Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Please do yourself a favor! Avoid Bankruptcy

It crosses many debtors minds when struggling in debt, at one time or another have contemplated the option of going through a bankruptcy proceeding. In this brief writing I am going to give you three very serious reasons why you should keep away from bankruptcy at all costs, if possible. Many people do not understand the deep negative blow a bankruptcy can have.
1. Filing for bankruptcy has an enormously negative effect on your credit rating and becomes a lifetime public record!

A bankruptcy proceeding is one of the worst derogatory remarks that you could have put on your credit report. Thus making any additional credit you try to get extremely hard, and if you do get credit it usually comes with a pretty elevated interest rate. Plus, it will remain on your credit history for between 7-10 years. Even when it gets removed from your credit history it stays a public record for the rest of your existence. So whenever you apply for new loans at any point in the future, if they ask whether you have ever gone through a bankruptcy proceeding by law you must answer yes.

2. Brand New Bankruptcy laws in 2005!

In 2005, Congress approved a law which forces anyone filing for a Chapter 7, which will wipe the table clear of all your debts much more difficult. Basically if you have an income producing job and assets than most assuredly you will go into a review to find out if you should do consumer credit counseling first for at the minimum 6 months. According to NFCC close to 80% of people who apply can't abide by the very regimented rules set from them to complete the program thus throwing them back into the bankruptcy proceeding. That's when Chapter 13 comes into the situation which is a form of personal bankruptcy in which the judge will decide how much you will pay back each collector you list based on your budget.

3. Court Controlled Income with Chapter 13!

Before the new law was approved in 2005 many people that would be able to claim Chapter 7, were now forced to go Chapter 13 in it's place. Chapter 13 requires that you review with the judge and make available all of your finances. You must show all sources of income and assets. The court will go over your expenses compared to your income and then figure out how much money you will have to dish out each month. The court decides this for you, leaving you with no say in this process. If you have liquid assets such as a paid off car they can force you to sell them, within State law, to pay down your debt. There are scheduled reviews each year and if your income increases you must tell this to the judge, this could bump up the amount you pay back. If you have two family cars you could have to sell one to help pay off your debts. They basically tell you what you can do with your income. If you have the higher costing cable you will be forced to cut back to basic cable, if you consume high priced steaks every day you will need to cut back to cheeseburgers. This can be a very hurtful and embarrassing process.

These are all extremely unattractive proceedings that debtors must be made aware of before dealing with a bankruptcy attorney. Many attorneys will not disclose these negative facts of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is available for a reason and for some individuals they have no other debt relief system available to them and must file bankruptcy, however a lot individuals go into bankruptcy when it could have been avoided. A very attractive substitute option to bankruptcy is credit card debt settlement. With debt settlement in many cases you will save way more money than you could have with a Chapter 13, plus you will be out of debt much quicker, and not experience the multitude of negative consequences of a bankruptcy hearing.
Steve Bis is a credit card debt analyst with the US Consumer Advocate, which practices in debt relief.