3 weeks 3 days ago

The purpose of bankruptcy is to provide for an orderly process by which a debtor’s assets can be fairly divided and distributed among creditors. Read More ›
Tags: Chapter 7, Financing, Personal Property Tax, Property Tax, Western District of Michigan

1 month 3 days ago

The basic concept of the Life Sucks Budget is that for many of us there is just not enough money to pay the claims of bill collectors AND to pay the really important things of life, like retirement savings, emergency cash accounts, mortgage payments and modest family vacations. Something has to give, and too many of us put ourselves last and pay nothing towards our future needs and dreams so that we can just get by another month without receiving embarrassing phone calls or letters. The Life Sucks Budget is a call to rebalance this relationship and to put our legitimate financial and family needs first.
The fact is, many of you are already on the Life Sucks Budget but you don’t realize it or perhaps you are reluctant to confess that is what you are doing.
Spending 25 years interviewing clients about their financial habits reveals that at least half of the people I meet have no hope of being financially successful. They just want to get through the week and find a little peace in their day. They do not believe that they can win financially, and that mindset has a radical affect on their behavior.
This should come as no surprise. If you were running a 100 meter sprint against Usain Bolt would you train very hard? You already know that no matter how much you train you will never be able to keep up with the world’s fastest man, so why even try?
The evidence of people who think they will ultimately lose in the game of finance is found in their bank statements. The spending pattern is clear, and we review six months of bank statements for every bankruptcy case we prepare.
When you think that the game is rigged and that an average person has no chance of winning, you spend more on restaurants. You enjoy the day. You buy really nice clothes because they feel good and boost your self-esteem. Your cable and cell phone bills are high since you place a premium on being connected. Chances are you lease a car or have a large car payment since you work hard and have “earned” a nice ride. Often your house payment is disproportionate to your income and it drains every last drop of your take-home pay, but it makes you happy to provide a nice place for the family.  This is one form of the Life Sucks Budget since you put yourself first and prioritize your current happiness.  And, it is also a sign of defeat since, like Thelma & Louise, you are headed over a cliff but you can’t bring yourself to be honest about it.
But something interesting happens when you ask a 25-year-old if they know how much they must save every week over 40 years to become a millionaire.
Do you want to become a millionaire? Yes? Well, do you know how much you have to save every week to get there? No. Guess how much? Think about it.  One million dollars. 40 years. 52 weeks a year. Why, that’s 2,080 weeks over 40 years.  How much do you have to save each week?  $500 per week?
And then you just wait. You listen for their answer. “Want to be a millionaire?” They smile and chuckle.  “Sure!” they reply.  “Well, how much do you have to save a week? What’s your guess?”  And they say things like $1,000 per week.
And when you tell them the answer could be as little as $50 per week depending on how the stock market fairs over the next 40 years and whether they have a 401(k) plan at work that matches their contribution, their eyes open wide.  “REALLY?  Only $50 per week?”
That can be a life-changing moment. When you realize that you can retire a millionaire by just saving $50 a week, even the person working as a Walmart greeter can become a millionaire if they just save every week. That knowledge changes you. You don’t have to lose. Even if everything in your life goes bad, even if you have a crappy job, even if you get divorced or change jobs or raise stupid kids.  You can still win financially if you tap into real financial knowledge and apply a proven system of building wealth. Like getting a 50 meter head start on Usain Bolt, you start to feel you could win. And, you start training with vigor. Because now you believe.
Whether your savings turn into a million dollars or just a lousy $300,000, haven’t you won either way? It’s going to be a lot of money if you apply the system.
The truth is you can retire a millionaire even if you have to file bankruptcy at some point in your life, as long as you keep your fingers off the retirement account when life sucks. You can pay off your home mortgage in 15 years instead of 30 if you don’t buy too much of a home and pay an extra $100 per month. You can have $10,000 in an emergency cash fund if you pay yourself first and make that a priority. But that’ never going to happen if you walk around with an unspoken belief that you are a loser and that the system is rigged against people like you.
This is probably why I think Dave Ramsey, despite all his craziness and oily sales pitches, is about the best money adviser out there. He reprograms your your mind and spirit to understand that you can win financially if you start acting and thinking like a winner.
So instead of acting as if life sucks and engaging in a spending pattern where you maximize today’s wants with a new car or a fancy home and the 500-channel cable expense while barrelling down the highway at maximum speed in Thelma & Louise fashion, stop and think for a moment. Why are you spending money in this fashion? Because you secretly believe that ultimately you will lose in life so you should maximize today’s enjoyment?
If you are going to apply a Life Sucks Budget because you acknowledge that income is limited and that problems just never fully go away, then why not apply an intentional budget that pays off the mortgage, provides for regular family vacations, creates college savings accounts, and leaves a plentiful retirement fund? Life does frequently suck and we are not fully in control of what happens, but we can achieve our financial goals if we make the decision now to pay ourselves first and give what is left over to those never-ending obligations of life.
Photo courtesy of Flickr and Ken Lund.

1 month 5 days ago

You have been paying your bills late. Deciding strategically each month which bills get paid. Then it all catches up with you. Maybe you had to miss extra days of work unexpectedly or lost your job. Whatever the reason, you are no longer able to make the monthly minimums. Then the calls start. First, it is one or two calls a week. Then it is every day, multiple calls each day. You waiver between just putting your phone on silence, afraid to answer the next call, to being scared you will miss an important call regarding a job application, your loved ones, or kids’ school. You wish you could just pay off all your bills and stop the calls. However, unless you win the lottery or get the huge promotion, you know that will not happen soon. Should you change your phone number? Block every call you do not recognize? What can you do to stop the creditors from harassing you? Keep reading for the 5 best ways to get creditors to stop calling you.
The post The 5 Best Ways to Get Creditors to Stop Calling You appeared first on Tucson Bankruptcy Attorney.

1 month 5 days ago

Rule #1 of credit counseling is when you are trying to get out of debt you must forgo some expenses while paying off debt. The advice is universal. Decrease expenses. Increase income with a part-time job. Sell some stuff to raise cash. Get the debt snowball rolling. Suck it up and double down on the smallest debt and then the next smallest until all the debt is gone. Live like a crazy person until you can scream out loud I’M DEBT FREE!
And if your debt problem is that you spend money like a moron and you just need to grow up and cut expenses and work a pizza delivery job at night until you pay off the debt, that may be good advice. Dave Ramsey has built a 55 million dollar financial empire by giving out such advice.
But what if you already work as much as you can and your budget is already frugal? What if you have kids at home and you cannot afford to pay a babysitter so you can go out and deliver pizza at night? And what if you are physically and emotionally drained at the end of the day and the thought of working a second job is likely to push you over a cliff?
And what about all that time lost during a debt repayment plan? How long will it take to repay all the debt? And what about all the new debt incurred while you live through a get-out-of-debt program? Time to start a new repayment plan? Amend the plan to add the new debts?
The message of the get-out-of-debt group is that life will begin to be wonderful again once all the debt is repaid. When the debt is paid, THEN you can begin to really save money and establish retirement and college savings plans. AFTER their debt is repaid you can start to achieve YOUR financial goals.
But what if time and time again new problems pop up that prevent the debt repayment plans from completing? You know, like when you get sick and the insurance company says the claim was filed too late even though the doctor’s office said they would file a claim, or when the car gets hit by an uninsured driver, or when your employer says that your job has been outsourced to China. And so you start over and scrounge for a new job and cancel the debt program until you can find a new car but now you have a car loan and the debt payment plan must be changed, again. It just keeps happening, over and over again. For years. For decades.  Meanwhile, your financial goals are not being accomplished because you never got to that magical point of being debt free so you could START on achieving your goals. Sound familiar?
What if you could start focusing on your financial goals today, even though you are still in debt? What if you put your long-term financial goals first, and the demand of the bill collectors second? If you sense that the tail is waging the dog in your life and that you can never get ahead because just one damn thing after another keeps blowing up, maybe it is time to confess that life sucks but your finances don’t have to suck as well. Welcome to the Life Sucks Budget.
Under traditional get-out-of-debt budgeting we put creditors payments first since we view financial problems as being a short-term problem, but under the Life Sucks Budget we put your needs first because we view such problems as a never ending, long-term reality.
Under the Life Sucks Budget we surrender to the reality that debts will never go away, and that’s okay. We no longer worry about being perfect and becoming debt free. Rather, we focus on survival and quality of life. We realize that the system was not built for us and that big banks and insurance companies and big employers will keep finding ways to pull the carpet from under us. The Life Sucks Budget is a confession that the American Dream has gone wrong and that we will no longer be suckered into believing that tomorrow will be a better day. We no longer play the game. We accept that we can longer serve two masters, and so we make the decision to fund our long-term needs first and the demands of creditors second.
Pay yourself first. That is the guiding principal of the Life Sucks Budget. So with that in mind, those who adopt the Life Sucks Budget will take the following actions.

  • Emergency Savings Account. Every financial adviser worth their salt will advise that clients save 3 to 6 months of their monthly expenses in cash. That’s good advice. Life sucks and so it is necessary to be prepared for periods of unemployment due to frequent job changes and layoffs. So, the first dollars you earn should be tucked away into a separate bank account, preferably at a bank you don’t presently use and ideally at a bank located in a different state. Why a bank located outside of Nebraska? Because creditor judgments may only be levied on bank accounts located in Nebraska. To garnish an account located outside Nebraska the creditor must register their judgment in the foreign state. So, a wise person sets up their emergency savings account in a far away bank. With the ability to open accounts online these days, this is really easy to do. Heck, if you can get an account in Canada that is easy to access, go for it.
  • Pay Nondischargeable Debts Before Other Debts.  The Life Sucks Budget anticipates that filing bankruptcy from time to time is probably necessary.  But not all debts can be discharged in bankruptcy, such as student loans, child support, alimony and recent income tax debts. So, when deciding what debts to pay, it is smarter to pay debts that bankruptcy cannot discharge before paying other debts, like credit cards and medical bills, that can be discharged.
  • Tax Debts & Bankruptcy.  Generally speaking, most income tax debts can be discharged in bankruptcy IF the tax return was filed and IF three years have gone by since the return was filed.  (This is a simplified version of the general rule and there are many additional rules that apply.) The take away here is that if you owe a lot of income tax debt, make sure your returns are filed and perhaps you should not pay any of the debt voluntarily and just wait until the debt becomes dischargeable in bankruptcy. Conversely, if you do not owe a lot of tax debt then you should pay off that debt before paying credit cards or medical debts since the tax debt cannot be discharged.
  • Contribute to Retirement Accounts.  The great majority of retirement accounts, including 401(k) plans and tax qualified retirement pensions, are protected in bankruptcy. So, if life sucks and you view filing bankruptcy as something that is inevitable, then maximize your contributions to your retirement accounts and NEVER withdraw funds from your retirement to pay off debts that could be discharged in bankruptcy.
  • Pay Extra on the Mortgage.  Nebraska law protects up to $60,000 of equity in your home, even if you file bankruptcy. Paying a lousy $100 extra on the mortgage can be the difference between paying off a mortgage in 15 years instead of 30 years, so if you have less than $60,000 of equity in the home you should consider paying extra on the loan every month.
  • College Savings Plans. Contributions to a 529 College Savings Plan made more than one year prior to bankruptcy are exempt and protected. If you have minor children that plan on attending college one day, contributions made to 529 savings plans more than one year ago are protected even if you are forced to file bankruptcy.
  • Pay off Car Loans.  Nebraska law protects up to $10,000 of equity in a vehicle, so it makes sense to pay off car loans ahead of other debts so you reach a point of economic freedom from the threat of repossession.

Of course, by paying yourself first you will be short on money to maintain minimum payments on all your debts. And that’s okay, because we acknowledge that life sucks and we deal with that problem later by filing bankruptcy or by debt settlement or by letting the debt expire over time. We pay creditors what we can, but we don’t worry if the account goes into default because what is more important is that we fund our long-term needs first so that we don’t wind up old and poor.
The Life Sucks Budget is not a call to financial irresponsibility. Rather, it is a call to wake up and to smell the coffee of today’s economic system where lower wage Americans never seem to improve their condition because they pay creditors first. The Life Sucks Budget is actually a call to work hard so that your financial needs are met and it is a reminder that, even with low income, you can achieve financial success if you put your family’s legitimate needs first and force creditors to accept what is left over.
Image courtesy of Flickr and NOAA Photo Library.

1 month 6 days ago

In a system where the majority of people have to sell their labor for wages to survive, people’s ability to support themselves financially almost always decreases as they age. Without public assistance, therefore, old age is comfortable only for those with savings, and uncomfortable if not downright miserable for those without.

This is why the United States passed the Social Security Act in 1935, which guaranteed a source of income to replace wages for all people 65 and older, along with the Social Security Act Amendments in 1965, which created Medicare, a public health insurance program for the same population. These programs are financed socially, by adjusting the tax rate schedule to accommodate them — that is, by requiring everyone in society to contribute, based on their ability to pay, for benefits that they will be entitled to after a certain age.

These and other mid-century programs made it a little bit easier to grow old in America, for a while. But they have come under strain as wages have stagnated and the cost of housing and education skyrocketed, placing a greater burden on social welfare programs to achieve adequate income for people. Meanwhile, programs themselves have been systematically starved of resources or outright eliminated.

Older Americans haven’t fared well. In fact, they’re filing for bankruptcy in record numbers. A new report from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project called “Graying of US Bankruptcy: Fallout from Life in a Risk Society” contends that, while it took a few decades to fully set in, older Americans are now experiencing the consequences of the assault on the social safety net that began under Reagan and has persisted, with leadership from both parties, ever since.

Running the Risk“Government is not the solution to our problem,” Reagan was fond of saying. “Government is the problem.” His election inaugurated the reign of the free-market neoliberals, who advocated supposedly leaner and more efficient market-based alternatives to socially-funded government programs. Not coincidentally, these alternatives were friendly to capitalists — lower taxes, new lucrative private markets.

In 1982, Reagan established a commission made up of corporate executives whose task was to “root out inefficiency” in government spending. The Grace Commission issued “2,478 cost-cutting, revenue enhancing recommendations” that took aim at federal wages, retirement systems, healthcare programs, and a variety of federal subsidies which were deemed wasteful. The chairman of the commission, successful businessman J. Peter Grace, wrote to Reagan, “If the American people realized how rapidly Federal Government spending is likely to grow under existing legislated programs, I am convinced they would compel their elected representatives to ‘get the Government off their backs.’”

One man’s “getting the Government off their backs” is another’s evaporation of opportunity. As social programs have withered, wages have stagnated, and inequality has skyrocketed, many ordinary working people have lost their financial footing and their retirement prospects have dimmed. Today, just one hundred CEOs have the same amount of money stored away for retirement as the bottom 41 percent of the American population.

Meanwhile the age at which a person is eligible for full Social Security benefits has risen from 65 to 70, and the penalty for early retirement has increased up to 30 percent. Medicare recipients’ out-of-pocket costs are ballooning. Defined benefit pensions have been replaced with unpredictable and risky employee-owned 401(k)s. The list goes on.

And now the chickens are coming home to roost. The Consumer Bankruptcy Project found that since 1991, the rate of Americans age sixty-five to seventy-four filing for bankruptcy has doubled. The rate for those age seventy-five and over has tripled.

“The changes are so great,” they found, “that the broader trend of an aging US population can explain only a small proportion of what is happening in the bankruptcy courts. Older Americans’ reported reasons for filing strongly suggest that they are experiencing the fallout from our current individualized risk society and the corresponding shrinkage of their social safety net.”

The researchers’ data backs this up, suggesting that “that financial crises associated with living in America’s high-risk society are highly correlated with older Americans’ increasing use of the bankruptcy system.” As risk and responsibility have shifted from society as a whole onto individuals to pay their own way — even when they can’t work at all — older Americans are increasingly vulnerable to financial ruin.
The Means of LifeThe responses to the questionnaires collected by the Consumer Bankruptcy Project illuminate the predicament that working-class older Americans are in. When asked the reason for bankruptcy, one respondent said:

All things went up in price. Retirement never went up. Had a part time job that was helping to meet monthly payments. House payment kept going up. Was fired from my part time job that I had for over 10 years without any warning. Being 67 and having back problems, not many people will hire you even as part time worker.

Here we can see the complex of problems that give rise to financial difficulty in old age. Income in retirement isn’t sufficient to cover the rising cost of living, including healthcare costs and payments on debt. After a lifetime of depressed wages, many people don’t have the savings to meet their financial responsibilities, yielding need employment to supplement their income.

But the aging body leads to a (real or perceived) inability to do the work needed to secure a wage. As a result, older Americans are increasingly left without much financial recourse besides personal bankruptcy — which is not a panacea, just a last-ditch effort to eliminate personal debt and stop the multiplication of costs.

One path to solving this problem is to make a concerted effort to drive up wages, control living costs, and repair the social safety net, so that people enter old age with savings instead of debt, and so that older people who can’t work still have a way to sustain themselves in their final decades. The Left should pursue this approach without reservation.

And there is a deeper issue, too, which requires a more radical solution in the long-term. The problem is that people are required to sell their labor to capitalists in order to have access to the means of life to begin with. What if, instead, we had a society where everyone was guaranteed a decent living just because they’re alive, not on condition of employment, and we pooled our resources and our productive capacities to make good on that guarantee? Then perhaps all people, young and old, could live with dignity.

Copyright 2018 Jacobin.  All rights reserved.


1 month 6 days ago

What is the Tacoma bankruptcy process
In Tacoma, bankruptcy attorneys are frequently asked about the bankruptcy process and bankruptcy forms. What steps are involved in filing bankruptcy? How much does it cost to file bankruptcy? How long will the bankruptcy take? The answer is, it depends on your situation. The fastest way to get answers to these and other questions is to contact one of our experienced Tacoma bankruptcy attorneys. We’ll take the time to answer all of your questions and to help you decide if bankruptcy is the right thing for you.
This article is by no means comprehensive, there are many aspects to filing for bankruptcy in Tacoma and there is no way to compress thousands of pages of bankruptcy laws and local rules into one article. Again, that is why you need a Tacoma bankruptcy attorney to assist you. The following, however, is a brief overview of the general Tacoma bankruptcy process.
Tacoma credit counseling
Since 2005, every person filing bankruptcy in Tacoma has been required to take a pre-filing credit counseling course and a post-filing financial management course. When you meet with your Tacoma bankruptcy attorney, he will give you details about these courses and explain what you will need to do to complete them successfully. Bear in mind, these courses are not optional, you must take them and file a certificate of completion with the bankruptcy court or risk having your bankruptcy dismissed.
Tacoma Bankruptcy Means Test
When you meet with your Tacoma bankruptcy attorney, they will help you complete what is known as the means test. Essentially the means test determines if you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or if you will need to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead. While income is a big factor in determining your eligibility to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tacoma, it is not the only factor. Your current debts and obligations are taken into consideration as well as what it takes to maintain your household. Things like food, transportation, childcare, and other expenses are also factored in. In most cases, anyone who needs to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tacoma. It all comes down to whether you have enough disposable income after your expenses to pay back some of your creditors.
You can find additional information about the means test and even use our means test estimator to find out if you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tacoma, Washington.
Collecting Information
You will need to collect certain documents and information for your Tacoma bankruptcy attorney in order for them to prepare your bankruptcy forms. Much of your information your bankruptcy attorney will be able to extract from your credit profile. However, there are things that do not appear on your credit reports such as your income, recent gifts, monthly living expenses, certain assets, and other similar items that you will need to file for bankruptcy in Tacoma. One of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys will provide you with a list of things that you need to file for bankruptcy.
Filing Bankruptcy Forms in Tacoma
After you have provided all of the required information to your bankruptcy attorney, our team of bankruptcy professionals will get to work preparing your bankruptcy forms, documents, and petitions. Depending on your case, the total number of pages of bankruptcy forms needed to file can range from as few as 50 or 60 pages to several hundred. Every bankruptcy form must be meticulously created with accurate information and reviewed by your Tacoma bankruptcy attorney before you review the documents. Upon completion of your bankruptcy forms and documents, you will need to review each page carefully for any inaccuracies or mistakes. Your bankruptcy attorney is only as good as the information they are provided, so it is your responsibility to make sure the information on the bankruptcy forms is accurate. Any mistake on the bankruptcy forms must be corrected before they are filed with the bankruptcy court. Again, the need for accuracy is so important that you shouldn’t risk trying to complete the bankruptcy forms yourself or pay a non-attorney bankruptcy preparer to complete your bankruptcy forms.
Once all of your bankruptcy forms and documents are prepared and assembled properly, you will need to pay the filing fee and your Tacoma bankruptcy attorney will electronically file your bankruptcy forms for you.
You can find more information about bankruptcy forms and the filing process for bankruptcy in Tacoma on our website.
Automatic Stay
Upon filing your bankruptcy forms, what is known as the automatic stay will go into effect. The automatic stay is an order of the court intended to stop creditors from taking any further collection actions against you without the permission of the court. This means, upon having been notified of your bankruptcy filing, your creditors are no longer to contact you directly. The automatic stay will at least temporarily stop most foreclosure actions, repossessions, wage garnishments, and bank levies.
You can find more information about the automatic stay on our website.
Tacoma Bankruptcy Trustee
After filing for bankruptcy in Tacoma, the bankruptcy court will appoint a bankruptcy trustee for your case. The job of the trustee is to see that your creditors are paid as much as possible. This person will thoroughly review your paperwork, particularly the assets you have in your possession and the exemptions you wish to claim and can challenge any element of your case. Bankruptcy trustees are paid a percentage of the value of your bankruptcy estate. This gives them the incentive to make sure that they squeeze the most out of your bankruptcy case to pay your creditors. A mistake in your bankruptcy exemptions or inaccurate information on your bankruptcy forms could potentially result in you unnecessarily losing property in bankruptcy. An experienced Tacoma bankruptcy attorney will help you avoid the pitfalls of failing to properly complete your bankruptcy forms.
341 Meeting of Creditors
Shortly after filing for bankruptcy, you will receive a notice of a 341 meeting of creditors from the bankruptcy court. This is not a court proceeding with a judge in attendance, your bankruptcy trustee will oversee the meeting of creditors. This meeting gives creditors the opportunity to appear in your case and object to what you have filed that relates to them. However, creditors rarely appear at these meetings. You, on the other hand, must appear at the meeting of creditors or risk your case being dismissed. Your Tacoma bankruptcy attorney will appear with you at the meeting of creditors. In most Tacoma Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, this will be the only time you will need to appear in your bankruptcy case. Should the trustee or a creditor object to anything in your bankruptcy forms, your Tacoma bankruptcy attorney will negotiate a resolution with the trustee. If, however, a resolution cannot be reached, it will be necessary for a bankruptcy judge to hear the objection. In most Tacoma Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, your meeting of creditors will last only a few minutes and, while it can be nerve-racking there is really nothing to worry about providing your bankruptcy forms have been prepared properly.
Discharging your debts in Tacoma
After your meeting of creditors, there is usually not much more for you to do except. Your bankruptcy attorney will provide you with instructions on what your responsibilities are for the remainder of your case. It is important that you follow the instructions of your Tacoma bankruptcy attorney. Your creditors are given a little time to object to your bankruptcy forms and petition but in most cases, they will not. If everything goes as planned, and it showed if you are using a bankruptcy attorney, you will receive a notice of discharge from the bankruptcy court. What this means, is that all debt that is remaining after your bankruptcy, that was included in your bankruptcy, and not a special class of debt like taxes and student loans, has been wiped out. Your creditors can no longer attempt to collect on debt that was discharged. Once you have received your discharge, you will be well on your way to a fresh start financially. Ultimately, what you do with the fresh start is up to you. However, with our debt recovery through bankruptcy system and free credit repair service, you could be on your way to a top-tier credit score in as little as 18 months.
You can find more information about our debt recovery through the bankruptcy system and free credit repair service on our website.
Contact us
With thousands of pages of bankruptcy law and local rules that you must follow, it doesn’t make sense for you to try to file a bankruptcy yourself. We make it easy to file bankruptcy with affordable monthly payments for your attorney’s fees. With our credit repair service that is included with every bankruptcy we file in Tacoma, we give you the best chance possible at a real fresh start financially. Give our Tacoma bankruptcy law office a call today for a free debt evaluation and bankruptcy consultation.

The post Tacoma bankruptcy process appeared first on Portland Bankruptcy Attorney | Northwest Debt Relief.

1 month 6 days ago

How to choose a Tacoma bankruptcy attorney
Filing for bankruptcy in Tacoma is always a difficult decision. A lot of fear and anxiety comes along with deciding to file for bankruptcy. In some cases, bankruptcy is not the right choice. The problem is, how does someone without any experience in bankruptcy no if bankruptcy is the right choice for them? Well, that is what Tacoma bankruptcy attorneys are for. We offer a free debt analysis and consultation prior to filing for bankruptcy in Tacoma. This gives our clients the opportunity to ask questions and get the answers they need to decide if bankruptcy is right for them. So, start by contacting one of our Tacoma bankruptcy attorneys for a free consultation.
Hiring a Tacoma bankruptcy attorney
Let’s face it, you can’t throw a rock without hitting a Tacoma bankruptcy attorney. You have lots of choices but there is a big difference between us and other Tacoma bankruptcy attorneys.
First, we do more than just say we care about you. We really want to see you get back on your feet financially and make a fresh start. We know that you are already struggling with debt, so we have made it easy for you to file bankruptcy in Tacoma. We start out with easy, affordable payments for your attorney’s fees instead of demanding a big onetime payment.
Second, we know that financial stress is no fun delivered with and is no way to live. So, we have one of the most experienced teams of bankruptcy attorneys and professionals in Tacoma. Our Tacoma bankruptcy attorney will guide you through the process of collecting the information necessary to file bankruptcy. After you have retained our bankruptcy team, you can let go of the stress. We will take it all on for you and deal with those hostile collection agencies and debt collectors. We can help you put an end to the foreclosure process, stop repossessions, stop garnishments, and give you peace of mind. We will prepare and file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Tacoma quickly and accurately. We will be there for you from the time that your bankruptcy is filed in Tacoma, to the time you receive a discharge, wiping out your debt and giving you a fresh start.
Third, we don’t just stop after your bankruptcy into, has been discharged. Our promise is that we will do all we can to get you back on your feet financially. That is why every Tacoma bankruptcy we file includes our credit repair service free of charge. With this service, most people can reestablish their credit in less than 18 months. Many people end up with the highest credit score they have ever had upon completion of our credit repair program. This means you won’t spend the next 10 years struggling to obtain credit. If you live in Tacoma, Washington and you are struggling with debt, our debt recovery through bankruptcy system may be the fresh start you’ve been looking for.
Fourth, our debt recovery through the bankruptcy system can help you learn to manage your credit, rebuild your credit, and protect your credit for the rest of your life. You may join what we call the 720 club. 720 is the credit score you need to break into the top tiers of credit. Having a 720 credit score or higher will give you access to the credit you need at a much lower interest rate and more favorable terms. This improves your buying power and reduces the amount of time and money it takes to repay a debt. It means the difference between paying 25% for a credit card or paying 6%. On a home loan, it can save you thousands of dollars over the term of your mortgage. That is why we have included our credit repair service with every bankruptcy filed in Tacoma. We want you to look back in 18 to 24 months from now and be able to say, “I did it!, I have top-tier credit.”
Contact us
If you are struggling with debt in Tacoma, Washington, you owe it to yourself to check out our debt recovery through bankruptcy system and free credit repair service. Isn’t it time for you to stop stressing over debt collectors, foreclosure and repossession? Call us today for a free debt evaluation and bankruptcy consultation.

The post Tacoma Bankruptcy Attorney appeared first on Portland Bankruptcy Attorney | Northwest Debt Relief.

1 month 1 week ago

Life After Bankruptcy
Life After BankruptcyWe know that filing for bankruptcy can be a stressful ordeal. And while you may feel relief after your case closes, the decisions you make in your life after bankruptcy are just as (if not more) important.
To learn more about how to regain control of your finances in life after bankruptcy, contact a skilled bankruptcy attorney at Allmand Law Firm, PLLC today.
Tips to Follow When Rebuilding Your Credit After Bankruptcy
After you file bankruptcy, you still have a few items to check off your to do list. Your main goal should be to clear your financial record and begin anew. You can do that by taking the following steps:
Check Your Credit Reports
You should monitor your credit reports with all three of the major credit report bureaus closely. Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian will all record your bankruptcy activity. This means that your bankruptcy will be reflected on your credit reports; however, your debts should be listed as discharged. Creditors should update the status of your debts within three to six months. Dispute anything that looks inaccurate on your credit report.
Reaffirm Debt You Wish to Continue Paying
You may have kept your home, car, and other property that you wish to continue paying after your bankruptcy. Those creditors will want you to reaffirm, or validate, that debt. This can be done with a formal letter or form that the creditor may mail to you. This will allow you to keep your property in life after bankruptcy.
Avoid Incurring More Debt
In life after bankruptcy, you will be sought out by new creditors and offered new credit cards, loans, and other debt. Avoid that debt unless it will improve your financial situation and you can afford it. You should have worked with a financial advisor who can help you stay on a straight path to avoiding unnecessary debt in life after bankruptcy.
Rebuild Your Credit
Your credit score will likely take a dip when you file bankruptcy; however, you can begin rebuilding it right away. Once you eliminate the majority of your debt, you can work with a budget to establish good credit habits. This may include a secured credit card or a car loan in life after bankruptcy. These can help your overall credit score and improve your situation in life as well.
Pay Your Bills on Time
In life after bankruptcy, you must maintain a responsible relationship with your credit. This includes paying bills on time. A financial advisor can help you build a budget and understand when and how to pay bills. It may seem obvious, but paying bills on time can be a difficult endeavor. You must ensure that you have enough money at the right time each month. Work with a professional to make a better financial life after bankruptcy.
Stick to a Budget Every Month
When you filed for bankruptcy, you were required to take credit counseling courses that helped you learned about bankruptcy and finances. You can also take budgeting courses that will help you learn about monthly expenses and how to use your income wisely. It’s important to stick to a budget in life after bankruptcy so you don’t end up in debt again.
How Long Does the Bankruptcy Process Take?
Life after bankruptcy will begin when your bankruptcy is finalized and the court discharges the remainder of your debt. For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, that may be four to six months, depending on how long it takes you to complete paperwork and have necessary hearings. For a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, that may be three to five years, or whenever your payment plan concludes.
Although the bankruptcy will be on your credit report, you can begin rebuilding your credit right away. You may use some of the strategies mentioned in the list above to make sure you keep a clean financial slate and rebuild your credit.
Contact Us to Learn More About Life After Bankruptcy
If you have questions about filing bankruptcy or how a bankruptcy will impact your life, contact us today. We have worked with countless clients and helped them through life after bankruptcy. Call Allmand Law Firm, PLLC today to find out how we can help you.
The post Life After Bankruptcy: How to Regain Control of Your Finances appeared first on Allmand Law.

1 month 1 week ago

In performing financial autopsies for my bankruptcy clients over the past 25 years I have noticed one common mistake people make. They fail to prioritize their money.
Priorities matter. Successful people have a common trait–they prioritize their day and do he most important tasks first. They write lists. They have WRITTEN goals for their day. They plan their day in advance, and then they go out an kick butt.
But when it comes to money, especially money in marriage, even organized people get messed up about how to set priorities with their money. Why is that?
I think part of the answer lies in those sappy marriage courses we take before our weddings.  You know, the ones that say how a man and women become one and cease to have separate identities. No secrets in marriage. Everything is shared. Mutual submission. Love is generous and we support one another give all that we have to each other. Sound familiar? And somehow out of this marriage class people conclude that in marriage you should have a single joint bank account that is shared and all money earned goes into it and all expenses are paid out of it. No secrets. Complete transparency. Mutual submission. Yeah, what could go wrong with this plan?

When all of your money sits in a single bank account you effectively have no money priorities.

It is moronic for a married couple to handle all of their finances out of a single bank account. This is pretend land. It’s crazytown. When all of your money sits in a single bank account you effectively have no money priorities. Buying pizza has the same priority as paying the mortgage or insurance or saving for emergencies because when money is not divided into separate accounts there is no priority to the spending, and that is just not true.
Some expenses are more important than others.  We all know that. Paying the mortgage or the insurance premium or saving for emergencies is vastly more important than paying for temporary needs, like a slice of pizza. And even if we verbally agree with this statement, if we just nod our head and do nothing more, then nothing has changed. Establishing priorities means taking action. It means dividing money into separate accounts based on their priority level.

The absolute key to money management is to divide money on payday.  Not one day later. Not one minute later. Automatically divide money on payday.  Put that on a tattoo.

The phrase “pay yourself first” is really just saying that you need to set money priorities. And when it comes to setting money priorities, it means dividing money into separate accounts. Here is how you do that.

  • STEP ONE: Write your Top Ten list.  Write down the ten most important monthly expenses. You already know what these are.  Mortgage/Rent. Car Insurance. Utilities. Cell Phones. Netfix (really, I’m fine with this being in the top 10). Child Support. Income Taxes. Daycare. Then, add up the list.  This monthly total must be paid. This is your priority. It must happen.  Leave out food, gasoline, pizza, and other day to day living expenses.
  • STEP TWO: Go back to Step One and add missing items. I bet a lot of you forgot to put Emergency Savings in your top ten list. (And I’ll bet those of you who didn’t ironically have no emergency savings!) And retirement savings? Was that in your top ten list? No? Why not? Do you plan on not retiring or is your plan to become a religious monk with a poverty vow? No? Well put that in the list. It’s important to have money when you retire, and if you are self-employed or are not eligible for a 401(k) plan, then put retirement savings in your list. Christmas? Did you put Christmas and holiday gifts in your list? No? Are you planning on being a Grinch this year? Or was you plan to put that stuff on a credit card, again? Really, it’s time to stop delaying the funding of expenses you know you have to pay.
  • STEP THREE: Align paychecks to monthly expenses.  After correcting your Top Ten list in Step 2 above, add up the new monthly total.  How much is the monthly priority spending total? Now, figure out how much of each paycheck you must set aside in a new bank account so that at the end of the money you have enough to pay this priority total. If possible, have that amount directly deposited from your paycheck into this new account on payday. If you don’t have direct deposit, then manually deposit the money ON PAYDAY.  It is supper important to divide money on payday! This must be automatic. The absolute key to money management is to divide money on payday.  Not one day later. Not one minute later. Automatically divide money on payday.  Put that on a tattoo.
  • STEP FOUR: Utilize your bank’s Bill Pay service.  Now that you have funded a separate bank account to pay the Top Ten list of most important monthly expenses, the next step is to have the bank automatically pay these priority expenses. Most banks and credit unions offer free Bill Pay services.  Learn how to use this system.  If you hate computers then go into the bank and have them set up the automatic payment. This is easy and necessary.  To prioritize money there must be automatic deposits into priority spending accounts and automatic payments from the account.

If you have completed these four steps above, congratulations on achieving priority-based money management. If you set up your system correctly, you are now saving money each month automatically. Your retirement is being funded and when holidays roll around the money is already saved to buy presents.  With each and every payday your emergency savings account should be growing, and it needs to continue growing until you have 3 to 6 months of your living expenses saved in cash. When bad things happen, when the car transmission needs replacement and your son breaks his leg trying to dunk like Kobe Bryant, you will be ready. Your mortgage will be paid of in 15 years instead of 30 since you now pay an extra $100/month on that expense because you decided to make that a priority.
Pay yourself first. Prioritize your needs first, your retirement first, your kid’s college savings first, your second honeymoon first, your family vacation first, your retirement first, and then worry about everyone else second. The money struggle does not go away, but you are no longer following the Thelma & Louise retirement plan. You still have to figure out how to pay back all those credit card and medical debts, and you will find a solution. But what you are no longer doing is sacrificing your future security for the temporary problems of today. You are back on the road of progress because you are paying yourself fist.
To budget money means to divide money. To budget means to prioritize. And to prioritize money means to divide money on payday into multiple bank accounts. Emergency savings account. Christmas/holiday/birthday savings account. Retirement account. Vacation fund. Top 10 monthly expense account. Day-to-Day spending account.
Don’t be afraid to pay yourself first. You are worth it. You work hard for your money. You made a promise to your kids and to yourself. Honor that promise. Pay yourself first.
Image courtesy of Flickr and Bradley Weber.