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Salem MA Bankruptcy Law Blog

Interest rate hike to affect loan payments

Massachusetts residents who have certain loans or lines of credit may see an increase in their monthly payments due to the Federal Reserve's recent interest rate hike. According to one certified financial planner, it may wise for individuals with variable-rate debt to increase how often they make payments or try to refinance their debt into loan with fixed rates.

Those with long-term loans will not feel the impact of the Fed's interest rate hike as quickly as others. The central bank intends to eventually reduce its $4.5 trillion balance sheet, so mortgage rates are very likely to increase in the future as assets begin to saturate the market with reduced prices and higher rates. Even though the market for auto loans is presently highly competitive, enabling those who want to buy cars to be able to afford to do so, that may change in the future as well.

Supreme Court rules on debt collection case

Debt collection companies in Massachusetts and around the country are forbidden from using deceptive or abusive tactics to collect money by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The federal law applies to companies that collect unpaid bills on behalf of others, but the debt collection industry has changed greatly since its passage in 1977. Companies today often buy tranches of delinquent debts for pennies on the dollar, and consumer rights groups have called for the provisions of the FDCPA to be applied to these businesses also.

These calls are likely to grow louder following a June 12 Supreme Court decision. The nation's highest court ruled unanimously that the provisions of the FDCPA do not apply to companies that attempt to collect debts they have acquired from others. The ruling, which was authored by President Trump's appointee Neil Gorsuch, upholds a lower court's decision to dismiss a class action lawsuit filed by four consumers in Maryland.

Hounded by creditors? How to tell if it's harassment

Being in debt and feeling hounded by collections agents is enough to put any person on edge. If you are in this situation, you are likely feeling stressed out, frustrated and annoyed that you can't seem to escape the attempts to collect money you do not have.

Under these circumstances, it can be difficult to tell if you are just stuck in a bad spot or if you are the subject of harassment. Below are some examples of prohibited conduct that the federal government defines as harassment, as well as what you can do about it.

What factors help decide if Chapter 13 is the right way to go?

Money problems are not a unique feature of life these days. Many individuals and families in Massachusetts suddenly find themselves in a lurch. All it might take is a serious accident, or unexpected job loss. The need for debt relief can crop up in a flash.

The prospect of going through bankruptcy is one people might rather not consider. However, the negative stereotypes so many associate with the process are just that, stereotypes. And like many labels, they tend to be undeserved. Bankruptcy is the means by which our society allows those in tough financial straits to clear the slate and begin fresh.

How can a consumer deal with debt collectors?

When financial problems hit, Massachusetts residents oftentimes consider what steps they could take to overcome these situations. While budgeting and saving is a helpful mechanism, this isn't always a viable option due to tight funds or unemployment. Thus, some consumers face the downsides of consumer debt, which often includes the constant annoyance from debt collection agencies.

How can a consumer deal with debt collectors? Based on current reports from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, more than one in four consumers feel threatened when a debt collector makes contact. Additionally, a national survey found that consumers felt that they were faced with calls that occurred too often, were at odd hours and even contained warnings of jail time or threats. In some cases, some consumers were contacted for debts that weren't even owed. Finally, when consumers claimed that they asked the debt collector to stop contacting them, the request was ignored.

Benefits of not turning to bankruptcy as your "last resort"

Dealing with debt can be an overwhelming experience. Massachusetts residents often find ways to address debt on their own. However, this is often a complex and difficult step to take. Because reducing spending and saving money is not always possible, individuals struggling with debt problems should gain an accurate picture of their situation and ways to effectively resolve it.

When it comes to debt relief options, many people seek out the mechanisms that help them avoid bankruptcy. While filing for bankruptcy is a major step, it should not be looked at as something to avoid when dealing with financial problems. In fact, it often turns out to be a much better option to initiate the bankruptcy process than putting it as a "last resort."

Helping you understand the benefits of Chapter 7 bankruptcy

When financial problems strike, Massachusetts residents are oftentimes overwhelmed by the situation. When debt starts to add up, it tends to be the only thing an individual can think about. And, then debt collectors start to call, and no matter how hard debtors try they cannot get caught up financially. In these predicaments, it can be helpful to take steps to gain a fresh financial start.

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be the opportunity for debtors to start anew. When debt is no longer controllable, it is often best to take steps to regain control of your finances. At our law firm, we understand the benefits and positive impact the bankruptcy process can provide to Massachusetts residents.

What steps can you take to avoid foreclosure?

For some Massachusetts residents, financial problems can become very concerning and overwhelming. For those who own a home, financial challenges can make it difficult to keep up with mortgage payments. This could result in a homeowner facing foreclosure on top of other financial problems.

What steps can you take to avoid foreclosure? The first step a homeowner should take is to talk to their lender. Many lenders are open to the idea of working with borrowers who are having problems making their payments. A lender could help a borrower obtain forbearance, loan modification, reinstatement, develop a repayment plan or even refinance their mortgage.

Things to keep in mind when you file for personal bankruptcy

When individuals in Massachusetts are facing financial problems, they will likely want to resolve these issues as fast as possible. The problem is that oftentimes there is no quick fix when it comes to problems with debt. There are, however, mechanisms to help debtors enter a path for debt relief. And, when individuals finally decide to file for personal bankruptcy, it is important to keep a few factors in mind along the way.

While bankruptcy is a reliable method to address debt problems, it is not a one size fits all technique. In other words, filers should take the time to understand the different types of bankruptcy and what benefits they have to offer. With regards to personal bankruptcy, there are two types that debtors should consider.

Three ways to tackle credit card debt

Today, it is ideal to live a debt-free life. However, because many Massachusetts residents use credit cards, it is very common to carry a balance of debt. While many individuals rely on credit cards to cover certain expenses, consumer debt can quickly get out of hand. Although credit cards are often the culprit for getting a person into debt, they can also be the tools used to get the consumer out of debt as well.

The average American carries roughly $16,000 of interest-bearing credit card debt, so it is essential that consumers take "big picture" approaches when tackling their debt problems. One way is to switch to using cash. Anytime cash is used and you get change back that is a $5 bill or less, the consumer should stash that away in a piggy bank or some sort of box. The idea is that this will accumulate over a period of time, allowing the consumer to set aside money to pay off some or all credit card debt.