Bankruptcy Benefits You Want To Know More About

When you declare bankruptcy you go through a highly emotional moment. Stress will pile up and what you do is going to affect your self-image, reputation and future credit. Every person that files for bankruptcy goes through the struggles of rebuilding credit while loan securing becomes a challenge. Lifestyle changes happen and you are faced with a rollercoaster of emotions. However, this does not mean everything will be bad.

What many do not realize is that bankruptcy also has some serious advantages. They do offer relief if you are faced with debt. You can avoid the letters and phone calls that demand payments and the entire process is nowadays much simpler than it used to be, especially when hiring an experienced bankruptcy attorney. In order to offer the information you need, remember that bankruptcy filing brings in the following important advantages:

  • Older liabilities (those that are over 3 years old) will go away.
  • Repossessions, missed debt payments, lawsuits and defaults that could hurt credit score more are avoided.
  • You can start rebuilding credit sooner rather than later.
  • While student loan debt cannot be eliminated, bankruptcy will stop lenders form using their aggressive collection actions.
  • The fact that you will lose credit cards is actually an advantage since this removes the appeal of using them and ending up in more debt.
  • You get a new start as you face the reality you are bankrupt.
  • You avoid the embarrassment of having to go through dunning letters, phone calls from your creditors, cancelled CC cards and declined authorizations for credit charges.
  • You avoid having your name listed in the papers or in court records because you are sued.
  • You can still obtain loans from lenders that are specialized in dealing with people in your situation.
  • State exemptions will allow you to avoid the situation in which several owned items will be repossessed.
  • Trustees and judges surely heard stories that are way worse than yours and the fact that you file for bankruptcy means you take responsibility. This can actually give you preferential treatment.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, filing for bankruptcy is not a bad thing. In fact, in the event your experienced bankruptcy lawyer recommends it, this is exactly what you should do. There are so many situations in which bankruptcies proved to be the best thing that happened to someone, simply because it offers a brand new financial start. It is tough but it is much easier than having to deal with fighting a constant bad financial situation without having any real way of getting out of debt.

The only thing that does need to be added is that it is really important to hire a highly experienced bankruptcy attorney. His/her help will be really valuable as you are 100% sure all documents are properly filed and you are represented in front of authorities. Whenever you look for a bankruptcy attorney, always hire the best one you can find. This is the smartest thing you can do to get you back on track.

3 Tips for Balancing Your Savings and Paying Down Debt

Choosing whether to save or pay off debts can be a difficult decision. Saving money for a rainy day or retirement seems like a top priority, but will your debts linger on for years to come? 

Managing debt and maintaining savings is tailored to each individual, and different strategies can be implemented in helping to achieve your goals. Here are three tips on how to maintain a balance between paying down debt and saving.

Learn to Budget

The first step to managing your finances better is learning how to budget. Knowing your expenditure can seem like a scary thought at first, but creating a budget helps to prioritize financial obligations.

Start with your monthly income after tax, and then list your expenses. According to Certified Financial Planner, Jeff Rose, it’s best to separate your expenses into three categories.

  • Fixed: rent and debt repayments (these expenses are necessities).
  • Variable: groceries, travel expenses and utility bills (expenses that can be adjusted).
  • Optional: expenses that aren’t necessary, such as going to the movies, out to restaurants or on vacation (expenses that you can live without).

Breaking down expenses into categories helps identify optional expenses. By reducing them, you’re saving money.

Refinancing Debt

Gather information and find out the total amount owed, the interest charges, and the terms of the loans like how long you have to pay. 

Student loan refinancing can be one of the most effective ways to lower your monthly outgoings and help make your finances more manageable. Refinancing is essentially applying for a private loan at a much lower interest rate, and that could potentially save you thousands of dollars. Refinancing companies tend to be strict in terms of eligibility. Most lenders will want to see a steady stream of income, ability to manage finances, and good credit history.

Paying Down Debt First

Now that you have an idea of where you can free up some cash, it’s time to prioritize paying down larger debts first and paying the minimum towards debts with lower interest rates.

Donald Hammond, MBA, CFP, and executive vice president at Maritime Financial Group suggests:

“List your debt from the highest interest rate to the lowest. Pay off the highest-interest cards and loans first, paying more than the minimum each month. Continue to at least make minimum payments on the rest. Work your way down until everything is paid off.”

With this method, Hammond suggests to get more aggressive on larger debts with higher interest rates. For example, paying $400 towards a credit card with an interest rate of 17 percent is going to be more effective than paying down a credit card with an interest rate of 7 percent. 

You Can Do It

Saving for the future and paying down debt doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. Establish a budget, and you’ll get a clear picture of which outgoings can be tweaked to save money. The methods listed above are a strategy to chip away at your debts, maintain savings, and bring you one step closer to becoming debt-free. 

5 Ways to Get Out of Debt

If you’re in debt, you’re not alone. About 8 in 10 people are in debt, and many will die with debt still hanging over their heads. Debt is something to take seriously and, if you clicked on this article, you know it’s time to do something about it. Getting out of debt isn’t easy, but it will be well worth it. You wouldn’t want to spend the rest of your life with debt, so it’s time to take action. You can defeat your debt if you take the necessary steps. Here are five ways to get out of debt.


Investment isn’t just for the wealthy. Your debt places an added financial burden on your shoulders, so it’s even more important that you take care of your future now. Open a retirement fund, and research stocks to buy. A stock market investment isn’t a good way to make money for tomorrow, but it’s an excellent way to make money for twenty years from now. Start taking care of your future by earning retirement money. It won’t hurt your situation to have money on the side. If you invest responsibly, you could ease some stress off your future shoulders. If you do choose to invest, look into socially responsible investing, and make sure your investments are as good for the world as they are for you.  


Budgeting might sound like a huge pain. It might also sound like “one of those things” you never seem to stick to. We all fail to complete our exercise routine every week, or keep our house as clean as we’d like. A budget, however, isn’t something with which to gamble. Do whatever you have to do to keep yourself accountable, and start budgeting with great care. If you’re afraid a budget will scare you every time you spend money, don’t worry. A good budget does the exact opposite. If you budget right, you’ll feel good about the money you spend, because you know what you can afford each month. Put a percentage of your income aside into savings, college loans, debt payment, or grocery budget. Once you know your limits, you’ll feel freer.  

Make Smarter Payments

If you’re late paying off your credit cards, you earn a higher interest. Do as much as you can to keep your interest rate low. Treat your credit card like cash; don’t spend money that isn’t in your bank account. Your budget helps with that. If you can pay every month’s bill one hundred percent, you’ll earn a better credit score, and you’ll stop adding new debt. As you attempt to pay off your cards, try to make double payments, or at least pay off more than you must every month. That added payment is interest free, so you’ll save yourself a great deal of money if you pay off more in a shorter period of time. Your goal should be to live on as little money as possible, and pour as much of your income as you can into alleviating your debt, today. If you find that you need a better income stream, make the right moves towards a better career. Check out places like NYADI in Jamacia, NY, or look into online degrees, to start pulling a better income now.

Break Expensive Habits

If you’re like most people, you spend a couple hundred, or thousand, each year on various habits. Whether it’s something innocent, like a soda per day, or something more serious, like cigarettes, letting go of unhealthy habits saves you in the long run. If you stopped buying cigarettes, you’d save several thousand dollars each year, even if you switch to vapes instead. While it’s always better for your health to eliminate tobacco altogether, you’ll save money by using a vape mod and ejuices. Even cutting back on unhealthy eating, like frozen dinners or soda, saves you a great deal every year. Water is free, and you’re not doing your health any favors by drinking soda often. If you want to eliminate debt, once of the first steps is a lifestyle change.


A budget and simple lifestyle changes may not be enough to solve your financial woes. If you need to take action about the amount of debt you owe, consider a serious downsize. If you live in a nice house, and you have a hard time paying off your debt, it might be time to move. An apartment or smaller house might feel like a culture shock to you, but downsizing is worth it, if it eradicates your debt. In fact, people who live in smaller houses tend to be happier. Getting rid of your stuff and living a more simple life might be the solution for you. It’s good for your bank account, and it could be good for you as a person, as well.

A life with debt is stressful. With debt, you’re more prone to worry, and it often feels like your freedom has been removed. You can’t do what you love with the threat of debt hanging over your head. Even simple purchases feel catastrophic. You deserve to live a better life. Start purging yourself of consumer tendencies. You don’t need the best phone. You don’t need a bigger house. What you do need is a meaningful life, and part of that meaning starts with living debt free. You deserve the freedom to travel, buy a dinner out once and a while, and enjoy peace of mind. None of those things are easy, or even smart, with debt in your life. Don’t leave your future up to chance, a windfall, or a better job. Start making moves today to eliminate your debt.

Secondary Mortgage Market in GTA – Weighing the Pros and Cons

Home sales in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) have decreased this year compared to last. The Toronto Real Estate Board reported that sales were down almost 35 percent in February 2018 compared to February 2017. In addition, prices have dropped, with the average sales price falling 12.4 percent for all housing types.

As 2018 moves forward, buyers are getting used to the new mortgage rules and the government regulations that went into effect on January 1 of this year. Home buyers are adjusting to the new housing market measures and have had to recalibrate their plans because of the higher interest rates and new mortgage stress testing guidelines.

What that means is that realtors have to be creative if they’re going to make sales in this market.

For both buyers and realtors, the secondary mortgage market can provide an alternative to traditional bank mortgages, one that in many instances, should be considered. Obtaining a mortgage from an alternative lender is frequently easier and quicker than getting a traditional mortgage. While it is true that buyers often need to have a larger down payment, and the loans are generally more expensive, the secondary mortgage market can provide a solution for buyers who are looking for a different course of action and for realtors who want to help their clients.

One of the great advantages of the secondary mortgage market is that it can provide a short-term solution for buyers who can then, at a later date, make different arrangements, perhaps through a traditional bank mortgage.

For example, a GTA home might have been selling for $1.4million a year ago, and today that same home will likely go for $1.05 million. If a buyer is putting 25 percent down, they will carry a mortgage of $787,500. Most secondary mortgages have a duration of one year or less. So, at 8 percent per year, the buyer is paying in one year 4 percent extra on the mortgage, or $31,496. That means effectively that the property costs an extra $31,496. That’s not really significant since the buyer could close in a buyer’s market that’s discounted. In a year’s time, the buyers can investigate refinancing with a traditional bank mortgage, and will hopefully be in a much better situation.

Realtors who want to guide buyers towards the secondary mortgage market should exercise caution, however, and recommend alternative lenders only to those buyers who can carry such a mortgage and have the financial resources and income ability to refinance within a year.

I would also recommend that GTA realtors who are interested in offering advice about the secondary mortgage market establish direct relationships with alternative lenders rather than with mortgage brokers; brokers will often charge substantial fees, which can add to the costs incurred by the buyers.

Although sales in the GTA market have taken a downturn, there are still a number of ways for both buyers and realtors to take advantage of the market conditions.

Borrowing Money with Poor Credit

It can be extremely frustrating to have bad credit. Even if you are responsible with money now, poor decisions that you made in the past can make it so that you are treated like someone who is not. However, all hope is not lost in this situation, as you will still be able to take out certain types of loans even with a lower credit score. Generally speaking, short-term loans are more available to people with poor credit than are more traditional types of loans.

However, it is important to keep in mind that these loans are not better in every way just because they are more available. If you do not meet the specifications to get the loan on your own, you will often need a cosigner in order to be able to borrow the money. Essentially, because your credit score marks you as a risk to the lender, they need to have someone with a higher credit score held responsible for paying them back if you end up defaulting on the loan. In order to find the right cosigner, you will need to find someone who is willing to help you out with this and who has a credit score that is high enough for the lenders to accept (if the cosigner’s credit score is also too low, the loan will be denied).

Additionally, you should be aware that if you are borrowing money with less than perfect credit, you should anticipate quick cash loan rates to be higher than other types of loans. Lenders of these types of loans do this because, again, you are considered more of a risk if unable to show a strong credit history, and they stand to lose less if they put a higher interest rate on your loan. You should make sure that you are able to make the repayments with the higher interest rate, and that you are able to fit all of the interest that you will have to pay on this loan in your budget during the repayment period.

However, there are also positive aspects to borrowing money with less than perfect credit. Using loans to build credit is always a possibility. If you are able to take out the loan and successfully pay it back over time as promised, this will improve your credit score and make it so that you may have better options in the future if you ever need to borrow money. With a higher credit score, you will be able to consider more types of loans that you are able to borrow, in addition to ones with lower interest rates that are available to people with good credit. In this way, you can use this experience to prevent your current credit situation from limiting your loan options in the future.

As you can see, there are many things to keep in mind when you are borrowing money and you do not have good credit. You should make sure that you are able to pay back the loan before you enter into the agreement, as if you end up defaulting on the loan, this will lower your credit score even more and make it so that you end up with even fewer options the next time you need to borrow money. Additionally, this will put you into even more debt with the additional late fees and interest that you will have to pay. Overall, when you are taking out a loan, make sure that you are responsible and plan ahead.

Why More Canadians Are Retiring With Debt and What It Means

As Canadians, we live in a country where certain rights and freedoms are expected, hoped for and, some might say, taken for granted. The freedom to retire early is one many of us begin grappling with as we approach middle age. Ironically, many Canadians won’t be ready to retire until they are significantly older.

The reason? Debt.

Unfortunately, too many retired people – 34% — over 55 years old still carry consumer debt, according to Statistics Canada. In fact, a recent Equifax Canada report found that the debt load of seniors is outpacing that of their younger counterparts.

It’s not as though Canadians have always carried a heavy debt burden. In 2012, 42.5% of people over 65 still had debt, a jump of 55% when compared to seniors in 1999.

A number of economic, social and cultural factors are to blame, say experts. They point to divorce, illness and large mortgages as some of the culprits. Experts also explain that children, grandchildren and other family members may also be at fault, as they often look to their parents and grandparents to lend them hand. In fact, a 2015 survey showed that 18% of first-time home buyers are gifted their down payments thanks to relatives, typically parents.

But, children can’t shoulder all of the blame.

Low interest rates have made debt much more attractive. Further, cottages, pricey vacations, fancy cars and other expensive toys may be out of reach for the average pensioner. Paring down and cutting back in your sixties may not seem fair. After all, you’ve worked decades, aren’t you entitled to a little luxury? Your fixed retirement income simply may not support your lifestyle any more. Perhaps it’s time to downsize and sell your 3,000 square-foot home?

If selling isn’t an option, many house-rich, cash-poor seniors can look to their houses for equity. Often by the time a person retires, he or she has either paid off their mortgage or is only owing a small amount. Because house values have increased in recent years, in some markets quite significantly, tapping into a home’s equity may be something to consider.

Still, as a borrower, you need to be aware of how you are intending to pay back the loan. Is it possible to make monthly payments or would you prefer to have your estate pay off the loan after you die?

No matter how the money is borrowed, the process should be well planned out. Know what you need it for. Have a repayment plan in place. Don’t borrow more than you need – that often leads to trouble.

Dwayne Rettinger

Executive Financial Consultant

Investors Group Financial Services Inc.

Rettinger & Associates Private Wealth Management

This is a general source of information only. It is not intended to provide personalized tax, legal or investment advice, and is not intended as a solicitation to purchase securities. Dwayne Rettinger is solely responsible for its content. For more information on this topic or any other financial matter, please contact an Investors Group Consultant.

6 Must-Know Things Before Applying for a Jumbo VA Loan

If you are veteran of military or reserves or National Guard, your dream to have a primary home is one step away. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) guarantees a VA loan, which is a mortgage loan entitled to American veterans, spouses in case not divorced and reservists. The Department of Veteran Affairs also provides many other facilities such as healthcare services, help with loans and insurances and a Jumbo VA loan is one among them. As such, the VA doesn’t provide you with the loan amount; it facilitates the same with help of lender companies. Here in this article, we have tried to enlist six must-know things before you apply for a Jumbo VA loan.

1. Eligibility criteria

Not everyone can apply for a Jumbo VA loan. The Department of Veteran Affair has clearly laid ground rules to establish the eligibility criteria. The members of the military, a retired veteran, spouses of the personnel who served America and have not remarried after the death of husband and employees of the reserves or National Guard are considered to be eligible. The veteran must have served in the military for at least a period of six months or more, while the employees with service in National Guard or reserves must have done at least 6 years of service to be eligible. During wartime, the period of eligibility for the veteran military is considered to be around 3 months. So first step you have to take is to find whether you are eligible or not. You can also get an online eligibility certificate before you start the application process with all your relevant documents ready.

2. Loan and down payment amount

Generally, the counties have set a limit of $453,100 as a VA loan amount and anything beyond that is classified as a VA jumbo loan. In case of a VA jumbo loan, the borrower needs to pay a lump sum amount of around 25 % on the amount greater than $453,100. However, in some county areas where the prices of housing are too high, the down payment amounts are kept lower.

3. How can you use a Jumbo Loan?

A Jumbo VA Loan cannot be used like a personal loan or a traditional bank loans against any line of credit. The purpose of a Jumbo VA Loan is clearly set to fulfill the need for a primary home for a veteran. This amount hence cannot be used for buying or building a vacation home.

4. Funding Fees

A funding fee has to be paid by the borrower for the loan amount greater than $453,100 or as set by county till $1,000,000. The fee thus becomes less when you offer a down payment amount. Generally, veterans pay around 25 % of the amount as the down payment amount.

5. Interest rates

While the VA or the loan lending companies don’t take into consideration any past credit history or bankruptcy yet having a good credit score helps in getting lower interest rates. Normally a credit score of above 610 or 620 is considered to be okay but even a poor credit score doesn’t cause the rejection of Jumbo VA loan. If the veteran is in a job or has a recommendation from someone who has a good credit score, the lending companies are more than happy to carry forward the entire process.

6. Other advantages

Generally, a VA counselor tries to assist in case the veteran finds it hard to pay back the entire amount and a situation of foreclosure homes. There are hotline numbers to call for getting a VA jumbo loan and application can be filled online which makes it easy for veterans to start the loan process.


In the end, a Jumbo VA loan should be utilized by the eligible applicants due to the advantages it offers. Make sure to read the offer and documents carefully before applying for the loan. For example, be aware of the closing costs, interest rates and other terms and conditions.

How To Manage Debts More Efficiently

With the cost of living soaring, many people today cannot survive without debts.  Even the smallest of debts needs/has to be paid in one way or the other. Paying up your debts as required and on time is the only way you can manage everything, and possibly build your credit. Servicing large debts involves discipline and a little more effort. This is because you still have to pay rent, bills, and other responsibilities on your shoulder.  Discussed below are a few tips on how to manage your debts.

  1. Make a list of your debts

Make a list of all your debtors, including the creditor.  Be sure to include the total debt due, due dates, and how much you are required to pay per month. Making a list of all debtors and how much is owed should help you plan your finances better. Do not let the volume of the debt discourage you; it should just act as an eye-opener to help you see the bigger picture.  Don’t just make a list, create a proactive approach as to how you will settle each. Make an effort to settle some of the debts while paying for bills, and update the list accordingly.

  1. Pay your bills on time

Do not delay paying your bills unless it is absolutely necessary. Paying your bills on time will make servicing debts much easier. It also reduces chances of late payments or fees that come with the same. Missing a payment or two can have a negative impact on your finances, and credit as well.

Use a smartphone or computer calendaring system to help you plan for payments, and even create an early alert for the same.  Should you forget to send a repayment on time, do it as soon as you get some money. Don’t wait until the next repayment date to pay. Some banks and credit companies will report late payments to the credit bureau. Prompt payments are therefore recommended.

Tips to Help You Remember Due Dates

  1. Create a bill payment calendar

A monthly payment calendar can help you figure out what bills and debts need to be paid, and when. Remember to include the bill payment date and amount for easier referencing. Next, fill in your next paycheck date. If salaried, then make a point of settling bills and debts on the same payday. This should save you from overspending and even stay on top of your bills.

  1. Make the Least Minimum Payment

If your income doesn’t allow extra payments, make a point of paying the least permitted amount for your bills and debts.  Although it may not seem like much, making the least payment helps keep your debts on check, which also prevents chances of them accumulating. Your bank will even see this as a kind gesture, hence help you build your credit score. This, however, cannot be compared to missing a payment in the name of you’ll make a larger one next month.

  1. Service Urgent Debts First

Classify debts based on the repayment urgency. Credit card debts, for instance, should be treated as urgent compared to loans from friends. Credit card companies charge higher interest rates for late payments than banks do. It would also be advisable to pay off high-interest debts and loans first. This will help you save some money in the long run. If you have payday loans get them sorted first – one way is consolidation. Read here to see does payday loan consolidation work

Using your debt list, prioritize debts based on the order of urgency. Some people may choose to settle smaller debts first. This is ok for as long as you don’t default on any.

  1. Prioritize Debts

One thing you need to know about servicing debts is that you can only pay as much as you can afford. If you have more debts than you can afford to pay, then focus on keeping positive accounts safe. Only service overdue debts after paying for those in your positive accounts. Don’t rush to pay for a loan account that has already been affected by your credit. Creditors will however try to squeeze as much money as they can from your accounts until everything is settled. Don’t let too many of them start harassing you while you can prevent it.

How to pay off collections

  1. Use an emergency fund

Set up a small emergency fund to help get you out of situations such as an overdue loan. You could also use your savings to get out of debt. Don’t let your credit score be affected when you have access to a savings account.  You can start by creating an emergency fund. Most people start off with $1000, then increase the same as time goes by. You will be surprised how much you will have saved by the time 6 months are over.

  1. Plan your expenses for the month

Having a monthly budget in place can save you lots of frustration in the future. The budget should help you plan ahead, and even know times when your income won’t be enough. Setting up a monthly budget also enables you to save some money in the process.  You can even spend the extra money to offset the smallest of debts.

  1. Know when to seek help

It’s always wise to know just when you need help with debt. This mostly comes when you have nothing to offset bills, with the obligations staring at you. Seeking help from a debt relief company can help you with this. You could even opt for loan consolidation, debt settlement, or even bankruptcy as a last resort. You however need to weigh in the pros and cons of using either of these options.

Should you take a loan for your personal needs?

There are many people worrying about personal finance and related topics. With this thought in mind, we have come up with a post to help you realize whether there is a need to opt for a personal loan or not. In this post, we will talk about certain aspects that should be considered before considering a loan for your personal needs.

1. Is it really for your personal needs or not?

When we talk about loans, many people confuse the purpose of the loan. Some think that it doesn’t matter whether the loan is for personal needs all for business, what matters is whether the amount can be received or not. Don’t make this mistake and think twice before analyzing the purpose of the loan and this side accordingly. If it is really for your personal needs, check other point noted in this post.

2. The amount of loan

If you’re eligible for a loan, do not think that you should opt for the highest amount possible. Remember that it is for personal needs and you might not need an amount more than what you had expected while considering the option of opting for a loan.

Don’t forget that the higher the amount, higher will be the interest you’ll have to pay on a regular basis. So, make sure that you analyze the accurate amount required for your purposes and opt for a loan accordingly.

3. Do you think that you will be able to pay the amount of loan in the stipulated time?

With the thought of considering a loan, be sure that you will be in a position to make timely payments and the same will not turn out to be a difficult task for you in the future. Remember that it will not be appreciated if you’re opting for a loan and miss out on repayments. In many cases, it will have a negative impact on your credit rating, and so you need to be careful with the process to be applied in this case.

4. Is there an alternative?

In some cases, it is possible that you might have other alternatives that might be more rewarding and will not be a burden on your shoulders. If that is possible, you should consider it and try to opt for the alternative that is least risky and highly rewarding. With loans, there is always a burden to repay the same. If you have an alternative where you do not have to make the payments, or there is no need for making timely repayments, you should consider the option on a serious note.

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