Tag Archives: Joseph Wrobel Chicago Bankruptcy

NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment

Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment and Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness

Student loan debt, second only to mortgages, is the leading debt category for consumers. The rising cost of college tuition and living expenses causes many students to apply for student loans to cover more of the tuition and expenses students cannot afford. When graduating, many students have significant debt.

“The average student in the Class of 2016 has $37,172 in student loan debt. The average student in the Class of 2017 has almost $40,000 in student loan debt.”[i] The student loans for doctors and many healthcare professionals are significantly higher and have monthly payment amounts equal to the amount of monthly of mortgage payments.

For others who are not healthcare professionals, skip down to the section of this article about Public Student Loan Forgiveness for government and nonprofit employees.

Too many young healthcare graduates can’t pay student loans and maintain a standard of living.

The rising cost of living coupled with slow to rise wages and hourly pay, too many young graduates may have to chose among paying student loans or their basics daily needs. As a result, many must use limited forbearance time and or not pay their loans.

Unpaid student loans are a significant problem. Collection activity can be aggressive and lead many to file a bankruptcy case, stopping the collection with the Automatic Stay provision of the bankruptcy code in a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy case. Call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. for bankruptcy information (312) 781-0996.

Meanwhile there is another solution for healthcare professionals that also combats opioid addiction!

“Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, midwives, physician assistance, behavioral health professionals and substance abuse disorder counselors, among others”[ii] are eligible to apply for student loan repayment.

Eligible applicants who complete the program can qualify for up to $37,500 worth of loan forgiveness or for up to $75,000 worth of loan forgiveness depending on their participation in a part-time or full-time service in identified underserved communities.

Struggling neighborhoods and communities fight the opioid epidemic with whatever they have, and it is not enough. Young healthcare professional graduates excited about this loan repayment program have a unique opportunity to work off their student loans by serving in an approved substance use disorder site. The approved substance use disorder sites are in health professional shortage areas.

NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Programs Require 3 Year Commitments

Three years of full-time service, working in an under-served neighborhood substance use disorder site can earn the qualified healthcare professional up to $75,000 in loan repayment. For healthcare professionals who cannot work full-time but can make part-time commitments, they can receive up toe $37,500 for their service to members of communities who might otherwise become a daily statistic.

“Every day, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), more than 130 people die due to opioid-related drug overdoses.[iii]

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Programs for City, State and Federal Employees                         

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is for federal student loans for all types of employees work in public service. Employees who have jobs with a government or not-for-profit organizations can use the tools on the U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid website to learn more to see whether they might qualify.

Generally, qualified applicants work full-time a government agency or approved nonprofit, have Direct Loans on an income-driven repayment plan and make 120 qualifying payments.

What if I don’t have a healthcare job or work for a government or nonprofit employer?

People with student loans who do not qualify for the Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment or the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program can still take advantage of Federal Student Aid repayment plans to ease the financial burden on borrowers who are growing their careers and small businesses to be better able to pay off their student loans in the future.

When your federal student loan payment schedule is high compared to your income, an income-driven repayment plan can help you stay current with your student loans while your ability to pay is less than you would otherwise like.

There are four income-driven repayment plans on the Federal Student Aid site:                        

  • Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan
  • Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan
  • Income-Based Repayment Plan
  • Income-Contingent Repayment Plan

Consult a Tax Expert with Questions About Student Loan Forgiveness Plans

When certain types of debts are forgiven there can be a tax liability. For example, when credit card companies agree to “write off” a percentage of the debt you owe, that “forgiven” amount can be taxable and be included as income on your tax return.

Always determine the details of any tax liability for any student loan repayment or forgiveness plan, whether a federal student loan or a private student loan.

If Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Helps You with Student Loans, Call us at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd.

A Chapter 13 “reorganization bankruptcy” allows you to enter a repayment plan to pay back portions of your debts over a three to five-year period. You can include your student loans in your monthly repayment plan.

Despite all our best efforts and hard work, bad things can happen to all good people and everyone deserves a fresh start and to take advantage of the bankruptcy laws that were passed in order to help us in a time of financial need. Contact us through our website or call us at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. in Chicago at (312) 781-0996 to set an appointment to talk about your financial questions and to help you determine if a bankruptcy would make sense to you and would help give you relief from your financial woes.

[i] Forbes: This New Program Will Pay $75,000 Of Your Student Loans. By Zach Friedman, Feb. 7, 2019.

[ii] See Forbes article in HNi

[iii][iii] See Forbes article in HNi

Bankruptcy for Unpaid Workers

Bankruptcy for Unpaid Workers in Chicago Who Run Out of Money

The current government shutdown causes people to ask themselves what would happen if they did not receive their paycheck for several weeks or longer. For families living on budgets, not receiving pay means the bills are not going to be paid. Unpaid workers without savings to temporary replace regular income can lose their homes, cars and credit cards if payments are delinquent.

Even though currently unpaid government workers are promised to receive their back pay after the shutdown, they may not be paying their mortgage, rent, car payment, student loans, utilities and other financial obligations. How long would you be able to continue without pay and the immediate need to get another source of income.

In many cases the unpaid workers with specialized work skills and experience cannot find another job very easily, and not at the same pay grade.

Read an article by CNBC focused on 800,000 workers without pay and the impact of the shutdown: “Workers going unpaid during the shutdown owe $438 million in rent and mortgage payments this month.”

Examples of Situations Causing Unpaid Workers Who Consider Bankruptcy

Workers are unpaid for a variety of reasons. Layoffs happen in manufacturing due to slow business or problems. Companies with a cash flow problem may not be able to pay their workers on time. Sometimes a struggling company does not have enough money in the bank for all the payroll checks to clear. In other cases, the employers accounts could be seized or frozen. For people working as contractors for others, one party may refuse to pay because they have an issue with the work not being performed correctly. In each of these scenarios, the unpaid employee still needs to pay their bills.

Unless workers have several months of bill paying money set aside for cash flow emergencies, they may be considering their bankruptcy options. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies have features and options that will help people and their families.

The Automatic Stay Provision of the Bankruptcy Code Stops Creditors from Contacting You

Creditors and bill collectors are aggressive and persistent. Economic conditions like a government shutdown mean that many workers will not get their paychecks. After the bills come due and are not paid, collectors have options. Some waive late fees and extend due dates. Temporary relief runs out at some point. Aggressive bill collectors want you to pay them before you pay someone else. They will call you and send extra past due notices in the mail. When friends or relatives listed as references on loans getting phone calls about you not paying your bill it can be embarrassing and aggravating.

The “Automatic Stay” stops bill collectors in their tracks. When either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is filed, including a list of all the creditors the filer may owe, those creditors receive notice that they may not continue any collection activity so long as the bankruptcy case is ongoing.

Save your home from foreclosure and sale by filing for bankruptcy, taking advantage of the automatic stay. The bankruptcy postpones foreclosures and sales.

Our Bankruptcy Blogger article explains the automatic stay in further detail: The Automatic Stay: It Stops Bill Collectors in Their Tracks. Call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. today to get more information (312) 781-0996.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for Unpaid Workers

For some unpaid workers a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case might have already been on their mind. When people have debt, they cannot afford to pay, when they are making less income than before, and when the outlook for paying off all the debt is bleak, a fresh start with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can make a major difference for a family struggling with money and bills.

The point someone who already has financial troubles doesn’t receive their paycheck, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will help. Eliminate the credit card debt, the payments for a car worth less than owed. Eliminate the mortgage on the house that is too big and expensive.

When people start over after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they can control their budgets and not get behind in debt. And when people no longer owe money to so many creditors, they become a better credit risk. Rebuilding credit after a bankruptcy takes some time but is easier than people think.

Learn more about rebuilding credit. Read our article, Good Credit After Bankruptcy on the Bankruptcy Blogger section of the Joseph Wrobel, Ltd website. See also results for searching our site for the word “credit.”

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy for Unpaid Workers

Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be attractive to unpaid workers who expect to receive their back pay but who need temporary protection from collections and foreclosures. When you file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy you can “cure” your mortgage default by making up past payments over months.

A Chapter 13 “reorganization” bankruptcy can last three to five years, giving the unpaid employee time to catch up on debts when the paychecks stopped coming for whatever reason.

One misconception about Chapter 13 is that every dollar owed must be repaid. In fact, depending on a person’s financial calculations, they may only have to repay a percentage of the amount owed.

To save your home, car and other assets you don’t want liquidated, call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. and learn where you stand and for which type of bankruptcy you qualify. Call day or night (312) 781-0996.

Read Homeowners Keep Their Home Using Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Laws.

Joseph Wrobel Can Help if Bankruptcy Makes Sense and Will Help Unpaid Workers Get a Fresh Start

When you call Chicago bankruptcy lawyer Joseph Wrobel and make an appointment at one of the conveniently located offices around the Chicago area you are taking the next step in finding out if bankruptcy is the right thing to save you from money problems.

At your meeting with Joseph Wrobel when your financial information is processed, he will tell you about your options under the bankruptcy law. If you or a friend is an unpaid employee because of a shutdown, lack of business, layoff or any reason, contact online or call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. today and get the information about bankruptcy for unpaid workers, to turn off the bill collectors and turn on your fresh financial start. The main Chicago office telephone number is (312) 781-0996.

Chicago Bankruptcy Q&A Podcast with Joseph Wrobel: November 2017

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.

Chicago bankruptcy
Helping people get out of debt with dignity and respect for over 40 years.

Sample questions answered in this 30-minute show: Use this link to listen anytime.

  • What happens when a corporation I sued filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
  • Do I have to include my paid for automobile in my Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
  • What happens when my car loan co-signor files for bankruptcy?
  • What happens if a bankruptcy lawyer does not file my bankruptcy petition?
  • I missed my date to file a bankruptcy claim, what happens to my rights?
  • In bankruptcy can I pay for the value of my car instead of what I actually owe?
  • How will my ex-husband’s bankruptcy affect my home if he’s on the mortgage?
  • Can a family member loan me money for a down payment if I am in Chapter 13?

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!

 

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!

 

 

7 situations leading people to take advantage of bankruptcy laws

Despite our best efforts at living responsible lives, paying our bills on time and saving for the future, bad things happen to good people. Instead of being saddled with debts you cannot pay and bill collectors hounding you, consider wiping the slate clear of misfortune and getting the fresh start you need with a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. These laws exist to level the playing field and help people out in the face of economic disaster. Most people who are fearful of bankruptcy report that after they filed for bankruptcy, the process was easy, painless, and led to a speedier economic recovery.

The following is a list of realistic situations that lead many people to seek bankruptcy protection:

  1. Your company went out of business.

In the news, we watch reports of manufacturing facilities and companies closing their doors for a variety of reasons. Many people who may have worked for these businesses, some for most their working life, have difficulties finding a new job with similar pay and benefits. Too often people take one or two jobs to make up lost income. In the meantime, bills can go unpaid or underpaid, and when it is your mortgage that falls behind to the point of foreclosure, bankruptcy may be the only way to save your shirt, and your home.

  1. You lost your ability to do work.

Injuries happen and may be nobody’s fault. A slip and fall at home shoveling a snowy and icy driveway can be enough to put you out of work. Ideally you can seek proper medical care and find a way to keep your job. When the inability to work cripples your finances and you risk losing it all, you can save yourself with bankruptcy protection. If injured at work you may be pursuing a worker’s compensation claim or a disability claim with Social Security regardless of where you were injured. These cases can take time and you may not be able to wait it out as the bill collectors become more aggressive and the bank or landlord is threatening foreclosure or eviction.

  1. An uninsured driver hit you and caused injuries.

Despite having your own insurance policy to protect against uninsured or under-insured motorists, there can be problems when insurance companies fail to pay or do not pay enough money to sustain your financial needs if you are injured, unable to work or have significant unexpected expenses. Being admitted to the hospital can be very expensive. It can also be expensive trying to pay a high deductible for health insurance if you are forced to seek recovery for injuries on your health insurance when drivers’ insurance fails to cover expenses. Suing the person who hit you without sufficient insurance can be a zero-sum game if the person has no assets. Bankruptcy may be your only way out from behind the financial eight ball.

  1. A divorce makes it impossible to pay old debts.

When things move from I do to I want out, the financial landscape changes very quickly. If you and your spouse were already barely making ends meet, the extra money for divorce lawyers and the additional expenses of supporting a spouse with temporary alimony, as well as court ordered child support can cripple an individual’s ability to keep up with debts and expenses. Divorce may trigger a good reason to use bankruptcy to wipe out credit card debts and old bills in collections. Please understand however, you may not use bankruptcy to eliminate your duty to pay child support or alimony.

  1. An investment or business deal failed.

Television shows about greedy swindlers and crooks show us how easily some people can lose their life savings in failed investment deals and scams. Whether the loss is a result of a swindler or simply an investment that failed to produce returns, your banks and creditors want their money and are not likely interested in your excuse of a failed business or investment deal that prevents you from keeping up with your bills. Bankruptcy may be the best option for you to eliminate debts you cannot repay after a financial loss.

  1. Missed and late payments affected payment arrangements.

In many payment arrangements, there is an acceleration clause stating that if you miss a certain number of payments during a period, you may be responsible for paying the full amount due. Collection companies may file suit against you to obtain a money judgment and try to seize your assets or garnish your wages. Depending on your finances and the amount you owe, a bankruptcy can stop this type of collection activity when you qualify for a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy.

  1. You are sued and found liable for a wrong you cannot afford to right.

In a similar situation to a failed payment arrangement, a lawsuit and money judgment entered against you can also involve attempts to collect the amount of the judgment using asset and income seizures. When people are sued, the role of the court is to decide whether the plaintiff is owed money and how much. If you are the defendant and are sued and lose, all the plaintiff has over you is a court judgement. While that judgment would allow them to collect on the judgment, you have every right to get rid of it using bankruptcy. The court knows you have a right to use the bankruptcy laws and there is nothing a civil court judge can do if you chose to seek relief through bankruptcy laws.

When you for bankruptcy protection, the Automatic Stay provision kicks in and the collectors must cease and desist the phone calls and collection activity. You have an initial court appearance at the Notice of Creditors meeting and after that, most wait for further instructions, if any, from their bankruptcy attorney. The process can be accomplished in only a few short months in many cases, making bankruptcy one of the more efficient legal processes.

To learn more, call us at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. to learn how we can help you. (312) 781-0996.

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!

 

Being prepared to avoid scams and identity thieves

The beginning of November is a real kickoff to the holiday season. Along with the holidays comes identity theft. Is it because we are all so busy that we let our guard down? Is it because the increase in spending means there is more data to hack and grab? In addition to identity theft, scammers are also working to lighten your wallet and drain your bank account. There are habits you can learn and put into place to protect yourself during the holidays and all year round.

Step 1: Find a “techie” person who can research and spot the wolves in sheep’s clothing

Do you get phone calls from telemarketers who have the most amazing offer that will change your life? Maybe the person is selling gold currency or reverse mortgages. How do you know if they are scamming you? A good rule of thumb is when you want a product or service, you should do your research and find it locally. If you inclined to answer telemarketer calls, take down all the information and do some research on the legitimacy of the offer and the organization contacting you. If you do not feel comfortable in your investigation skills, find a family member who can help you out. It’s better to put your pride aside and ask for help than allowing yourself to be scammed or have your identity stolen.

Step 2: Get back to using cash or gift cards when you can

Remember the big chain stores having problems with credit card information being stolen? How about getting gas at one of the gas stations with the card skimmers? The volume of credit and debit card activity is significant around the holidays, and that means there can be a greater risk of identity theft. Maybe cash is not your preferred payment method and you want to swipe – find a gift card you can put money on and use for holiday shopping. It’s better than someone getting your debit or credit card and cause you undue burdens and stress.

Step 3: Learn about how the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau helps identify theft victims

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is an excellent source of information about identity theft and consumer scams. You can report scams and identity theft right on their website. They also share the laws that protect us from consumer fraud. Your credit rating is an asset and if the credit reporting bureaus fail to restore your credit rating after identity theft, you can sue them. We can connect you with a consumer law firm specializing in just that.

Step 4: Make it a habit to write down and log all your incoming phone calls

If you are receiving robo calls from telemarketers or bill collectors, you can act against them and will need to list the dates, times and what was generally said on the call or voicemail. When you answer the phone and someone on the other end has the deal of a lifetime to offer you, ask for their name or operator identification number. If they don’t tell you who they are you have good reason to disconnect the call and make a note that they called and refused to identify themselves. Information is power and the more you take control of these situations, the more empowered you may be to do something about it.

Step 5: Bolster your expectations of privacy and be vigilant with your personal information

For a few years people became lazy about expectations of privacy. Many assumed the banks and merchants would protect us and nothing bad would happen other than the loss of a few bucks we could get back easily. What happens when the identity thief gets a driver’s license in your name and kills someone in a DUI hit and run, with license plates in your name? Instead of giving out information like your social security number, take the extra time to use a different way to identify yourself. The damage a crook can do to your credit and identity is significant and well worth an ounce of prevention.

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!

 

PODCAST: September 2016 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 I stop a debt consolidation and file bankruptcy instead of continuing to make payments?
  • As a foreign resident in the U.S., can I also file for bankruptcy protection without being citizen?
  • Can I file for bankruptcy to discharge personal tax liability to the state in which I live?
  • I am facing an eviction and worried about the money I may owe, should I file for bankruptcy?
  • Can I file for bankruptcy if a creditor threatens to revive a money judgement against me?

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.

February 2016 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 ANYTIME

Sample questions answered in this 30-minute show:

  • What is the minimum amount of debt required to file for bankruptcy?
  • Will my fiancée’s student loan debt become my debt once we are married?
  • Can my spouse be sued for debts, or her assets seized I owe if I file for bankruptcy alone?
  • Can a chapter 13 bankruptcy help me reduce my monthly student loan payments?

 

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.

Lottery winners next door: Rich neighbors can lead to your bankruptcy

Keeping up with the Joneses is one thing, but what happens when you’re keeping up with the Joneses who just won the Powerball? There have been several reports and articles written about the negative impact the lottery has on prizewinners. People who hit the jackpot tend to attract lost uncles and friends from years past who may be down on their luck. In many cases lottery winners feel guilty for having so much money without doing anything other than buying a lottery ticket, and they start giving it away. After a while, the money out the door can take on the effect of a snowball gaining size and momentum as it rolls downhill. Poor, poor lottery winner some say, nevertheless, the stories are there and they don’t stop with the lottery winners. A new report indicates the neighbors of lottery winners may be in trouble too.

The new study by the Wall Street Journal links a rise in bankruptcies to lottery winners nearby.

Research compiled and reviewed in the study of the affect of lottery winners on a neighborhood shows that people who live near someone who won the lottery is significantly more likely to file for bankruptcy.[i] The study suggests a strong tendency of members of a community or neighborhood to keep up with the lifestyles led by their neighbors and peers, “Income inequality induces poorer neighbors to consumer more visible (rather than invisible) commodities to signal their abilities to “keep up with the Joneses” to their richer neighbors.[ii]

As people seem to be willing to leverage everything they have to buy the best cars and luxury items, the prices seem to keep rising. If, for example, people will pay $70,000 for a luxury car, the luxury car makers are going to price them accordingly. Reality television may be to blame, in addition to flashy lottery winners, where “Real Housewives” in destination locations like Beverly Hills, drive six-figure valued cars as if it is no big deal. If Hollywood sets the standard for being fancy and successful, people in other cities may start to mimic what they see on television and strive to show their friends and neighbors that they are just as able and successful as the people on reality television.

People do not earn the incomes we think they do, and we have more income than we realize.

In the actual real world, average salaries are not as high as many people assume. Here, in the Chicago area, salaries are measurably higher than other areas in the Midwest, but if you take a walk down Michigan Avenue on any given day, you might think that everyone in Chicago won the lottery. The reality is that the people in the fanciest of clothes could be from out of town or the suburbs, and decided to wear their best and be a spectacle on the Miracle Mile. The “rich” people you may see and wonder if they are lottery winners or well-paid professionals, might be average income earners, and are paying the minimum monthly payments on several credit cards they use to keep up with who they think are the Joneses, who are probably just as broke.

In contrast, many of us earn more money than we realize. There are plenty of people who live well on much less money than many might imagine. How do they do it? They use a budget, they only spend their discretionary income, and they drive a nice model vehicle, but one that might be a few years older, one they purchased when it was already several years old. In some circles it is a sign of “old money” to drive a more than 10-year-old Volvo or Mercedes. Your friends and neighbors might assume you drive the older model car because you are smart with your money and not cash-poor while trying to impress.

At Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., we want to give you the insight into smart financial decisions so you have a good financial future, and worry less about the Joneses and lottery winners.

Changing your mindset and habits with money and budgets is important to success after bankruptcy. If you lived on credit cards before, the bankruptcy wiping out those bills, may free up enough money so that you can live on cash income instead of credit. Instead of paying interest money to the banks every month, try paying yourself, putting money aside in a savings account, so you have an easier time when you find a great deal on that 10-year-old E-Class.

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.

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[i] The Wall Street Journal, Why You Might Go Bankrupt If Your Next-Door Neighbor Wins the Lottery, by Ben Leubsdorf, Feb. 16, 2016.

[ii] The Daily Caller, Neighbors of Lottery Winners Might Be At Risk of Bankruptcy, by Carly Rolph, Feb. 16, 2016.