Tips for Eliminating Debt in 2012 with Help from a Chicago Bankruptcy Filing
For the countless Chicago families struggling with money, 2012 represents the chance for a fresh start.
There's no doubt that the past few years have been a rough ride. Unemployment in the Chicago area hovered around 10%, while incomes of those fortunate enough to have jobs rose less than 1%, the Chicago Tribune reports. Many folks are stuck with underwater mortgages - i.e., they're making monthly payments greater than the current value of their home. Or, worse, they're already caught up in a lengthy and draining foreclosure process.
When money is tight, it can be easy to feel like you're at the mercy of the economy. But the choices you make this year can change the direction of your financial future, say Chicago bankruptcy lawyers.
Reduce your mortgage payment
That's right: you don't have to settle for a mortgage payment worth more than what's fair. We're entering 2012 with interest rates at historic lows. The Home Affordable Refinance Program is making it possible for a small percentage of buyers to refinance their mortgage terms at a more affordable rate, resulting in savings of potentially hundreds of dollars each month.
Unfortunately, Uncle Sam's rescue plan doesn't work for everyone. What about homeowners who lost their jobs, and have no paycheck to make home payments - even more affordable ones? Or what about those of us who have little to no equity left in our home thanks to sinking home values? A Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing has the ability to stop foreclosure - no matter how many payments you've already missed - and to eliminate unsecured debts like medical and credit card bills so that you can start comfortably making payments again.
Be careful of credit
Credit provides a short-term solution when you're short on cash - unfortunately, it comes with long-term consequences. When the economy and our wallets are hurting, credit card companies know we're looking for a quick solution. That's when they jump in with enticing perks, rewards, and money back guarantees.
But while your card might temporarily keep the bills paid, you'll eventually be trapped with thousands in credit card debt - debt that can threaten your home, your job, and your sanity. Too much debt can mean higher interest rates, garnished wages, and harassment from creditors.
Again, this is where Chicago bankruptcy can offer a solution. Unlike your credit card, bankruptcy can lower or obliterate your debt for good. If you qualify for Chapter 13, you'll be able to keep assets like your home and vehicles while protecting your good name.
Plan for the future
When times are tough it's hard enough to live for the day, let alone imagine what you'll be doing 10 or more years down the road. But life goes on and we have to believe that the economy will get better.
The choices you make today will affect your quality of life tomorrow. If you're not setting aside an amount for retirement in a savings account, a 401k, or an IRA, make 2012 the year you start. Everyone deserves a comfortable retirement. We're not talking extravagant, but wouldn't it be nice to enjoy a few hobbies and vacations in addition to food and electricity? If you're not there yet, it's time to start planning. If you're overwhelmed by credit card bills, an underwater mortgage, or other forms of debt, bankruptcy may be a viable option.
Make this the year you explore all your options, from negotiating with lenders to finding relief through a bankruptcy filing in Chicago.
Call the DebtStoppers Bankruptcy Law Firm at 800-440-7235 to speak to a Chicago bankruptcy attorney today about a free debt analysis. Call 800-440-7235.
More blog entries:
Media Offers Advice on How to Get a Credit Card, But Not the Debt That Follows: December 8, 2011
Chicago Bankruptcy Aids in Foreclosure Prevention Unlike Fed Plans: December 2, 2011
12 Financial Tips for 2012, by Bankrate.com