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August 2017 Archives

Debt settlement versus bankruptcy

Many Florida consumers are seeking debt relief. For a variety of reasons, families and individuals may find that their debt load is simply unmanageable and then decide to consult with a professional about their options. In some cases, they may consider working with a professional debt settlement company.

Some older Americans facing financial struggles

Making ends meet on a fixed income can be difficult for Florida residents, and a study from the University of Michigan suggests that many older Americans are finding it especially hard to cope. The school's Retirement Research Center's annual Health and Retirement Study, which has polled more than 20,000 Americans aged 50 or over about their financial situations since 1990, reveals that about one in three older Americans are obligated to make monthly payments on non-mortgage debt.

Dealing with legal action by credit card companies

If a Florida resident gets too far behind on a credit card debt, it may be possible for the credit card company to initiate a lawsuit. However, this does not necessarily mean that a legal battle is on the horizon. In some cases, it may be possible to settle the matter with good faith negotiation.

Bankruptcy rule changes in the offing

Beginning on Dec. 1, Florida consumers who plan to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy will be subject to new rules approved earlier this year by the Supreme Court. The upcoming changes have been contemplated and debated since the Obama administration and will be presented to Congress later this year for final approval and implementation. Although the rule amendments will mostly impact creditors, it is important for debtors to be aware of these changes if they are planning on filing a petition.

Americans are maxing out their credit cards once again

In the wake of the Wall Street crash of 2008, quite a few Florida residents were left jobless and saddled with considerable credit card debt. This was a critical moment in the global financial crisis as it signaled the beginning of the recession. Now, a report issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York suggests that credit card debt is once again reaching worrisome levels.

Credit card debt rises alongside delinquencies

Household debt has been quietly increasing in the years since the 2009 recession, and the amount collectively owed in one category has passed a record set in 2008. Credit card debt has again become a serious problem for many Florida consumers. Unfortunately, it is a problem that often goes unaddressed until the consumer becomes a statistic in the rising rate of delinquencies.

Does wage garnishment have you feeling stressed?

Dealing with substantial debt can often leave South Florida residents feeling lost. You may wonder what options will work best for you and what may happen in the event that you do not get your debts addressed in a timely manner. You may already be dealing with collection calls and other distressing efforts from creditors to obtain payment. Do you fear that your situation will only get worse?

Consequences for not paying debts

Some Florida residents who are struggling with their financial obligations might wonder what will happen if they do not pay their bills. The consequences depend upon the type of debt. For example, a private student loan lender may sue the debtor. With federal student loans, there is a grace period of 270 days for a missed payment. After this point, the government may garnish a person's wages or other payments, such as Social Security, or may turn the debt over to third-party collectors. The government may also sue in some circumstances.

Record total for consumer debt

In June 2017, consumers in Florida and the rest of the United States increased the overall consumer credit total to a record $3.86 trillion. This is even as the category containing student and auto loans reported the least amount of gain in a year. The total amount of debt that was posted for the revolving debt category, which contained mainly credit card balances, was also a new high of $1.027 trillion.

Role of medical debt in falling bankruptcy filings

The debate over potential benefits of the Affordable Care Act has continued due to efforts at overturning the law. One of the more contentious arguments has been that the ACA has reduced the need for bankruptcy as a result of medical debt. Two inclusions in the ACA make such an argument tenable. The law expanded health insurance to 20 million more individuals throughout Florida and the rest of the U.S., and it set a cap on maximum yearly and lifetime out-of-pocket costs. Opponents of the bill claimed that the reduction in consumer bankruptcy had little to do with the ACA.

Credit card debt uncertainties after death

Credit cards are a fixture in most Florida households. However common they may be, many do not know the what happens with a person's credit card debt after death. No single answer applies to all cases, because there exist a diversity of state laws and card arrangements that can impact the outcome. A look at some of the more common arrangements may make dealing with this debt easier.

The automatic stay in personal bankruptcy cases

Some Florida residents who are struggling with unsustainable financial situations choose to file for bankruptcy to stop lawsuits filed by their creditors or prevent their paychecks from being garnished. An automatic stay is granted when an individual files a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy, and it requires creditors to cease all collection efforts until the case has been resolved. The automatic stay can stop evictions and foreclosures, protect public benefits and prevent utilities from being disconnected.

Credit card mistakes to avoid

Some Florida consumers may be making mistakes with credit cards that could lead to a reduced credit rating or to struggling with debt. For example, late payments can hurt a person's credit rating and can also cause fees and interest to mount. After six months without payments, a debt could be charged off by the credit card company, and this may remain on a person's record for seven years.

Prioritizing paying off debt

Florida consumers who are struggling with their obligations might wonder how they should prioritize paying off their debts. For example, a person may have student loan debt, owe money on one or more credit cards, have hefty mortgage payments, and have an auto loan. There are a number of factors that must be considered when choosing which debt should be paid off first. For example, while credit card debt may have high interest rates, a person may be most concerned about paying the mortgage in order to keep the home.

Don't close the door on these foreclosure warning signs

If you live in Florida year round, you've likely noticed that the state's economy has navigated the same ebbs and flows as that in most other states. In recent years, economic crisis has thrown many households into downward spirals, leaving homeowners and their families grasping at straws and trying to keep their heads above water. If you're one of many currently facing financial problems, you may also be worried that you could lose your home.

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