Everybody goes through a rough financial patch at some point in their lives, and some in Arizona decide to file bankruptcy. 

Filing bankruptcy in Arizona may be a lifeline. When your debts are piling up, and you have no idea how to keep up with the payments anymore. Filing for bankruptcy may be a beneficial way to get creditors off your back. When people talk about bankruptcy, they often refer to Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Arizona. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a “liquidation bankruptcy” where all your non-exempt assets may be sold. The money is then split between your creditors.

Exemptions are a critical part of the bankruptcy system. Exceptions help determine what property you get to hold on to after declaring bankruptcy. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer can help you with your case and determine what part of your assets you’re entitled to keep.

Federal vs. State Exemptions

Every state in the U.S has its own set of bankruptcy exemptions, and most will require you to use them. Some states, however, allow the debtor to choose between the state’s exemption system and the federal bankruptcy exemption created by Congress.

When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Arizona, you may be able to protect some or all of your assets under Arizona’s bankruptcy exemptions. Arizona has chosen to opt-out of federal bankruptcy exemptions. This means debtors who have been residing in the state for no less than 730 days will only be allowed to exempt property under the state’s exemption system and federal non-bankruptcy statutes. Those who have lived in Arizona for less than 730 days will be required to use the exemptions of their previous state or the federal bankruptcy exemptions.

Arizona Bankruptcy Exemptions List

Arizona Homestead Bankruptcy Exemption

The most important exemption on this list is Arizona’s homestead exemption. The homestead exemption allows homeowners to protect up to $150,000 of their home’s equity. This exemption only applies to the primary residence and may not be doubled by husband and wife. In Arizona, the homestead exemption is triggered automatically. It can also be applied to the proceeds if the home is sold.

Automobile Bankruptcy Exemption in Arizona

Under Arizona’s bankruptcy laws, debtors may also exempt one automobile vehicle with up to $6,000 of equity. This amount may increase to $12,000 if you are elderly or disabled. It can also increase if one of your dependents has a physical disability. The state’s automobile exemption is considerably higher than that of the federal government, which is currently at $4,000 of equity in one vehicle.

Arizona Personal Property Bankruptcy Exemption

Personal property is a broad category that protects household furniture, home appliances, and consumer electronics. The exemption for personal property is an aggregate value of no more than $6,000. Arizona law also allows for the following exemptions, given that no individual item has a fair market value of more than $625:

  • Clothing – up to $500
  • Musical instruments – up to $400
  • Engagement/wedding rings – up to $2,000
  • Books and published materials – up to $250
  • One watch – up to $150
  • One typewriter, one computer, one bicycle, one sewing machine, a family bible, a burial plot, one shotgun or one rifle or one pistol. The total fair market value not higher than $1,000.

Retirement and Pensions Bankruptcy Exemption

Arizona bankruptcy exemptions also protect IRAs, Roth IRAs, and tax-exempt retirement accounts including:

  • 401(k)s
  • 403(b)
  • profit-sharing and money purchase plans
  • SEP
  • SIMPLE IRAs
  • defined benefit plans

Moreover, the pensions of police officers, teachers, and other government employees are exempt. The same goes for public/welfare benefits.

Wages and salary Bankruptcy Exemption

Seventy-five percent of the debtor’s disposable earnings are exempt. According to Arizona guidelines, “Disposable earnings means that remaining portion of a debtor’s wages, salary or compensation for his personal services, including bonuses and commissions, or otherwise, and includes payments pursuant to a pension or retirement program or deferred compensation plan, after deducting from such earnings those amounts required by law to be withheld.

Alimony and Child Support Bankruptcy Exemption

Arizona bankruptcy exemption also covers the money received as alimony or child support from a former spouse. However, this only applies to the receiver and not the payer.

Tools of Trade

Tools and equipment used for commercial purposes are exempt up to a total worth of $5,000. For a complete list of qualified exemptions, you may refer here.

The Arizona Bankruptcy Means Test

For many people, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a good option for getting rid of most of their unsecured debts. Why? Because just in case the money from selling all your non-essential possessions is not enough to your payables, the rest of the debt gets discharged, and you can start again on a clean slate.

As good as that may sound, not everyone is qualified to file for Chapter 7. The eligibility is based on the debtor’s income for the last six months, the household size, and where you live. Those who earn below the state median automatically qualify. If your income exceeds the limit, you will have to take the means test to determine whether you’re entitled to a Chapter 7 discharge or need to convert to another chapter of the bankruptcy code.

The Arizona bankruptcy means test can be both inaccurate and complicated. Thus, it is best to seek the help of a qualified Arizona bankruptcy attorney. The attorney will help you determine your Chapter 7 eligibility and deal with other bankruptcy-related matters.

One other thing to consider is how much does it cost to file bankruptcy in Arizona. The cost to file bankruptcy is $313 for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and $338 for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Alternatives to Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Should you find yourself unable to qualify for a Chapter 7 discharge, know that it is not your only escape. Here are other possible options to look into:

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy Arizona may be a good option for those whose incomes disqualify them from chapter 7 but require debt relief. If you choose to take this route, all your debt obligations will be consolidated. You’ll have to pay for them through a revised yet more affordable monthly repayment plan.

Debt Settlement

Debt settlement is where a third party agency tries to negotiate your debt for a lump sum of about half of what you originally owe. If, for example, you owe your credit card company $10,000, the debt settlement company will try to negotiate that down to $5,000. Be wary, though, as attractive as this option may sound, it can cause your consumer credit score to slip southward.

Debt management

The debt management option may work best with credit card debts. Here, the debt management company will try to negotiate with your credit card company to reduce your interest rate — let’s say, for example, from 20% down to 10%. You can also enroll in a debt management program or explore your options with non-profit agencies offering credit counseling services.

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Lady selling clothes online

Selling clothes online is a lot easier than you think.

You have the potential to make back hundreds – even thousands – of dollars from selling your clothes. By selling your unwanted clothes online, you’re reaching a way larger audience than you would by selling locally. And you’ll get more bang for your buck compared to hosting a garage sale or exchanging items at your local thrift store.

Even though you aren’t donating all those old clothes to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, you’re still a good person. By selling your unwanted clothes online, you’re recycling, reducing carbon emissions and waste, and you’re not contributing to the toxic and destructive culture that is fast-fashion.

You may consider selling your clothes online for a couple of reasons:

  • You want to make back some of the money you’ve spent on clothes you don’t wear anymore
  • You’re looking to start a side hustle selling handmade and vintage items
  • Your dream is to own and run a consignment shop or thrift store

Whether you’re looking to start your own business or make a few extra dollars on the side, you’ll see selling clothes online is actually pretty simple!

Tips for Selling Online

There are a couple of tricks that will make selling clothing online a more hassle-free process. These tips aren’t completely necessary, but they might make things run smoother for you.

Shipping labels

Lady putting together shipping labels

Using a prepaid shipping label can make shipping sold items quick and easy.

When you use an online marketplace to sell clothes, they’ll sometimes give you the option to use your own shipping method or ship with the marketplace/purchase a shipping label.

If you use a prepaid shipping label, you’ll pay for the shipping on the app/website, print out the label, and tape it on your package. Then all you have to do is drop it off at the post office.

Thereafter depends on which postal service you use. Most postal offices have a kiosk or drop-off area specifically for packages with a prepaid shipping label. The post office will scan the prepaid label and update the tracking information within the marketplace app you use.

Packaging/Shipping Kit

Picture of packaging and shipping kit

You may want to put together your own shipping kit.

You can save some money by purchasing your own packaging – and it looks more legitimate and professional. It’s pretty cheap to buy packaging in bulk and you can choose whatever look and material you want too.

It’s especially nice to pack your item in the comfort of your own home because you have your own shipping kit. Then all you have to do is drop the package off at the post office. Plain and simple.

Taking Quality Photos

Taking high quality images is a must

Taking quality photos of your items is pivotal for how fast your clothing will sell.

You don’t need a fancy camera or a ring light – but of course they wouldn’t hurt. That being said, good natural lighting and a plain white wall background will get you far!

You should also look at your favorite successful online shops for photo inspiration. Taking your own photos makes your shop look more trustworthy and legitimate. Plus, you can get in trouble for using stock photos of your items from other websites.

Online Marketplaces for Selling Clothes

The easiest way to sell clothes online is using an online marketplace. Typically, they’ll charge a small fee for using their platform. But it is the easiest, fastest, and most efficient way to reach a way larger audience than you could by yourself.

Facebook Marketplace

Selling clothes on Facebook Marketplace can be great for those who don’t want to deal with shipping costs or the post office. But you do have the option to ship items if you prefer.

Facebook Marketplace is especially great for selling everyday clothing and it’s super simple to use, since virtually everyone has used Facebook before.

Fees

The selling fee is 5% per shipment, or a flat fee of $0.40 for shipments of $8.00 or less.

Etsy

Etsy is an excellent platform for selling vintage clothing, handmade items, jewelry and accessories, old trinkets – you name it. I’m sure you’re probably familiar with it as it is super popular.

According to a 2021 statistic, Etsy reaches 96.3 million active buyers. So your chances of selling are pretty dang high.

Fees

Etsy charges a listing fee, transaction fee, and a fee for payment processing:

$0.20 Listing fee + 6.5 % Transaction fee, 3% + $0.25 Payment Processing fee

Etsy charges a flat fee of $0.20 USD per listing, regardless of whether or not the item listed sells. Listings expire every 4 months, but you can set the listing to automatically renew and be charged the $0.20 flat fee.

Additionally, there’s a commission fee and standard payment processing fee. Etsy charges 6.5% of the total order amount in your designated listing currency. This fee applies to the total cost of the item, along with shipping and gift wrap (if you charge your customers for those). You will see the charges itemized separately on your Payment account.

When you make a sale through Etsy.com, you will be charged a transaction fee of 6.5% of the price you display for each listing plus the amount you charge for shipping and gift wrapping.

Depop

Depop is another online marketplace that’s great for flipping clothes, where the focus is mostly vintage clothing items. But it’s also great for designer clothing, handmade items, etc.

Something to consider: The demographic on Depop is significantly younger than Etsy and eBay. According to this 2021 statistic, 34.6% of users are in the 10-19 age range and 48.4% of users are in the 20-29 age range.

Fees

There is a 10% Depop fee charged on the total transaction amount, including shipping cost.

You have unlimited posts at no extra cost.

eBay

You can also use eBay to sell your clothes online.

eBay is best for selling well-known designer brands. If you’re looking to sell low-end pieces or vintage clothing, I would suggest looking at Etsy or Depop.

Some things to consider: 61.4% of eBay users are male, so that may or may not be beneficial to you as a seller. And then you have to ask yourself, how many of those men are buying clothes on eBay? The top selling products on eBay are mostly electronics. However, if you’ve used eBay before and you’re comfortable and confident selling clothes there, take my words with a grain of salt.

Fees

eBay charges 10-15% of the final value of your sale.

Each month, you get 250 free listings. If you exceed 250, there’s a $0.35 insertion fee per listing.

Parting Thoughts

Man packaging a box for shipment

Are some items worth selling?

Taking your own photos, writing out listings, packing, and shipping takes time and effort. If the item your trying to sell is only worth $10, and you’re paying a fee(s) for selling the item, is it really worth selling? It’s up to you – but something to consider nonetheless.

Think about what kind of clothing and accessories you plan on selling

Where would your items sell best? If you sell handmade pieces, Etsy might be the best fit for you. If you sell designer clothing, perhaps eBay or Depop is the right place.

Anyone can sell used clothes online

You don’t need to be selling Louis Vuitton or designer handbags to make a few dollars. As long as you have a phone camera, natural lighting, and access to the internet, you can sell clothes online and make some extra cash. 
Author image of Daniel

Daniel is a Certified Public Accountant (AZ), Charted Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC), Certified Tax Coach (CTC) and a Registered Investment Adviser (Series 65). He’s worked for large accounting firms like Deloitte & Touche to the small family businesses. Through it all, Daniel loved finding solutions for businesses. He founded the Biz Owner Guide, to share and reach with a larger audience that are looking for guidance on business development, tax, compliance, accounting, finance and more.

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Whether you’re scrolling through TikTok between meetings or looking for some tutorial on YouTube, chances are you do it quite often during the day, as it’s your part-time job. But how can you monetize your own content?

In this post, we’ll discuss the top video platforms and how to organize extra income there.

Sources for Video Creators

Many businesses are including more and more videos in their content strategies. 88% of firms utilize video as a marketing tool, according to Wyzowl’s 2022 Video Marketing Statistics. When asked what they would like to learn about a product or service, 73 percent answered they would rather watch a short video, and consumers are twice as likely to share video material with their peers than other sorts.

Here are a few content production websites where you may publish your work (or find a social media content creator to work with).

YouTube

There are over 38 million YouTube channels and over two billion YouTube users globally. Famous YouTubers may make millions of dollars a year, like the American stuntman MrBeast (100 million followers).

But to succeed on YouTube, you don’t need to be a video blogger with a Wiki article and millions of followers. In reality, all you really need to join the YouTube Partner Program and begin selling your video are 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 view hours in the previous year.

It is enough to start a video blog about what you like (travel vlog, etc.) Today, screencasts, and gaming streams are also popular on YouTube. In this case, you will need special screen recorder software – a program for recording your computer screen when you create content on it.

The top watched content categories on YouTube include tutorials, games, music, humor, product reviews, beauty advice, ASMR, and a variety of commentary videos.

TikTok

TikTok was among the most downloaded applications in 2020, and 2021, and is still dominating the rankings in 2022. Videos on TikTok, in contrast to those on other platforms, are shown vertically and are just a few seconds long; initially, this restriction was 15 seconds, but it has since been steadily expanded, most recently to 10 minutes.

Utilizing current information by “stitching” or “combining,” the software encourages users to follow trends. TikTok’s built-in filters and effects make editing videos simple.

The channel boasts a billion active users, a predominantly Generation Z-skewing viewership, and a high-profit margin. Leading creators make more than $10 million a year, including dancer Charlie D’Amelio (141 million followers) and superstar singer Addison Rae (87 million followers).

Instagram

Although Instagram was initially primarily a photo-sharing software, its ability to share videos has significantly increased in recent years. Currently, there are several ways to upload videos to Instagram, including:

  • Posts. You may upload videos to the main Instagram Feed in lengths of up to 10 min (or 60 min for select verified users).
  • Stories. After 24 hours, these pictures and short films (up to 15 sec) vanish. In addition, you may link to stories and incorporate polls and quizzes (something you cannot do in the main feed).
  • Live. Enables you to stream live for up to four hours while getting comments or emojis from your viewers.
  • Reels. These vertical clips, which may be up to 60 sec long, support borrowing pre-existing music from other producers and have in-app filters and effects.

Vimeo

Despite being created a year before YouTube, Vimeo only has 170 million active users, a far smaller audience. Vimeo, on the other hand, is ad-free and enables higher-quality multimedia content for paying customers. It was created for creators and content producers.

The community is arguably the largest advantage of using Vimeo to submit your material. Unlike YouTube videos, which can receive hateful comments, work produced on Vimeo frequently reaches other artists, who are more likely to offer supportive and constructive criticism. 

Vimeo is a terrific platform for reaching your target audience, regardless of whether you like artistic endeavors (like filmmaking) or are searching for more experienced viewers.

Facebook

Facebook is the most popular social website in the world, with around 3 billion active users each month. Additionally, 70% of US individuals who use the website claim to visit it daily. Despite not being created with the video content in mind, Facebook, like Instagram, allows a number of video-creation tools, including:

  • Posts. You may share text, links, images, and videos that are up to 240 minutes long in the main Facebook stream, which has been around from the beginning of the service.
  • Stories. Similar to how Snapchat and Instagram Stories operate. After 24 hours, they vanish after up to 20 seconds.
  • Watch. Includes original programming (like Netflix or Amazon Prime, but for free), live broadcasts, and works by producers akin to those on YouTube.

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How do video creators make money?

If you have enough subscribers, creating video content can be very profitable. Here are some ways to monetize your work.

Ads

The easiest way to make money from your video content is to run ads. YouTube’s official partner program allows bloggers to earn money by displaying Google AdSense ads. In simple terms, YouTube will place ads before and during your video and compensate you for views.

Sponsored content

Many businesses work with content creators that have large, engaged followings by paying them to promote the brands’ products in their feeds. If you like to travel and shoot a video about this, you can find a sponsor in this field and earn money traveling.

If you’re searching for brand collaborations, a smart way to start is by adding your channel to the influencer marketplace, where both big and small businesses may find you (Intellifluence, Upfluence, Heepsy, etc.)

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Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is similar to sponsored content in that it enables producers to get payment from businesses by recommending things to their audience. The distinction is that the author will only be compensated for clicks or purchases made through affiliate links by viewers.

Because it doesn’t need a personal connection with the company, this option is open to more authors even if it does not guarantee income like sponsored material. One such instance is the Amazon Associates program, which is open to everyone. This is a wonderful place to start if you’ve never dealt with brands before.

Exclusive content

Direct sales to customers are possible for exclusive video material. The majority of the time, in order to gain an audience, content providers must begin by producing free material. You may place part of your blog posts, podcast sessions, and videos behind a paywall if you’ve built up a following.

For instance, the parenting site Beleaf In Fatherhood has roughly a million YouTube followers and many of its videos are available for free, but it also provides weekly exclusive content for a monthly Patreon membership thereby earning thanks to fan funding.

Merchandise

Merchandising your viewers may be a terrific way to earn money, from selling T-shirts and coffee mugs with your business logo to creating an entire line of cosmetic items to go with your beauty vlog.

Conclusion

Today, it’s easier than ever to find side hustles to earn extra money thanks to the internet. Additional earnings on video are available to everyone and it’s never too late to start. 

To get more profit, you can use all of the above methods – together, they provide a good income. Develop, think, be creative, fill the channel with content, and improve the quality of video material. It will not be possible to get rich quick, it will take time to promote. The main thing is to set a goal and confidently go towards it, overcoming obstacles on the way.

Vital Shpakouski

Philologist with higher education, professional translator, former volunteer and teacher, entrepreneur, and salesperson with 13 years of experience. Now I’m a copywriter in Internet marketing, writing about everything that helps businesses grow and develop. In my free time, I create music and songs that no one hears and take photos and videos that no one sees.

 

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What’s Credit Score and Why is it Important?

Your credit history is an integral gateway to the type of credit that you may have access to.  The better your credit score the easier the accessibility to affordable credit it. However, if you do have a poor or “thin” credit file (little credit history) you are stuck in a catch twenty-two; you need money but are only being offered higher APR finance products due to your creditworthiness. 

In this article we’ll be looking at how you can give yourself the best chance to build your credit history, where you can get free debt and money advice from professional non-profits and how to check your credit score.

If you already have good credit and want to keep on top of your credit score then keep reading, as the habits we’re covering will also help to ensure your credit doesn’t slip.

How to Check your Credit History?

If you are new to checking your credit and are unsure on where to check your credit history, you need to Google a trusted Credit Rating Agency such as TransUnion and Experian. You can check your credit score for free. The scale will let you know what is deemed poor, fair, good and excellent credit from your selected Credit Rating Agency.

Tips to Try & Build Your Credit Profile

The following are just suggestions but are worth trying if you are trying to improve your credit score.

Credit Building Credit Card – Considering a credit building credit card, also known as a poor credit credit card. These are credit cards that have been specifically designed to help people build credit by only allowing small initial credit limits (typically around the £1,000 mark) and slightly higher than average APR %. This is to try and force small regular repayments without spending a large amount of credit. This demonstrates to potential creditors that you are creditworthy and are low risk to lend to.

To build your credit with a credit builder card you need to pay more than the minimum repayment and ensure you pay in a timely manner.

When choosing a credit building card it’s best to go with a large reputable supplier. Thimbl. for example, is supplied by Vanquis Bank and is similar to a Vanquis credit card, so is worth considering.

Credit Builder Card

 

Keep Credit Utilization Low – Credit utilization is simply the limit of your credit card vs. the balance of your credit card. To work out your credit utilization you will need to accumulate the credit limits on your credit cards and the credit card balances. Next, you’ll divide your total combined card balance by your total available credit. Once you have this figure, you then need to convert this into a percentage, and this is essentially your credit utilization percentage. Typically, the lower this percentage is, the better.

Enrolling to Vote – by enrolling to vote you can improve how creditworthy you are deemed as you have proof of a fixed abode and a clear line of communication between yourself and the lender. You can sign up to vote even if you just live with your parents, you do not need to own the home to use the address. As long as you are living in the address with no plans to move in the near future, signing up to vote is a great way to improve your credit score.

Check for Reporting Errors – Checking your credit report for inconsistencies or errors is important. If you spot an error, you can raise it with your Credit Rating Agency or bank and start an appeal process to have the inconsistency removed, this may help your credit health.

Pay Bills in a Timely Manner – If you have good credit and want to keep it that way, paying your bills on time is a great way to go about it. Missing payments can negatively impact your credit rating. Where possible it’s a good idea to setup direct debits rather than pay manually and you can use budgeting apps such as Plum to help you budget your outgoings and income to make paying bills and monthly money management easier.

What Help is Available? 

If you’re concerned about your finances, you can reach out for professional, free advice from not-for-profit financial organizations such as ‘Money Helper’, ‘Citizen’s Advice Bureau’, ‘Step Change’ or the ‘Debt Advice Foundation’.  All of these organizations offer free, confidential, professional money and debt advice and work to help give you all the best options available to help you correct and improve your financial situation. 

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If you are experiencing financial difficulty, have exhausted all other options, and are still in debt, you are probably asking yourself, “Should I file for bankruptcy?” 

Thankfully, a should I file for bankruptcy quiz is available that mirrors the actual bankruptcy forms and uses data to help you estimate qualification, costs, pros and cons, and alternatives to bankruptcy.

The quiz has a bankruptcy qualification estimate and the estimated cost of filing for bankruptcy. It also compares Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcies and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of filing for bankruptcy. You will also get a brief description of debt-relief options other than bankruptcy, like debt settlement. All the information is based on bankruptcy forms you must fill out when applying for bankruptcy. 

Read through the quiz to decide if bankruptcy is the best option for you.

Understanding How the “Should I File Bankruptcy” Quiz Works

There is a lot to do once you file for bankruptcy. It is a lengthy process that involves heaps of paperwork, deadlines you need to meet, and other obligations. Analyzing all the paperwork, you need to fill out to file for bankruptcy might feel overwhelming. However, you can take this bankruptcy quiz. It considers all the qualifications you should meet in the paperwork.

The bankruptcy calculator considers your monthly income, expenses, debt obligations, and other financial information. After entering all the required details, the calculator will estimate what bankruptcy might be like for you. It will output the estimated costs, savings, and timelines.

Another common question is whether you’d be able to keep your house in a bankruptcy, and thankfully, you can find a bankruptcy exemptions quiz that helps you determine that on Ascend’s website.

Although the quiz will yield estimated results, it is a pretty accurate measure of what to expect, with some precise information. However, nothing is cast in stone, and some variables can affect your case.

What Is Included in The Bankruptcy Quiz?

There are two main things that our “Should You File Bankruptcy” Quiz focuses on- qualification and cost.

You need to be eligible to file for bankruptcy. For Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you need to meet some income factors. While the income limit you should meet varies depending on the state, it is mainly 1.5x the poverty line. So, if you make above 1.5 times the poverty line in your state, you might not be eligible to file.

Second, the cost of bankruptcy is a significant factor. Yes, you are filing for bankruptcy because you cannot meet your debt obligations and need a financial turnaround. However, filing for bankruptcy is not free. There are some costs you will need to meet—for example, court filing costs, attorney fees, etc. The expenses for filing for bankruptcy also vary according to state. So, check for the average cost of filing for bankruptcy in your state.

Is Bankruptcy the Best Alternative For You? 

There are other debt-relief options available, so are you confident that filing bankruptcy is the best choice? Although deciding to file for bankruptcy is a decision you need to make while considering numerous factors, you need to analyze if it is the best option for you deeply. To help you decide, here are answers to common questions individuals considering filing for bankruptcy ask;

Is Filing for Bankruptcy Ever a Good Decision?

There is a lot of stigma associated with filing for bankruptcy. Therefore, most people find it hard to file. A common myth is that once you file for bankruptcy, you can never recover. Another widespread misunderstanding is that everyone will know you filed for bankruptcy.

Contrary to these popular misconceptions filing for bankruptcy could give you the fresh start you desire. It can help you get out of debt and regain control of your financial life. However, deciding if you should file for bankruptcy is a personal decision. Here are common reasons people file for bankruptcy.

Unmanageable Credit Card Debt: 

As an adult, you can get a credit card that allows you to spend what you don’t have at hand. If misused, this convenience can become an addiction that keeps building up until you are dealing with overwhelming credit card debt. Often, people find they have spent more than they can pay off, and getting out of the heap of debt can be difficult. Fortunately, you can file for bankruptcy to get rid of credit card debt.

Medical Debt or Hardship: 

The cost of medical services is high, and if you suffered an injury that resulted in lost wages and an extended hospital stay, you might have a mountain of debt. Loss of income due to a medical condition can make it harder to cater to this debt, and you might need to file for bankruptcy.

Unemployment

How secure is your job? Nobody expects to be laid off, sacked, or their contract not renewed. Since no one expects unemployment, when it happens, staying afloat can be challenging, especially if you don’t have enough savings to use until you find the next job. So, you may have to file for bankruptcy with piling bills and debt obligations with no income.

Recent Divorce

Maybe the divorce is finally getting you the peace of mind you have been craving. However, divorce is pretty expensive and could be hard on your finances. Besides paying attorney charges, court dues, and other legal fees, you might also need to divide your property by half. The divorce could also end with you paying alimony or child support. The financial strain from a recent divorce could push you to file for bankruptcy.

Loans and Mortgages: 

You had worked out a repayment plan for the new car you got on loan or the new house you got a mortgage. However, since these loans take several years to repay, unexpected inconveniences like loss of income could affect your ability to continue making payments. Unfortunately, irrespective of the changes in your situation, the companies will hold you accountable for the debt and expect you to pay up. So, to eliminate the debt, you might need to file for bankruptcy.

There are so many reasons why people file for bankruptcy. The above reasons are the few common ones. Filing for bankruptcy for whatever reason is a good choice if you need help putting your debts behind you.

Why Is Bankruptcy A Legal Debt Relief Option?

When you file for bankruptcy, you regain financial stability and independence. Ignore the myth that bankruptcy is a bad thing. Like everything else, filing for bankruptcy too has some consequences. However, getting out of debt can give you peace of mind and a new, more mindful start to a fresh financial journey. So, if you are convinced that filing bankruptcy can help you, it is worth considering.

What to Avoid Before Filing Bankruptcy

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, there is a list of don’ts you should be aware of like:

Transferring your assets to family members: 

You want to increase the chances of getting your petition approved, and appearing broke seems like a good idea. So, you want to transfer your assets and other properties so that by the time the court does a background check, nothing is in your name. While you may be convinced you are smart enough and can get away with transferring assets, it could do more harm than good. Once the court finds out, you might get accused of bankruptcy fraud and end up in prison. A good policy is to be honest to the court. There are cases where you can legally retain ownership of your assets.

Adding more debt

Since you will file for bankruptcy and have your debts forgiven, it is tempting to consider taking on more debt. However, it’s unwise since it could make you ineligible to file for bankruptcy. Additionally, your creditor might file for an exemption for the recent debt on your discharge. In most creditor-debtor agreements, you agree to repay the debt. So, taking a debt when you know you cannot repay it is a fraud, and the courts will not discharge recent debts.

Withdrawing money from your 401(k) 

you have been saving for retirement and are afraid that the court will order you to repay your debts from your 401(k). So, you opt to withdraw the money and stash it elsewhere. If you have done proper research, you should know that retirement accounts remain protected in bankruptcy. Therefore, irrespective of your debt, you cannot be asked to repay your debts from your retirement savings.

Lying about your property

You should always be honest when filing bankruptcy forms. Having many assets and property doesn’t mean you will lose it all. While you consider lying a minor offense, the court could dismiss your case.

Is There a Debt Limit I Need to Meet Before Filing Chapter 7?

No. There is no minimum or maximum amount of debt you should have to file for bankruptcy. The main concern is your eligibility. Are you eligible to file for bankruptcy? If you are, your debt amount doesn’t matter.

What matters is, is bankruptcy the best alternative for you? Remember, there are other alternatives to bankruptcy that you should consider. Some are better if you have small debts, while others are better if your debt is large. Understanding all the options and weighing them to make a decision is essential.

Credit Counseling: 

It is an ideal alternative to filing for bankruptcy if you have some money to pay off your creditors but need help organizing your debts. In debt management, you get help planning, budgeting, and organizing your debts. It is also effective for small debts.

Debt Settlement: 

Debt settlement is a common alternative to bankruptcy.

If you want to take your chances and reduce the total debt you owe, try debt settlement. It aims at helping you negotiate your debt with your creditor in the hope that your creditor will take less than you owe and write off the debt. The debt settlement company will ask you to default your payments for a while before negotiating with the creditor. They will then offer the creditor a lump sum to eliminate the debt. If your creditor agrees, you will settle the debt for less than you owe. However, if they refuse, they might sue you. So, you need to work with a reputable debt settlement company and proceed with caution.

Debt Consolidation: 

It is somewhat similar to debt management. In debt consolidation, you get to organize your debt. If you have different creditors you need to pay, debt consolidation bundles all your debts, making it easy to pay them off.

That said, you should consider the pros and cons of debt consolidation before pursuing that route.

Although our guide doesn’t exhaust all the debt-relief alternatives, you should consider these options before filing for bankruptcy. Information is power and will ensure you make the right decision. Depending on your debts and financial situation, you can decide whether to proceed and file for bankruptcy or not.

Take Away

Are you still undecided if you should proceed to file for bankruptcy? Go through our If y “Should I File For Bankruptcy” Quiz. There is enough information to help you understand if you need to file for bankruptcy and other options to explore. If you are still unsure, give us a call and consult one of our counselors

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Everyone knows that car payment are a huge expense. Even if you’re lucky enough to find a new car for an affordable price, you’ll probably need to finance it in order to make the monthly payments affordable. But financing a car can be risky. 

The average car loan has an APR of above 5%, which is expensive and leaves many people with little financial wiggle room. If you’re considering buying a car, read on for some tips about avoiding car debt and finding affordable financing options.

Shop around for the best financing options

If you already know the exact car you want, you should probably go ahead and buy it. But if you’re looking for a good deal, you should shop around for financing first. 

Even if you plan to buy a cash car you should still talk to your bank and credit union about rates and terms. They might let you use a low-interest savings account to finance your car. That way, you’ll have the cash in your savings account if you ever need it for a car repair or another emergency. 

If you have good credit, you might be able to get a lower interest rate on an auto loan. And if you have bad credit or no credit history, you might be able to get a good deal on financing through a dealer. If you go with a dealer, make sure they offer you a fixed interest rate. And be careful of hidden costs.

Check your credit score before you buy a car

If you don’t already have a car, you might have to take out a car loan to buy one. In that case, you’ll want to make sure you can afford the payments. If you don’t have a car loan yet, you might be able to get a lower interest rate if you improve your credit score. 

You can get a free credit report from Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. Your report shows your credit score and a list of your credit accounts. If you have bad credit and need a loan, you might be able to get a lower interest rate and better terms if you take the time to improve your credit score.

Get a loan through your bank or credit union

If you have good credit, you might be able to get a car loan through your bank or credit union. You can get pre-approved — which means they’ve already checked your credit and given you a rate. 

That way, you’ll know exactly how much you’ll have to pay per month. You can also choose the length of the loan (for example, 36, 48, or 60 months). And you can use the loan to buy a car, or even a boat or RV. 

You might have to put down a down payment or get a cosigner if you don’t have good credit. But you might get a lower interest rate than you would at a car dealership.

Buy with cash — or at least pay in cash upfront

If you can afford to buy a car in cash, you’ll avoid car debt altogether. Plus, you’ll probably save money on interest by avoiding a loan. You might be able to find a dealership that lets you pay in cash when you buy a car like Audi Q2. Or, you can search online for a cash car dealer. 

You can also buy a car online and pay in cash upfront. If you decide to pay cash, you’ll need to be sure the seller is legitimate. You can check the seller’s reputation on sites like eBay and Autotrader. 

You can also use a site like CarFax to find out the history of the car. If you don’t have the money, you can always look for a short-term loan. You can try a peer-to-peer loan company or a site like LendEDU. With peer-to-peer lending, you can borrow a set amount and set your own interest rate. 

Check out leases and short-term loans

If you have bad credit, you might need to find an unusual way to finance your car. One option is to lease a car. With a lease, you pay an upfront amount and drive the car for a set period of time. 

After that time is up, you turn the car in and start leasing a new one. You might be able to lease a car with bad credit. And you can drive a brand-new car with a lease. Some short-term lenders also offer loans that last as little as a month. 

You can use these loans to buy a car and then pay them off the same way you would a credit card. You can also use a peer-to-peer loan for a short-term car loan.

Conclusion

If you don’t have enough money to buy a new car, you can always get a used car. Buying used can help you avoid car debt since you won’t have to finance the car. Plus, more people are choosing to buy used cars these days. You can search for used cars online or in your local paper. 

And if you’re buying a used car, check for any existing issues that might pop up in the future. You can do this by having the car inspected at a mechanic’s shop. You can also check the CarFax history report to learn more about the car’s past.

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