It Really Pays to Save!

“Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty.” — Proverbs 21: 5

 

It Really Pays to Save!  

Saving money can be tough, but it’s a smart habit that can pay off when you need it the most. The earlier you start saving and investing, the more time your money works for you to achieve your goal of financial independence.  

The best way to save is automatically. Contact your employer’s payroll department to arrange for an automatic withdrawal from your paycheck to your savings account, mutual fund or other investment. Soon, you won’t even miss the money deducted from your paycheck since you’ll adjust your lifestyle to live on what’s left. And down the road, the money you save today can make a tremendous difference to your way of life in the future.  

Look at these examples:  

$100 saved every month for 40 years at 12% interest will grow to $1,176,477.  

Just $1 a day for 49 years invested at 12% interest will grow to $1 million.  

Saving $65 every month for 45 years at 12% interest will give you $1,394,555.  

$253 invested every month over 20 years at 12% interest would yield a cool quarter million ($250,281).  

Even $102 invested each month for 20 years grows to a six-figure retirement nest egg of $100,904. And that amount invested at 12% would pay you $1,000 every month FOREVER if you live off that income and don’t touch the principal!  

The Power of Compounding  

While the interest rate is important, it’s interest compounding that really makes your investment grow. For instance, money invested at 12% will snowball into a nest egg more than twice as large as the same amount invested for the same length of time at 6%, even though the interest rate is just twice a high:  

$100 invested monthly for 20 years at 6% = $46,204.08 $100 invested monthly for 20 years at 12% = $98,925.53  

In this example, the Power Of Compounding makes your investment grow an extra $6,517.37.  

Why? Because each month, your investment pays not only on the money you’ve deposited, but also on the interest your investment has already earned. This escalated savings is the Power of Compounding!  

Just look at THIS TABLE to see for yourself.  

To find out how fast your savings can add up, CLICK HERE for a handy Saving/Investing Calculator. Fill out the form by entering the dollar amount you can save every month, plus the interest rate your bank or other investment pays.  

You’ll be amazed at how fast your money can grow, one small step at a time!  

The Money Tree  

“The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.” — Albert Einstein  

Want to find out why it pays to save (and save early)? A little lesson called The Money Tree tells the big story!  

A Fresh Start to Financial Recovery

“Each of us will one day be judged by our standard of life, not our standard of living, not by our measure of wealth, by our simple goodness, not by our seeming greatness.”
— William Arthur Ward

A Fresh Start to Financial Recovery

Your financial future is up to you. Bankruptcy, although upsetting, doesn’t have to be the end of the line. The cliché is true: the future really is what you make of it. Bankruptcy Law Center is here to lead you through the legal rigors of the bankruptcy process. From there, we can help you make a fresh start to financial recovery. You can learn to re-establish your credit, increase your earning potential and eventually move into a brighter, more financially stable future.

Freedom through Planning

Achieving freedom from debt requires a realistic look at where you are financially, and then making the appropriate long-term plans toward the future. While this may require making key lifestyle changes, you don’t have to feel like you’ve given up the fun stuff. The good news is that a more realistic lifestyle — based on supporting your new financial goals – actually becomes easier and liberating.

Bankruptcy Law Center will show you how to identify your most appropriate long-term goals, and then create a realistic plan for achieving them. You will begin to compare the purchases and expenses that help you meet your goals against those that keep you from reaching your full potential. Wise planning is the essential ingredient for gaining true financial freedom.

Living Up to Your Potential

A realistic plan for reaching financial freedom includes getting the most out of your salary through savings plans and direct deposit, as well as increasing your earning potential. It also includes key strategies for stretching your dollar in ways that get you more for less.

At Bankruptcy Law Center, we recognize the challenges you face. But we also see the opportunity you have to create financial security for yourself and your family. We are the bankruptcy firm with a long-range view. We see the bankruptcy — yet more importantly — we recognize your financial recovery and potential.

Who Files for Bankruptcy?

The term bankruptcy comes from two Latin words and literally means “broken bench.” Under Roman law, creditors divided up the assets of a delinquent debtor, then broke the debtor’s workbench as punishment and a warning to other indebted tradesmen.

SOURCE: Crown Financial Ministries

Who Files for Bankruptcy?

SOURCES: The Fragile Middle Class: Americans in Debt;

Elizabeth Warren, Harvard Law School; Smith Business Solutions

COPYRIGHT 2001 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

Bankruptcy Facts (found in USA Today, Wall Street Journal, CNN-Financial, and The Gallop Poll)

Just How Prevalent is Bankruptcy?

The number of bankruptcy cases filed in federal courts rose 2.7 percent in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2004, according to statistics released in May 2004 by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Bankruptcy filings rose from 1,611,268 in the 12-month period ending March 2003 to 1,654,847 in the same 12-month time period in 2004. The number of filings was down slightly from the record 1,661,966 bankruptcy cases filed during fiscal year 2003, the 12-month period ending September 30. Total bankruptcy filings first broke the 1.5 million mark in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2002.

According to CardWeb.com, there were 407,572 consumer and business bankruptcy filings in the first three months of 2004. That’s a decrease from the nearly 413,000 reported for the same period in 2003.

What About Personal Bankruptcies in Virginia?

In 2003, there were more than 43,000 filings for bankruptcy in Virginia. Nearly 32,000 of them were for Chapter 7 with more than 11,000 others for Chapter 13.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice

What About Credit Card Debt?

In any given month, Americans owe $677 billion to bank credit card issuers. This compares to $97 billion owed by the British and $19 billion by Australians. Based on current population figures, Americans owe $2,311, the British owe $1,616, and the Australians owe $950 for every man, woman and child in their respective countries.

SOURCE: May 2004 issue of CardTrak® (www.cardtrak.com)

Where we are

People residing in these localities file for Bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division:

Cities

  • Richmond (city)
  • Colonial Heights
  • Emporia
  • Fredericksburg (City only – NOT Stafford County)
  • Hopewell
  • Petersburg

Counties

  • Amelia
  • Brunswick
  • Caroline
  • Charles City
  • Chesterfield
  • Dinwiddie
  • Essex
  • Goochland
  • Greensville
  • Hanover
  • Henrico
  • King and Queen
  • King George
  • King William
  • Lancaster
  • Lunenburg
  • Mecklenburg
  • Middlesex
  • New Kent
  • Northumberland
  • Nottoway
  • Powhatan
  • Prince Edward
  • Prince George
  • Richmond (county)
  • Spotsylvania
  • Surry
  • Sussex
  • Westmoreland

What Are the Eligibility Requirements

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

BUDGET: The Court will assess whether you have sufficient disposable income to pay your creditors. Disposable income is the money you have left over every month after expenses have been paid.

EXAMPLE: After taxes are withheld from your paycheck, you bring home $1,000 per month. After paying rent, utilities, car payments, food, clothing and miscellaneous expenses, you have spent $950. In this case, you would have $50 in disposable income for the month.

CAUTION: The Bankruptcy Court reviews expenses you have listed in your budget to determine the reasonableness of each budget item.

How will bankruptcy affect my credit?

There is no clear answer to this question since most creditors decide on a case by case basis whether or not to extend credit. Unfortunately, if you are behind on your bills or have a high debt load, you may already have trouble getting credit.

Bankruptcy eliminates your debts. Some creditors view someone who has received a Chapter 7 discharge as a better risk than someone with a high debt load. That’s because after receiving a Chapter 7 discharge, a debtor cannot file another Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition for at least eight (8) years from the date the Chapter 7 was filed. Furthermore, the consumer may now have the ability to pay new debts since previous debts have been eliminated.

What can I keep in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may keep all exempt (legally protected) belongings. The attorney will review your assets and available exemptions to determine whether the things you own are exempt. There are several categories of exempt property. Debtor’s who have property exceeding legal limits may choose to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to protect additional assets.

Can I keep assets that a creditor has a security interest in — such as my house, car, jewelry, furniture or computer — that I financed with a creditor? (This refers to store creditors or loan companies that financed the items you purchased or creditors who placed a lien on items you already own.)

In most cases, you will not lose your property as long as the value of the property does not exceed applicable exemption laws and you continue to make payments for these items. Although bankruptcy discharges the debt, secured creditors can take back their secured merchandise (car, house, furniture, jewelry or other collateral) unless you agree to repay the debt. You must continue to make payments on the secured items you want to keep.

If you are unsure if the creditor is secured, show the purchase agreement to the attorney. The attorney will evaluate the value of the item and the nature of the debt, and advise you regarding your rights and obligations in these matters.

Can I eliminate all of my debts?

Most debts are dischargeable. Student loans may only be discharged under limited circumstances and require a special hearing. Recently acquired debts, recent cash advances or debts you obtained after bankruptcy counseling may not be dischargeable. Debts obtained within a short time prior to filing the bankruptcy are presumed to be non-dischargeable.

Other debts that are non-dischargeable include but not limited to: child support, alimony, debts obtained by fraud, plus debts resulting from willful and malicious harm such as a DUI-related accident.

Although judgments are discharged, judgment liens on real estate remain. An additional retainer is required to remove judgment liens. It’s important to remember that you MUST list ALL your debts on the bankruptcy petition; even those that are not dischargeable. Discuss all debts with your attorney to determine if they may be dischargeable.

How long does the bankruptcy process take and what will happen?

The attorney will prepare the petition for bankruptcy after you have returned all the requested information and made suitable arrangements to pay the balance of fees and costs in full. You will meet with an attorney to review your petition and receive instructions for testifying at the trustee’s meeting. You must sign the bankruptcy petition before it can be filed.

The trustee’s meeting will be scheduled at the time the bankruptcy is filed (about 3 – 6 weeks from the date the petition is filed). At the trustee’s meeting, the trustee will ask you questions to make sure your petition is correct. If the petition is for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will be granted a discharge within three (3) months of your trustee’s meeting.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is discharged when the payment plan to the Court is complete. This is usually 3-5 years from the date you begin your Chapter 13 plan payments.

What information do I need to file the bankruptcy?

You will need the following essential information to file the bankruptcy petition: The value of your personal property

The names and addresses of your creditors, the plus the pay-off statements for cars and mortgages

A budget showing how much money you bring home every month, plus a list of your expenses

The Power of Knowledge

You’ve heard it before: Knowledge is power. And that’s certainly true when it comes to managing your finances and other important personal issues. But as with so many things in life, the key to living well is knowing how to keep it simple and in perspective.

The following are helpful online resources for more information about finances, bankruptcy and living the simple life.

48 Days

Interested in finding purpose in your work? Want to land your dream job or start a business? This website is the place to start!

The brainchild of Dan Miller, president of The Business Source, 48 Days conveys Dan’s belief in getting ahead through the many opportunities that exist today in the business world. He also believes that God gives special talents (gifts) to everyone. And once you recognize them, you can make the most of what He has called you to be in life.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS)

Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) is a nonprofit, community service agency whose services are open to all members of the community. CCCS provides free, confidential budget counseling, community-wide education programs in money management, debt management programs for consumers who are overextended, and comprehensive housing counseling.

Crown Financial Ministries

This remarkable website is a treasure trove of useful financial tools and information, from a “Budgetometer” to analyze your spending, to a credit card minimum payment calculator. The mission of Crown Financial Ministries is “To see every follower of Christ in every nation faithfully living by God’s financial principles in every area of their lives.”

C.A.R.E. (Credit Abuse Resistance Education Program)

C.A.R.E. is a national program founded by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, WDNY and the Bankruptcy Committee of the Monroe County Bar Association.

FAMIS

FAMIS is Virginia’s program that helps families provide health insurance for their children. The cost for this insurance depends on household income.

IMPORTANT! The Family and Income Calculator on the FAMIS Web site may incorrectly show that some families are ineligible for the program. Since everyone’s situation is different, be sure to call FAMIS at 1-866-873-2647 to see if your family can participate.

Virginia Consumer News & Information

If a deal sounds just a little too good to be true, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says you might be right. This news and information page features frequently asked questions (FAQs) concerning landlord/tenant issues, plus consumer alerts and warnings that can save you time, money and headaches.

Clark Howard

Clark Howard and his team are here to help you be a better consumer, save money and avoid rip-offs.

Making Home Affordable

The federal government’s Home Affordable Refinance Program gives millions of homeowners with loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac an opportunity to refinance into more affordable monthly payments.

HUD

The mission of HUD (the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development) is to increase home ownership, support community development and boost access to affordable, discrimination-free housing.

NeighborWorks® Resource Group

The NeighborWorks® Resource Group is a private, non-profit organization that creates opportunities for low and moderate income families in central Virginia to buy affordable homes and strengthen their communities.

Market-Rate Home Ownership

Want to buy a house but think there’s no way you can ever afford one? Through grants and financial assistance with down payments and closing costs, the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) helps make new homes affordable for low- and middle- income families.

VHDA Quick Start

The Virginia Housing Development Authority’s (VHDA) Quick Start web page is designed to help you determine which home loan best meets your situation. Borrowers must meet all requirements related to income, net worth and other important factors.

Housing Counseling

Whether you want to rent an apartment or buy a home, you have a right to fair treatment and protection against discrimination. Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Inc. (HOME) offers counseling and a wide array of related no-charge services to help clients find and keep the most suitable housing.

Alternatives for Simple Living

Life doesn’t have to be so complicated…

National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA)

NACBA is the only national organization dedicated to serving the needs of consumer bankruptcy attorneys and protecting the rights of consumer debtors in bankruptcy.

NACBA has also played a critical role in many important court cases affecting the rights of consumer bankruptcy debtors by filing amicus briefs in U.S. Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court, with many of those case decisions influenced by NACBA’s participation. In addition, NACBA provides the most comprehensive educational programs in the country for consumer bankruptcy attorneys with its annual convention seminars.

United States Bankruptcy Court
Eastern District of Virginia
Richmond Division

United States Trustee Program

The United States Trustee Program is a component of the Department of Justice that seeks to promote the efficiency and protect the integrity of the Federal bankruptcy system. To further the public interest in the just, speedy and economical resolution of cases filed under the Bankruptcy Code, the Program monitors the conduct of bankruptcy parties and private estate trustees, oversees related administrative functions, and acts to ensure compliance with applicable laws and procedures. It also identifies and helps investigate bankruptcy fraud and abuse in coordination with United States Attorneys, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other law enforcement agencies.

Requirements BEFORE and AFTER You File for Bankruptcy

Requirements BEFORE and AFTER You File for Bankruptcy

It’s important to understand that Federal Law requires you to take certain credit counseling and financial management courses before the bankruptcy filing process can be completed. The following links can help you get started. Before You File

Federal Law requires you to take a credit counseling course BEFORE you can file for bankruptcy.

Abacus Credit Counseling

After You File

Federal Law requires that you take a financial education/debtor education course AFTER you file for bankruptcy, but BEFORE you can receive a discharge (successfully complete the bankruptcy).

Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University

Never Stop Learning!

“All books will become light in proportion as you find light in them.” 

— Mortimer Adler

 

Never Stop Learning!  

Although nothing takes the place of thorough consultations with your attorney, it’s often a good idea to find additional reliable information about becoming a better money manager. That’s why Bankruptcy Law Center has teamed up with Amazon.com. Just click on the titles (below) to visit Amazon.com and order the common sense financial books that are right for you.  

Don’t be surprised if you look at your money — and life itself — in a very different way!
** Most Highly Recommended Titles  

Bankruptcies and Money Disasters of the Rich and Famous
Roland Gary Jones, Esq.  

48 Days to the Work You Love **
Dan Miller  

Start Late, Finish Rich **
David Bach  

The Automatic Millionaire **
David Bach  

The Success Principles
Jack Canfield with Janet Switzer  

The Motley Fool: You Have More than You Think
David Gardner and Tom Gardner  

The Lord is My Shepherd (Unabridged)
Harold Kushner  

Failing Forward **
John C. Maxwell  

9 Steps to Financial Freedom
Suze Orman  

If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat
John Ortberg  

The Total Money Makeover **
Dave Ramsey  

7 Money Mantras for a Richer Life **
Michelle Singletary  

The Millionaire Next Door **
Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D. and William D. Danko, Ph.D.  

All Your Worth **
Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi  

The Purpose Driven Life **
By Rick Warren  

Good Credit is Sexy **
Kristy Welsh  

Over the Top
Zig Ziglar  

The Traveler’s Gift
Andy Andrews

It’s All About Organization

Organization is one of the keys to re-gaining financial stability. To determine the type of bankruptcy that might be right for you, it’s essential to have your facts close at hand… and accurate at all times.

The downloadable Bankruptcy Evaluation Worksheet (PDF format) can help you calculate what you own, who you owe it to — and most importantly — HOW MUCH.

Before making your appointment with the Bankruptcy Law Center lawyer, please complete the Bankruptcy Evaluation Worksheet and then bring it with you. Be sure to also bring unfolded copies of all your bills (no duplicates).

We need to know about ALL your creditors and the debts you owe. Also, bring a list of any other creditors, indicating name, address and ZIP code, the type of debt, and the approximate amount owed.

Please CLICK HERE to download the worksheet.

You will need the following essential information to file the bankruptcy petition: The value of your personal property

The names and addresses of your creditors, the amounts you owe them, plus the pay-off statements for cars and mortgages

A budget showing how much money you bring home every month, plus a list of your expenses

How Does the Process Work?

How Does the Process Work?

The right to file bankruptcy is provided for by Federal law. Many people mistakenly believe that a bankrupt person cannot own anything after filing bankruptcy. But in fact, people who file bankruptcy rarely lose their possessions. The Bankruptcy Code allows you to choose a form of bankruptcy so you can keep property with significant equity.

CLICK HERE to watch free videos about bankruptcy from the U.S. Courts.

There are two types of consumer bankruptcy:

Chapter 7 (Straight Bankruptcy)

With Chapter 7, most debts are discharged (eliminated). It takes about four (4) months from filing to the time of discharge.

What are the benefits of Chapter 7?

Chapter 7 allows you to keep all exempt (legally protected) property. This allows you to receive a discharge within a matter of months.

Chapter 13 (Reorganization)

In a Chapter 13 case you file a ‘‘plan’’ to pay creditors some portion of your past-due or current debts over a three to five years. This Bankruptcy option may be available to you even if you have received a discharge in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy petition filed within the last eight years. The Chapter 13 case will allow you to keep valuable property — especially your home and car if you can afford the applicable payments pursuant to the plan. In most cases, these payments will be your regular monthly payments on your mortgage, with some extra payment to get caught up on the amount you have fallen behind.

Payments on most other secured debts may be lowered by reducing the balance owed, the interest rate, or by extending the repayment term to 60 months.

You should consider filing a Chapter 13 plan if you:

(1) Own your home and are in danger of losing it because of you have fallen behind on her payments;

(2) Are behind on debt payments, but can catch up if given some time;

(3) Have valuable property which is not exempt, but you can afford to pay creditors from your income over time.

You will need to have enough income in Chapter 13 to pay for your necessities and to keep up with the required payments as they come due.

What will happen to my home and car if I file bankruptcy?

You may not lose your home or car in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Even if your property is not fully exempt, you may be able to keep it, if you pay its non-exempt value to creditors in Chapter 13.

However, some of your creditors may have a ‘‘security interest’’ in your home, automobile or other personal property. This means that you gave that creditor a mortgage on the home or put your other property up as collateral for the debt. Bankruptcy does not make these security interests go away. If you don’t make your payments on that debt, the creditor may be able to take and sell the home or the property, during or after the bankruptcy case.

There are several ways that you can keep collateral or mortgaged property after you file bankruptcy. You can agree to keep making your payments on the debt until it is paid in full. Or you can pay the creditor the amount that the property you want to keep is worth. In some cases involving fraud or other improper conduct by the creditor, you may be able to challenge the debt.