Archive for April, 2017

Pay Off Credit Cards

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

If you are serious about wanting to pay off your credit cards, you need to start with a plan. When you make a plan, be realistic about how much you can pay. If you can only pay the minimum payments for now, that’s okay. But if you can pay a little bit extra, dedicate that amount to the debt with the highest interest. Try to focus on that high interest debt like a laser until you get it wiped out, and then you can move on to the next one.

credit cards

Use Your Peers for Competition (or Support)

Some people are motivated by trying to outpace everyone else. Other people are motivated by encouragement and collaboration. No matter which one you are, your friends can help you stay motivated to get out of debt. If you like to measure your progress against others, it will be easier to talk about money with your friends and family if you make a competition out of it. How? Make a game out of how much you can save this week. Ask for a few overtime hours at work and compete with your friends on how much extra you can throw at your credit cards this month. Then whoever pays down their balance the most this month will win a cool reward, or at least bragging rights.
On the other hand, if you are more motivated by encouragement, then share your goal with your friends and family and ask them to keep checking in and offering their advice and words of wisdom. You can use their support to keep you on track.

Negotiate a Lower Interest Rate

If you want to see more of your hard-earned money going towards the principal balance and not interest payments, then listen up. Take a quick minute to call your credit card company and ask for a lower rate on your account.

This could potentially save you hundreds of dollars on interest payments and knock months off your debt-free date. Be sincere in your request and kindly ask to have them review your account for an interest decrease.

What’s the worst thing that could happen? The credit card issuers could decline your request and you’ll transition to another strategy — no harm done. So why not give it a try?

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site
or call (727) 254-1704.

Home Loan Underwater

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

Timing is everything. Some people just have bad luck. Especially those who bought homes the height of the housing market boom, these problems can be exacerbated by high mortgage payments for a property that is no longer worth as much as what was initially paid for the home.

saving your home

An underwater mortgage, where homeowners owe more than what a home is worth, can be a troubling and frustrating problem, but there may be options available.

Carolyn Secor can help you address the full scope of you financial problems.  If you are currently upside down on your home mortgage, it is important to remember that you may have options for relief, and that our legal team is here to help you explore them! These can include options to mitigate unsecured debt and tax obligations, as well as short sales and deed in lieu of foreclosure.

For those who want to keep their homes despite an underwater mortgage, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be a viable option. Under this Chapter of the U.S. bankruptcy code, debt is restructured and repaid through a plan that typically takes between three to five years. Upon conclusion of the plan, during which you made more manageable payments to creditors, some debts may even be discharged.

In respect to an underwater mortgage, Chapter 13 can allow you to keep your home and is often the route taken by debtors who do not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It can allow you to remain in your home and make payments toward the mortgage rather than simply taking a short sale or allowing the property to be foreclosed by the lender when walking away from the house.

The Advantages of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy can offer multiple advantages. If you have more than one mortgage, it can eliminate or remove other mortgages, including liens on the property. As long as you complete your payment plan under bankruptcy laws, any liens against your property can be removed.

The repayment plan may include the amount you are behind on with your mortgage as well as other debts such as your car payment, medical bills, credit card bills and other obligations. You’ll make a monthly payment toward your debt based on your income and agreement made with the Bankruptcy Trustee.

Debts, or portions of debt, eliminated at the end of a Chapter 13 case can free up the funds you might need to keep your financial obligations and pay your mortgage. In some circumstances, either during the plan or after, you may be able to pursue other means of negotiating with your lender.

Since each situation is different, it is best to discuss your situation, options, and whether Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be viable in dealing with your underwater mortgage with a member of our team.

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site
or call (727) 254-1704.

Identity Theft Insurance

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

According to a story on the local news here in Tampa last night, the expert didn’t think the insurance was worth the money, and recommended that you use a credit monitoring service and monitor your credit yourself.

Soign No

According to Market Watch, March 31st, before buying such protection, experts warn consumers should find out what the particular policy covers, experts say: When you wreck your car or set your house on fire, auto and homeowners insurance cover the repairs. When a fraudster drains your bank account, identity-theft insurance doesn’t replenish it — your bank’s zero-liability policies should take care of that. Nor can some variations of the product, advertised as crediting monitoring and protection services, actually insulate you from a hack.

Experts say consumers searching for protection may find ID-theft insurance falls way short. The insurance, which is commonly tacked onto existing home, auto and travelers policies, costs between $25 and $60 annually, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. That figure increases if you purchase it separately.

Such policies cover expenses people might accrue while repairing their credit record, like the cost of postage, phone calls, lost wages (if you need time off work) and legal bills. But the chances of facing out-of-pockets costs are slim: 80% of the 12.6 million victims in 2012 didn’t incur any, according to a Javelin Strategy & Research survey.

Some policies also connect victims with a case manager to help them clean up the mess. In the vast majority of identity theft cases, though, that process means a simple call to the bank. For 85% of victims in 2012, the identity theft they experienced involved misuse of an existing credit card or bank account. It took more than half of victims a day or less to resolve problems, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

In some ways, buying ID-theft insurance is like hiring a wedding planner. You can pay someone to call florists and caterers, and in this case, contact your bank to cancel a card, or you can do it yourself.

“People shouldn’t be mesmerized by the insurance that may be provided. It’s more important to look at how the service actually works and what it does for you. “Are you looking for somebody, for instance, who’s going to do everything for you if you have a problem, or are you confident that if somebody gives you advice, you’d just be able to do it yourself?”

There are a number of protections people can get for free. For instance, credit experts recommend consumers set up custom alerts with their banks and credit card companies to receive emails or texts for transactions. People should also review their online statements daily and check their credit reports from each of the three bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, once every 12 months. And consumers can put a “security freeze” on their account with the credit bureaus for a small fee (usually less than $10), which can help prevent a fraudster from opening a new line of credit in your name. Or people can sign up for free fraud alerts, which require businesses to take extra steps to verify your identity before opening new accounts or increasing a credit limit.

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site
or call (727) 254-1704.