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Santa Rosa Bankruptcy Blog

Knowing when a debt collector goes too far

If you woke up this morning with a tension headache or a knot in your stomach because of your financial situation, it is probably not the first time. In fact, you know things have gotten bad if you start your day by planning how to avoid your creditors. Knowing that at a certain time of day the phone calls will start certainly doesn't make it easy to greet the day with any positivity.

While it may seem like those debt collectors are calling constantly, it is likely that they are acting within the limits of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, which permits and prohibits certain behaviors of creditors trying to get you to pay what they say you owe. It is important that you have a good understanding of those limits because some unscrupulous collectors may rely on the fact that not many borrowers know their rights.

One of these options may help you keep your home

Whether you got behind on your mortgage loan payments over time or due to a catastrophic event such as a job loss or medical emergency, your lender is knocking on your door for payment. In fact, your lender may already be threatening to foreclose on your home.

When you borrowed the money to buy your home, you gave your lender your home as collateral. Now, as you experience financial difficulties, your lender may consider taking that collateral to satisfy the loan. Fortunately, most lenders have no desire to own your home. Instead, they would prefer for you to keep paying. This means that it may be possible to keep your home.

Debtors' prisons no longer exist but bankruptcy remains an option

You've probably read a novel or two set in the 1800s (perhaps Dickens?) where one or more characters were tossed into debtors' prisons for being unable to satisfy their debts. Such fiction stories are typically full of tragic circumstances, such as families living in cold, dark and damp dwellings while their breadwinner husbands and fathers spend months or years behind bars simply because they couldn't earn enough income to make ends meet. Thankfully, such tales of old are far from today's reality although certain aspects may remain.

Economic crisis is nothing new and is still quite prevalent in all 50 states. In fact, you've likely faced more than one financial challenge in your life. The problem is that some financial struggles have a way of getting out of hand, and though you likely won't be locked up for your inability to pay your debts, you may indeed find yourself in urgent need of viable debt relief options.

A quick fix may not be best route for addressing debt

You may have always considered yourself someone who took proactive approaches when it came to handling your finances. You may have saved, budgeted and taken other actions that would help keep you on track with expenses. However, unexpected situations can hit anyone, and you may now find yourself with considerable debt due to medical expenses, job loss or any number of other significant life changes.

As with most California residents, you may have a desire to get out from under your debt as quickly and painlessly as possible. As a result, you may consider various ways in which to accomplish this task. Though different options do exist, you may want to think about the potential future implications before jumping in with a seemingly quick fix.

Wait on that decision to consolidate

Debt consolidation seems like a pretty great thing when you are struggling to meet your financial obligations. Who wouldn't want to combine everything into one low monthly payment? Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, but is it? California residents who are considering this option should probably wait on their decision to consolidate until they learn more about it.

What exactly is debt consolidation? What are the benefits? What are the drawbacks? Is there a better way to address debt problems?

Can they really take my stuff?: How repossession works

Financial troubles can lead to various complications, including leaving a person unable to meet his or her financial obligations. When bills go unpaid, creditors start calling, notices of foreclosure start arriving in the mail and threats of repossession may begin. The thought of losing personal property is not only overwhelming, it is embarrassing and a threat to your way of life.

Repossession often happens when a person is so far behind on payments that creditors take steps to confiscate the financed object. Often, this is a vehicle, but that is not always the case. While it may seem surreal that a company could simply take your property, it can be useful to know how repossession works and what you can do to make it stop.

Getting free from the credit card trap

Do you remember the first time a credit card company accepted your application? Maybe you were fresh out of high school or had just landed your first full-time job. It may have been exhilarating to go shopping with that new plastic in your wallet, like a kid in a candy store. Maybe you are a little embarrassed at the things you bought then, but the credit card gave you a sense of freedom.

These days, that's probably the farthest thing from the truth. In fact, you may feel that the credit trap has sucked you in, and you aren't sure how you will ever escape. Even if you make those monthly minimum payments faithfully, you still may feel like you aren't getting anywhere.

Was your paycheck less than you expected due to a garnishment?

Like many others here in California, you may struggle with your finances. You feel as though no matter how hard you work or how many corners of your budget you cut, you just can't get ahead. Then you get your paycheck and realize that it's not what you expected.

That's when you remember that one of your creditors told your employer to garnish your wages. Your creditor received a judgment against you for the debt you owed, but you never expected it to take the money out of your pay. Now you wonder what to do since you have even fewer dollars to stretch until the next pay period.

Can filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy save your business?

The cost of owning and operating your own business is high, and sometimes it can be extremely difficult to meet the financial demands that come along with it. You, like many other California business owners, may find yourself in a position in which you can no longer make payments related to your daily operation and business-related debts. 

Fortunately, carrying a significant amount of debt does not necessarily mean that you must close your business and liquidate all your assets. By filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, you may be able to reorganize your debts and reclaim a strong financial future for your business.

Are payday loans a good form of debt relief?

Many California residents are struggling financially. Are you one of them? There is nothing easy about battling to make ends meet, but living from paycheck to paycheck is a reality for numerous individuals. When money runs out, the need for help and debt relief options is understandable. However, some of the options out there do more harm than good.

Payday loans have been a popular form of financial assistance for quite some time now, but why? Do they really help people, or do they cause more economic distress?

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