How to Reduce Monthly Expenses and Pay off Debt

Cut Down Transportation Costs

-Carpool

-Use public transit

-Sell your car

-Take proper care of your car (oil checks, tires, etc…)

Control Your Debt

-Consider consolidating student loans

-Create automatic debt repayment plans

-Keep current on all bills

-Refinance house/ car

-Request credit card rate reductions

-Sell unnecessary items

-Transfer balance if possible to a 0% APR card

Reduce Energy Bills

-Air seal your house

-Invest in a programmable thermostat

-Reduce hot water heater temperature

-Replace old light bulbs with LED/ CFL bulbs

-Unplug electrical devices when not in use

-Use power strips

-Use timers

Decrease Entertainment Costs

-Cancel memberships you don’t need or don’t use every day

-Discover cheaper entertainment (ie. Netflix)

-Reduce or cancel your cable bill

-Reduce or eliminate unnecessary services

-Stop magazine/ newspaper subscriptions

Decrease Food Expenses

-Buy generic food when possible

-Consider building a small home garden

-Cook and bring lunch to work

-Purchase non-perishables in bulks

-Stop eating out/ take-out

-Take advantage of coupons

Reduce Insurance Bills

-Decrease homeowners insurance

-Increase your deductible amounts if you rarely make claims

-Research life insurance prior to signing up for anything

-Opt out for basic health insurance

-Shop around for auto insurance

Reduce or Eliminate Extras

-Discover cheaper child care options

-Reduce cell phone bill

-Reduce organized/ club child activities

-Relocate to a cheaper area

-Stop smoking/ drinking

-Stop outsourcing cleaning, laundry, grooming, etc…

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New Law to Protect Consumers- “Consumer Reporting Fairness Act”

“During the financial crisis, more than 50 million people saw their credit scores fall due to foreclosures and financial hardships. Many turned to bankruptcy, but are still haunted by debt on their credit report that they no longer owe” (Dubyak, 2015). A new law called the Consumer Reporting Fairness Act was newly announced. The purpose of this legislation is to change previous bankruptcy policy that allows previous paid or discharged debts to appear on citizens’ credit reports, widely referred to as “zombie debts” because of how they haunt these consumers. The Consumer Reporting Fairness Act would require that any of those debts are changed to a zero balance by banks and debt buyers on the credit report of any consumers that meet these conditions. The filing for bankruptcy would still remain on record for up to ten years, but once the debt is paid or discharged it is to be immediately removed from the file. If creditors fail to do so, legal action may be taken against them. “Every consumer should have a credit score that accurately reflects how creditworthy they are… When creditors fail to report that debt is no longer owed, they drive down consumers’ credit scores, costing consumers money and opportunities. The Consumer Reporting Fairness Act will help ensure that creditors fulfill their responsibility to provide correct and timely information about consumers’ credit” (Dubyak, 2015). The purpose of this new law is to help consumers get employed and obtain mortgage loans more easily.
‪#‎bankruptcy‬ ‪#‎consumerprotection‬ ‪#‎debtdischarge‬ ‪#‎creditscore‬‪#‎NewConsumerProtectionBill‬ ‪#‎NACBA‬ ‪#‎zombiedebts‬‪#‎ConsumerReportingFairnessAct‬

References:
Dubyak, M., & Vadala, G. (15 Jul. 2015). “Brown Introduces Bill to Strengthen Credit Reporting Accuracy”. NACBA. Retrieved from Web 17 Jul. 2015.

If you or someone you know cannot seem to make ends meet and are considering bankruptcy- give Elaine Fridlin, Esq. of Fridlin & Associates, P.C. a call today. We offer free initial consultations.

Fridlin & Associates, P.C.

1517 Voorhies Ave, Suite 4

Brooklyn, NY 11235

(718) 372-4400

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50 Cent Files for Bankruptcy.

Just a few days ago a famous rapper, 50 Cent, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The rapper officially filed for bankruptcy three days following a court order to pay a woman five million dollars for uploading a sex tape without her permission. In a statement to the public, the rapper said, “You know when you’re successful and stuff, you become a target, I don’t wanna be a bull’s eye. I don’t want anybody to pick me as the guy that they just come to with astronomical claims and go through all that.”


Although most people are not in the public eye as often as 50 Cent is, debt collectors and years of hardships can still target them. A bankruptcy lawyer understands theseconditions and can help anyone struggling. Don’t fulfill the ironic prophecy you created when you nicknamed yourself a value with less worth than a dollar. Call Elaine Fridlin, of Fridlin & Associates, at 718-372-4400 for a free consultation.

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Gary Busey Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy does not discriminate against race, sex, or religion, and it doesn’t matter if you are upper, middle or lower class. Bankruptcy can affect anyone, as in the case of Gary Busey. In 2012, Gary Busey, a well-known Hollywood actor, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Busey’s $1 million worth of debt far outweighed his assets of only $50,000. A multitude of bad choices and investments ultimately lead to his financial downfall.
Bankruptcy is usually the result of years of hardships and unfortunate situations. A bankruptcy lawyer is understands these circumstances and is there to help anyone that is struggling. If you are in need of legal assistance regarding debt and bankruptcy call Elaine Fridlin, Esq. of Fridlin & Associates at 718-372-4400 or
come in today for a free consultation.

Fridlin & Associates, P.C.

1517 Voorhies Ave, Suite 4

Brooklyn, NY 11235

(718) 372-4400

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I’m In Debt- What are My Options?

If you are struggling with debt- you have plenty of options to select from. If your debt is small and you can manage to pay it off- then rearrange your finances and spending habits and pay off the debt. However, most individuals cannot afford to pay off debt due to personal hardships. In this case- here are your available options:

1. Meet with an experienced bankruptcy attorney and discuss debt consolidation, debt settlement, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, Credit management, loan modification, etc…

2. Understand all the pros and cons associated with every possible option BEFORE deciding which route to go.

3. Do not give up hope- debt management and credit reconciliation is a lengthy ( and sometimes expensive) process. But- you will end up paying less and not have to worry constantly if you follow these steps.

4. Lastly- when you finally pay your debts or get the debts discharged- it is time to let go of everything you knew about money before. Redefine your values and priorities. Create a spending plan and STICK to it! Only spend what you have until your credit is on par. Always pay bills on time. Learn of other ways you can make money besides a 9-5 traditional job. Learn about investing in the market, start saving for your retirement (401K or similar), have an emergency fund in case you lose your job, consider bonds, etc.

No matter what you decide- the most important fact to remember is that money does not define you. Having less money does not mean you are worthless or stupid. Money is just a business transaction and some people are not as good at it as others. Remain a responsible adult and continue to make good financial choices (based on needs instead of wants) and soon you won’t have any debt related worries.

Fridlin & Associates, P.C.

1517 Voorhies Ave, Suite 4

Brooklyn, NY 11235

(718) 372-4400

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The End of the World Bankruptcy

In 2010, one of the most famous reality television couples in Hollywood, Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, filed for bankruptcy. An example of extreme spending, the pair purposefully and exuberantly spent almost all of the money they earned. Did they want to be poor? Were they wrongly investing the more-than-ten-million-dollars into the wrong people and companies? What was the reason for this initiative? It turns out the answer is surprisingly simple: Montag and Pratt truly believed that the world was coming to an end in December 2012, and decided to seize the day and live life to its fullest with extravagant spending. Some examples of this include expensive plastic surgery, purchasing cars for friends and tipping for services in hundred dollar bills.

Bankruptcy is not something that commonly happens to multimillionaire celebrities who strive to dispose of their wealth. Rather, it is a situation that erupts from years of hardships and difficult decisions and is dealt with daily by hardworking people with unfortunate circumstances. A bankruptcy lawyer understands these conditions and can help anyone struggling. Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt have looked back on their actions and acknowledged that they made mistakes as well as advising others not to believe apocalypses are imminent. Avoid these errors, and call Elaine Fridlin, Esq. of  Fridlin & Associates at 718-372-2286 or come in today for a free free consultation.

Fridlin & Associates, P.C.

1517 Voorhies Avenue

Suite 4

Brooklyn, New York.

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Characteristics of Debt Free People

Jillian makes $40,000 a year and manages to pay off $35,000 of debt within 2 years. Michael makes $80,000 a year and still owes the same $40,000 in student loans as he did 4 years ago. How does this happen? The answer is simple- Michael has a spending problem. While Jillian primarily makes purchases based on needs, Michael buys anything he wants all the time. Jillian puts a majority of her income toward paying off debt, while Michael ignores his daily compounding interest and continues to attempt and keep up with the Joneses. Why is it that Jillian can make half the amount and yet live debt free? She possesses certain characteristics that Michael does not and is thus able to deny instant self-gratification.

Jillian is clearly goal driven and a self starter, as she continuously focuses on her future and the long term of her life. Jillian is wise as she is able to understand that instant gratification is often times dangerous. Jillian is extremely patient, which allows her to stay on the right track. Jillian is confident and secure in who she is as a person. Jillian is not materialistic; she does not feel the need to keep up with all the world’s trends. Jillian is clearly responsible. Lastly, Jillian understands that a debt free lifestyle requires sacrifice. She is willing to sacrifice constant eating out and weekly movie outings because she understands that these budget cuts are temporary.

Jillian is clearly on the right track, so let’s focus on Michael. The way I see it, Michael has two options- he can either continue the way he is living and end up accruing ridiculous interest that will force him to live paycheck to paycheck for the rest of his life OR he rearrange his priorities and learn to save for a brighter future. While it is difficult to move away from a lavish lifestyle once you’ve experienced it, it is not impossible. If Michael decides to continue living the way he does- he will most likely never be able to truly experience a stress free life. He will eventually realize that he is in too deep and be forced to rethink his finances and possibly have to file for bankruptcy. If he does file for bankruptcy, Michael’s credit history will be ruined for at least 2 years and his financial instability will haunt him for approximately 10 years until his record is completely clean. If Michael decides to marry and create a family, he will most likely spend endless nights arguing about finances and possibly drive away his wife. Even worse- Michael could end up marrying a woman who is just as irresponsible with her finances, which will absolutely force the family to eventually file for bankruptcy. The children will be raised in an angry and stressful environment where they will learn that the way to live is to spend everything on anything. This will continue on for generations until someone decides to break the cycle. And once that someone realizes just how much simpler life is debt free, there is bound to be resentment. If Michael decides to take control of his life and learn how to properly spend and save, he will be able to achieve anything he wishes. They say money can’t buy happiness…That might be true, but money can certainly allow you to do the things that make you happy. Take for example a night out with close friends. If you only have $20 to spend, you will most likely have an average time. However, if you have $1000 to blow on whatever, you will probably order bottle service, get a limo to drive you around, socialize at fancy clubs as VIP guests, and so on. You will absolutely have more fun and worry less with more funds. Thus- save so that you can live without worry.

So, what exactly happens to Michael if he decides to change his lifestyle and focus on paying off debt and saving a majority of his money? There is the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The GOOD– Michael will feel more confident in his ability to control his life as he learns to save money for his future. Michael will be able to afford vacations to beautiful locations such as Paris and Rio de Janeiro. He will begin picking up more educational hobbies, such as reading and writing. Michael will learn the difference between wants and needs and learn how to prioritize. As time goes on- he will be able to slowly start adding fancy activities back into his life.

The BAD– Michael will most likely lose his party friends as he becomes unwilling to go out all the time. This will at first make him feel alone and lame. Michael will have to start over to meet new friends who lead a more modest lifestyle. He will feel weird and not himself at first. Michael will be nervous and afraid because everything will be new and strange.

The UGLY– Michael will realize that many of his friends were not actual friends, which will temporarily break his heart and damage his view of people. This could possibly lead to hatred and discontent.

So what’s the point? If you want to escape debt and live a fulfilling and stress-free life, you have to motivate yourself to change and take the necessary steps to achieving financial freedom. Decide today if you want to change. Make a few short term and long term plans for yourself. Make sure to write these plans down, as this is proven to serve as encouragement and a constant reminder of where you want to be. Confide in someone you trust regarding your plans and ask them to hold you to it. Make it clear to your high-spending friends and family that you are focusing on changing your finances. This way, they will not pressure you to blow all your money. Change your hang out spots and join some sort of a support group to keep you accountable. Lastly, realize that this transformation will not be perfect and you will slip and occasionally over spend. However, it is about how you react that matters. Do not quit simply because it is hard to live modestly. Instead- never cease to remind yourself of where you want to be and focus on the future you always wanted.

If you are struggling with debt and would like to schedule a consultation with Elaine Fridlin, Call Today!

Fridlin & Associates, P.C.

1517 Voorhies Ave, Suite 4

Brooklyn, NY 11235

(718) 372-4400

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What is an Offer in Compromise?

An offer in compromise allows you to pay back your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe. If you are having trouble paying back everything that is owed, or paying back creates a significant amount of financial pressure, you may want to consider this option. The offer in compromise is not guaranteed for everyone. You have to go through a process that takes a hard look at what you are capable of doing financially. The IRS will consider your ability to pay, how much you make, what your expenses look like and how much you own in assets.

If you owe money to the IRS, and are incapable of paying it back, an offer in compromise may be your best bet. Experienced Attorney Elaine Fridlin has handled hundreds of cases concerning offer in compromise and will not let you down. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call (718) 372-4400.

Source: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Offer-in-Compromise-1

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What is Wage Garnishment?

Wage garnishment is a legal order that allows a plaintiff to collect monetary judgment from a defendant. Meaning- if you owe someone money (for child support, student loans, taxes, or unpaid court fees)- the court can legally withdraw a certain amount directly from your paychecks. There are only 4 states in the U.S. that do not allow wage garnishment unless it is tax-related debt.

The most dangerous incident occurs when an individual does not pay taxes on time. The IRS only has a few requirements it must meet prior to having the right to garnish wages. These requirements are:

1. The IRS must have assessed an individual’s taxes and sent a written Notice and Demand for Payment.

2. The tax paying individual must have refused or neglected to pay the ordered tax within the allotted time as described in the written notice

3. The IRS must have sent a written Final Notice of Intent to Levy along with a Notice of Your Right to A Hearing 30 days prior to the hearing.

On top of this- the Final Notice does not have to be received by the offender. So, plenty of individuals are not even aware of the fact that they have been served until they begin experiencing wage garnishment.

What should you, the taxpaying individual, do in such a scenario? Immediately contact an experienced debt attorney who has dealt with wage garnishment. Explain your situation and disclose all information he/ she requests of you. If you or a loved one is facing or experiencing wage garnishment- give us a call today!

Fridlin & Associates, P.C. 

(718) 372- 4400

1517 Voorhies Ave. 4th Floor

Brooklyn, NY 11235

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Top 11 Myths About Bankruptcy

1. Congress ended bankruptcy in 2005

In 2005 the government passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA). This new act did not remove the old bankruptcy law, but rather added to and altered the procedures of filing for bankruptcy. The process is now more complex and requires more paperwork, but this is the job of your lawyer- to ensure simplicity and effectiveness.

2. Everyone will know you filed for bankruptcy

This is absolutely not true! Since bankruptcy is public information, if someone specifically searches detailed information on you, they will be able to see your file. Other than that, the only individuals who will know whether you file for bankruptcy is you, your attorney, your creditors, and anyone you choose to disclose such information to.

3. If you file for bankruptcy, you will lose Everything you have

This is the furthest from the truth. Most of the time individuals who file for bankruptcy only lose their debts. There are Federal and state laws in place that exempt and protect certain assets, such as property and 401(K) accounts. We can help you figure out exactly what is exempt for your individual case.

4. You will never own anything again

Following your discharge from bankruptcy, you will be able to own anything you wish. Although bankruptcy stays on your record for 7-10 years, the more time passes, the less important bankruptcy is to lenders. The fact is that lenders have to lend in order to profit. You will be considered a high risk borrower at first, but as time goes on, your past will matter less and less. If you lost your home, you should be able to qualify for a normal rate FHA home loan after 2 years of discharge.

5. You will never get a credit card again

Being as an individual may only file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy once every eight years, once you are discharged from bankruptcy, you are an excellent potential borrower. You no longer have any debt and need credit in order to move forward. This makes you a very attractive loan candidate. On top of this, lenders know you will not be able to file again for almost a decade, so their money is in good hands.

6. Filing for bankruptcy kills your credit

Although bankruptcy remains on your credit for 7-10 years, it does not destroy your credit for this long. Typically, by the time most individuals file for bankruptcy, their credit is already very bad. So, the quicker they file, the quicker they will recover. The only way to kill your credit when it comes to filing bankruptcy is if you miss post-bankruptcy payments. Bankruptcy wipes your slate clean. Your credit is typically restored 2-4 years following a discharge.

7. Both spouses have to file

Although it might make sense for a husband and wife to file for bankruptcy jointly if they have a ton of debt, it is not a requirement. Sometimes it is smarter for just one spouse to file in order to keep the other spouse’s credit in good standing. Even if there is joint debt, so long as the non-filing spouse remains current on payments, the non-filing spouse’s credit will not be affected.

8. Only losers file for bankruptcy

This is an absolute lie! Most individuals who file for bankruptcy are hard working and honest people, who ran out of options. Bankruptcy is a last resort for them. 90% of bankruptcies are the result of uncontrollable events, such as illnesses, divorce, job loss, etc. Only 10% of bankruptcies are the result of financial irresponsibility and lack of intelligence.

9. Chapter 11 is for “Businesses Only”

This is simply not true. The Bankruptcy Code 109 sub-paragraph states that individuals as well as corporations may file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In the case you decide to file under Chapter 11, make sure your lawyer is experienced with this type of bankruptcy, as it is the most complex section of the Bankruptcy Code.

10. You must owe a Minimum amount of debt to file

If you are struggling to pay your debt, you may qualify for bankruptcy. Every situation is unique and there is no set minimum to file for bankruptcy. We are here to help you decide whether you qualify and which Chapter best suits your needs.

11. It is super hard and expensive to file for bankruptcy

Different offices charge different fees for filing bankruptcy. Because we understand that filing for bankruptcy is the last resort for you, we offer free consultations for all bankruptcy clients. As far as the difficulty of filing for bankruptcy- do not worry! This is your lawyer’s concern. Our goal is to make this transition in your life as painless and simple as possible.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

Fridlin & Associates, P.C.

1517 Voorhies Ave, Suite 4

Brooklyn, NY 11235

(718) 372-4400

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