My Personal Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Story

I filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy a few months ago. I have been documenting the experience to share with the people who will find themselves in need of this information in the next few years. It's not a topic for casual conversation for most people, and the web is rife with e-books, courses, services and other junk.

I'm not an attorney, and I won't offer any advice, and don't intend this narrative to persuade you to take any particular action or opinion. This is just my experience, and of course my own particular perspective will shade it.

The story begins in 2005, when a business failure coincided with family illness and other non-financial problems. We struggled to cover our bills by selling personal possessions – furniture, TVs, a timeshare, tools, sporting goods and more. Finally, in early 2006, my husband found a job. By then we were more than 6 months behind on our credit card account payments, and struggling to get the mortgage and car payments paid no more than a month late. Relatives were giving us food, and I had become depressed to the point of thinking and talking about suicide.

Depression

The financial situation was complicated and worsened by my depression. I felt unworthy; incapable of making a decision, frustrated by my inability to find work while at the same time conflicted about actually having to give up self-employment and find a job again. And this, my friends, was the problem. Without some element of faith that I could feel better, I was hopeless and self-defeating. Until I found the means to believe in myself again, I was unable to move away from failure.

Happily, I did find a way out of my depression, and the answer was within myself. If you are feeling like I was, there is an answer, inside you, and your mission will be to find the way to connect with it. This article is not intended to help you find that answer. The path is different for everybody, and it may lie in religion, renewing physical activity, meditation, intellectual pursuits, or a combination of some of these, or something else entirely. You'll know it when you find it, and if you listen, it's probably already calling to you.

Exploring Credit Counseling / Credit Management Options

Two weeks prior to my husband's return to work, I started believing that we'd find a solution to our situation. Up to this point I had been screening caller IDs, allowing the answering machine to take all calls from bill collectors. I began talking to some of the bill collectors to see if there was any way I could negotiate my way out of this situation, but it was really serious. I was beginning to get court notices that we were being sued by some of the credit card companies. Just when we had a paycheck to rely on, we faced the possibility of garnishments!

So, I wrote down the toll-free numbers of various credit help organizations I …

What Are The Positive Factors Involved In Personal Bankruptcy Filing

Personal bankruptcy is the process of legally declaring the inability of an individual to pay off his debts. In many cases, bankruptcy might not be the only option available to you for dealing with your financial difficulties. Consulting an experienced attorney can help you gain awareness regarding your rights and available options. However, in case it is the only option available, it is important to maintain a positive approach towards it. Despite all the conventional negativisms associated with the concept of bankruptcy, it is important to know that there are several positive aspects involved in it:

  • In spite of the fact that bankruptcy can impact your credit record severely, it is also true that once the entire process in complete, all your past credit records get cleared, providing you a chance to start afresh.
  • As soon as your personal bankruptcy filing is accepted by the court, and your bankrupt status is confirmed, the creditors are legally bound to stop making direct calls to you. To get an instant relief from the harassment's caused to by the lenders is probably one of the most positive parts of bankruptcy filing.
  • Nothing can stop you from filing for personal bankruptcy more than once if you want to and need to. However, in some forms of bankruptcy, there is a need to maintain a particular period of time between two filings. For example, while chapter 13 bankruptcy can be filed as often as you need, there's a need to maintain a period of eight years between two successive filings for chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • It is not necessarily true that you would lose all your assets if you file for personal bankruptcy. Instead, there are provisions in the bankruptcy laws that enable you to retain certain valuable assets and also get the advantage of easy repayment plans in accordance with your conveniences and requirements.

In case you decide to file for personal bankruptcy, it is important to make a choice between chapter 7 bankruptcy and chapter 13 bankruptcy. Again, a knowledgeable attorney can help immensely in making the right choice with regard to your financial status, conveniences and needs.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is ideal for individuals having non-exempt assets that can be liquidated by the court in order to pay off the debt amount. However, it has been seen that merely 5% of the people opting for chapter 7 bankruptcy possesses any non-exempt assets.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy on the other hand is suitable for people who in spite of their financial crisis are having a fixed annual income. Such individuals can enter an easy repayment plan through negotiation with the lenders, which can also often bring down the debt amount to be paid. Debtors can then pay back the credit amount over a fixed period of time which actually helps them immensely.

An experienced and knowledgeable attorney is your best source to obtain sufficient information on personal bankruptcy, its advantages and flaws, and the right option for you. It is extremely important to know in …

The Myths and Facts about Personal Bankruptcy

Personal bankruptcy is a very undesirable situation. Often caused by sudden changes in your financial situation due to medical emergencies, unemployment, excessive debt or divorce, filing for personal bankruptcy should be considered as a responsible step towards regaining financial freedom. If you are considering filing for personal bankruptcy, here are some of the myths and facts about it.

Myth # 1: You can not file for Personal Bankruptcy.

Contrary to this myth, changes made by the US Congress in 2005 allow any debtor to file for personal bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is also governed by state laws. If you file bankruptcy in Arizona, Arizona bankruptcy lawyers and Phoenix bankruptcy lawyers can help you determine whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 (liquidation of assets) or Chapter 13 (re-organization) bankruptcy.

Myth # 2: Filing for Personal Bankruptcy is embarrassing.

If you do not file for bankruptcy, it will actually be even more embarrassing to be hounded by your creditors. Taking charge of your financial situation and owing up to your responsibilities is actually admirable and should be something to be proud of.

Myth # 3: You will always have a bad credit score.

If you must know, the completion of personal bankruptcy proceedings will clear all previous credit record allowing you to begin with a new and clean slate. Many Phoenix bankruptcy lawyers and Arizona bankruptcy lawyers can guarantee this based on their extensive experience.

Myth # 4: You can only file for personal bankruptcy once in your lifetime.

If you filed for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will need to wait a period of 8 years before you can file for the next Chapter 7 bankruptcy. On the other hand, you can file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy as often as your situation requires.

Myth # 5: Personal bankruptcy means losing everything you have.

On the contrary, bankruptcy is designed to protect a debtor from losing all assets and at the same time find a way for all the debt to be settled. Phoenix bankruptcy lawyers and Arizona bankruptcy lawyers can provide you with the right information so that you will not end up losing any of your precious belongings.

Myth # 6: Filing for personal bankruptcy is hard and impossible.

Anyone can file a personal bankruptcy. You will have no difficulties at all. If you want, you can hire Phoenix bankruptcy lawyers and Arizona bankruptcy lawyers to help you every step of the way.

Personal bankruptcy is a serious but effective solution to your financial problems. Before you file for one, make sure that you have explored all available bankruptcy alternatives.

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Is it Better to Buy or Lease a Car After Bankruptcy?

If you want to get approved at the best possible terms when buying a car, it’s important you know a car lender’s credit guidelines before you apply for credit…especially if you’re bankrupt.

It will save you time and frustration–but more importantly, it will help you avoid credit inquiries that may lower your FICO credit scores up to 12 points per inquiry.

Step 1 in making a lease or buy decision is to determine a lender’s credit guidelines.

You start by asking if they lend to people with a bankruptcy. If so, on what terms?

That’s right. You have to be upfront that you’ve filed bankruptcy. Don’t hide it. We have to face the fact that some dealers just won’t work with people who’ve filed bankruptcy. So our job is to find the ones that do.

Some lenders will only lease to people with a bankruptcy. Others will only offer purchase financing. Yet still others will only lend using a hybrid of the two–this is especially common in Texas.

Ask the finance director at the dealership to direct you as to what structure the manufacturer prefers.

And here’s a quick tip for you: if your bankruptcy doesn’t appear on the credit report your lender pulls–then, in the eyes of the lender, you’re not bankrupt.

The only lenders I would consider using are:

– First choice: Captive lenders (car manufacturers)

– Second choice: Banks (not finance companies)

– Third choice: Credit unions

Ninety-nine percent of the cars I’ve leased over the years have been with captive lenders. Just one was leased by a bank.

That particular deal came from a conversation I had with Amy, the finance manager at the local Land Rover dealership here in Indianapolis. I told her I was open to her financing recommendations, but I preferred financing through the car manufacturer.

I told her my current FICO scores. She immediately said that with my scores she could do better through a local bank. I signed a credit application and told her to go for it.

The next day I signed a lease agreement with that local bank. Being open to her advice literally saved me hundreds of dollars a month on that car.

So be flexible…but be careful. It seems most car dealers call all of their funding sources banks. When in reality some are banks, some are credit unions, and most are sub-prime finance companies.

Here is a list of some of the most commonly used sub-prime auto finance companies:

1. HSBC Automotive

2. Capital One

3. AmeriCredit

4. WFS Financial

You want to pass on the sub-prime finance companies–unless you have exhausted all other options. Sub-prime lenders should be your last resort.

And only use credit unions if they report to all three national credit reporting agencies. How do you find out if a credit union reports to all three credit reporting agencies?

Simple–you ask. Ask the branch manager at the credit union if they report. And after you get the loan, check all three of …