5 Conditions Under Which a Bankruptcy is Needed

For millions of Americans bankruptcy is unthinkable.  Maybe it is the idea of admitting defeat or some people think that it is for deadbeats who are trying to run out on their debts.  However, there are times when bankruptcy is the best option.  With that in mind, we will look at five conditions under which a bankruptcy is needed.

1. Retired with a Mountain of Debt and no Income

Bankruptcy isn’t just for businesses.  In some cases, people work their entire lives and help to provide a better future for their families only end up with a mountain of bills and no income.  According to a report from a professor at Michigan Law School, bankruptcies amongst senior citizens are among the fastest growing group in the country.

Granted this report was published in 2010, but the trend is clear.  Millions of Americans have worked their entire lives only to see their retirements wiped out by the dot-com and housing busts, and the Great Recession.

One plus of filing for bankruptcy as a senior citizen is that the first $1.2 million in your IRA account is protected from bankruptcy.  However, the process can be a bit tricky and you need to make sure you pick a good Chapter 11 bankruptcy attorney to help you with the process.

2. Drowning in Medical Bills

Obamacare (also known as the Affordable Care Act) was supposed to help, but as Bill Clinton recently said ‘it’s a crazy system.’  As Americans, we benefit from some of the best medical care in the world. However, it is also the most expensive.  In fact, the problem is so big that debt from medical bills is growing faster than credit card debt.  It has become so bad that more people are going into bankruptcy due to medical debt than ever before.

Even with insurance, co-pays and time lost from work can push up the cost of medical care in the U.S. For some people, filing for bankruptcy is the only option.  The key thing to remember when considering bankruptcy is to make sure most, if not all, of your procedures, have been completed.  If not, then you could end up coming out of bankruptcy with several medical bills remaining.

3. Credit Card Debt

This is probably one of the most common reasons why people get into financial trouble.  Credit card debt has become so common in the U.S. that most people don’t even have $500 in their bank account to overcome an emergency.  One of the signs you are in credit card debt is when you can no longer keep up with minimum payments.  Even worse, some people use cash advances to pay their credit cards.  This is very dangerous and never ends well.

If this sounds like you, then you need to consider bankruptcy.  Just remember that you will need to sit down, list all your credit cards and other liabilities.  In addition, make sure you have a complete understanding of your assets.  A good lawyer will help, but you need to keep good records as well.

4. Divorce

Using bankruptcy to get out of your obligations from a divorce is spurious at best, but sometimes it is necessary.  This is especially true if your former spouse is using bankruptcy and it looks like you are going to left holding the bag.  It is a nightmare situation and if this sounds like what you are going for, then you need to get professional advice.

Just remember, this is not a cut and dry situation.  Bankruptcy during or after divorce requires a lot of attention to detail as you need to make sure there is no hangover which could come back to get you after proceedings are finished.  One of the easiest ways to navigate this quandary is to file a joint bankruptcy, but this is not always an option.  Especially if the divorce is extremely bitter.  It would simplify everything and then allow you and your ex to move on with your lives.

5. Laid Off and In Debt

Over the past 30 years’ unemployment has become more common.  There is no shame in being unemployed.  Yet the challenge is that it always seems to happen at the worst possible times.  This especially true if you are deep in debt and are facing an extended period of unemployment.  First, you probably don’t have the saving to withstand six- to twelve-months of unemployment.  Second, you want to make sure what little you have is there to help you through the lean times.

You might want to consider bankruptcy if you have recently been let go and have few options for a new job anytime soon.  Here’s a tip, if you don’t meet the requirements for Chapter 7, then consider filing for Chapter 13.  If you are unemployed, the odds are that the court will simply dismiss your debts.

Learn The Best Way To Buy A House In Adelaide

So you want to move across the globe? To figure out the best way to buy a house in Adelaide or any other part of Australia, just read through this whole post. We will outline the process of searching, making an offer, legal concerns and closing on an international property in Australia.

First of all, the prices that you see when you search online will be in the Australian dollar. You need to understand the relative value of the Australian dollar versus any currency you are working with. That will help you make your real estate decision.

Each Country’s Real Estate System Is Different

Make no assumption that whatever real estate system you are used to will be the norm in Australia. Foreigners need to have either residency or a work visa in order to buy property in Australia. That means that if you want to buy a house in Adelaide, all your paperwork needs to be on the up and up.

Buyers need to apply to the country’s Foreign Investment Review Board and are at the bureaucracy’s mercy. The review can take up to 30 days. Foreigners must use the property as their main residence while in Australia, they cannot rent any part of the property and they need to sell the property lighting fast if they leave the country or the visa runs out.

In Australia, the majority of real estate properties are sold at auction. Buyers view them during an open house, then attend an auction to bid on the property. Many buyers to not employ a real estate agency, although advocates for buyers are on the rise in Adelaide and other Australian cities.

Sellers do have a real estate agent, so they are responsible for paying the full commission, which is capped at 3% of the purchase price. Both parties pay a standard legal fee.

What Makes Adelaide So Attractive

Adelaide is the capital of South Australia, with about 1.3 million residents. It is on the southern coast of the country, with many governmental and financial institutions in the city limits. Originally, many of the suburban residential homes were built as single-story structures on quarter-acre blocks. But most of those homes have been demolished and replaced with multi-family houses and semi-detached townhouses.

What it comes down to is this: If you want to buy a house there, you will want to work legally in the country, search without an agent, win an auction and most likely buy a townhouse. From a larger perspective, make sure it is the right investment, given your currency, personal financial health and the state of the Australian economy. Individuals investing in Australian real estate is very tough, given the amount of government oversight.

XTrade Europe’s Market Predictions after the 2016 US Elections

A Look at History: The Election Cycle

Many economic and political analysts, including financial experts from XTrade Europe all agree that the outcome of the 2016 United States Presidential elections will have a lot of impact on a global and domestic scale.

Looking at historical data, it actually does not matter in the past whether a Republic or Democrat occupies the White House.  It does not significantly impact the US dollar’s stand on the Foreign Currency markets and it does not have a significant impact on the US equity markets.  If you are a trader who relies heavily on historical data, this is good news for you. In fact, various XTrade Europe researchers point out that election years actually coincided with favorable markets.  Many experts say that based on the events that happened in past presidential years; the effects on the market had nothing to do with who wins but the economic backdrop at that particular point in time.

However, there is also strong data that suggests that markets are significantly stronger when there is continuity.  This means that in years when the incumbent is sitting for his second term, the market averages increase.  Investors and traders lean more towards continuity if the actual economic and trading policy of the incumbent is favorable to the market.

XTrade Europe’s Market Predictions

Since this is not a continuity year, XTrade Europe financial analysts believe that there is still no guarantee on what will happen after the 2016 presidential elections.

When it comes to the stock market, certain stocks will not be affected with either with a Trump or Clinton victory.  As much as there are stocks that will not be affected, there are definitely investments that could be negatively affected.  For instance, if Trump wins, he will be opening trade agreements for American workers, and impose tariffs on goods from China and Mexico. If this is the case, many investors will veer away from multinational corporations, especially from countries where huge tariffs will be imposed upon under the Trump administration.

When it comes to the value of the U.S. dollar, technically it is not the new president that will affect its value.  However, when the Republican Trump wins, it means a change in party and many changes in trading policy, which may affect exports.  Trump is on the record as saying that he wants to change many trading policies. This might mean fluctuations in the US dollar, but the long-term effects could be favorable.

No matter what happens to world financial markets, there are still strong sectors that traders should consider.  These sectors will certainly grow stronger no matter what the political state is.  According to XTrade Europe, digital products, cloud technologies, and cyber-security will continue to gain.  It is wise to invest in companies within these sectors.  Another bright spot in the future is the big percentage of the retired and ailing baby boom generation spending trillions of dollars on health care, leisure, and hospitality.  These are some things that traders can consider when they decide where to put their money when they are trading online.

 

What You Need to Know About Home Improvement Loans

Remodeling your home is an American tradition. Blowing out that back wall to build the kitchen of your dreams, no problem. Thinking of building that man cave?Go for it.In fact, the challenge isn’t coming up with ideas on how to improve your house.It is figuring out how to pay for it.With that in mind, let’s review what you need to know about home improvement loans.

Bank or Broker?

For years, banks have been the go-to option for mortgages. Isn’t this what they are supposed to do? Yes and no.Actually, if you haven’t reached out to a mortgage broker, you might want to give it a shot.While the mortgage officer at your local bank can only choose from the loans and programs offered by their bank, a mortgage broker can choose from multiple lenders.In this way, they can help you find the best possible loan to meet your needs at the best possible rate. Maybe it is a home equity line, even a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan.

Regardless of whether you choose a bank or a broker for your loan, there are a couple things you need to know about your home improvement loan before you get started.Such as, determining how much money do you need and identifying the best lenders based on your current situation.

How Much Money Do I Need?

This starts with putting together a detailed estimate on the home improvement work you want to do.If you are hiring a contractor, then they will provide you with this information.If you are doing the work yourself, then you will need to think about the materials you will need to complete your dream project.Once you have your home improvement budget, you will want to add 15% to 20% for unexpected surprises.

Once you know how much you will need then you need to figure out how you will pay for it.You see a home improvement loan is based on the current equity you have in your house today, not the home’s future value.Figuring out current equity is rather simple.Look at your monthly mortgage statement and it will tell you the current balance on your mortgage.Then take a look at similar homes in your neighborhood which sold in the last six months.This will give you a rough idea of how much your home would be worth today.

Granted, the final estimate of your home’s value will be calculated by a Certified General Appraiser.But their report will cost money, so for the first step you can check by yourself or ask your local real estate agent for a quick estimate.

The difference between how much you owe on your mortgage and the market value of your home is the equity you have in have in your home.Now keep in mind that most lenders will not lend up to 100% of a home’s value.But if the amount of your current mortgage and the cost of your home improvement work out to be less than 85% of your home’s value, then you are in a good position.

One you have this information you will want to check your credit score. All three credit bureaus will let you check your credit score for a minor fee and this is a good way to know where you stand before you approach a lender. Did you know, every time a lender checks your credit it ends up on your credit report?As such, check your score first and provide a lender with the information during the prequalification phase.This way they will only pull your credit one time.

What’s the Best Deal for Me?

Now it is time to approach a lender to find our which programs offer the best home improvement loan rates. Don’t forget to ask about FHA home improvement loans and Veterans Administration (VA) loans.These home improvement loans are guaranteed by the government and depending of the specifics of your loan, they might offer better rates than traditional bank loans.

There are a few ways to get the best rate for your home improvement project.The first is to refinance your existing mortgage and take out some extra equity to pay for the project.While this is a good idea for some, it depends on the specifics of your first mortgage.

Another option is a home equity loan.These work just like a mortgage, except you don’t need to pay the closing costs associated with a refinance. The length of a home equity loan usually runs 15 to 30 years.But the rates tend to be higher than mortgages.

Then there is the home equity line of credit.Imagine this as a checking account based on the value of your house.While there are no closing costs, the interest rates are usually variable and in most cases, you need to repay the line within 8 to 10 years.The advantage of a line is that it allows you reuse the funds available on the line one it is paid off.This can be a big plus if you are planning to do several home improvement projects.

Ways to Reduce Monthly Expenditure Including Various Home Billings

islandHave you been using your credit cards almost to their limits? Do you feel that you are going overboard with your expenditure? Are you making too many impulse purchases? Are you being wasteful and profligate? Do you feel that you need to pull back the reins or risk turning yourself into a defaulter or worse still risk seeing a day when you have to declare yourself bankrupt?

If the answer to any of the above questions is affirmative, you will have to review your financial condition. Are you spending in accordance with your income? If not, you are inviting trouble. Today, getting credit cards have become easy and banks also encourage their customers to spend more. So, they often increase the credit card limit. Sometimes, people forget to tally their income and expenditure or make plans as to how they would pay off the loans when the time comes.

Monthly expenditure reduction methods

  1. Reduction on Energy Bills: In a vast country like Canada, which has been different seasons and weather conditions, the energy requirements are also variegated. One of the biggest sources of wastage and going overboard with expenditure is this particular aspect of utility expenditure. Most don’t pay any heed to their energy bills thinking it to be a necessity. While the fact that it is indeed one of the most necessary household items can’t be contested, it is also true that wastage can be checked and the billed amount can be reduced.
  • Turn off HVAC when not in use: You and your family members will have to make sure that you remember to turn off the heating or cooling unit in a room when they are not needed or no one is in the room. This would automatically lower quite a few units. You may also install a smart thermostat that can regulate the temperature as well as the turning on or off automatically.
  • Air seal the house: Make sure to air seal your house. A lot of air (cool during summer and warm during winter) escapes from your home and that pushes up your utility bills because your cooling and heating units are forced to work below the optimal level and hence lose efficiency and use up more energy. An air sealed house can stop the air from escaping easily.
  • Use LEDs: Switch to LED lights from halogens and incandescent. Even if you use recessed LED lights, the expenditure would be lower and the durability would be higher. This means the ROI would be phenomenal.
  • Water heater: Make sure to set the water heater and room heater at the right temperature so that they function at an optimum. Don’t heat the water more than necessary. This can help to curb a significant amount of energy wastage.
  • Smart devices and power strips: Use smart devices and power strips which can proactively turn off devices when not in use. That would also save quite a bit of energy and reduce billing amounts.
  1. Use public transport or bikes: If possible, avail public transport as much as possible. It has multiple advantages like reducing pollution, total energy bills of the nation and also your own bills. Better still if you can use a bicycle to travel between your home and work. It would also keep you physically fit.
  2. Time to check your brand fascination: Try to buy unbranded items and products whenever you can. Often, you don’t realize that you run huge bills on buying things which you can live without. You don’t have to live an austere life like an ascetic but you can definitely reduce consumerism.
  3. Eat fresh and live healthy: The medical expenses that you incur probably take up a lion’s share of the total expenditure pie. A lot of the health problems are due to unhealthy food habits. You need to be more proactive. Make a lifestyle change, if necessary. Reduce carbs and fat without starving yourself. Stop eating packaged food. Start eating fresh. Stop eating out. A lot of diseases would happily stay away from you!
  4. Reduce cell phone bills: Sometimes, people use higher talk time and data plan even when they don’t need it. While there are still others, who end up going over the limit. Reduce this habit. Start calling friends and relatives in person rather than talking to them on the phone for hours.

Conclusion

You will have to plan meticulously in order to increase your savings. But, it is not at all difficult if you can show a single minded devotion. Try it. Your life would really change for the better.

Get Away from it All Without Cashing Out

Escaping the urban jungle and suburban savanna for the ocean, forest, or open road is a dream of many. Achieving the level of financial stability needed for such expeditions is seemingly the hard part, leading many hard working, successful people to put their preferred adventures on hold indefinitely. Alas, it’s often in retirement when the possibility of enacting a dream getaway plan finally presents itself Too often the trade-off is cashing out retirement funds to afford the excursion.

Cashing out to get away from it all doesn’t have to happen, at least not for most people. Not when alternatives exist, ranging from smart financing to compromises on the dream itself. Here are the ways to afford an adventure and leave the savings almost entirely untouched at the same time:

Boat

The average price of a boat has increased dramatically over the last ten years, leading many open water adventure seekers from seizing on their dreams. Yet this increase in price is reflective of improved craftsmanship and increased durability, not to mention more room to move around in the cabin. Better yet, boat financing rates for those with good credit scores are lower than ever before. In fact, some lenders will agree to financing smaller sized vessels traditionally excluded due to their lower price tags.

RV

A quality RV can be a home on wheels for months or years. Or just weekends out of town, whichever is preferred. Similar to boat payment options, motorhome loans are available at price ranges and rates which surprise many potential borrowers. Acquiring your own RV is made easier by lenders willing to offer financing on older model motorhomes. Just make sure to review the reliability and conveniences of the model RV of choice before making your purchase.

Cabin

The quintessential cabin is the ideal getaway for countless men and women. These days, instead of building one yourself out in the middle of nowhere, the preferred method is to have prefabricated parts transported to a piece of land and assembled there. A one bedroom cabin can be bought for as little as $21,600. It might not the antler-covered walls and bearskin covered floors of the “classic” cabin setup, but it gives men and women a taste of the great outdoors without compromising too much on comfort – or price.

Camping

If financing or owning one or all of the above is just not in your realm of possibility, consider camping. It sounds like a cruel joke, but the suggestion is sound: camping doesn’t have to be all about cramped, flimsy tents and clothes reeking of wood smoke. For the relatively low cost of minimal upgrades to the gear, including a bigger tent, camping can be quite relaxing. Added together, upgraded camping purchases are unlikely to exceed five grand. After that, it’s simply a matter of stocking up on consumables and paying campground dues.

It’s easy to get tired of the rat race of the city and pretensions of the suburbs. We all at some point desire to get away from it all. Often we think the only way to do that is to liquidate our assets, cash out our retirement and hit the open road. This dream is as risky as it is romantic. Instead, opt for financing and compromise. Seize adventure without abandoning security. It can be done.

Sensible Tips to Help You Work Towards Greater Financial Stability

Financial stability is a goal many people hope to achieve, but most arguably don’t know how to get started in working towards that aim. That often means they get discouraged before ever really carrying out any positive changes that make it easier for their aspiration to become a reality.

Constantly Eliminate Unnecessary Expenses

Some people only actively look at their budgets and examine the expenses they can cut out if they’re facing dire circumstances. For example, an expensive medical crisis, or the need to save up for a costly plane ticket in a short amount of time are both situations that could make a person take a closer look at his or her spending habits and reshape their ways of buying things.

Ideally though, you shouldn’t wait until severe situations to do that. It’s smart to be highly aware of how much you normally spend, and constantly ask yourself whether the purchases you make are essential. After a while, you’ll naturally be living a frugal lifestyle, which should go a long way in helping you gradually become more financially stable.

Put Some Into Savings Every Month Automatically

Much like the practice of scrutinizing a budget and targeting unnecessary spending, saving money is something some people don’t do without good reasons. They might save up for a specific notable item, like a vacation or a car, but generally don’t see saving as something to do on a regular basis.

Only you can decide what types of services you are looking for in a financial advisor. Services can range from regular educational events and materials to visiting a local office where you can see your advisor face-to-face.

However, if you take a different approach and automatically put some of your income into a savings account each month, you’ll likely be surprised at how much you cash you acquire. Even better, you probably won’t even notice having less disposable income if you set up a system where a designated amount goes into a savings account without your intervention.

Be Aware of Debt and Don’t Let It Get Out of Hand

Some people have credit cards they just whip out of their wallets without second thoughts. If that practice happens too frequently, the individuals could find they’ve racked up debt very quickly. Although debt doesn’t make it impossible to be financially stable, it does tend to hinder your efforts.

Only you can decide what types of services you are looking for in a financial advisor. Services can range from regular educational events and materials to visiting a local office where you can see your advisor face-to-face

Be proactive and strategize about getting rid of your credit card debt before it becomes much more unmanageable. Start by becoming more conscious about the charges put on a credit card. Ask yourself if it’s possible to pay for those things in another way that doesn’t involve using credit. Also, focus on just one credit card at a time and decide you’ll gradually make payments more frequently than you charge items to it.

Realize It’s Never Too Early to Begin Investing

No matter your age or stage in life, it’s wise to have the mindset you can never be premature when it comes to building an investment portfolio. Choosing a financial advisor can sometimes feel overwhelming. Get off to a good start by insisting on excellent service.

When speaking with your investment advisor, remember it’s okay to admit you’re just starting out. He or she should pay strict attention to your long-term goals and help you start making a portfolio that puts those aims more within reach, and not you feel like your inexperience is a burden.

Take Out Insurance Policies When Possible

Financial instability often occurs when people have to sort out emergency situations. Although you can’t always anticipate life’s mishaps, it’s a good idea to protect yourself against them as much as possible by having insurance policies. As long as you’re aware of what kind of damage is covered by respective insurance packages, you could avoid having to pay out of pocket for things like expensive medical treatments and damage to your home.

If you already have insurance plans in effect, make sure to review them with a representative as your needs change. Doing that should ensure you continuously have appropriate coverage.

Hopefully, it’s now clear that financial stability isn’t an elusive goal. As long as you don’t get distracted and think practically about your money matters, you should notice uplifting progress over time.