It’s the beginning of 2012 and while it’s a new year, for most people, the financial baggage of 2011 didn’t stay behind in December. Times are tough, finances are tight and after the holiday season, bills may be looming.
Our Louisville bankruptcy lawyers recognize the frustration and pain that many people are going through right now financially. Government programs haven’t done much to help working-class people, jobs are still tough to find, bad mortgages are still hurting families and prices keep climbing for groceries and other everyday needs.
Our lawyers also recognize that filing for Louisville bankruptcy has benefits for those who take advantage of these laws. They are consumer-focused and allow people a fresh start when expenses have gotten out of control and money is tight.
Some believe that bankruptcy is a bad option because it can hurt a person’s credit, but the opposite is true. If a person has missed payments and is behind on various bills, his or her credit score has likely taken a tumble.
Filing for bankruptcy will actually begin to repair what has been broken by the past. The purpose of bankruptcy is to provide assistance to consumers who have fallen into bad times, often because of circumstances beyond their control.
The most obvious in recent years has been the housing collapse, which has affected nearly every American. As foreclosures have increased, housing prices have dwindled. Bad loans that people were trapped into signing years before the housing bubble burst are now coming back to haunt them. As the housing market collapsed, so did the rest of the economy, costing millions of people their jobs. And without a job, money has gotten even tighter.
It’s a cycle that no one has figured out how to fix and many Louisville residents are stuck in the middle. They are trying to get by, but are having difficulty and aren’t sure how long the difficulty will last.
Creating a plan to get out of debt and to try to get out of tough times takes a lot of work. Sometimes, it can be done without the help of bankruptcy, but through other financial and legal avenues, such as a short sale, credit counseling or stopping wage garnishment, there are ways to improve your money situation.
These are a few smaller steps that people can take to try to make some progress in the area of personal finances:
Quit smoking or lose weight — Common New Year’s resolutions, but these could cut down on insurance premiums and save a little money. Obese policyholders and smokers pay between 15 and 22 percent more for insurance than others.
Shop smart — Clipping coupons, not being tempted by buy-one-get-one-free sales and using generic brands can keep some money in the wallet.
Simplify your finances — Set up online accounts so you don’t have to worry about checks, stamps and the mail. Max out your savings and do it automatically so you don’t have to worry about forgetting.
Get smart about money — Don’t be in the dark about money issues, but study up on terms and that will allow you to be more active in financial planning.
Plan for the unexpected — Start an emergency fund — most experts suggest having six month’s worth of funds set aside.
Pay down your debt — Paying off your high-interest debt can save you money in the long run. And try to pay more than the minimum.
Create a basic budget — Don’t make it unrealistic, but attempt to keep it simple. Be transparent and allow it to be fluid.