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.

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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.

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.

Money Saving Tips

7 tips for saving money.

Saving money does not have to be a chore. It can be fun and you can make a game out of it between friends of who can save the most.

Our favorite way to save money is every time you use your ATM card, get cash back – anywhere from $5.00 to $20.00. Then put this money in a secret spot. It is amazing how much you will have saved in such a short period of time. It will also motivate you to save more!

Below are 7 more tips on how you can save money:

  1. Determine what the difference is between “needs” and “wants”. Many of those “wants” are impulse buys and you really don’t actually have to have them.
  2. Make your meals at home, usually what you make is better for you than what you buy. Also brew your coffee at home instead of stopping by Starbucks every morning.
  3. Set goals for yourself. If you want to have a certain amount of money saved by a certain date, find a way to do it.
  4. Use cash for everything. Once it is gone, it is gone. This will help you avoid impulse buys.
  5. Go to the library to rent movies, it is free.
  6. Stop impulse buying! Walk away and reevaluate how much you want it after 24 hours.
  7. If you see something you want calculate how many hours you would have to work to afford it.

5 Money Saving Tips Anyone Can Use

Looking for ways to cut back your expenses?

money savingsWith prices on just about everything going up, it is pretty common to start searching for ways to cut back costs and stretch your dollar a little further.

Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC would like share some helpful tips to saving money that just about anyone can use:

  1. Call your electric company to see how you can save money. Many offer free energy audits to see where your utility dollars are going. You can then make changes and repairs to various areas of your home to save some electricity. Also unplug EVERYTHING when you are not using it. Even phone chargers, TV’s and computers are using electricity even if they aren’t turned on!
  2. Make your own repairs at home instead of hiring someone. Many stores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot offer free Do It Yourself classes where you can learn how to make minor improvements to your home all by yourself.
  3. Pay down your mortgage or put that extra money in savings. If you make an extra mortgage payment each year you can save thousands of dollars in interest of the course of a 30 year loan. However, if your interest rate is already pretty low (in the 4-5 percent range) you may be better off contributing to a 401(k) plan or paying down your higher interest credit cards.
  4. Ask for your interest rate to be lowered. If you have good payment history with your credit card company, they may agree to lower your interest rate if you just simply ask.
  5. Review your insurance rates. Many times your home and auto insurance rates can be lowered. Ask your current provider to do a review and shop around for other lower insurance rates as well.

How To Set Up A Budget For Your Business

Have you planned your businesses budget yet?

The beginning of the year is the best time to set out your budget. It is important to make sure you review it monthly.

If you haven’t already set up your business’s budget for 2014, it’s not too late!

Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston would like to share our 5 ways to getting started on your business’s budget.

Start With A Spreadsheet – Before you buy a business or open a new business, create a spreadsheet to estimate what percentage of your revenue you will need to allocate toward raw materials and other costs. You should also include any rent, taxes, insurance and other overhead into your spreadsheet.

Allow Some Slack – Whatever you estimate your business will generate in revenue, make sure you have a cushion on that amount. It is important you have more than enough money put away or coming in before you expand your business or take on new employees.

Cut Costs Where You Can – If you come across a tight month financially, you will need to cut costs where you can. Try waiting to make purchases until the next billing cycle or take advantage of payment terms offered by suppliers and creditors.

Review Your Business Regularly – Of course you want to draft a budget yearly, however small businesses should do this more often. Since business can be volatile, planning on a monthly basis will be very beneficial.

Shop Around For The Best Deals – It is always a good idea to get quotes from other suppliers. If you are able to receive the same service and quantity at a lower price, why not switch to a different supplier? Do this on a quarterly or yearly basis.

If you have questions about budgeting for your business, please call our office, Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston, at 951-461-2500.

How To Create A Budget

7 tips to creating a monthly budget for your household.

Are you struggling to pay your bills every month? Don’t continue to get more and more into debt risking the possibility of bankruptcy.

Follow our helpful tips to stay on track with your spending and dig your way out of debt:

  1. Make a list of your expenses. Sort out your expenses into categories starting with big categories first and breaking your budget down into smaller expense categories.
  2. Set up two separate budget lists from your list of expenses. One will be for essentials and the other for extras. Essentials are mortgage or rent, electric bills and groceries. Extras are new furniture, clothing, gifts and eating out.
  3. Examine your list to find budget expenses where you can cut back. Highlight these items so you can identify them later if you need to cut back.
  4. 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. This will help you track how much you actually spend on essentials and extras.
  5. Add up your budget’s list of essentials and extras separately. When you keep the lists separate you can make cuts more easily.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Do you have questions about setting up a budget in order to avoid bankruptcy? Please contact our office, Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston, at 951-461-2500.