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Category: Debt Management

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Debt Consolidation or Bankruptcy: Which is Better?

Debt is a frustrating beast. No one enjoys debt and losing control of it only adds to the mental (and monetary) stress. The good news is that there are two popular options to help manage overbearing repayments: debt consolidation and bankruptcy. Here’s how to tell which one will best help your situation.

What is Debt Consolidation?

When someone runs into money troubles, it often means they have several loans and bills to repay to different banks and companies, but may not have the money to fully pay them back on time.

Debt consolidation is one option for repaying these creditors. In debt consolidation, all loans and bills are lumped into one single repayment plan instead of several separate repayments.

This makes repayment easier to manage, as well as offering lower monthly payments and lower interest rates.

What is Bankruptcy?

A bankruptcy filing is another way to manage or dismiss bills and loans that are difficult to repay. Most people are offered two types of bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the person filing will have most (if not all) of their debts wiped clean and will not need to repay any of them. When someone files for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the borrower pays back at least parts of his or her debts.

The Differences Between Debt Consolidation and Bankruptcy

Mental Strain

Debt consolidation, though reduces stress by offering one repayment each month, still leaves a constant reminder of your debts until all payments have been made. Bankruptcy can eliminate your worries with a clean slate (Chapter 7) or fewer repayments (Chapter 13).

Credit Score

Debt consolidation won’t affect your credit score, meaning if you have a low score, it will stay low. Bankruptcy, while initially lowering your credit score, can eventually increase it.

Privacy

Debt consolidation is entirely private, so friends, family and coworkers never have to know. Bankruptcy may cause your employer to find out (if your Chapter 13 plan pulls repayments from your paychecks). Bankruptcies are also publicly available, so if someone searches hard enough, they can find out.

Obtaining Credit

Debt consolidation may allow you to keep credit cards, though more purchases using credit only adds to your debt. Bankruptcy can inhibit you from obtaining credit for three to five years.

Creditor Interaction

Debt consolidation doesn’t block creditors and lenders from contacting you, asking for more or faster repayments. Bankruptcy (and an automatic stay) prohibits creditors from contacting you or shutting off utilities and repossessing vehicles.

Collateral

Debt consolidation doesn’t guarantee that lenders can’t take your home or car if you list it as collateral. Bankruptcy will prohibit lenders from collecting your house or vehicle.

Which is best for you?

Though this gives you a quick snapshot of debt consolidation and bankruptcy, to really get an idea of which is best for you, you should sit down with a lawyer and go through the details of your situation. Give us a call today to learn which path you should take.

Contact Our NJ Debt Relief Attorneys

The attorneys at Brenner Spiller & Archer, LLP provide friendly, caring, and affordable legal services. We serve clients throughout central and south Jersey with offices in Collingswood, Mount Holly, Vineland, and Freehold.

Call (856) 963-5000 Today to Get Your Free Consultation

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

6 Alternatives to Foreclosure

Foreclosure is a term that’s plagued with financial and social stigma and it brings to mind struggle, irresponsibility and loss. But though it has this stigma, many don’t realize that foreclosure could really happen to anyone. Anything from an unexpected loss in the family to prolonged unemployment, or even a sudden illness could lead to a financial situation that leaves people struggling to keep their homes.

As if a foreclosure wasn’t bad enough, it can also wreak havoc on a homeowner’s credit score, making for an ugly financial situation. The good news is that there are at least six alternatives to foreclosure:

Talk to Your Lender about Loan Modification

As with most bills, a lot of financial situations could be remedied by simply being honest with your lender. If you have missed payments and trouble paying, talk to your lender about a loan modification. Though you must qualify depending on their standards, a loan modification could mean a lower interest rate, a longer amount of time to pay, and of course lower payments.

Rent Out a Room or the Property

It seems like an obvious action to take, but it’s an alternative that’s often overlooked. If a homeowner is having trouble paying the mortgage, it may be worthwhile to make use of extra space in the home and rent out a room to a tenant. If this isn’t possible, it may be worthwhile to rent out the entire property – this way, most of the mortgage gets covered while the homeowner seeks a more affordable place to live.

Refinance

If you have a good or even passable credit rating and enough equity in the home, refinancing is a good option to at least look into. Refinancing can bring with it a better rate, no matter how slight, and in turn bring more affordable payments.

Forbearance

Also known as a payment plan, forbearance is an arrangement that allows you to work out a temporary payment plan with your lender. It’s also known as a hardship program – in these cases, the payments may be lowered or stopped altogether to allow a homeowner to catch up.

Friendly Foreclosure

A “friendly foreclosure” is just another term for a process called a “deed-in-lieu.” It’s fairly straightforward on paper: rather than allow the bank to foreclose your home, you would return the deed of the home on your own volition.

Short Sale

The most common route taken by those facing foreclosure, a short sale is just that: selling the house for less than what is owed under approved parameters to get out of paying more than the home is worth. The impact to your credit is still there but can be significantly lower than foreclosure and friendly foreclosure.

Our Experienced, Friendly Debt Attorneys Can Help Save Your Home

Your home is your castle. It’s likely the largest investment you’ve ever made and it’s the place where you and your family feel safe. However, when unmanageable debt threatens your home, it’s completely understandable if you feel overwhelmed and frustrated. The mortgage company wants its payments and when a homeowner gets into significant arrears, it can be very difficult to avoid foreclosure.

However, all hope is not lost. At the law firm of Brenner Spiller & Archer, LLP, we care about our clients and have helped countless homeowners in South Jersey remain in their homes through a variety of methods. Contact our Collingswood, NJ office today to speak with an experienced, friendly lawyer who will explain your rights and options, answer all of your questions, and do what’s necessary to save your home.

Contact Us Online or Call 856-963-5000 to Get Your Free Initial Consultation

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5 Debt Relief Options in New Jersey

Have you ever made a big purchase and thought it was a big investment? Maybe you decided to build equity by owning a home, or you saw an advantage to owning a second home. Perhaps you thought owning a car would give you convenience and independence for years down the road.

But then, the bills started to pile up and now you’re overwhelmed with debt. You need to get out of debt but might not know your options. If you’re in New Jersey, the following are five debt relief options.

1) Strip off your second mortgage. If your first mortgage balance is higher than the value of your real estate, you may be able to “strip off” any mortgage that you can classify as wholly unsecured debt. Learn more here.

2) Cramdown your car loan. If you’ve owned your car fewer than two-and-a-half years and its worth is less than the amount you owe, you can reduce the debt to the value of your car.

3) Loan discharge with Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Learn more here.

4) Modify your loans, possibly with a loan extension. This depends on your mortgage company’s voluntary participation in the federal government’s loan modification program. Learn more here.

5) Seek a short sale. Your lender or mortgage company might agree to accept less money than the outstanding mortgage to satisfy a debt. Learn more here.

This article should not be taken as legal advice. If you’re considering bankruptcy or another legal debt relief option, you need to consult an attorney for guidance. If you’re in New Jersey and seeking legal assistance, we can help you.

Brenner Spiller & Archer, LLP is a New Jersey law firm that is dedicated to helping families find relief from the burden of debt and other financial woes. For more than 35 years, our bankruptcy lawyers have provided effective guidance on all debt relief matters to clients throughout Central and South Jersey.

Click here to schedule a free consultation with our trusted bankruptcy attorneys.

How to Get Out of Debt Without Filing for Bankruptcy

3 Ways to Get Out of Debt Without Filing for BankruptcyBankruptcy isn’t right for everyone. That might sound odd coming from a law firm that specializes in bankruptcy cases. We’re here to help anyone who is confident they want to file for bankruptcy, but we’re not going to sugar coat it.

Getting out of debt is hard. There’s no getting around it, you will need to make sacrifices, swallow your pride, and difficult decisions to dig yourself out of the hole. If you’re not comfortable filing for bankruptcy, there are some things you can do to avoid it.

3 Ways to Get Out of Debt Without Filing for Bankruptcy

1) Ask your family for money. This option always makes people cringe. Nobody wants to admit to their loved ones that they need financial help and asking for handouts can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, but sometimes you don’t have a choice. You’re in a bad situation, and family members may be willing to help you out of it.

2) Financial restructuring. This includes working out deals with your debtors and coming up with debt consolidation or settlement plans. It could also include refinancing your mortgage to make it easier to pay back your debtors.

3) Sell your assets. One of the main reasons people fear chapter 7 bankruptcy is because they don’t want to lose their home or possessions. While you may not sell your home, you might have to sell some of your other major possessions (cars, boats, etc.) in order to avoid bankruptcy.

Again, the process of getting out of debt can be painful, but sometimes you have to make difficult choices to help your family. Unfortunately, sometimes even the things mentioned in this article aren’t enough to make things right. Bankruptcy might still end up being your best chance to start over and give yourself a better future.

Considering Bankruptcy? Work With Our Experienced Bankruptcy Attorneys In NJ

This article should not be taken as legal advice. If you’re considering bankruptcy or another legal option, you need to consult an attorney for guidance. If you’re in New Jersey and seeking legal assistance, we can help you.

Brenner Spiller & Archer, LLP is a New Jersey law firm that is dedicated to helping families find relief from the burden of debt and other financial woes. For more than 35 years, our bankruptcy lawyers have provided effective guidance on all debt relief matters to clients throughout Central and South Jersey.

Click Here to Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Trusted Bankruptcy Attorneys

expensive christmas, money being pushed at santa

The Connection Between Stress and Bankruptcy

The holidays are a stressful time.

Not just because you have to see your family members again, but because the holidays can be expensive! 

Those who are already worried about finances may dread the holidays, as they dig themselves deeper into debt during this time. People often find that considerable financial obligations and large debts can result in an incredible amount of stress already. In fact, a lot of people who are struggling underneath a mountain of debt bring about even more stress by doing everything they possibly can to avoid filing for bankruptcy. The reality is that filing for bankruptcy may be the best decision you ever make. It also has the potential to significantly reduce the amount of stress in your life.

Imagine what it will be like to no longer have to worry about being called by creditors and threatened by lawyers looking to collect on behalf of their clients. Picture a day in which you will no longer be worried about your financial struggles being discovered by your friends, co-workers, bosses, or family members. Bankruptcy is often the first step toward rebuilding both your credit and your life.

Debt Problems and Health Struggles

santa piggy bankYou deserve to be happy and healthy. Unfortunately, financial difficulties often lead to mounting levels of debt, stress, and general unhappiness. Beyond that, the mental and emotional stress brought about by financial concerns can also result in poor physical health. Stress and money problems are part of a vicious cycle. The stress that comes with financial difficulties often leads to serious medical conditions. The Mayo Clinic noted that chronic stress can have deleterious effects on a person’s body and mind and place that person at risk of numerous health problems, including heart disease, severe headaches, depression, anxiety, digestive difficulties, sleep problems, obesity, skin conditions, and memory impairment. In the worst cases, too much stress can result in serious illness and even death.

Many times, the best way to break free from this cycle is to file for bankruptcy and get a fresh start. The benefits of declaring bankruptcy go way beyond clearing your debts and resolving your financial problems. In fact, it is remarkable how many people in poor health suddenly find that they are healthier, and happier, after finally filing for bankruptcy. Do not be afraid to take control of your life back from the creditors who harass you on a daily basis. And do not let the stigma of bankruptcy or a picture-perfect holiday stop you from doing what is in your best interests. A knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney can take a look at your finances, devise a plan for getting you out of debt, and handle all the legal issues while you focus your energies on what really matters this holiday season; your health, your happiness, and your loved ones.

 

Talk to A Trusted Bankruptcy Attorney or Debt Lawyer

Stressed with financial problems? Give us a call at 856-963-5000 and we will walk you through every step.

Brenner Spiller & Archer, LLP is a New Jersey law firm that is dedicated to helping families find relief from the burden of debt and other financial woes. For more than 35 years, our bankruptcy lawyers have provided effective guidance on all debt relief matters to clients throughout Central and South Jersey.

Click Here To Schedule A Free Consultation Today!

This article should not be taken as legal advice. If you’re considering bankruptcy or another legal debt relief option, you need to consult an attorney for guidance. If you’re in New Jersey and seeking legal assistance, we can help you.

Request Your Free Consultation


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