How Atlanta Bankruptcy Filings Can Improve Consumer Finances in 2012
A new year always holds the promise of a fresh start. And when times are tough - as they've been for many Atlanta families in recent months - that fresh start is even more enticing than usual.
Last year, Georgia's economy grew by a dismal 1% and suffered an unemployment rate of 9.9% - one of the highest in the nation, reports the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Economic growth is anticipated to rise to 2.3 percentage points next year - a slight improvement, but not enough to help the many residents still out of work, struggling to pay the bills, and fighting off foreclosure.
But while we can't control the financial future of Atlanta in 2012, we can control the future of our own personal finances with a little persistence - and, in some cases, an Atlanta bankruptcy filing.
Reduce credit card reliance
The best way to better your finances in 2012 is to wean yourself off credit dependence, which is the first step to stopping the financial bleeding.
There's a well-documented correlation between bankruptcy filings and credit card standards, according to Atlanta bankruptcy lawyers. When banks hand out credit cards like candy, bankruptcy filings go down. Why? It's because credit provides an easy short-term solution for struggling consumers. The problem is that credit also leaves long-lasting damage.
When you need to buy Christmas presents or pay that phone bill, a credit card buys time - but ultimately you still owe the original amount plus interest. Credit doesn't get to the root of the problem. An Atlanta bankruptcy filing, on the other hand, does. Yes, bankruptcy takes more effort, but it has the ability to eliminate past debts, stop foreclosure, and allow Atlanta families to get back on their feet.
Adjust mortgage terms
As home values continued to dip through 2011, it's been estimated that more than a quarter of all Americans are underwater in their mortgage - in other words, they owe more in payments than the total value of their home.
If you're stuck with a property you can't afford, you may be able to refinance your mortgage with today's low rates thanks to the government's Home Affordable Refinance Program. In some cases, buyers are able to attain a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for less than 4%!
But what if you can't refinance because of a job loss, medical emergency, or other financial burden? A Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing can relieve the pressure of debt, lower your bills, and allow you to avoid foreclosure and keep your house.
Start saving once and for all
Every financial situation is different, but the cold hard truth remains the same - if you want to achieve financial freedom, you're going to have to spend less than you earn.
There are a number of ways to accomplish this. Increasing your income is one solution, though it's not realistic for most Atlanta workers. Lowering your spending is another option. If you can't afford to cut back on purchases and beef up your savings, Atlanta bankruptcy lawyers may be able to help.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often the most realistic way to make a mortgage more affordable, while Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you pay the bills when facing a serious income shortage - whether from a lack of unemployment or insurmountable bills. Why not make 2012 the year you start making ends meet?
If you believe bankruptcy may be an option for you, give the DebtStoppers Bankruptcy Law Firm a call at 800-440-7235 today for a free debt analysis with an Atlanta bankruptcy lawyer. Our skilled attorneys can determine whether a bankruptcy filing is the best choice for you.
More blog entries:
Foreclosures on the Rise But Atlanta Bankruptcy Can Help: December 6, 2011
Selig: Georgia's Economy Better in 2011, by Dave Williams, Atlanta Business Chronicle