Happy New Year? Facing Your Financial Future in 2018

BankruptcyAh, the sounds, sights, and scents of the season! Christmas time is the time of year when we over eat, over indulge, and often over spend. We are likely to hear the sounds of bells ringing, Christmas songs playing, and people shouting out “Merry Christmas” to one another but for many, the sounds of the season might also include the constant ringing of the phone by bill collectors harassing you and yours in an effort to squeeze funds from you this holiday season. Maybe a creditor has left a lump of coal in your stocking, a.k.a. served with you a lawsuit! There is no peace on earth with the phone ringing, collection agents leaving unsavory messages on your phone, or you receiving a notice that you are being sued over the holidays.

We sometimes equate a “Happy Holiday” with the purchase of gifts for our family, friends, and loved ones. Often, this can cause more financial stress for families that are already struggling to pay creditors. According to the American Research Group, Inc., American shoppers plan on spending an average of $983.00 for gifts this holiday season. This represents an increase of 6% from last year. The question is, how will these shoppers pay for these gifts? Will they use credit cards and continue to add to mounting debt? Is this a situation you are facing as well?

Ask yourself this important question as you head into the New Year: “Is my financial house in order for 2018?” If the answer is no, maybe it is time to take a serious look at your legal options to resolve your debt issues through a bankruptcy proceeding. Bankruptcy is no longer a four-letter word that will plague you for the rest of your life. It is a controlled, legal process that gathers and forces all your creditors into one proceeding to resolve your outstanding debt.

As we head into the New Year, we all make resolutions to exercise more, eat healthier, and quit smoking. But can one focus on these goals if they are overwhelmed and burdened with a great deal of debt? Financial problems can be overwhelming and take an extreme amount of energy, time, and effort to deal with. Are you ready to focus on your finances so that you can move on with the rest of your year? If yes, then I recommend the following steps to point you in the right direction for 2018:

  1. Gather all your bills together and add them up. Do not stick your head in the sand. Just because you don’t look at them, doesn’t mean they’re not there.
  2. Review your income and expenses. Add all the amounts you pay to creditors and see if you can really afford to continue the monthly payments. If you find yourself short each and every month, consider whether you can really continue to live in that crunch. If you can’t, contact our office to help you with your new financial plan.
  3. Make a new budget for the year. Include all of your debt and how much you will pay on each account. Evaluate how and when you think you can pay off the debt in total. If it’s longer than 3 years, you may want to consider a bankruptcy option.

Bankruptcy is a serious consideration and has serious consequences but for many, it is a life changer and often, a life saver. Let our 25 years of experience help guide you today for a better new year in 2018 and years to come!

Happy Holidays,

Leticia M. Evans, Managing Bankruptcy Attorney Bailey & Galyen

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