at the same time, a confluence of events is prompting a resurgence of literal hunger in the U.S. as well as many other corners of the world-at-large.

Cities Cut Back.

You might think when city officials need to cut personnel costs, they start by letting public employees go. But according to a new article from The Huffington Post, “firing people isn't the first thing they look to do: it's the third.”

“Developing” Story: Kodak Considers Bankruptcy

In what is becoming a “developing” story, financial news outlet Bloomberg is reporting that Eastman Kodak Company is currently weighing the benefits of a bankruptcy filing. The 131-year-old U.S. camera company recently hired law firm Jones Day for restructuring advice, the Wall Street Journal reported. Long known for its wide range of photographic film products, Kodak had recently tried to turnaround years of dramatic declines by refocusing on the major markets of digital photography, digital printing and its planned sale of 1,100 digital imaging patents, which the company said accounted for about 10 percent of its total patent portfolio.

U.S. Income Drops for First Time in Years

The nation’s income dropped in August 2011, for the first time in nearly two years, according to a government report released last week. The drop was precipitated by a weak labor market and falling consumer confidence.

According to Reuters, “Weak incomes as employment growth ground to a halt and earnings fell hurt spending in August. Income slipped 0.1 percent, the first decline since October 2009, with private wages and salaries dropping $12.2 billion. Economists had expected income to edge up 0.1 percent. Consumer spending growth slowed sharply to a 0.7 percent annual pace in the second quarter after advancing 2.1 percent in the first three months of the year. Last month real spending on goods fell 0.2 percent, while services ticked up 0.1 percent. Disposable income was unchanged for the first time since September, but when adjusted for inflation fell 0.3 percent, the largest drop since October 2009.”

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