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Most Americans use credit cards, and many credit card holders have debt they carry over from month to month. While many people are able to effectively manage these balances, there are times this type of debt becomes unmanageable, leaving a South Carolina consumer struggling with minimum payments, accumulating interest and receiving calls from creditors. 

The stress of credit card debt can be significant. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that this debt can actually lead to health problems and other issues. The amount that Americans owe on credit cards is the highest it has even been, amounting to approximately $1 trillion. Of the people who have credit card debt, the majority say that they regret it, expressing regret over how their spending led to stress.

Your spending and your health

Currently, about half of the people who use credit cards carry a balance from one month to the next. Having a revolving and growing credit card balance is more than just a financial inconvenience. It can have an effect on other areas of your life as well, including your health. Consider what other people said about their debt, their happiness and their physical well-being:

  • Two of five people with credit card debt admitted their debt affected their happiness.
  • One-third of people with credit card debt said it took a toll on their standard of living.
  • Approximately one in five people with credit card debt stated their debt had a negative impact on their health.

For many people, credit card debt is about more than just money. It is a source of stress that does not go away. If this debt ends up in collections and creditors begin calling, it can only add to the stress and health problems that a person is experiencing as a result of too much credit card debt.

A reasonable solution for your debt

Many people feel overwhelmed by their personal debt, and you may assume that there is no way out for you. In reality, filing for bankruptcy could provide you with a reasonable and organized way you can confront your debt once and for fall.

If you find yourself overwhelmed by credit card debt and unsure of your options, you may find it beneficial to learn more about the benefits of bankruptcy. This legal process can help you find a better financial future and rid yourself of the debt that is taking a toll on your health.

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Credit card debt can put a damper on anyone's finances. For many people, credit cards are sometimes utilized to purchase necessary items before payday. With continued use, however, consumers may overuse their cards while incurring high interest rates that their credit card companies charge. For many, paying off this debt is a top priority; therefore, South Carolina residents are advised to understand their options when settling credit card debt.

The average credit card debt in U.S. households continues to rise at a steady pace. For many consumers, settling the debt may be the only option, especially when minimum monthly payments become overwhelming. When settling a credit card debt, the consumer and the creditor negotiate the bill balance, ultimately allowing the consumer to pay less than what is owed.

Most credit card companies are willing to settle a debt with the consumer before entering the courtroom. However, some instances require legal action, especially when large amounts are at stake. Obtaining a legal professional who is experienced in debt related cases can help one obtain a fair the debt settlement, and an attorney can also advise a consumer on areas such as burden of proof, an official settlement offer and the settlement documentation.

Overwhelming credit card debt can be frightening for anyone. Understanding the state's statute on credit card debt can help consumers begin a credit card settlement. Negotiating the terms, interest rates, payments or the amount owed on credit card can be challenging, but with the help of an experienced legal counsel, South Carolina residents can begin to reclaim their financial independence.

Source: pocketsense.com, "Can a Credit Card Collection Lawsuit Be Settled Before Trial?", Craig Berman, Accessed on Feb. 13, 2018

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One of the most coveted goals for South Carolina residents is owning a home. This American dream comes with a lot of rewards but also many responsibilities. As the excitement of being a homeowner wears off, the true cost of owning a home can sometimes come as a shock. South Carolina residents are advised to understand the risk associated with home ownership and what to do should their home become subject to foreclosure.

There are many reasons why some homeowners fall behind on their mortgage loan payments. Some of those may include buying a home that was more than they could afford, a second mortgage or an unexpected life event. Whatever the reason may be, the foreclosure process can be extremely lengthy; therefore, it is important for homeowners to understand the process.

Before the foreclosure process begins, a homeowner is usually provided with a grace period after receiving a default notice in order to get current on the loan. During this time period, a borrower can either apply for a loan modification, sell the property to a third party or pre-foreclosure auction, or reinstate the loan by paying any overdue balances. While the thought of losing a home can feel overwhelming, homeowners are encouraged to be proactive during the early stages of foreclosure.

Owning a home is one of the largest investments a person can make but also comes with an intense amount of stress. Should a foreclosure be imminent, homeowners are advised to understand all their legal rights. With the help of an experienced legal counsel, South Carolina residents can not only navigate the process properly, but they may also be able to avoid a foreclosure all together.  

Source: thebalance.com, "Foreclosure 101: How to Protect Yourself", Paula Pant, Accessed on Feb. 2, 2018

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If you stepped into 2018 with serious financial problems, you are definitely not alone. In South Carolina and throughout the nation, many people are currently trying to overcome serious financial obstacles. For some, unexpected job loss or medical crisis quickly turned financial stability to chaos. On the other hand, you might simply be one of many whose spending got out of hand and credit card bills began piling up until your debt outweighed your financial resources. The good news is that most financial problems are temporary.

Much depends on the details of your situation as well as what type of options you access to help you get things back on track. The latter may prove challenging, especially if you haven't a clue as to what types of debt relief options are available in your situation. You'll be glad to know there is guidance support available in your area. Many people use Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcies to resolve their financial problems. The question is, how can you determine which option would help you most?

Differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13

Before you can make an informed decision as to which type of debt relief option is most viable in your particular situation, you'll want to familiarize yourself with both kinds of debt resolution. The following information explains the main differences between the two and why you might choose one over the other:

  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy typically includes a complete liquidation of assets.
  • Both types of bankruptcy list eligibility requirements that you must satisfy before you can apply.
  • Certain debts are not dischargeable under Chapter 7; however, such debts may, in fact, be dischargeable under Chapter 13. These types of debts might include court fees, settlement agreements in finalized civil litigation situations (such as your order to pay compensation for damages in a personal injury claim) and certain types of tax debt.
  • Chapter 13 protects codebtors from liability if lenders receive payments in a restructured plan.
  • If a restructured plan would still leave you unable to pay off your debts, then Chapter 7 may be the better option for you.

Basically, Chapter 7 completely liquidates your assets and satisfies your debt by converting asset value to payments to pay creditors. On the other hand, Chapter 13 allows you to retain ownership of your assets and create a restructured payment plan to pay off your debts. With the latter option, you must show proof of current, steady income.

Tap into support resources

There's no need to go it alone when you're trying to figure out whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy might help you put your financial feet back on solid ground. It's a lot easier to rely on others who have experience with both types of bankruptcy to help you determine the best plan of action.

Many South Carolina residents seek debt relief support by asking experienced bankruptcy attorneys to review their cases.

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Large amounts of debt can overwhelm anyone, especially when backed into a corner. The calls and letters continue to come and future credit is at risk due to negative effects. For Columbia residents considering the benefits of Chapter 13, it is advised that he or she review the different options available to them.

The second, most common type of bankruptcy is Chapter 13. With this form, debts are not eliminated but rather organized into monthly payment plans based on individual finances. The payment plan normally lasts between three to five years and often times ends in a discharge of certain debts, also known as a legal forgiveness of debt. With a longer payoff time, individuals are also able to reduce original payments amounts and maintain financial stability during this unfortunate hardship.

Before filing for a Chapter 13, it is important to understand if you are eligible and which debts are handled. Legal representation can assist individuals who are unsure of their eligibility along with any process once approved. After completing a repayment plan, most individuals are required to show proof that a budget counseling course was completed.

Columbia residents that feel like they are drowning in debt are not alone. Rebuilding an individual's credit may be possible, even after the effects of filing a Chapter 13, with time and patience. With proper legal representation, it is possible for residents to determine what bankruptcy is right for them and also provide advice and assistance throughout the entire legal process. Becoming aware of all your options is the first step in regaining financial freedom.

Source: thebalance.com, "Chapter 13 Bankruptcy for Beginners", Carron Armstrong, Accessed on Jan. 31, 2018

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Reed Law Firm | Columbia Bankruptcy Law .. by On Behalf Of Reed Law Firm, P.a. - 3w ago

The cost of health care is rising at a steady pace and is creating havoc for many South Carolina families. Unlike credit card debt, medical debt is usually accumulated from unforeseen illnesses or accidents. Whatever the case may be, tackling the debt head on may help lessen the burden on families and help them regain control of their finances.

As the cost of health care continues to increase, many families with health plans are forced to pay high deductibles, with many of the upfront costs going unpaid. As the bills come in, it is important to understand the difference between a bill and an explanation of benefits. EOBs not only show what an insurance company may have paid towards the claim, they can also prepare an individual for the medical bills that will soon arrive. Understanding the complexity of a bill may help clear up any mistakes and possibly save a person thousands of dollars.

Paying off medical debt can be a challenge for most people. If someone is unable to pay the balance in full, other options may include payment arrangements, qualifying for Medicaid or putting the bill on a credit card. If these solutions are not feasible, settling the debt may help one get rid of the debt faster.

Filing medical bankruptcy can seem frightening, especially when someone is misguided. South Carolina residents who are seeking this option may benefit from experienced legal counsel to not only provide them with adequate information but to also help them determine any eligibility for discharging medical debt. A fresh start may help build a stronger financial future.

Source: thebalance.com, "Tactics to Deal With Unpaid Medical Debt", LaToya Irby, Accessed on Jan. 23, 2018

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Deep into the first month of the New Year, you may be pausing to see how your resolutions are coming along. Have you joined the gym yet? Is that closet organized? Are you connected with old friends? How about your finances?

For many, the start of a new year is the ideal time to re-evaluate their finances and figure out how to manage their budgets. This often includes reducing spending, increasing savings and getting control of their debt. Some may find this process exhilarating and encouraging, but you may see it as a wakeup call.

Putting a plan into action

By making a commitment to pay down your credit card debt, you join many who make such resolutions. Last year, a survey showed that 64 percent of those who resolved to pay off debt accomplished their goals. Some ways in which they met the challenge include these:

  • Cutting back on spending
  • Earning extra money through gig work
  • Developing a debt repayment plan
  • Establishing an emergency fund

Of course, if you have maxed out your credit cards because of medical expenses, job loss or other factors out of your control, these actions, simple as they sound, may be entirely out of your reach. You may already be living as leanly as possible, and creating a fund for emergencies is difficult to do when every penny is already spoken for.

Solutions to overwhelming debt

If your household is like the average household in South Carolina and across the country, you carry $137, 063 in total debt. Most of that is probably your mortgage, but if it isn't, you may be concerned about where you owe that money. In the typical family, about $15,654 of the total debt is from credit card spending. In fact, Americans owe $1.02 trillion in credit card debt, according to the most recent tally.

Credit card spending has its value. Many use credit cards to raise their credit scores to qualify to purchase homes. You can also reduce the expense of a credit card bill by paying it off quickly instead of accumulating interest, fees and penalties. However, if you are unable to make those quick payments, you pay dearly. Credit card debt is often the costliest debt to carry, and you may be among the many who readily admit it is a problem you are not able to tackle on your own.

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Consumers overwhelmed by insurmountable debt often understand that bankruptcy is the most appropriate option for securing a better financial future, but many are hesitant to take the necessary steps for filing. People in South Carolina often worry that they will lose everything when seeking bankruptcy protections, and fear that they will be in an even worse position afterward. However, it is possible to keep certain exempt property during bankruptcy.

In both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, a person's non-exempt property is usually collected and sold to pay off some of his or her debt. Non-exempt property usually includes assets that are not necessary for current modern standards of living. Collector's items, family heirlooms and second or third vehicles are all non-exempt even if a person uses some of these items on a daily basis.

On the other hand, exempt property is anything considered necessary for modern life. Exempt property will vary from person to person. Someone who works as a professional contractor will usually keep his or her professional tools, whereas someone who engages in woodworking as a hobby may have those same tools labeled as non-exempt. This same distinction applies to musical instruments, which will usually be exempt for professional musicians, and non-exempt for hobbyists. Primary motor vehicles, reasonable household goods, clothing and pensions are also exempt.

Bankruptcy tends to be unfairly portrayed as failure, even though most people who seek bankruptcy protection tried their best to be financially responsible. This stigma combined with the fear of losing everything keeps some in South Carolina from filing for bankruptcy when it is actually their best option to achieve lasting debt relief. During bankruptcy, most people can retain a reasonable amount of property, making it possible for them to continue driving to work and, in some cases, to stay in their current home.

Source: FindLaw, "Exempt vs. Non-exempt Property Under Chapter 7", Location, Accessed on Jan. 14, 2018

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The credit card market is growing, which could be a sign that the economy is more or less recovered from the Great Recession. Unfortunately, experts point out that delinquency rates are also up. Most South Carolina consumers try to use their credit cards as responsibly as possible, but with interest rates, these financial tools can quickly spiral out of control, complicating some people's already unstable financial matters.

Credit card debt has increased over the past two years, but that is not the only part of the market that is growing. The number of credit card accounts and available credit is also up, meaning that there are more people holding more credit cards with higher credit limits. Unfortunately, rates of late or nonpayment -- delinquencies -- are up from the historic lows between 2007 and 2009, although only slightly.

One expert cautioned that this increase in delinquencies is troubling regardless of however small it may be. Delinquencies can be a indicator of financial trouble for some consumers, signaling that they are struggling to stay abreast of their monthly bills and having to make tough choices about which debts to pay. With approximately 110 million new credit cards in 2016 alone, there could be quite a few people walking around with debt they can no longer afford.

While credit cards can be effective financial tools, even minor bumps in the road can throw this type of debt into an out-of-control spiral. When paired with other difficult debts -- such as medical bills, student loans and car notes -- some in South Carolina might feel like they have no way out. While bankruptcy may not be able to discharge all of a person's debt, it can usually help clear away overwhelming credit card debt, paving the way for more financial stability in the future.

Source: NBC News, "Americans have more credit cards - and more debt, says CFPB", Herb Weisbaum, Dec. 28, 2017

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The word "bankruptcy" is scary for many people. Pursuing bankruptcy is often unfairly perceived as an admittance of failure rather than the invaluable process that it can truly be. Those in South Carolina who are drowning in debt can utilize bankruptcy to create a better, more secure financial future for themselves.

Deciding to file for bankruptcy is not always easy. There are costs associated with the filing, and bankruptcy filings show up on credit reports for not insignificant periods of time. Chapter 7 filings remain on credit reports for 10 years, while Chapter 13 bankruptcy only hangs around for seven years. However, these implications often pale when compared with the benefits of bankruptcy.

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a person's debt are effectively wiped out, although there are some exceptions to which debt can be discharged. A person's major assets are usually sold to help pay back some of those debts before they are discharged. In Chapter 13, filers can consolidate and reorganize their debts, which are then repaid through a single plan. This is usually much easier for people to handle when compared with dozens of different payments to various creditors.

Whether it is the slow accumulation of smaller debts or the sudden onslaught of bills from a single, catastrophic event, owing an insurmountable amount of money can be overwhelming. Some in South Carolina forgo essentials -- such as groceries or utilities -- as they attempt to pay off what little they can. For most, bankruptcy provides relief from harassing creditors and monthly bills while paving the way for a more successful financial future.

Source: host.madison.com, "Should I File for Bankruptcy?", Maurie Backman, Dec. 18, 2017

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