All posts by J. Wrobel

August 2017 Chicago Bankruptcy Question and Answer Podcast with Joseph Wrobel

Chicago bankruptcy and consumer credit attorney Joseph Wrobel shares news and updates in bankruptcy law as well as business and consumer financial matters. It has been documented that financial troubles can cause all sorts of ailments, the most common of which is sleeplessness. Joseph Wrobel helps clients alleviate their anxiety created by the inability to pay bills and the embarrassment of financial distress. Click/tap here to listen to this podcast interview anytime.

Sample questions answered in this 30-minute show:

  • When can a bankruptcy be removed from my credit report?
  • Will I lose my US citizenship or be deported if I file for bankruptcy?
  • If you file for bankruptcy, is every credit card you have included?
  • Can another party collect from me in small claims court if I am in bankruptcy?
  • If I file for bankruptcy, can I keep my home and my car if I was never late on those?

Joseph Wrobel has been a practicing attorney since 1973 and has experience in a wide variety of law relating to legal matters for individuals and families. Wrobel helps clients get out of debt and get a fresh start. He is an active member in several bar associations and the Bankruptcy Panel of Pro Bono Program of the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. After serving the U.S. Army Reserve 363rd Civil Affairs Unit, Wrobel earned a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University and in 1973, he earned a JD from DePaul University Law School.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

Visit our Chicago Bankruptcy website online for more about the firm or call for more information at (312) 781-0996 or e-mail at JosephWrobel@ChicagoBankruptcy.com.

7 bankruptcy repercussions are myths not to worry about

While some people take advantage of bankruptcy laws to improve their lives and finances, others have a long list of excuses why they refuse to file for bankruptcy protection. While some of the concerns people have are reasonable, they are often blown way out of proportion by the people who do not want you to get a bankruptcy. Who are these naysayers? Largely the people who work in the business of debt consolidation will try to scare you with misconceptions about bankruptcy.

Here is a list of bankruptcy repercussions you were told about but will probably never experience:

  1. The bankruptcy trustee will take everything you own. Not true: There are state exemptions allowing you to keep your personal belongings, vehicle and equity in your home up to a certain dollar amount.
  1. Everyone in town will know about your bankruptcy. Not unless you tell them: Where in the past years bankruptcies were more difficult or less common they may have appeared in the newspaper. Nowadays and especially in a big city like Chicago, nobody will ever know unless you tell them.
  1. Your wife will leave you and take the kids. While it’s possible, it’s unlikely: The negative stigma that used to follow a bankruptcy many years ago is no longer an issue for so many people who likely know people who got a bankruptcy and are doing well and are financially successful after their bankruptcy.
  1. You won’t be able to keep your home or car. You have options: You may keep your car if its value falls within exemption limits or you can sign a reaffirmation agreement to keep the car and make payments on it despite the bankruptcy. Keeping your home may be equally feasible through a Chapter 7 discharge or Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy case.
  1. The boss will surely fire you when they find out. Your boss has no reason to know: Unless you tell your boss that you need a day off work to attend your initial bankruptcy hearing, they have no reason to know about it. In fact, many people file for bankruptcy to prevent their boss from knowing about a wage garnishment, something they can avoid if they file bankruptcy.
  1. You won’t be able to rent an apartment. Not true: Even people with the most concerning financial track records are able to rent an apartment, and the only difference may be an extra month’s worth of a security deposit required by the landlord.
  1. You will never be able to get credit again. Biggest misconception: The moment your former debts are wiped away in bankruptcy, you have more spending power and a better ability to pay your bills. Not long after a bankruptcy you can get a secured credit card and start rebuilding your credit, focusing on your current and future credit while forgetting about the past.

If you want to learn the real expectations you should have when considering a bankruptcy filing, contact Joseph Wrobel, Limited to learn bankruptcy is like in the present day.

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

 

July 2017 Chicago Bankruptcy Question and Answer Podcast with Joseph Wrobel

Chicago bankruptcy and consumer credit attorney Joseph Wrobel shares news and updates in bankruptcy law as well as business and consumer financial matters. It has been documented that financial troubles can cause all sorts of ailments, the most common of which is sleeplessness. Joseph Wrobel helps clients alleviate their anxiety created by the inability to pay bills and the embarrassment of financial distress. Click/tap here to listen to this podcast interview anytime.

Sample questions answered in this 30-minute show:

  • Can you, and when should you include a title loan in your bankruptcy filing?
  • If you owe money to a business that files bankruptcy, do you still need to pay?
  • When you need to file bankruptcy and get a new car, what is the best plan?
  • What does someone need to do to prepare for a bankruptcy case?
  • Are Social Security and pensions safe from creditors when you file for bankruptcy?

Joseph Wrobel has been a practicing attorney since 1973 and has experience in a wide variety of law relating to legal matters for individuals and families. Wrobel helps clients get out of debt and get a fresh start. He is an active member in several bar associations and the Bankruptcy Panel of Pro Bono Program of the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. After serving the U.S. Army Reserve 363rd Civil Affairs Unit, Wrobel earned a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University and in 1973, he earned a JD from DePaul University Law School.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

Visit our Chicago Bankruptcy website online for more about the firm or call for more information at (312) 781-0996 or e-mail at JosephWrobel@ChicagoBankruptcy.com.

New Credit Reporting Rules: Many may find relief from reports of tax liens and civil judgments

New rules provide credit score relief for some people who have tax liens and civil money judgments against them. Errors on consumer credit reports have been a problem for a long time and many people have incorrect information on their credit reports. New credit reporting rules take effect July 1 and change the way Trans Union, Experian and Equifax verify data regarding the reporting of tax liens and civil judgments. Now, the three credit reporting agencies must verify the individual’s name, address and either social security number or date of birth. Since so many companies omit social security numbers for privacy concerns, there may be a large group of people who will no longer have tax liens and civil judgements appearing on their credit reports. This should also help prevent future instances of information appearing on the wrong person’s credit report.

The purpose of credit reporting and monitoring

From applying for a cell phone account or utility to buying a car or home, our credit rating is used to determine where we stand on the scale of credit risk. With great credit, we present a low risk of not making our payments in full and on time. The volume of credit data and computer systems processing and sharing information open the door to error. If we do not check our credit scores frequently, someone else’s negative information could prevent you from being accepted for a mortgage loan or a new credit card. Imagine finding out your credit score was damaged by another person’s tax lien or the civil judgement entered against them.

How errors happen and how prevalent they may be

With tax liens alone, some estimates suggest that half of the tax lien information reported to the credit bureaus has ended up appearing on the wrong person’s credit report. When social security numbers are available to the individuals reporting tax liens, one missed number could cause the wrong person to receive a negative mark on their credit report.

Even if someone checks their credit frequently, or pays a few bucks every month for a credit monitoring service, the effort it can take to correct the mistake can be staggering.

How the new rules apply to tax liens and civil judgments

The rule change for reporting information to the credit bureaus about tax liens and civil judgements will require the verification of three pieces of vital information, the individual’s name, address, and either their social security number or date of birth.

By requiring three sets of identifying criteria be matched before receiving credit reporting data about tax liens and civil judgments, the likelihood of mismatches is significantly reduced.

The new rules take effect July 1. This article in USA Today has more information about the new rules and how they might apply to you.

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

 

Tips on creating new rewards by playing the money saving game

Saving money is just as easy as spending money when you save a little at a time. Have you ever considered making a budget and thought you had more money to save until you realized that you spend more on gas, food and extras? Spending and saving money are simple habits that we develop. The same way we get in the habit of stopping for coffee on the way to work, we can just as easily get in the habit of making coffee at home and taking time to read the newspaper before leaving the house. There are many articles written on theories and plans for budgeting money. As you consider them, you may find something that speaks to you and makes sense. However, you decide to budget and save to get ahead, doing something is better than nothing and every big goal is reached by many small steps.

Budgets and discretionary spending money

Discretionary spending is supposed to be the use of money on little things we want here and there after our primary financial needs have been met. When you write out a monthly budget of your primary financial needs, do you include money to be stashed away for savings or a rainy-day fund? If not, you might think again about calling “extra” money “discretionary” when you have no savings.

How much do you need to save for unexpected and future expenses such as retirement? It all depends on what you really need to live. The people who maintain high standards of living in luxury will require significantly more money in savings and retirement, than do those who live conservatively. One budget does not fit everyone, but there are a few guidelines, including how much money you might consider spending on your housing, for example.

Tips on budgeting and creating saving habits

In the article, How to Budget Your Money With the 50/20/30 Guideline, there are tips and examples of budgets that consider your goals and help you get ahead.

Habits and reinforcers, are they key to many smart personal savings plans. Just as we form habits of getting our coffee from our own machine or at a coffee shop on the way to work, we can form habits of stashing money away instead of spending to get a reward. When we spend money buying things and consuming we trigger the reward center in our brain. What if instead of instant rewards, we look closer into the reward of instantly increasing our power to buy something in the future?

Spend money investing in yourself. We all get bored and may want a distraction from time to time. These are the moments when we spend money doing something to entertain ourselves or take our minds of other things. Instead of running out and spending money on something you don’t need, spend the same amount on yourself by putting that money into a savings account. The next time you want to spend some money and earn a reward, take a drive to the bank and deposit some more money to your savings account. Your teller receipt will keep showing your growing balance.

Reinforcing positive spending habits and being proud of yourself

Ask yourself, would you rather have that money building in your savings or the other thing or activity you would have spent the money on? Even if you only save money every other time you want to spend money, you may choose to save more often than you spend.

As you continue finding little ways to save more money here and there you can watch your savings continue increasing, and that gives you the same reward sensation as buying or consuming something you like. Just as you can plant a garden, watch it grow and enjoy its benefits, you may feel very protective and proud of that money you were able to save.

Next, ask yourself how you can find some more money in your budget to add to your savings. By spending a little time and energy you can negotiate reduced rates for your household and utility bills – there may be easily be $100 or more you can find to save by simply reducing your monthly bills. As you continue finding more ways to cut spending and increase savings, you are reinforcing good habits and giving yourself a greater reward.

Spending and saving money are habits and after a bankruptcy, you can create some fantastic new habits that can lead you directly to financial success!

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

 

 

Mortgage loan options after bankruptcy

There are several types of mortgages available in to home buyers after a bankruptcy discharge. After a bankruptcy discharge under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 you may be able to qualify for a mortgage sooner than you think. When your debt to income ratio is better after discharging some or all debts, you may be a better lending risk when you have more disposable income to save money and pay bills. After your bankruptcy discharge you have some time to work on re-establishing your credit and saving money for down payments and closing costs. When you are ready to start shopping for a mortgage there are several options to consider depending on your personal situation and home ownership goals.

How long will I have to wait?

There are two types of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 (full discharge) and Chapter 13 (partial discharge and reorganization). Many people with Chapter 13 bankruptcies are approved for government-backed mortgages after one year or they could be approved for a conventional mortgage loan after two years. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy filers may have to wait three or four years after their discharge to be approved for a new mortgage.

Some people chose to take at least two years or more to rebuild their credit using secured credit cards and small loans, while also saving cash for the expenses involved in putting money down and closing on a new home. The longer you wait, the better interest rate you may get. This is not always true however because interest rates fluctuate.

Conventional and government-insured loans

The difference between conventional loans and those insured by the U.S. Government is the financial guarantee for the lender, in case the individual fails to pay the mortgage. Conventional loans are not guaranteed by the federal government, and because they are not secured, the buyer must have better finances.

The common government-insured mortgage loans are the FHA loans, VA loans and USDA loans:

  • FHA loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration allow participants to make down payments as low as 3.5%. Purchasers will be required to pay for mortgage insurance which increases monthly payments;
  • VA loans secured by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs help military service members and their families buy homes with 100% financing meaning the purchaser only needs to pay the closing costs.
  • USDA loans are insured by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and benefit rural buyers who satisfy income requirements including a steady middle class income who otherwise may not qualify for conventional loans.

Adjustable vs fixed-rate mortgages

If you are approved for a fixed-rate mortgage when interest rates are low you will be locked in at that low mortgage rate for the entire term of the loan and your monthly payment will not change. The other type of loan is an adjustable-rate mortgage loan (ARMs) which have interest rates that change from time to time based on interest rates. Some ARMs provide fixed rates for several years after which time the rate is subject to adjustment based on the rates at the future date. If interest rates are high on mortgages when you are applying, you might want an ARM so that you can try to lock in a better rate when the rates go down. You always have the opportunity to refinance your loan and select a fixed-rate mortgage after having an ARM for some time.

For more information about applying for mortgages after a bankruptcy, please call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd.

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

 

May 2017 Chicago Bankruptcy Question and Answer Podcast with Joseph Wrobel

Chicago bankruptcy and consumer credit attorney Joseph Wrobel shares news and updates in bankruptcy law as well as business and consumer financial matters. It has been documented that financial troubles can cause all sorts of ailments, the most common of which is sleeplessness. Joseph Wrobel helps clients alleviate their anxiety created by the inability to pay bills and the embarrassment of financial distress. Click/tap here to listen to this podcast interview anytime.

Sample questions answered in this 30-minute show:

  • Can the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee take my IRS refund?
  • Will a prior credit counseling certificate work for my new bankruptcy?
  • How long can a creditor in Illinois file a lawsuit against you?
  • Am I responsible for my wife’s credit card debt?
  • Is it possible to vacate a dismissed bankruptcy?

Joseph Wrobel has been a practicing attorney since 1973 and has experience in a wide variety of law relating to legal matters for individuals and families. Wrobel helps clients get out of debt and get a fresh start. He is an active member in several bar associations and the Bankruptcy Panel of Pro Bono Program of the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. After serving the U.S. Army Reserve 363rd Civil Affairs Unit, Wrobel earned a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University and in 1973, he earned a JD from DePaul University Law School.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

Visit our Chicago Bankruptcy website online for more about the firm or call for more information at (312) 781-0996 or e-mail at JosephWrobel@ChicagoBankruptcy.com.

Using credit cards and boosting your credit score after bankruptcy

 

After a bankruptcy discharge of those pesky debts you don’t miss, your available cash flow is increased and you should have more spending power. Your credit score is a function of several variables, not a mean person sitting in judgment of you. As you have more cash flow and spending ability, the decision to extend credit to you is easier because you are more likely to pay the bills when you can afford to. Once you get new credit cards there are a few things you should do to maximize your opportunity to boost your credit score.

Your credit score is determined by a variety of financial factors:

  • Credit card utilization
  • Payment history
  • Derogatory marks
  • Age of credit history
  • Total accounts
  • Hard inquiries

When you use credit cards and are working on boosting your credit score to qualify for a new home, many credit advisors will tell you to use your credit cards but not more than 30 or 40 percent of the available credit rating. It’s a good idea to pay your fixed expenses such as phone or internet with the credit card. Since you know you must pay that bill anyways, why not build your credit?

The next step with the credit cards is setting up automatic minimum monthly payments to be made by your debit card or checking account so you never have to worry about a late payment. When you pay your bill, which is easy to do now on apps on your phone, do not pay the entire balance. It is better to leave a few dollars on your balance so that it appears you are actively using the card – once a month the credit cards send a report to the credit bureaus and if your balance is zero it may look like you are not using the card and that can damage your credit score.

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

Amnesty Week, collection fees waived in Cook County April 17 through 21

Want to save money? This coming week is Amnesty Week at the Circuit Court Clerk’s office. From this Monday the 17th of April through Friday the 21st your collection fees will be waived when you pay your fines in person or by phone.

For more information visit www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org

Clerk Dorothy Brown April 2017 Amnesty Week flyer

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

March 2017 Chicago Bankruptcy Question and Answer Podcast with Joseph Wrobel

Chicago bankruptcy and consumer credit attorney Joseph Wrobel shares news and updates in bankruptcy law as well as business and consumer financial matters. It has been documented that financial troubles can cause all sorts of ailments, the most common of which is sleeplessness. Joseph Wrobel helps clients alleviate their anxiety created by the inability to pay bills and the embarrassment of financial distress. Click/tap here to listen to this podcast interview anytime.

Sample questions answered in this 30-minute show:

  • How can I keep my car when I file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
  • How can my bankruptcy come off my credit reports but still shows up in public record searches?
  • What happens to my house if I file bankruptcy and my name is on the deed but not the loan?
  • I surrendered my car in my bankruptcy but the finance company hasn’t picked it up, now what?
  • What does it mean if a creditor has written off debt that’s included in my Chapter 13 plan?

Joseph Wrobel has been a practicing attorney since 1973 and has experience in a wide variety of law relating to legal matters for individuals and families. Wrobel helps clients get out of debt and get a fresh start. He is an active member in several bar associations and the Bankruptcy Panel of Pro Bono Program of the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. After serving the U.S. Army Reserve 363rd Civil Affairs Unit, Wrobel earned a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University and in 1973, he earned a JD from DePaul University Law School.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

Visit our Chicago Bankruptcy website online for more about the firm or call for more information at (312) 781-0996 or e-mail at JosephWrobel@ChicagoBankruptcy.com.