Foreclosure numbers in Colorado fell in 2011. But most experts believe this has less to do with the real estate market recovering and more to do with a delay in filings by the country's biggest banks.
Some people believe they can fight back against banks by attempting to show that the bank filing the foreclosure doesn't actually own the note. But our Colorado Springs bankruptcy attorneys believe there is another option that is more beneficial to Colorado Springs homeowners.
That option is filing for bankruptcy in Colorado Springs.
Did you know that filing for bankruptcy immediately stops a foreclosure? Whether your home has just received its first default notice or is slated to be sold at auction, filing for bankruptcy halts the process.
This can buy homeowners valuable time while they attempt to get their finances in order. Through the bankruptcy process, consumers can discharge their outstanding debt, such as from credit cards, medical bills and other loans, which can enable them to again make house payments.
Or, perhaps homeowners are currently in a house that has an underwater mortgage, meaning they are paying more on the loan than the house is worth. Many people are in that position. Filing for bankruptcy may allow the homeowner to get rid of their debt and their house after the foreclosure process has gone through.
The Denver Business Journal recently reported that Colorado saw a 28.6 percent dip in properties with foreclosure filings from 2010 to 2011, but the state still had one of the top 10 highest foreclosure rates nationwide, foreclosure tracking company RealtyTrac.
One out of every 56 houses had a foreclosure notice last year, totaling 38,557 properties. In December, one in every 620 properties went into foreclosure, a 7.29 percent drop from November.
Most analysts believe that foreclosure numbers dropped in 2011 because big banks in 2010 halted their foreclosure practices after investigators found out they were using "robo-signing" tactics and other unlawful means to take away people's homes.
If you are struggling with debt and need to speak with an experienced Southern Colorado bankruptcy lawyer, contact attorney Stephen H. Swift at 719-520-0164 for a free initial consultation.
Colorado bankruptcy attorneys know that with wedding season coming up, many brides have visions of destination vows, mile-high wedding cakes and princess gowns.
But all of that can quickly lead to a Colorado Springs bankruptcy, if you're not careful. Of course, parents want to give their children a memorable and special occasion. They reason that it's a once-in-a-lifetime event.
While there may be certain aspects upon which you can certainly splurge, it's important not to get yourself into a pattern of debt for a one-day event, no matter how special. Consider that according to TheKnot.com, the average wedding cake costs a whopping $550. For a cake.
So the key is to spend smartly.
Here are some ideas for ways to keep your wedding costs down:
One trick to try is to have the first layer of your cake be a yummy sheet cake. But for aesthetic purposes, consider using a cardboard "fake cake," or a decorated foam set that sits atop one layer of the real stuff. That way, you cut the bottom layer for pictures, then wheel it in the back for the bottom layer to be cut and served. No one is any wiser and you just saved several hundred dollars. Or, consider serving cupcakes instead.
Consider hosting this event at a relative's home and serving cheese and meat trays and salads from a local deli or supermarket. This could save you bundles.
Of course, it would be rude not to feed your wedding guests at all. But the time of day will determine what kind of food you should feed them. And if you have an earlier wedding (say, morning or early afternoon), you can opt for breakfast or lunch food, which can be a whole lot less expensive than a dinner. Think waffles, French toast and omelets versus salmon and braised beef.
You can curb your costs here by serving wine, beer and perhaps a "signature" drink, which can be less costly than stocking up on various kinds of high-end liquor. You may even want to consider skipping the champagne toast, or substituting sparkling cider instead.
Colorado Springs bankruptcy attorneys know that in order to avoid being burdened by debt in old age, retirement savings are crucial.
However, life has a way of throwing in a few surprises, and in those cases, a Colorado Springs bankruptcy can give you the freedom to enjoy your golden years free from the stress and worry of cumbersome debt.
A lot of financial analysts say that it's wise to try to save for your retirement as if you would live to be 100 years-old. Of course, we know that as of right now, the average life expectancy is quite a few years less than that. So why bother saving that much?
Because the truth of the matter is, life is unpredictable. You already know this if you are considering filing for a Colorado Springs bankruptcy.
A story is told by a Stanford management science professor in which a statistician drowned in a river that had an average depth of just three feet. Of course, while the stream was very shallow close to the shore, it was 12 feet deep toward the middle.
The whole concept is that if you use the average life span to figure out how much money you're going to need to save for retirement, you may ultimately find yourself drowning in debt in your old age.
So what we know is that for the average 65-year-old man, assuming he's healthy, he'll live for probably another two decades. For a woman of the same age and situation, it's about another 22 years. What's important to note, however, is that a lot of people live longer than that nowadays.
In fact, a 65-year-old woman has a 40 percent chance of living until she's 90-years-old.
So if you're 65 years-old and you have about $500,000 saved up - enough to last for the next two years - there's about a 10 percent chance that you may use up all your money by the time you're 85. And then what will you do?
Of course, there's no one-size-fits-all amount to save. But if you're in a situation where you may be in middle age and be so burdened by debts that you've been unable to put anything aside, it may be time to consider a Colorado Springs bankruptcy.
Discussing your situation with an experienced attorney can help you explore your options.
As our nation's economy continues to struggle to recover, it's obvious that bankruptcy in Colorado is helping people with debt relief as the numbers continue to rise for people who are unemployed, struggling with credit card debt or those hit hard with major medical bills.
Our Colorado Springs bankruptcy lawyers recognize that there is some misinformation out there about bankruptcy and that many people look down upon these consumer based laws. But we would point out that bankruptcy in Colorado Springs allows consumers to get a fresh start to their financial situation by eliminating debts.
Many people are struggling to get by without a job right now. In many cases, they are relying upon credit cards as a way to pay bills, while their income level drops. Late or missed payments can lead to hidden fees and higher interest rates, which keep consumers mired in debt.
But filing for bankruptcy is designed to benefit consumers who are in a bad position with their finances. These laws were designed with good people in mind. They were written so that consumers can get rid of debt and create a plan to move forward.
And more and more people are using bankruptcy laws as our country deals with the effects of the Great Recession.
In the third quarter of 2011, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute, more than 7,600 people in Colorado filed for bankruptcy protection. That was down slightly from the second quarter, when 8,714 people filed. But the number is on par with the spike in filings going back to the second quarter of 2009. Since then, more than 7,000 people have filed for bankruptcy protection in Colorado each quarter.
This shows that more and more people are considering bankruptcy in Colorado Springs and nationwide at a time when they want to put an end to the debt in their lives. This is a better solution than adding credit cards and hoping that the government turns its struggles around. Take matters into your own hands and use bankruptcy laws to your advantage in getting out of debt today.
If you are struggling with debt and need to speak with an experienced Colorado Springs bankruptcy lawyer, contact attorney Stephen H. Swift at 719-520-0164 for a free initial consultation.
College students, especially those at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, have it difficult these days because they are thrust into debt with job prospects looking bleak.
The cost of higher education in this country has continued to rise, even as more and more students are seeking education after high school than decades earlier. And because of the recession, there are fewer jobs available for students while they're in school and after they graduate.
But filing for bankruptcy in Colorado Springs may be an option worth exploring for some students. While bankruptcy laws currently don't allow for student loans to be discharged during bankruptcy proceedings -- though some lawmakers are trying to change that -- it can allow students the financial freedom to pay off those loans. Our Colorado Springs bankruptcy lawyersrecognize that bankruptcy is a big step and one that shouldn't be taken lightly, but there are some advantages.
For one, let's look at the recent program put into place by the Obama administration that allows students to make income-based payments and if income changes, they can modify the loans. After two decades, the balance of the loan can be forgiven.
As a recent USA Today article points out, this program doesn't do anything for students who have private loans, only those who have federal-backed loans. And experts say that private lenders aren't nearly as forgiving as federal lenders. Sources quoted in the article state that they are rarely able to get a loan modification or any type of help for people who are struggling with debt.
This is where bankruptcy may be a strong option. While it may be difficult to get the actual student loan debt discharged through bankruptcy, all other unsecured loan debt likely can be wiped clean. This would then allow the student, or recent graduate, to cancel making payments on other loans, which frees them up to continue making payments on their college loans.
In some rare cases, a Colorado Springs bankruptcy lawyer may be able to find a way for those student loans to be discharged, but it depends on special circumstances. Either way, this can be an option to consider, especially if finding a job proves difficult and debt stacks up.
If you are struggling with debt and need to speak with an experienced Colorado Springs bankruptcy lawyer, contact attorney Stephen H. Swift at 866-893-2440 or 719-359-8179 for a free initial consultation.
After a divorce, you become more susceptible to increasing debt, and subsequently a Colorado bankruptcy. To be sure, bankruptcy can be a blessing in disguise, as it allows you to free yourself of debts you may have accrued during your marriage, and those that piled up following your divorce.
In some cases, you could be doing everything right, and still end up in sticky financial straits. However, there are often steps you can take to minimize the impact of a divorce and the struggles of single-parenthood.
With Mother's Day fast-approaching, here are some tips for single mothers in particular:
1. Watch what you earn versus what you spend. Sometimes, single mothers avoid looking at their finances critically because they are afraid of what they will find. However, this will only lead to bigger problems down the line. Stop to take an honest look and figure out what the necessities are, versus the luxuries. If there's nothing left over for savings, some of those luxuries may have to be cut for now.
2. Get good life insurance coverage. A recent survey by the research firm LIMRA found that nearly 40 percent of single mothers said that in the event of their death, their families would be in major financial trouble. A large number said it's likely they'd only have enough to keep them afloat for a few months. Even if you have a policy through your employer, it may not be enough. It's worth it to check out rates from multiple insurers.
3. Prepare for the possibility of disability. This is particularly important for women, who may face some medical health risks that their male counterparts don't - namely, uterine cancer and pregnancy. Mounting medical bills are one of the main reasons people find themselves mired in debt.
4. If you don't have health insurance, get it. See above.
5. Make sure you have some money set aside for emergencies. Sometimes, this is going to mean some painful decisions. Things like cutting the cable or the premium cell phone plan. However, it's critical to ensuring stability and security of you and your children.
Our Colorado Springs bankruptcy attorneysknow that one of the main culprits for out-of-control debt is the overgrown mountains of student loans.
Colorado Springs bankruptcies are on the rise as students are graduating with enormous loans and little opportunity for jobs that will help them pay it off. It begins a vicious cycle of debt.
So how can you help a new college graduate, hoping to avoid drowning as they wade into this murky economy? MSN Money touched on this issue recently, with an article detailing five do's and don'ts to helping out new graduates.
The first thing that new college graduates really need is health insurance. Hopefully, they are lucky enough to land a job that can provide this for them. However, oftentimes, even if they land a new gig, it may not be accompanied by full benefits. As of right now, parents are allowed to keep their children on their own health insurance plans until they reach the age of 26. This is important because if an unexpected medical issue arises, a graduate could quickly find themselves buried in debt.
Secondly, help them get a head start on retirement savings. Roth IRAs may be a good way to go, depending on how much you can afford to help. Having this available is going to mean a more secure future - and you'll know they'll be taken care of, even if you're not around.
Thirdly, make sure they are staying up-to-date with their student loans. They have to start paying within six months. If not, the penalties start piling up fast.
The two things you really want to avoid are co-signing for a car loan or co-signing for an unsecured credit card. With a car loan, if he or she misses a payment, you are automatically on the hook for it. What's more, that will dent your own credit. And with regard to an unsecured credit card, if he or she fails to pay up, again, you could be hounded by creditors, nagging you to pay up.
At the end of the day, you want to make sure that your new college graduate has the best start possible as they embark on his or her new career - but you shouldn't put yourself at risk of snowballing debt in the process.
In this second-half of a two-part series on dealing with personal debt, Colorado Springs debt-relief lawyers examine the federal guidelines for what constitutes debt collection "harassment" and offer tips for Colorado consumers dealing with seemingly unrelenting creditor calls.
According to the, a debt collector may not "harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt". Among other things, this means in an effort to collect a debt, a creditor may not:
~ threaten violence,
~ use profane or obscene language,
~ publish the names of consumers who have unpaid debts (except to a credit reporting agency),
~ use false, deceptive, or misleading information in an attempt to collect a debt, or
~ threaten action that is either not legally permitted or not intended to be pursued.
As reported by Investopedia, abusive debt collectors capitalize on consumer fear and ignorance, banking on the notion that the average debt holder doesn't realize they have considerable rights when it comes to how debts can be collected. With that in mind, the Federal Trade Commission arms consumers with one tool that can stop the constant calling -- the certified letter.
According to the FTC, if a consumer has communicated by phone with a debt collector and now wishes to cease contact, sending a 'cease-and-desist' letter – via certified mail, return receipt requested – is the first step to stopping contact.
Upon receipt, the FTC reports that a debt collector can only continue contact for two reasons:
~ to advise a consumer there will be no further contact, and,
~ to advise a consumer of creditor plans to take legal action.
While a consumer can still be sued for the balance of a debt, this step should at least stop contact.
For many families seeking Colorado debt relief, stopping harassing creditor calls is the first step on a path back to personal financial security. If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed by creditor calls, speaking with an experienced Colorado bankruptcy attorney can help you achieve debt relief.
For a free consultation, call (719) 520-0614.
Some people make the mistake of swearing off credit cards in the wake of a Colorado bankruptcy.
This is not only unnecessary, Colorado bankruptcy attorneys know it's probably going to hurt you in the long-run because you need to rebuild your credit in order to earn consideration of future loans on a vehicle, mortgage and other items.
The key is to be wise about and protecting your score and your money. A Colorado bankruptcy allows you a fresh start, and a skilled attorney can help guide you through the process. It's you, however, who will have to call the shots and make wise decisions because the truth of the matter is, even with the Credit CARD Act (Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act), there are still a number of ways that credit card companies and banks can take advantage of you.
A few things to consider as you start on the path of rebuilding your finances:
1. Don't put more on the card than what you can pay off in a short period of time. This will not only help you to slowly boost your score, it's going to give you more leverage with the company if you're unhappy about a rate increase or an annual fee.
2. Keep an eye on your credit score and your credit history. Make sure things are up-to-date and you aren't a victim of any sort of fraud. Even a small, typographical error can bring down your score dramatically. It's a good idea to review it about three times a year.
3. Know what kind of protections your card offers - and what it doesn't. Sometimes, cards will offer extended warranties if your purchase is stolen or accidentally damaged. Of course, the card companies aren't going to highlight this to you, so you'll have to look through the disclosure statements to see.
4. Go over your credit card statement for errors. Billing errors are common, and fraud can happen to anyone.
5. Protect yourself from online identity fraud by making sure you are entering sensitive information into the company's secure database and don't give away your card number - or any other personal information - without being confident in the site.
Colorado Springs Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers know that anyone who has ever struggled with debt wants to ensure their children don't endure the same.
While some debts are inevitable, establishing good spending and saving habits early on can save them a great deal of heartache later on.
This is critical especially considering that a recent survey indicated that 12th graders were failing on basic, personal-finance literacy tests. (And only half of adults were able to get the right answers on basic questions about inflation and interest rates.)
A number of federal and state initiatives in the last year have focused on addressing these issues in high schools. For example, President Barack Obama's Advisory Council on Financial Capability has launched a campaign aimed at young people, with nearly two dozen money lessons important for children.
Here are some of those key points:
Contact us today for more information.