I enjoy meeting with my clients to discuss solutions to debt problems. And over the years I have met some really pleasant and interesting people. That being said, I hope that when your bankruptcy case is over, I will never see you again – at least for another bankruptcy filing.
If you win the lottery and need legal help setting up a charitable foundation or a corporate structure to organize your investments, please call me. If you know someone who needs to file an injury claim, I can help you there too. But I really hope that this bankruptcy case will be your last.
Here are several suggestions that will absolutely help you avoid the need to file another bankruptcy:
- set up online access to your credit accounts – you will be able to schedule payment reminders, fraud alerts and other control reminders.
- set up automatic payments from your checking account to cover minimum payments – most of the time your minimum payment will be $25 or $35. When this is paid automatically, you avoid late charges and late payment downgrades to your credit score.
- pay off your entire balance each month – if you find yourself running a balance, this means that you are spending more than you are earning. This should be a warning sign. Stop spending until you get your balance down to zero. Spending more than you earn will lead you back to…..bankruptcy!
- never, ever, ever, ever (apologies to Taylor Swfit) co-sign a loan for someone else – nothing good ever arises from co-signing for someone else – your brother, your sister, your kid, your mom. Just say “no.”
- write out a budget – if you can use a spreadsheet, do so. When you see your income and expenses in black and white on paper, you will have a much clearer idea where your money goes
- set aside funds for emergencies – you are going to have to replace tires, your kid will break a tooth, you will need to make an emergency plane trip. Start setting aside $50, $100, or whatever you can in a savings account. Try to build up 3 or 4 months equivalent to your monthly take home pay. Forget that this money exists for any purpose other than a true emergency.
- start planning for retirement. Create an IRA account. Contribute to your company’s 401(k) or pension. Besides bankruptcy I represent people in Social Security disability claims and I will advise you not to rely on Social Security to pay for your retirement