We despise so called “debt management” companies because more often than not, they don’t manage anything but consumers’ payments into their pocketbooks. We have highlighted the inherent dangers of working with these companies because they often leave consumers in worse shape after dealing with them. While the economy is getting better and consumers have more income to pay down debt, there are still companies who are targeting people who are struggling with student loan debt.
Anyone who deals with a homeowner’s association (HOA) on a regular basis knows that they are not the easiest organizations to get along with. The fees and penalties that are assessed are not always fair, and it can be very difficult and tedious to get them addressed. And to add insult to injury, unpaid fees can turn into liens on a property.
If these liens are not paid, and the condo or home is not sold, the HOA can foreclose on the lien and take the property.
Some people may scoff at the notion of doing Christmas shopping in July, but for others, it may just be a smart move. In July, there is no external pressure to shop or take part in sales for overvalued items that are simply marked down to get people in the door. Also, there is no cumulative shopping effect that consumers pay for well after the Christmas season. Most of all, consumers may be less likely to get into financial straits after the Fourth of July in the same way they are after the holiday season.
The upward progress of the nation’s economy has not been lost on politicians, lenders, realtors and consumers alike. Everyone wants the steady growth of the housing market to continue, but everyone is also cautious about avoiding the next housing “bubble.” In fact, people are concerned about when the next bubble is going to burst, and the what the effect on home prices it will have.
This specter is particularly troubling given the swath of questionable loans given out in the previous decade. Indeed, these high-risk loans are all but extinct now, but as the market grows, so does the potential for greed and short-sightedness, since many loans today require so much scrutiny documentation to ensure that the loan will be repaid.
The owners of a Wisconsin pizza shop that eventually went under will have to turn over the proceeds of an inherited IRA to a bankruptcy trustee. This is what comes out of a multi-year lawsuit between a couple who filed for bankruptcy protection only to find that the wife inherited an unused retirement account when her mother passed away, and a bankruptcy trustee who was administering the case.
It is rare that we support the use of credit cards. After all, their use commonly leads to dire financial straits. However, they appear to have much better benefits than debit cards. According to a recent USA Today report, the benefits that initially came with the introduction of debit cards more than a decade ago have largely disappeared. Because of this, there are several benefits to credit cards that prudent consumers can take advantage of.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), debt collection companies garner the most consumer complaints than any other type of companies. They are notorious for violating provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). It is surprising that debt management and debt consolidation companies are not a close second, given their notoriety for not living up to their claims of saving consumers time and money in settling their debts.
Bankruptcy may be seen as a scary and embarrassing endeavor for those who are unfamiliar with the process. After all, no one wants to be forever labeled as a deadbeat or unreliable consumer. Also, the thought of a consumer seeking bankruptcy protection being viewed as irresponsible is a prominent one. However, this notion could be completely wrong.
A recent study found that people with credit card debt are actually more frugal than those who do not have it. In fact, people are more likely to generate debt from unforeseeable circumstances than from frivolous spending. It is estimated that 21 million Americans are paying off large credit card debts created through medical expenses. Others have created debt trying to make ends meet while going through a prolonged bout with unemployment. Whatever the credit card debt was about, it commonly is not generated through a constant stream of frivolous spending.
While the Affordable Care Act has enabled millions of Americans to obtain a basic standard of health insurance, the rising cost of medical care continues to be a problem. For many people with chronic illnesses and those who have undergone multiple surgeries, they are still experiencing difficulty making ends meet while paying down debt incurred through medical treatments.
Part of the process of going through bankruptcy includes money management and credit education courses that debtors must take. They must obtain certifications for such education before they are able to file a petition and before they are granted a discharge. While these classes are important for helping debtors understand responsible uses of credit, they remind us of a simple formula that should apply to those who wish to control their finances.