Thompson Law Group, P.C.

Warrendale, Pennsylvania, Bankruptcy Law Blog

Is credit card debt part of your New Year's resolution?

American consumers are carrying an astounding $4 trillion in debt in 2019, more than any other time in history. Whether for things like auto loans or credit card debt, it seems as if consumers in Pennsylvania are more than ready to improve their financial situations. Unfortunately, this is usually easier said than done.

People are already thinking of their 2020 resolutions, and financial goals are the most popular choices for this upcoming New Year's. In fact, 84% of the 3,012 adults who participated in Fidelity Investments' 2020 New Year Financial Resolutions Study said that reducing debt was a better resolution than spending less time on phones and computers. In that same study, 84% said that they would rather save $5,000 than drop 5 pounds.

Chapter 12 bankruptcy helps fishers and farmers in the U.S.

Chapter 12 bankruptcy is relatively new, so it's not surprising that you may not have heard about it previously. This kind of bankruptcy is only available for family fishermen and family farmers.

It's a similar form of bankruptcy to Chapter 13, but it is more flexible with a periodic payment schedule due to the seasonal nature of the two kinds of work. With a Chapter 12 bankruptcy, farmers or fishermen propose repayment plans lasting between three and five years.

Holiday shopping could add to credit card debt

The holiday season puts a lot of pressure on Pennsylvania residents. People are expected to participate in work events, attend parties and exchange gifts with both family members and friends. Even if someone is doing his or her best to cut back on spending and get debt under control, societal pressure can make it much easier to slip back into credit card debt.

Experts believe that online purchases are likely to hit around $144 million this 2019 holiday shopping season, which would break past records. Total holiday shopping is expected to be much higher. Unfortunately, some of the consumers who are making these purchases do not have the cash on hand to do so. Instead, they will rely on credit, including store credit cards. 

Saving the car is possible, even with negative equity

In today's world, owning a car is more of a necessity than a luxury. Motor vehicles are not cheap, though, and few people in Pennsylvania have the ability to purchase them outright. Most people turn to auto loans instead. Unfortunately, the state of the auto loan industry is not great, and piles of debt can threaten a car owner's ability to keep his or her vehicle. For these people, saving the car from repossession is often a priority.

Consumers purchase and trade in vehicles for any number of reasons. For example, a car might no longer be in good working condition or have an expensive upkeep cost. A person might also simply want a new car, which is another common reason for visiting a dealership. Unfortunately, no matter the reason behind a new purchase, it can cause problems if someone has not already paid off his or her loan for the vehicle being traded in.

Consumers struggling with credit card debt, student loans

In general, most people in Pennsylvania are just doing the best they can to manage their finances. Money matters can be complicated though, and it is easier to get into debt than many realize. This is especially true when it comes to things like credit card debt and student loans.

Consumers use credit cards for a lot of different reasons. But no matter how people amass their credit card debts they almost all have something in common -- trouble paying off those balances. Americans owe a collective $868 billion on their credit cards, which is nearly 5% more than in 2018. Credit card delinquencies are also on the rise.

Credit card debt is making us sick

Debt is relatively common, and unfortunately, it is taking a toll on many people in Pennsylvania. From monthly bills to harassing phone calls from creditors, it is difficult to escape the constant worry over money. Often, the focus shifts to deciding what to do about it. According to one wellness expert, all that debt -- including credit card debt -- is making people sick.

Adults in America cite finances as their largest source of stress. Feeling anxious over money might keep some people up at night and could be making many others sick. Deepak Chopra is a wellness expert who says that stressing out over finances can cause an increase in blood pressure. Not only that, but financial stress can also cause migraines, heart disease, digestive problems and more.

Which chapter of bankruptcy protection should I file under?

Bankruptcy is definitely a complex process. The average consumer debtor can wind up very confused when trying to determine which chapter under which to file.

Of course, everyone's circumstances are different, so there is no one-size-fits-all response when figuring out which chapter affords you the most protections under the law. However, with that being said, below are some major differences between filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 versus Chapter 7.

Chapter 13 makes saving the car possible

Your car is much more than just a machine on top of four wheels. Like many other people in Pennsylvania, your car is the way that you access the outside world. Whether you are driving to work, picking up your child from school or transporting groceries back home, you need your vehicle to survive. That's why saving the car in the face of repossession is so important.

When you are behind or struggling with your car payments, losing the vehicle is a very real possibility. However, if you have reached the point where you can no longer make all of your monthly payments, then it may be time to consider Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Not only can this process help you address your other debts, but it can also help you keep your car during a very difficult time. Filing for bankruptcy will prevent a lender from repossessing your car even if you are behind on payments. If the vehicle is already repossessed but has not been sold yet, the lender may even have to give it back.

Are you impacted zombie credit card debt?

Debt collectors are supposed to adequately review all relevant information when pursuing legal action against consumers. This is supposed to prevent collectors from filing lawsuits for debt that is outside the statute of limitations or that has already been paid off. The Financial Protection Bureau should be making things even easier for people in Pennsylvania, but new rules could mean even more attempts at collecting so-called zombie credit card debt.

A zombie debt is one that has already been paid off but a collection agency is trying to collect payment on anyway. Back in May 2019, the CFPB proposed a new debt-collection rule that would make it even easier for collection agencies to pursue those zombie debts. The new rule would allow those agencies to take legal action against consumers without really checking to make sure that a debt is not past the statute of limitations or already paid off.

How to have safe walks with your dog in the fall

Autumn is a season where going outside might start to feel more challenging for dog owners in Pennsylvania. It’s slowly getting colder and you’ll start spending less time in the sun during your evening strolls.

As the season continues to change, you’ll start to encounter different hazards during your walks than you would in the summer. Your pet may no longer have to worry about burning their feet on the concrete, but both of you need to get ready for the cooler nights and potential distracted drivers. Here are some tips that can keep you and your little buddy safe as the leaves start changing colors:

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