Written by Canterbury Law Group

Debt’s Emotional and Mental Toll

Debt – it is a word that can quickly cause anxiety for many Americans. Credit card debt continues to rise, reaching up to $420 billion in 2018. The average household has almost $7,000 in balances carried over to the next month. Credit card debt comes with high-interest rates, which makes it even harder to pay off.

Debt plays a serious role in the a person’s emotional and mental well being. The more debt an individual accumulates, the more likely they’ll deal with stress and anxiety of having to pay it off. Too much debt can take over your life.

If debt becomes too overwhelming, bankruptcy tends to be the last option. There is bankruptcy help in Scottsdale, but that might add a whole new level of stress and anxiety. So, if you’re going through debt right now, consider how it is affecting you emotionally and mentally.

Anxiety and Depression

A study done by Dr. John Gathergood of the University of Nottingham found that those in debt were twice as likely to undergo mental health problems, anxiety and depression included. If this becomes an issue, feelings of worry and hopelessness could arise, making the situation that much more difficult to get a grasp on.

Embarrassment

Admitting that you’re in debt can be embarrassing for some, especially if they’re in so much debt that bankruptcy is a realistic option. In society, money tends to be linked to our success. If you have it, you must be successful in life. If you don’t have it, then you’re not as successful.

With this mentality, many struggling with debt will hide it and act like they are okay financially. The issue is that this could lead to even more debt. They may say yes to expenses that they shouldn’t be in their situation. Plus, they could be avoiding the much-needed help friends and family could offer.

Frustration and Anger

Debt is frustrating. For some, it can be so frustrating that it makes them angry, especially if the debt is out of their control. Anger may arise if the debt was a result of losing a job, an unexpected expense, identity theft, or a serious illness or accident. Frustration tends to come when the debt is from previous years that you wish you wouldn’t have done. Either way though, this mentality won’t help your situation.  You may need to seriously consider your bankruptcy options.

Fear

When you live in debt, fear tends to be a common emotion that many feel. It’s the fear of wondering if you’ll be able to make your payments, pay for your mortgage or rent, put food on the table, ensure there is hot water and electricity in your home, or falling into bankruptcy.

Debt brings up many worries and the deeper in you go, the more the fear becomes apparent. Other fears can arise like the fear of wondering what you’ll do next, how you’ll get out of it, what people will think of you, and if you’ll be able to survive your debt.

If you’re struggling with debt, it’s essential that you watch how it is affecting your emotional and mental well being. The stress of debt can quickly take over your life. However, if you can avoid that from happening, you’ll be able to tackle your debt with a clear mind.  Bankruptcy can often clear the decks of almost all debt and give you a fresh start in life, and with your life’s well being.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Your 2019 Financial Resolutions to Get On Top of Your Debts

Making New Year’s resolutions can be challenging. Where do you start and what should it be about? Some popular resolutions revolve around finances – make more money, pay off the credit card, get out of debt, and another similar turn the corner ideas.

If you are struggling financially and worried about filing for bankruptcy, consider making a New Year’s resolution to help you take control of your debt.

Although when in doubt, there is your top bankruptcy attorney in Scottsdale, the lawyers do not always intend to file for bankruptcy for every client. Consider making some of the following financial resolutions to help you get on top of your debt.

Learn More About Finances

Make a New Year’s resolution to improve your financial literacy. The more you understand finances and how money, budgeting, investing, and debt work, the better off you can become.

The internet has tons of blogs that seek to help you take control of your finances. Browse through some that offer information to teach you about finances, rather than provide band-aid solutions to a single problem.

Start a Budget

If you are struggling with debt, you have likely heard the word budget from time to time. That is because a budget is one of the best ways to give you a snapshot of your actual financial situation. A budget shows you how much money you bring in each month and where you are spending it all each month.

To start a budget, write down your total monthly income after taxes. Then, begin to create expense categories. First, write out your fixed expenses (rent or mortgage, insurances, utility bills, and anything else that stays the same or similar each month), then move to your variable expenses (the ones that change month to month like entertainment or dining out). Be specific and honest with your categories.  Keep track of the spending on your phone or on a small notebook in your car.  Every dollar.

Increase Your Monthly Income

Another good resolution to help with debt is to aim at increasing your monthly income. It could be as little as $100 a month or up to $1,000. No matter what the number is though, make sure it’s realistic for you.

There are many side gigs you can do on top of your full-time job. You can get into some freelance work, teach students on the side (for example, guitar or piano lessons), or if you have a hobby in which you create things, you could start selling them.  You can drive for Uber or Lyft a few nights a week, for example.

Set Up a Savings or Emergency Account

Even though if you are in debt and you want to retire it quickly; it’s important that you have an emergency fund. That money is not there for whenever you want it. It’s there for when you absolutely need it.

Ask yourself if you could afford a $500 unexpected expense right now. Would you be okay, or would it push you even farther into debt? Either way, it’s in your best interest to start setting aside small amounts of money each month into an emergency account.

Target a Certain Debt

If you have multiple debts, one of your resolutions could be to target a particular debt. Instead of making the minimum payments on each debt every month, bump up the amount you pay for one debt that has the highest interest rate.

Take the debt with the highest interest rate and make that your primary target first. With the other debt, keep up with the minimum payments. Once you pay off the debt with the largest interest rate, that money can go towards the next debt, and so on. It will turn into a snowball effect until you have everything paid off.  It might take years to get there, but at least you will be on the path to paying everything off and avoiding bankruptcy.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

4 Steps to Get Your Business on Track After Filing for Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a dreaded word by not just business owners, but families as well. It is not something that people want to go through, but it is the reality for many. With a business, sometimes you can put in all the hard work in the world but still end up filing for bankruptcy.

When starting a business, 30% will fail during the first two years. That number increases to 50% in the first five years, and 66% in the first 10 years. Only 25% will actually make it to at least 15 years.

With these stark statistics, there’s a likely chance that a new business may end up filing for bankruptcy. If that is the case, can your business survive, and if it does, can you get it back on track?

Getting the top bankruptcy attorneys in Scottsdale is one step to take. After that, consider some of the following points to help you get your business back on track.

Determine Which Type of Bankruptcy You’re Filing For

Depending on which bankruptcy you end up choosing to file, whether it be Chapter 7, Chapter 13, or Chapter 11, the case will significantly impact the outcome for your business.

For Chapter 7, your entire business is liquidated and sold off. You would then have to start over from scratch. In contrast, Chapter 13 bankruptcy will affect your company, but you will still have the debt to deal with. With Chapter 11 though, your business will continue to operate daily as your case pushes through the bankruptcy process and a reorganization plan is approved.

Understand What Went Wrong

One of the most important things to focus on after going through the bankruptcy process is to determine what went wrong. One of failure’s benefits is that it’s an opportunity to learn and grow. Take a look at your prior business plan and make essential notes of which parts went wrong that caused you to go into bankruptcy.

Build Your Credit Back Up

One of the hardest things about bankruptcy is that your credit score takes a significant hit. That number is essential if you need to file for a loan to start your business back up again.

Work towards building your credit back up. Start by paying all of your bills and credit cards on time. The more diligent you are about any remaining debt and paying it off, the more favorable outcome it will have on your credit score.

Find Another Source of Revenue

If your business can continue while you are going through bankruptcy, find additional ways to bring in more money. The reason you went into bankruptcy is that you lacked money. So, if you can find other ways to increase your monthly revenue, you’ll have more money to put towards your debt and to keep your business running.

Don’t look at bankruptcy as the end of an era. Instead, consider it as a second act— the new chance to get your company back up and running smoothly once more. It will take a lot of hard work and dedication, but a business can survive and thrive after filing for bankruptcy.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Dealing With the Emotions of Bankruptcy

For many, accepting the fact that their finances are beyond their control and that bankruptcy is the only option is challenging. The thing is, though, bankruptcy should not be looked at as the end of the world.

Filing for bankruptcy is a way of admitting that you need help with your finances, and are willing to put in the work to regain control. However, the word bankruptcy still has a negative connotation to it. With that can come the stress on your mental and emotional well-being.

When going through bankruptcy, it is important that you remain as strong as you can. That is why we have the following six tips to help you deal with your emotions while going through bankruptcy.

Realize You Are Not the Only One

Filing for bankruptcy can be a blow to the ego. Your debt got out of hand to the point that there was nothing more you could do to control it. It can negatively affect your mental well being. The last thing you need, though, is for you to be hard on yourself which will only make you suffer even more.

Understand that you are not alone. Many people go through a bankruptcy claim, and many of them come out better after it’s all said and done. Look at a bankruptcy claim as a step you’ve taken to regain control of your finances, and not that you’ve given up. The truth is, you haven’t given up by taking this path because it’s only the first step of many that you’ll be taking to get out of debt.

Speak With Your Attorney

Your bankruptcy attorney is there to answer all of your questions and to guide you through the bankruptcy processes. By going with the top bankruptcy attorney in Scottsdale, they know how difficult a bankruptcy claim can be on someone’s mental well being. A good attorney will be compassionate and understanding, all while not allowing you to give up mentally and emotionally.

Lean on Family and Friends

Even if you want to keep your bankruptcy claim very private, it is still beneficial to have someone you trust to lean on. A close friend or family member will be able to listen to your problems and give you a shoulder to cry on. Take advantage of this as to avoid bottling everything inside.

Educate Yourself on Finances

After filing for bankruptcy, it’s a good idea to start reading up on what you can about finances and recovering from bankruptcy. Financial education will help you through your bankruptcy journey, as well as prevent you from ending up where you were before all of this. 

Seek Counseling

If you find that bankruptcy has taken an extreme toll on your mental health, seeking out counseling services is a good idea. These trained professionals can listen to your problems, and give you advice and coping mechanisms that will help you make it through bankruptcy.

Volunteer

For some, keeping their mind busy will help clear their head and stop thinking about bankruptcy for a moment. Going out and volunteering is an excellent way to do this. Volunteering is a way to lift your spirits by doing something good for someone else.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Moving Forward After Filing for Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy is not something families want to do. Unfortunately, though, it is something many American’s have to do.

Filing for bankruptcy is not the end of the world. In reality, it is actually the opposite for many people. It can be looked at as a fresh start with finances, and a way to plan your path to financial freedom. However, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. After filing for bankruptcy, it takes a lot of time and dedication to continue moving forward. Bankruptcy is not a quick fix and is a decision that must be taken seriously.

For some, when the possibility of bankruptcy is an option, the question of how to move forward afterward will come up. With our bankruptcy help in Scottsdale, and along with some of the following tips, we will help you move on with your life after claiming bankruptcy.

Keep Paying Any Reaffirmed Debts

Some debts can survive bankruptcy, which means you will still have to pay them down. There are loans which are entitled to the value of the collateral. This means you will still be required to make the payments agreed upon in the original loan documents.

It would help if you didn’t look at these reaffirmed debts at as something negative. As long as you continue to make your payments on time, the reaffirmed debts can help you rebuild your future credit score.

Use a Secured Credit Card

Continuing with life without a credit card can be challenging. Many companies require a credit card before making a reservation, renting something, or even trying to purchase an item.

Using a credit card is what also helps build and improve your credit rating. A good credit score will allow you to apply for loans and mortgages, whereas a negative credit score is likely to get you denied. However, if you have a poor credit score or went through the bankruptcy process, it could be difficult to obtain one.

A secured credit card is something you should consider using after going through bankruptcy. These credit cards a basically pre-paid cards. You must deposit money into the card account before making any purchases with the card. The money is used as collateral; therefore you can only spend up to what you deposited. You can, though, deposit more to increase your credit, or even be rewarded an increased credit line from the bank.

Avoid Building Debt

One of the best things to do after applying for bankruptcy is avoiding what got you there in the first place. Try not to accumulate any new debt. Keep paying all of your bills on time. Create a budget to help you keep your spending in check, as to not spend more than what you’re earning. The more you can do to keep your cash flow higher than your expenses, the better chance you have of avoiding any more debt.

Don’t let bankruptcy be the end of your finances and your life. Although it will require work on your part, you should think of it as a fresh start to help you get your finances under control. By committing to it, you’ll be able to repair your credit score, pay off all of your loans, and work your way towards financial freedom.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Removing the Bankruptcy Stigmas

When you’re talking about bankruptcy, it can be a scary conversation. Unfortunately, there is still a negative stigma around filing for bankruptcy, even if it the best solution for those considering this solution.

The bankruptcy stigma comes in a variety of themes. You may be worried about how your friends and family will react when they hear you talk about bankruptcy. It can also be challenging to get a credit card, or even get one at all, which can give you an unsettling feeling.

If the stigma is what is holding you back from claiming bankruptcy and you know it is the best decision for you, disregard these issues. Remember that thousands of people have gone through the same thing and they come out on top after it all.  As mom and dad said, “this too, shall end.”

Social Bankruptcy Stigmas

One of the hardest stigmas to overcome with bankruptcy is the concern of what people will think of you. Chances are there are people you know that have gone through the same situation you are in right now. Although bankruptcy cases are a “public” courthouse matter, typically people do not go out searching to see who filed for bankruptcy. Plus, you can keep it as private as you want.  Don’t ask, don’t tell—virtually nobody will even know you went through this cleansing and liberating process.

Emotional Stigma

If you find yourself feeling guilty for filing for bankruptcy, again, it is more than okay. The federal government offers bankruptcy for a reason—people deserve a second chance.  Big time.  Lots of the time, people who claim bankruptcy had no other choice and did everything they could. Many factors are outside of your control contribute, including the local and national economy. So, if you have guilt for not paying your bills as you should be, that doesn’t make you any less responsible.  You have done your best, you will do your best again.

Financial Stigma

The social and emotional stigma with bankruptcy is something that you can and will keep private, or seek counseling to help you through. Unfortunately, the financial stigma around bankruptcy is one that need not be inevitable. When you claim bankruptcy, your credit score goes down for only a short time—it will skyrocket later. It will be initially more difficult to get credit for things like a home or car loan. The good news, though, is that you can work your way back to a high credit score and remove the stigma altogether.  Most post-discharge consumers find themselves normalized on credit and their lives within a few years.

It’s the Best Option

In the end, it’s important to remember the benefits of claiming bankruptcy in your situation over the stigmas around it. Bankruptcy came to be as a safety net for those who need help getting back to a level of life they can survive in.

If you are thinking about bankruptcy, speak with the top bankruptcy attorney in Scottsdale to help you through the process.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Five Must-Know Money-Saving and Success Tips

As you know, people rarely find success by accident. It’s important to set yourself up for financial gains by adhering to some of the best advice out there. Let’s take a look at five indispensable money-saving and success tips for your personal benefit.

Be Passionate

For most individuals, finding exactly what they love and monetizing it is one of life’s biggest challenges. Those tips are exactly what tycoon Warren Buffet says drove him to success in investing and finding great deals. Ultimately, being successful in almost anything means having a passion for it. If you see someone with even fair intelligence and a burning passion for what they do, they will almost undoubtedly find success.

Write Everything Down

Some of the most successful people make lists of all kinds. These can vary from lists of people to call, ideas, and/or companies to set up. Furthermore, you can create lists of topics to blog about, tweets to send, and even about upcoming plans. It’s important to write down every single idea you have, no matter how big or small, and then to challenge yourself to follow through. In doing so, you’ll be able to set financial priorities and reach your goals.

It’s Not All Luck

It’s easy to chalk up your success to being in the right place at the right time, but at the end of the day, no legitimate achievement can come without hard work. At times, success can be a lousy teacher; it seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose. Don’t ever stop hustling or learning. As logic tells us, past success doesn’t ensure future success. Even the smartest and most talented people can lose.

Be Disciplined

The first step to getting rich requires a tremendous amount of discipline. Bankruptcy lawyers in Scottsdale note that if you really want to be rich, you need to find that discipline. If you’re looking to make money, you always need cash available. You aren’t saving for retirement. You are saving for the moment you need cash. Buy and hold is a relic. Ultimately, the first step to becoming rich is being a smart shopper and following through on that.

Find Online Resources

It is wise to check for discounts before you make a purchase. Websites like couponcabin.com and apps like Pic2Shop can help save you a lot of money. Furthermore, don’t forget to always check sites that give you cash back for your purchases, like ebates.com.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Reasons for Bankruptcy and How to Avoid Them

When it comes to bankruptcy, there is both good news and bad news. In 2017, bankruptcy filings fell by 3%. Good news, right?

Having said that, there were still over 770,000 bankruptcy filings. This is something upon which we must improve.

In doing so, it’s important to examine the fundamental reasons why people end up in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy lawyers in Scottsdale have assembled the following five reasons in addition to how to avoid ending up in this dismal situation.

#1 – Job Loss

Although we are currently in a period of low unemployment, it was recently very high not too long ago. If you don’t plan correctly and fail to have a financial safe hold in place with sufficient funds, you can easily end up in bankruptcy. Things you’d have to consider in an emergency fund include food, rent, transportation, insurance, child-related expenses, and various asset expenses. Furthermore, you always want to prepare for medical expenses just to be safe.

In terms of your job, focus on being a productive employee with an amicable attitude. In addition, it’s always good to make yourself more marketable over time with additional certifications and skills.

#2 – Decreasing Income

Simply put, with less money and cash flow, the greater the chances are that you’ll end up bankrupt. While you may not be completely unemployed, a change in roles or a reduction in hours can really make it hard to stay afloat.

While this may be hard to avoid, you should prepare for this in the same way that you’d prepare for losing your job. Another option might be to pursue side gigs to augment your income.

#3 – Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt can really be a slippery slope, and if you let it get out of control, you’ll be in trouble quicker than you think. While it may be tempting to simply make the minimum monthly payments, you’ll actually just be dragging things out and losing money in interest over time.

There is a simple solution here – only purchase what you can afford and pay off your credit card every month.

#4 – Medical Expenses

It’s no surprise that one of the leading causes of bankruptcy is, in fact, medical expenses. We understand that medical treatment generally is not optional and also is quite expensive.

To avoid getting into debt because of medical expenses, focus on living a healthy life through clean eating, exercising regularly, and going for annual physician screenings.

#5 – Divorce

Divorce is one of the last major causes of bankruptcy. Outside of legal fees, which can be tremendously expensive, financial assets are not always allocated equally. If and when they are, you must consider the idea of living alone versus living with a spouse. A financial system that supported two people may not successfully support one person.

It’s important to work hard to keep your marriage healthy and strong. This can be achieved through active communication, romantic gestures, and honesty.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Rebuilding Credit After Bankruptcy

Your life doesn’t end when you file for bankruptcy. There are many positives to this, such as having unsecured credit card debt discharged. There are also some negatives, mainly a major blow to your credit score. It’s not impossible to improve a bad credit score once your bankruptcy lawsuit is final.

Here is the good news.  Once your bankruptcy case concludes, you should take a hard look at the current state of your finances. Even if the court discharged some debt, you may have to still repay secured loans under a new payment plan. There may be tax issues to discuss with your bankruptcy lawyer in Scottsdale. More importantly, you should focus on your current credit score. Here are several tips for bringing it back up to what it once was:

Don’t Make the Mistake of Avoiding Credit Cards

Once you have undergone one bankruptcy, it’s easy to think that you will never use another credit card again. But this is usually noted feasible. You will likely need a credit card to improve your credit score. Not having a credit card is similar to having bad credit. A credit score reflects your reliability as a borrower. You can earn it back by proving that you are a responsible borrower to the bank. Therefore, you should keep your credit card or open a new account. However, do make payments on time. Once you keep making payments over time, your credit score would naturally improve.

Focus on Your Credit Utilization Ratio

Credit utilization ratio (CUR) is sometimes called the balance-to-limit ratio. It refers to how much credit you use as opposed to how much is left unused at the end of the month. This little number plays a major role in how fast and effectively your credit score improves. If you have a high utilization rate, this would negatively affect your credit score. If you have a $1,000 limit on your credit card, and if you use all $1,000 to buy things each month, then your CUR would be extremely high, reflected in a bad credit score. Ideally, you should keep your CRU in the 50 to 60 percent range. For the aforementioned credit card, if you were to spend only $500 or $600 a month, you would have a roughly balanced ratio that would work to your advantage.

Pay Off Majority of Credit Card Balances Each Month

Pay at least 75 percent of credit card balances each month. Ideally, you should repay it all back. Maintain your CUR with payments on time. Keep in mind to never max out the credit limit.

Use a Secured Credit Card

A secured credit card is similar to a regular credit card, but there’s a cash collateral required to obtain one. You will receive one of these after making a security deposit. These cards are designed to help those with bad credit gain positive credit scores. Unlike with regular credit cards, banks typically make payment information about secured credit cards available to credit agencies without delay. Therefore, you can rebuild your credit faster with a secured credit card.

It’s also advisable not to borrow money, such as for a loan, until your credit score is at an ideal level. And don’t rush to increase your credit score either, as it can bac-kfire. Develop an actionable strategy that works best for you to gradually improve your credit score after bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy is a bridge to your new future.  Let Canterbury Law Group take you there and create your future!

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Managing Money and Avoiding New Debt During the Holiday Season

The holiday season generates months of heavier spending. While it can be reasonable to buy gifts for friends and relatives who visit on Christmas or Thanksgiving, the pressure can be high to spend a lot and buy really nice gifts. This year, American gift-givers will spend an average of $660 on gifts, according to CBS News. Although this number doesn’t seem terribly high, debt among holiday gift givers is on the rise, according to NerdWallet research.

Why Holiday Debt Can Become a Problem

Holiday spenders say that they only plan on spending roughly the same amount as they did the previous year. However, over 50 percent overspend or spend randomly without any sort of budget. Even holiday budgeters end up overspending because people don’t really limit spending during the holiday season. When there are so many “holiday discounts” being offered by retailers, it can be really hard to stop spending because you feel like you are saving money.

What all this spending leads towards is more debt, especially at the start of the New Year. In 2016, a large number of holiday spenders took on debt to finance purchases. The older generations are highly likely to borrow for gifts. Even about 40 percent of millennials borrowed cash to buy gifts during the previous holiday season. All these people then incur debt the following year.

For example, in 2016, about 24 percent of millennials who used credit cards to make purchases had yet to pay off the debt in 2017. Most people take longer than a month to fully pay off credit card debt acquired during holiday seasons.  Every month with a carried credit card balance causes interest, which adds to the debt, and the cycle continues.

Could Holiday Spending Lead to Bankruptcy?

If holiday spenders take on too much debt, especially credit card debt, it could snowball during the following year, leading to possibilities like bankruptcy. Now, a bankruptcy attorney in Scottsdale will advise that not all those in debt are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which eliminates most unsecured debt like credit card debt. If credit card debt takes more than four to six months to pay off, the situation could end up becoming problematic.

Holiday spending on credit can pose serious risks to younger buyers in particular. Millennials are still building up credit, which means holiday spending could lead to more ill-advised purchases in the future which then creates a cycle of debt.

Avoiding the Holiday Spending Debt Trap

There are several recommended ways to control holiday spending so consumers do not end up severely overburdened. The first step is making a realistic budget that spenders can reasonably stick to. It’s recommended to keep gift purchases at about 30 percent of the monthly income. However, spenders can give themselves a break and increase the threshold just a bit, but only so as the limit is still at comfortable levels.

Then, avoiding impulsive purchases is the next step. Don’t fall prey to the holiday season advertising. Shop with a list and buy only items you need. Compare prices online to make sure you are not overspending. If it’s a good idea today, it’s a good idea tomorrow.  Don’t rush your spending.

And lastly, pay off credit card debt the following January without holding it off for longer, which will increase the interest fees on the existing debt.  Take your medicine, pay off the card, and tighten the belt in the first quarter each year, if you choose to spend during the holidays.

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