5 Best Ways To Get Out Of Your Bankruptcy Rut

If you have made the decision to file for Bankruptcy, you can start making an effort to repair your credit and get back on track.

The financial decisions you make after you file will impact how fast your credit can improve.

  1. Check your credit. Within a few months of your finalization of bankruptcy, check to make sure your credit reports have discharged your debts and closed accounts are properly reported. You can request one free report per year from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).
  2. Start a budget. You need to get your spending on track and under control. Check out our article on setting up a budget. If money is tight you may want to get an extra part time job and use that paycheck to jump start an emergency savings fund for any unexpected financial hardships. Another smart move is an emergency savings fund to help you weather unexpected financial hardship. You can set up Automatic Transfers from your checking account to a savings account. If money is tight, take a part-time job and use that paycheck to jumpstart your emergency savings fund.
  3. Pay bills on time. Bill paying habits make a huge impact on your credit score. Making on time bill payments will improve your credit score over time. Meeting payment dates is a huge step in recovering from bankruptcy.
  4. Acquire new credit but do it wisely. There are different products and services you can take advantage of to rebuild your credit. If you receive a secured credit card make sure they send reports of your payment history to the credit bureaus. Use your credit card wisely in order to build up credit only on items you can afford to show you are in control of your spending.
  5. Apply for a loan. If you want to rebuild your credit score, two years after your bankruptcy you will be eligible for an FHA loan assuming you meet qualification rules. Some lenders can even qualify you for a car loan sooner than that however it will probably be at a high interest rate.

While the formal record of a bankruptcy remains on your credit report for 7 to 10 years, its impact recedes over time. Your bankruptcy is a reflection of the past. The future is completely within your control, and how you handle your finances going forward will tell your creditors whether you in fact are a good “risk” to do business with. By following these steps to recover from bankruptcy, you improve your chances of increasing your credit score over time, and having a better financial future.

Do you have questions about filing for bankruptcy?  Please call us, The Law Offices of Page, Lobo, Costales & Preston, at (951) 461-2500.

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Facing Bankruptcy? Don’t Do It Alone!

Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is one of the best moves you can make if you are filing for bankruptcy.

A bankruptcy lawyer knows the ins and outs of the bankruptcy process, have done plenty of research on the topic, and have dealt with the court system for years.

 

Give Jonathon Preston from the Law Offices of Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston a call.

When looking for a bankruptcy lawyer, it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure you hire an expert – It is important to find a lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy. You should find out what percentage of a lawyer’s practice is comprised of bankruptcy and how many cases he has filed. It is best to avoid a “jack of all trades” type of lawyer.
  • You’ll get what you pay for – Of course you are already tight on money if you are filing for bankruptcy however it is important to keep the saying in mind: “You get what you pay for”. Don’t go with the least expensive lawyer because you may end up having to pay more money in the long run.
  • Make sure you will get detailed attention – Many law firms will run their clients through a bankruptcy mill resulting in lousy legal work, unhappy clients and wary judges and trustees. In order to spot a mill, check with your local bar association for recommendations on attorneys who specialize in bankruptcy. Most mills will not be on top of the networking which is a normal characteristic of a local bar association.
  • Last but not least, make sure you have a comfortable relationship with your lawyer – Picking a lawyer you are comfortable with is most important. If you don’t have a good feel about the attorney, find another one. Filing bankruptcy is an emotional roller coaster and you want to feel right about what your lawyer is doing for you.

Looking for a lawyer? Call The Law Offices of Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston.

The 5 Biggest Risks Of A Sole Proprietorship

Do you own your own business?

There are many different entities you, as a business owner, can choose to have your business fall under.

 

A sole proprietorship is the easiest way to start a business however there are many risks that come with setting up your business as a sole proprietor. Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC would like to share the top 5 risks associated with running your business as a sole proprietor:

  1. You run the risk of being sued personally. If you incorporate your business it provides a layer of protection between you and any losses your company may encounter. If you get sued as a sole proprietor, you can lose all your personal property in addition to your business holdings.
  2. It is more difficult to get a business loan. If you apply for a loan as a sole proprietor, a lender will look at your personal finances. If they are less than stellar it may be difficult to receive a loan to help your business grow.
  3. You are more liable as a sole proprietor. As a business owner you are held directly responsible for any losses, debts or violations coming from the business. If the business must pay any debts, they will be satisfied from the sole proprietor’s own personal funds.
  4. You must pay self-employment tax. Some other tax benefits may not be deductible as well such as health insurance premiums for employees.
  5. There is less stability of the business. If the owner becomes deceased or incapacitated, the business cannot continue. If the owner passes, the business is liquidated and becomes part of the owner’s personal estate to be distributed to its beneficiaries. This can result in heavy taxes to the beneficiaries.

If you are interested in starting up a business or currently own a business as a sole proprietor, it is in your best interest to contact Jonathon Preston at Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your business.

What To Look For In A Bankruptcy Lawyer

Rule Number One: Don’t go into bankruptcy alone!

Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is one of the best moves you can make if you are filing for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy lawyer knows the ins and outs of the bankruptcy process, have done plenty of research on the topic, and have dealt with the court system for years.

 

Give Jonathon Preston from the Law Offices of Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston a call.

When looking for a bankruptcy lawyer, it is important to keep the following in mind:

Make sure you hire an expert – It is important to find a lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy. You should find out what percentage of a lawyer’s practice is comprised of bankruptcy and how many cases he has filed. It is best to avoid a “jack of all trades” type of lawyer.

You’ll get what you pay for – Of course you are already tight on money if you are filing for bankruptcy however it is important to keep the saying in mind: “You get what you pay for”. Don’t go with the least expensive lawyer because you may end up having to pay more money in the long run.

Make sure you will get detailed attention – Many law firms will run their clients through a bankruptcy mill resulting in lousy legal work, unhappy clients and wary judges and trustees. In order to spot a mill, check with your local bar association for recommendations on attorneys who specialize in bankruptcy. Most mills will not be on top of the networking which is a normal characteristic of a local bar association.

Last but not least, make sure you have a comfortable relationship with your lawyer – Picking a lawyer you are comfortable with is most important. If you don’t have a good feel about the attorney, find another one. Filing bankruptcy is an emotional roller coaster and you want to feel right about what your lawyer is doing for you.

Looking for a lawyer? Call The Law Offices of Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston.

How To Stay On Track Of Your Finances

A budget is a perfect way to stay on top of your money.

You can track how much you have coming in and how much is going out with a budget. It is also helpful to be able to see how much you are spending on certain things and if you can cut some unnecessary costs out.

budget tips

Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC would like to share some tips to creating a budget for yourself:

  • Set up your expenses by categories. The first category should be fixed expenses such as mortgage or rent, vehicle payments, credit card payments and household expenses like your electricity and HOA dues.
  • The next category is controllable expenses. This includes eating out, coffee at Starbucks, entertainment, manicures, etc. These are all things that are not mandatory and necessary.
  • Once your categories are lined up, add them up for each month and then for the entire year. When you add them up, you will most likely see spending patterns along with areas you can improve on.
  • Make a good estimate of what you spend by going through your checkbook and any other receipts or records you’ve kept over the past few months. Don’t be unrealistic – Avoid setting unrealistically low spending limits then become discouraged when you don’t meet them. Give yourself a little “wiggle room” just in case. As you get more comfortable with your budget each month you’ll get a better idea of where to set your spending limit.
  • Add up your budget’s list of essentials and extras separately. When you keep the lists separate you can make cuts more easily.
  • Take your total monthly income and subtract your essentials list from that. If you have money left over, subtract your extras list from that amount. If you still have money left over you should look into a savings or investment plan.
  • If you don’t have money left over and subtracting your extras list brings you into the negative, start looking for places to cut back. You can also trim up your extras list to put more money toward your debt repayment as well.
  • When you prepare your new budget, consider adding more money not only into an emergency fund, but saving for retirement, children’s college, or a dream vacation.

Need To Recover From Bankruptcy?

How to recover your credit from bankruptcy.

It is easy to get caught up in debt and before you know it you are struggling to make ends meet while barely making your minimum payments.

 

Sometimes bankruptcy is the right solution for people to pay back their debts. Here are some tips on recovering from bankruptcy:

In most cases, one will get into so much credit card debt that it is impossible to repay the principle and interest in a timely manner and their only solution is to declare bankruptcy.

In order to survive bankruptcy and get back on track, you must admit your mistake and maintain a positive attitude.

Take a look at your financial problems especially your spending habits and lifestyle. Ask yourself what you absolutely need in life and what is more of a luxury. If you have declared bankruptcy, chances are your monthly expenses are higher than your income.

You may have a credit card spending habit that needs to get under control or maybe you have too many loans out on “toys” that you don’t need. Keep in mind once you get back on your feet you must think twice about getting a loan out for that boat or RV that you may not necessarily need.

Look into a debt consolidation company or program to help you make a plan to tackle your debt. Many services and programs will help debtors consolidate and clear their debts in an effective and fast manner.

If you have questions or are considering filing for bankruptcy, please call the experts at our office at 951-461-2500.

When Bankruptcy Is Right For You!

Bankruptcy isn’t a pretty word, but sometimes it’s the right solution.

Bankruptcy can sometimes be the best solution for your financial difficulties and can help you in many ways.

 

However, It is best to know exactly what you are getting in to and know exactly all the ramifications involved with bankruptcy.

We encourage those on the fence about bankruptcy to call our offices. We offer free consultations and would be happy to help you in determining if bankruptcy is right for you.

The following are examples of when bankruptcy may be the right solution for you:

  1. Loss Of A Job – Most people work hard to get a good, high paying job and in a lot of cases, along with a high paying job come higher living expenses. When there is a lay off or even restructuring at a place of employment, that loss of income can force people into bankruptcy.
  2. Medical Bills – Many bankruptcies are a result of high medical bills. Rare or serious diseases or injuries can easily result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills – bills that can quickly wipe out savings and retirement accounts, college education funds and home equity.
  3. Divorce – When someone gets a divorce, an income which was once used to cover one household now must be stretched out to cover two households. Many people file bankruptcy after divorce, in an attempt to clean up the mess that the divorce left in their financial life.
  4. Avoid Draining Retirement Funds – In most cases, retirement accounts are protected in bankruptcy.  When someone is considering draining retirement accounts to pay for debts, they need to consider the consequences and whether a bankruptcy would better serve their long term goals.  Those people who are at or near retirement and need retirement funds to meet their basic living expenses especially need to consider this option.
  5. Back Taxes Are Owed – Not all taxes are able to be discharged however some can be wiped out. Even when tax debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, wiping out other debt can make a payment plan to the IRS or state government possible.