The Real Deal: Tips on how to get a handle on out of control finances
Keeping up with expenses gets tougher every day for most of us.
According to recent reports, the number of Americans who have filed for bankruptcy is up nearly 20% from a year ago.
Consumer reporter Janice Lieberman has The Real Deal on how you can get a handle on out of control finances.
Consumers are really struggling today to meet their obligations financially, and so they're starting to use a lot more credit in order to meet their obligations.
Financial expert and debt attorney Leslie Tayne tries to help clients resolve debts and find resolutions before filing for bankruptcy, but sometimes there are no alternatives.
“When consumers get to a place where they can no longer meet their obligations and they're faced with foreclosure, they can't make rent payments, they can't put food on the table. That's the time to really consider bankruptcy. But the reality is the law was created to help people who are really struggling financially to get back on their feet. It's an opportunity for a clean slate and allows people to really be able to have a restart,” says Tayne.
However, Tayne tells her clients to come up with a financial plan first before doing anything.
“It's important to have your finances in order. You need to make sure that you're up to date on your tax returns and your tax filings, because that's going to be an important part of it. And understanding your budget, your income and your assets. Having a conversation with a reputable bankruptcy attorney is important as well so you can understand what your rights are,” says Tyne.
However, before you head to bankruptcy court, you can try to work out a plan with creditors and come up with a payment plan.
“What consumers do need to know about bankruptcy is that it will stay on the credit report for quite some time, for up to ten years. It can affect security clearance in certain jobs, the ability to get certain jobs. It certainly will affect interest rates and it can affect your insurance rates as well,” says Tayne.