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Giving You Hope For a Debt-Free Future

Columbia Bankruptcy Law Blog

Bridal gown chain files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Consumers are not the only ones who may be affected by financial difficulties. However, when a retailer suffers financial hardships the consequences may be far-reaching. The recent filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection by Alfred Angelo Bridal has left many women in South Carolina and across the country wondering what to wear on their big day.

The national chain closed its 60 stores without warning on July 14. Many of the retailer's employees and store managers did not know their locations were closing when they locked up the night before. Additionally, thousands of brides who had ordered their gowns prior to the chain's closing sent emails expressing concern about whether their orders would be filled in time for their weddings.

Risking foreclosure to pay other debts in South Carolina

After hearing the details of discipline and sacrifice some people make to become debt-free, those who struggle with debt may feel inspired to take their own drastic steps. However, this often means taking out a second mortgage to consolidate loans. Doing so may lead to foreclosure because it doesn't eliminate the problem; it just moves it to another creditor. South Carolina residents struggling with debt may consider alternative actions to save their homes.

Debt settlement companies often charge thousands of dollars, claiming they can offer debt relief. However, in many cases, creditors will not negotiate with such establishments because of their reputation for fraud and instability. On the other hand, some struggling with debt may chip away at their retirement funds. While this may work to relieve their debt, it often sets them up for even harder struggles in the future when their earning power decreases.

When South Carolina credit card debt is out of hand

Most people have heard the advice that it is best to pay off any credit card balance monthly. However, for those who must use their cards regularly for household expenses or are maxed out because of an emergency, that may be an impossible task. Those in South Carolina dealing with multiple credit cards with high balances and outrageous interest may already know they are in trouble, but for those who are uncertain, financial advisors warn of these indicators.

Even if one is paying every month, someone facing financial trouble will still see the balances rising. This may be because the credit card company keeps adding fees and penalties in addition to the high interest. It may be that the cardholder continues to use the card despite its high balance.

How can a bankruptcy automatic stay help you?

When faced with considerable debt, many people in South Carolina may feel stress on a daily basis as they work to determine the best way to handle their situation. As someone in this predicament, you may fear that you will never feel financially free and that the loss of property may lie just on the horizon if a lack of payment results in repossession or foreclosure proceedings. However, if you think you have no options for dealing with repossession or other serious effects of financial issues, you may want to think again.

Bankruptcy could offer a variety of protections when it comes to potentially losing your property. Though you -- like many others -- may think that this debt relief option only presents more challenges, you may want to gain more information on the benefits bankruptcy proceedings can offer. One of the first major upsides to taking this route relates to the automatic stay.

Medical debt can burden anyone in South Carolina

It is not always the working class who find themselves losing control of their finances. In many cases, even those in South Carolina who have health insurance and financial resources may face desperate times if a chronic or serious illness leaves them with overwhelming medical debt. In fact, one of President Trump's advisers once filed for bankruptcy due to mounting medical bills.

Dan Scavino, social media coordinator for the president, started his career as a golf caddy before rising to an executive in Donald Trump's golfing industry. He also ran his own business from his half-million-dollar home where he lived with his wife, their two children and their dogs. He drove high-end vehicles and enjoyed the good life. Then his wife contracted Lyme disease from a tick bite.

Think about credit restoration if you're considering bankruptcy

Who in South Carolina doesn't know what it's like to face financial challenges? More than likely most residents have run into money problems at some time or another, some worse than others. It's astounding really, how a relatively minor money issue can quickly turn into complete financial disaster. All it takes is one unexpected medical emergency, loss of employment or even a joyful event, such as having a baby.

Even for those who try to keep their financial ducks all in a row, a fluctuating economy and increased cost of living can wreak havoc on a person's bank account. When creditors start calling every day and credit cards get denied at points of purchase, it's a sign that change is needed. Seeking debt relief may affect your credit score (if it's not already tarnished). Therefore, it's crucial to think ahead and plan to restore financial stability once your immediate situation is rectified.

Many in South Carolina seek Chapter 13 debt relief

Finding a way to keep their heads above water is something many people do often. For some in South Carolina, every paycheck is spent before it is deposited, and paying bills can be a juggling act. If someone's income just barely covers expenses, one unplanned expense can send the budget into a tailspin. This is why consumer advisors recommend having an emergency fund. However, what can people do when the fund is gone -- or, more commonly, if they never had an emergency fund to begin with?

If an emergency comes up and a budget is tapped out, some may be tempted to turn to a payday loan or a withdrawal from the retirement account. Advisors recommend looking for other ways to cover the cost. For example, some people may qualify for government programs, such as Temporary Cash Assistance. Additionally, some may be able to negotiate lower utility rates or credit payments instead of giving into the temptation to skip those payments altogether.

Government sues over South Carolina student loan debt

When the mortgage or rent is due, most people understand the consequences of not paying on time. They risk paying high penalties or even losing their homes altogether. The same may be said of not paying utilities and car payments, the consequences of which include the loss of something essential. When money is tight, people in South Carolina may pay those bills first, opting to push less critical bills, such as student loans, out of their minds for now. However, this may be a serious mistake.

The U.S. Department of Education estimates that eight million people have defaulted on student loans in recent years, collectively owing the government over $137 billion. Many of those people took out their loans in the 1970s and 80s and have simply never been able to find a job that would justify the expense of a college education. Others have loans for occupational programs, such as cosmetology or truck driving, which may not yield a very high paycheck. As a result, they owe debt they cannot pay for a degree they cannot use.

Many in South Carolina consumed by credit card debt

Credit cards have their advantages. They are a convenient way to get the things consumers need or want when they are short of cash. People in South Carolina may use their cards for daily expenses like groceries or eating out, or they may save their available balances for vacations or back-to-school shopping. However, consumer advocates warn that carrying too much credit card debt means risking serious financial consequences.

By making a purchase and paying it off right away, consumers can build their credit scores and perhaps earn any points or bonuses their cards offer. However, most people don't pay off the balances each month. In fact, the average American owes about $5,700 in credit card debt. One serious drawback of carrying such a balance is that consumers could end up paying almost as much in interest as they do on the principal. Therefore, paying the minimum monthly payment on that $5,700 may cost someone about $5,000 more in interest.

'Extreme Makeover' family home now in foreclosure

Fans of TV home makeover shows enjoy watching the big reveal, when the old home is barely recognizable after the renovators and designers complete their work. Viewers in South Carolina may imagine that owning such a home would be a dream come true, and the stunned and excited expressions of the show's homeowners seem to confirm that. However, what viewers may not realize is that many of the people presented on these shows end up in foreclosure.

One woman highlighted on the show "Extreme Makeover" hoped the renovations would be a turning point. Her husband had recently died after a seven-year battle with hepatitis, and the woman was left to maintain their dilapidated 1860s farm house with her three sons. The crews of the makeover show demolished her old house and replaced it with a lavish four-bedroom home containing personalized bedrooms for the children and a flat-screen TV.

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