[COLUMN] Are you trapped in debt with no way out?

BEING in debt and doing nothing about it can have more serious consequences than you think.

First of all, it can impact your financial future. Uncontrolled debt can deprive you the opportunity to put money aside for emergencies, save money for a home or college for your children, or perhaps for retirement.

Every day I see a lot of people past retirement age who continue work just to be able to pay their debts. Some of them are not in the best of health but are forced to work because they just can’t afford to miss a paycheck. Sadly, a lot of them also have zero savings in the bank so the day they stop working, they don’t even know how they are going to survive financially.

Debt problems tend to get worse over time if you ignore them. For example, you can get sued by creditors, your wages garnished, or your bank account levied. If you own a home, a judgment lien can be filed against your property, making it difficult to sell when the time comes. The judgment against you also earns interest so over time the debt just keeps getting larger. All of the above can happen at the same time while your credit also suffers for many years making it impossible for you to re-establish.

In other words, bad debts can haunt you for many years unless you deal with it now.  The very first step is to know your options. Unfortunately, these days, there is a lot of misinformation out there that people are too scared to do anything for fear that they will make a mistake. Or sometimes, they listen to bad advice given by family or friends who don’t really understand the legal issues involved in their situation.

Listen to me: Your family and friends may care a lot about you, but they are often NOT the best source of advice for your debt problems. They mean well and they want the best for you but if you simply take their advice without consulting with an attorney first, this could keep you stuck in your problems for a very, very long time. Trust me, I know, because I have seen this many times in my practice as a debt relief attorney.

There are situations where bankruptcy can still be avoided by making drastic changes with the way you spend your money. For example, if you’re already in debt, you need to stop borrowing as soon as possible or you’re just digging yourself a bigger financial hole every single month. Don’t use credit cards to pay other credit cards and you need to pay close attention to where every dollar goes. Watch your monthly expenses closely and eliminate those you can live without.

If you cannot afford to pay cash for something that you want at this time, you simply cannot afford it, period.  By cutting your expenses, you may be able to come up with some extra cash that you can use towards debt repayment. If you are like most people and are paying 22-29% in interest on your credit cards per year, paying only the minimums will guarantee that you will be in debt for a very long time so you need to pay more than this in order to make progress in your goal to be debt-free someday. I know this takes a lot of discipline especially when you don’t have a lot of disposable income.

If you are no longer able to help yourself or if you are already behind in your debt payments and creditors are threatening legal action, filing bankruptcy may be your last resort. If you don’t file bankruptcy, things can only get worse and you may find it very difficult or impossible to recover financially. Why suffer if the law allows you a chance to start over and rebuild your finances again? If you know nothing about how bankruptcy works, you should at least speak with an experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney who can explain to you the pros and cons of such solution.

If done right, believe it or not, this can actually be the best thing that you can ever do to change your life for the better. You owe it to yourself and your family to at least explore this possibility if you are out of options. It is often not as bad as you think and may be what you need to eliminate financial stress in you life once and for all.

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NOTE: Due to COVID-19 pandemic, I am offering free consultations BY PHONE to anyone who needs help in dealing with their debt problems.

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None of the information herein is intended to give legal advice for any specific situation.  Atty. Ray Bulaon has successfully helped over 5,000 clients in getting out of debt. For a free attorney evaluation of your situation, please call RJB Law Offices at TOLL FREE  1-866-477-7772.

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