Statistics can be deceiving.
While recently-released figures seem to indicate that home prices are actually up, the reality is that we may soon see a glut of foreclosures in Denver, Colorado Springs and across the country.
Our Colorado Springs foreclosure lawyers know that it has a lot to do with people who are underwater on their homes, and yet are hanging on by their fingertips, hoping the market will do an about-face so they won't lose as much money. this means there are fewer homes actually on the market, which is driving down the supply, and therefore increasing the demand. There have even been bidding wars in a few cases.
When we look at the figures across the country, we see an increase of little more than 1 percent on home prices, when compared to a year ago. While this may seem minimal, you have to remember that the value of homes plummeted after the market tanked in 2008. The fact that it's inching up at all is seen as an improvement - until you really analyze what's going on.
Of course, it is good for those homeowners who are looking to sell right now. They're probably still going to take a loss, but it will be blunted by this short-term spike.
However, this is not going to last long-term because we still have a large number of people who are on the brink of foreclosure. They may be making the minimum monthly payments, but just barely.
This is where our Denver foreclosure lawyers come in. First of all, if you're trying to remain in your home, we can look into helping you secure a loan modification, meaning we could fight for your loan amount to be lowered to what would be considered a fair market value.
However, there may be some situations in which it actually makes fiscal sense to default and allow the loan to go into foreclosure. Of course, that's not a decision you should make without the assistance of a skilled attorney, and we can help guide you through the process.
The other thing that is going to eventually work against these homeowners is that you have banks that are scrutinizing their loans more closely than ever, combined with a populace that has a higher track record of poor credit scores. This is ultimately going to drive down that demand.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nearly half of all Americans aren't able to save up as much money as they should, often necessitating debt relief in Southern Colorado and elsewhere in the country.
This is according to a recent poll which found about 45 percent of people have less savings than credit card debt. Southern Colorado debt relief attorneys know that the economy is inching toward improvement, but many people are so deep in debt that they find it nearly impossible to claw their way out.
This most recent survey, from, Bankrate.com analyzed the spending habits of more than 1,000 adults, and looked at how much people have been able to save. What they found is that just 54 percent of U.S. consumers have more savings in case of an emergency than they do credit card debt. If and when an unplanned event or emergency happens, half the people in the country will be in serious financial trouble.
What's more, about 16 percent don't have any savings.
These figures represent about a 2 percent improvement over last year - not much to celebrate.
This kind of financial insecurity is harmful to the economy overall, experts say, because when people aren't able to save, they aren't likely to spend on more than what they need day to day. If they do, they are risking their own financial future, as having money stored away for an emergency can be critical in helping you avoid finding yourself crushed by debt.
Meanwhile, another survey found that Americans are having a hard time saving for retirement. In fact, almost half the country isn't saving enough to allow for a decent standard of living once they are no longer able to work. That survey also found that a third of Americans don't have enough to cover an unexpected doctor's visit or car repair. On average as a country, we're saving less than we used to.
Stephen Brobeck, the executive director of America Saves, said what this all collectively illustrates is that the recession has ended for a large number of families, particularly those in the lower income brackets. Working families are still struggling with a sagging housing market, sky-high unemployment rates and incomes that have stayed stagnant.
An experienced Colorado debt relief attorney can help.
With the economy continuing on a downward spiral, millions of people are battling debt, foreclosure andbankruptcy in Colorado Springs and across the country. For many people, the stress can be overwhelming.
Medical experts have long warned that stress is a major catalyst for a number of serious and potentially life-threatening physical ailments, including weight gain, heart disease, gum disease, gastrointestinal problems and more.
It's a vicious cycle because the more stressed you are, the more your health suffers and the more you end up shelling out on health care - almost twice as much as someone who is carefree, according to researchers with the Health Enhancement Research Organization.
Many of the financial troubles you face can be addressed with help from an experienced Colorado bankruptcy attorney. Tackling your personal financial struggles with someone who has helped thousands of people in similar situations will not only augment the balance on your bank statements, it will also improve your well-being.
In addition to taking this crucial step to free yourself of these financial burdens, there are other steps you can take to alleviate these concerns.
First, seek help from your employer. According to a 2010 study by Buck Consultants, nearly three-quarters of all U.S. employers offer some form of wellness program, which encompass everything from discounted yoga classes to reimbursements for gym memberships. Stepping up your work-out routine will help to clear your mind and give you confidence to keep that same momentum in other aspects of your life.
If your company doesn't offer this type of reimbursement, look on sites like Groupon or search for trial memberships that might give you a few weeks free. Many gyms also want new customers, so they may be willing to cut you a deal directly if you ask.
Secondly, consider talking with a counselor. Many employers offer free or reduced-cost access to counselors on a weekly or monthly basis. Some also offer group sessions, which specifically address techniques to manage stress.
And finally, take some time each day to breathe deeply. A recent study conducted by researchers at Harvard found that meditating each day improves a person's memory and reduces stress. Even a few minutes a day can make a huge difference.
USA Today is reporting that consumers increased their debt in November by more than $20 billion, the largest monthly increase in a decade.
What this shows our Colorado Springs bankruptcy lawyers is not that the economy is in a better position than it has been in years, but more likely that consumers used their credit cards more during the winter holiday season.
For those whose expenses are in tough shape, bankruptcy in Colorado Springs can help them get out from the predatory practices of credit card companies. These businesses consistently send out invitations for consumers to get their plastic, even if it's not in their best interests.
They offer "perks" and "rewards" that are highly unattainable or require consumers to spend big and pay it off quickly. And if a person misses a payment or pays it late, they are instantly slammed with late fees and hidden fees that consumers didn't even know existed. Companies can then try to increase interest rates, just another tactic to try to keep consumers in their grasp as they battle with debt.
USA Today reports that consumers added $20 billion in debt in November, the biggest monthly jump in nearly a decade. Not including mortgage debt, Americans owe $2.48 trillion. Consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 10 percent, while credit card debt increased at an annual rate of 8.5 percent.
The November 2011 increase was the largest since November 2001, when consumers borrowed $28 billion just a few months after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Some analysts believe that this shows consumers are feeling more confident in the economy, which has had modest gains in recent months. Our Colorado Springs bankruptcy lawyers believe it may also have to do with the ongoing unemployment struggles that many Americans are dealing with. The less money they have, the more they rely on credit card loans.
Consumers should be glad to know that filing for bankruptcy in Colorado Springs can wipe out credit card debt, regardless of the amount. This is an important tool to utilize for consumers who are behind on payments and don't see help in sight.
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.
November boost in consumer debt is most in 10 yearsby Michael Winter, USA Today
What may come to mind for many people considering divorce in Colorado is what will happen with the kids, who will get the home and how will I make ends meet after the divorce?
But what they should also consider is whether a Colorado Springs bankruptcy could actually help them during the divorce process. Our Colorado Springs bankruptcy lawyers have been able to help many clients who are going through a difficult divorce and who realize that filing for bankruptcy provides them with financial help at a difficult time.
While people consider how assets will be split, what about debts? Unless it is paid off, the house is likely more of a debt than an asset, plus there are car payments, credit card bills, utilities, memberships and other bills that will stack up.
This falls into the field of expertise for a divorce lawyer. But perhaps consulting with a Colorado Springs bankruptcy lawyer, who has the skills to assess your financial situation, would be a smart move if you are considering or in the middle of a divorce.
Money and divorce go hand and hand. And while there are certainly emotional issues that must be taken into consideration during this difficult and life-changing time, a spouse must also be diligently looking out for their financial prospects after a divorce.
Consider recent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, which reported that Colorado's divorce rate is far higher than the national average and among the highest in the country. In 2009, the average divorce rate for men was 9.2 percent and for women, it was 9.7 percent. In Colorado, the divorce rate for men was 11.6 percent and for women it was 9.4 percent. So, it appears women in Colorado divorce at the national average, but men are far above the national average with widowhood making up the difference.
For couples willing to work together to this end, filing for a joint bankruptcy in Colorado Springs before or during a divorce may be beneficial to both spouses. Often, though, a divorcee may have to make this decision on their own after the divorce is finalized.
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.