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Are you carrying too much debt?

It's easy to lose track of how much debt you have. Unfortunately, if this happens, you'll find it difficult to steady your situation and make informed decisions regarding your financial future.

Here are four signs that you're carrying too much debt:

  • You don't know the finer details of your debt: From how much you owe to the type, you've lost track of your debt. As you add more to your debt load, it's even easier to lose track of just how bad things have become.
  • Late payments: As your debt adds up, it's possible you won't have enough money to pay your bills on time. This results in late payments, which lead to late fees.
  • You're hearing from bill collectors: This is a surefire sign that you have too much debt. It's also a sign that you've fallen behind on a bill.
  • You've drained your savings: All the money you saved is now gone because you used it to keep up with your debt. Once your cushion is gone, your situation worsens as you don't have the money necessary to stay current with your obligations.

When is the best time to file for bankruptcy?

Every year, thousands of Americans rely on bankruptcy to get their finances in order. Increasingly, the most common reason why people in the United States file for bankruptcy is due to medical debt

One problem many people have trouble figuring out involves determining when precisely to file for bankruptcy. Everyone will have a different best time to file. If any of the following apply to you, then you should consider filing for bankruptcy sooner rather than later. 

Credit card debt, divorce and bankruptcy

During your marriage, it's easy to fall into the habit of using credit cards to pay for a variety of expenses. While there's nothing wrong with this, your good intentions can soon turn into a high credit card balance.

If you find yourself in debt and decide to divorce, your situation becomes even more complicated. It's at that point that you need to decide how to best deal with your joint credit card debt. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Pay it off together: If you have the money to do so, agree to pay off your joint credit card debt so that you don't have to deal with it during the divorce process.
  • Equally divide the debt: Both individuals can transfer their portion of the debt to a separate credit card. This is often the best option if paying off the debt in its entirety is off the table.
  • Cancel all joint credit cards: Don't give the other person the ability to make purchases that you may be responsible for in the future.

Is there a way to lower your credit card interest rate?

In a perfect world, you would always pay your credit card balance in full. This allows you to keep your debt to a minimum while also avoiding interest charges.

However, depending on your financial situation, this may not be possible. If you find that a high interest rate is costing you a lot of money each month, here are some steps to take:

  • Review your situation: From your current rate to your terms and conditions, review everything to get a better idea of what you're up against. For example, you may find that you have a variable rate, as opposed to a fixed rate, meaning that it will change on you from time to time.
  • Find better offers: Search far and wide for credit card offers with a more competitive interest rate. Not only does this put you in a position to make a change, but it also gives you negotiating power.
  • Contact your credit card company: This is the most important step, as it's when you'll figure out what comes next. Ask your credit card company if there's any way to lower your rate. Back up this question by mentioning other credit card offers, as well as your past history of paying on time (if this is true).

Are you familiar with your foreclosure rights?

When you borrow money to pay for a home, you're expected to repay it as agreed upon in the terms and conditions. If you miss a mortgage payment, it's imperative to catch up as soon as possible. Also, reach out to your lender to discuss your situation with them and to determine if there's anything they can do to help.

If you continue to miss payments, foreclosure may be on the horizon. As scary as it may be, understanding your foreclosure rights can help put you in a better position to get through your financial crisis.

5 steps to repairing your credit score after bankruptcy

Navigating the bankruptcy process can be confusing and turbulent at times. While it is an effective tool to get out from overwhelming debt, you must manage certain consequences. For example, bankruptcy negatively impacts your credit score. However, this is not irreparable damage by any means. 

Having a low credit score is not a permanent outcome of bankruptcy. There are simple steps to repair your credit and get your financial health back on track.  

Should you consider a balance transfer credit card?

If you come to find that you have debt spread across multiple credit cards, it's imperative to devise a plan for paying it down as quickly as possible. As you make progress, you'll begin to feel better about the future of your finances.

Many consumers trying to pay off their credit card debt turn their attention to a balance transfer credit card. There are many benefits of doing so, including the fact that you can bring all your debt under one bill -- and one payment. With all your debt combined, you'll also save money on interest.

Can you spot a debt consolidation scam?

If your debt is overwhelming, you may want to find a way out. When bankruptcy does not seem like a good idea for one reason or another, you may turn to a debt consolidation company for relief.

Debt consolidation companies have sprung up over the last couple of decades. These businesses promise to put all your debts together and sometimes lend you the money to pay them off. What this could do is give you a large loan with variable interest. Not surprisingly, some companies do not have your best interests in mind. Follow these tips to ensure you spot a debt consolidation scam before you get sucked in.

Common situations that lead to a bankruptcy filing

No one wants to file for bankruptcy. However, if you find yourself facing financial difficulties, it may be the best thing you can do. Taking this step can help you reduce or eliminate your debt, while giving you the fresh start you need.

There are many situations that can take a toll on your finances, thus increasing the likelihood of a bankruptcy filing. Here are several of the most common:

  • Job loss: If you lose your job, you may find it difficult to keep up with your financial obligations. As these pile up, bankruptcy may be the best way to get relief.
  • Medical problem: A serious health issue can result in large medical bills. Furthermore, it can hold you back from working, which impacts your finances across the board.
  • Unexpected expenses: You never know what types of expenses will enter your life. For example, you could run into a major home repair project that puts strain on your finances.
  • Divorce: After a divorce, you may find yourself in a very different financial situation than when you were married. This is particularly true if you're left with a lot of debt and not as much income as you once had.
  • Credit card debt: Over time, credit card debt has a way of getting out of control. If you're unable to make any progress, bankruptcy may be the best way to finally find relief.

Are you willing to negotiate with your credit card company?

Imagine a situation in which you've taken on more credit card debt than you can handle. Every month, you're lucky to be able to make the minimum payment. As a result, finance charges and late fees continue to pile up.

While there are many strategies for reducing your credit card balance, some of them may be out of the question because of your financial struggles.

McBride Law Firm

McBride Law Firm
301 Jackson Street Suite 101
Alexandria, LA 71301

Phone: 318-625-0471
Phone: 318-625-0471
Fax: 318-445-8066
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