Archives for April 2017

Ways that You Can Minimize the Likelihood of Bankruptcy

The bankruptcy laws were established for a good reason—to give folks a new start after encountering unforeseen or unmanageable financial challenges. There are some things that you can do to minimize the risk that you’ll need to file for bankruptcy protection.

Make Certain You Have Health Insurance

In many instances, the principal reason a person files for bankruptcy protection is to discharge medical bills. Because those types of debts are unsecured, they can be permanently discharged in a Chapter 7 proceeding, but most of the anxiety, stress and headache that come with past due medical bills could be avoided if you carried a policy of health insurance. At least as the law stands now, you don’t have to be employed anywhere to obtain health insurance—it’s available through the Affordable Health Care Act. And when you are trying to determine how to allocate a limited amount of money to your needs, health insurance should be a priority. Though many providers will write off some percentage of the costs, if necessary, you may still wind up with medical bills that could take years to pay.

Don’t Borrow Out of Desperation

Often, when you are experiencing financial challenges, the first plan is to borrow you way out of difficulty. That almost never works! Unless you encountered problems because you were temporarily unemployed and you have secured a new and well-paying job, chances are you won’t be able to afford to make loan payments on top of your current obligations. And because you’ll likely have less than optimal credit, you will probably end up paying significantly higher interest rates, another way your dollars will be eaten up.

Don’t ever consider a payday loan or a title loan as a way to get through financial problems. Many of them have effective interests rates in excess of 100%, so you’ll end up paying double for the money you get. Typically, too, the money gets taken directly out of your account when you get paid, so you won’t have any opportunity to negotiate a new repayment date, if any unforeseen contingency arises.

Always Make Your Car Payment

Unless you work from home, walk or take public transportation, your car is your most valuable asset. If you don’t have wheels, you can’t get to work. If you can’t get to work, you can’t earn money to pay your bills.

Contact Neuner & Ventura, LLP

At Neuner & Ventura, LLP, we know that the bankruptcy process can be intimidating and confusing. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment, call our office at 856-596-2828 or send us an e-mail. We do, however, reserve the right to charge a fee to review any work done by another attorney. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.

Representing Clients across South Jersey

Look before you leap into owning your own business! A cautionary tale.

Too often we have seen people who pursued the dream of owning their own business without careful thought and preparation. The result can be financial and personal heartache, and a personal bankruptcy.

Take the case of George (not his real name). After retiring from the military he thought starting up a food cart business would be a way to make money and stay engaged. He was able to get a substantial SBA loan, which was used to buy the food trailer and a truck to pull it. He leased new food preparation equipment and leased space for it. His wife co-signed. Within 6 months, the business was failing and he was behind on rent and struggling to make ends meet.

George’s wise move was to recognize the situation was out of control and not to turn a blind eye to it. We reviewed the business finances and both quickly agreed he should get out before more damage was done. The leased equipment, trailer and rental location were surrendered to the leasing company, business lender and landlord. Fortunately, George had not run up bills for unpaid payroll or sales taxes, and did not have unpaid bills for fresh produce or meat. These would have been major problems for which even a bankruptcy would not help him.

George’s mistakes?

  1. He did not have any experience running this business or indeed any business. Thus he did not know how to market and was not able accurately to predict his cash flow.
  2. He over-extended himself with debt, which he personally guaranteed. He got this because of his then-stellar credit and military credentials.
  3. He did not research the market. Who else is in the food truck business? How are they doing? What do they do that makes them successful? Is there a niche or a clientele that is not being served? Being the newcomer in a business with established players who know what they are doing is never good unless you have reliable customers lined up.

Fortunately, with our help George got out and has found a job using his training and skills. He and his wife now have the fresh start they need. Both are wiser and happier.

If you are having trouble with a business venture, getting the right financial and legal advice is critical. We have helped many many people like George sort things out.

Protecting Yourself from Mortgage Problems

Protecting yourself from mortgage problems

It’s been almost a decade and it seems like consumers and others have forgotten the substantial financial problems that were created when standards were loosened or ignored in the mortgage finance industry. There are indications that many of the measures put in place to prevent abuse in mortgage lending are going to be rolled back. If you are looking to buy a house, to upgrade your existing home, or to use the equity in your home for any purpose, you want to take a long hard look before you do anything.

Put Together a Budget

Regardless of the reason you’re thinking of getting a mortgage, the first thing you need to do is construct a thorough and honest budget. It doesn’t matter how easy it is to get the money, if you can’t afford to make the payments, you’ll only be digging the hole deeper.

Determine Whether a Bankruptcy Might Make More Sense

Are you afraid of filing for bankruptcy, worried about the stigma it attach to you, that you may not be able to get credit in the future. The reality is that, if you refinance and can’t afford the payments, you won’t have gained anything. Furthermore, filing for bankruptcy protection can often be viewed by potential lenders as a step in the right direction…they see that you are willing to take steps to resolve the problem. A caveat, though…if you do file for bankruptcy protection, you need to abide by the terms of the bankruptcy and you need to take steps not to get yourself back in the same situation again.
Also, consider that it might be better for you to file a bankruptcy petition and discharge credit card debts, instead of refinancing to simply pay off credit card debt. In that instance, you haven’t really reduced your obligations, just shifted them. If you do refinance to pay off debt, you are better served to pay off student loan debt, which generally cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

Contact Neuner & Ventura, LLP

We understand the stress, anxiety and confusion that can be associated with a potential bankruptcy filing. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment, call Neuner & Ventura at 856-596-2828 or send us an e-mail. We do, however, reserve the right to charge a fee to review any work done by another attorney. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.

Representing Clients across South Jersey

Recognized Quality & Experience