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Tampa Bankruptcy Law Blog

Student Loans Aren't Just an Issue for College Students

When it comes to student loans we usually associate recent graduates or sometimes parents who helped their children pay for school, but retirees would not be the first to come to mind of those who carry student loan debt.

Americans the age of 60 and older are part of the borrowers who have debt from student loans. 2 million borrowers 60 and older were reported from the Federal Reserve Bank, in 2005, to hold about $700,000 in student loan debt. Their debts are usually from going back to school, helping their children pay for school, or in some cases not being aware that there loans were still outstanding. From the latter, interest builds up and payments for going into default from not making loan payments, which could severely increase the amount you owe.

What property can you keep in bankruptcy?

When you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you probably have a lot of questions on your mind, not the least of which is “what can I keep when I file for bankruptcy?” or “can I keep anything at all?” The answer depends upon which type of bankruptcy you choose to file.

If you have lived in Florida, including the Tampa area, for at least two years prior to filing for bankruptcy, then you should qualify for the state’s exemptions, which typically include your home, $1,000 each of your personal property and of equity in your vehicle, and any retirement accounts and/or IRAs you have. Meanwhile, you can also claim an extra $4,000 in personal property if you don’t own a home. It’s also important to note that these amounts are per person and not per household.

Expansion of Student Loan Repayment Options

The new student loan repayment program signed by President Obama this past June, allows for more borrowers to seek relief for student loan debt. This program, "Pay As You Earn" (PAYE), caps the monthly repayments for student loan debt at 10 percent of income and any balance after 20 years will be forgiven.

Tips on Disputing Errors on Your Credit Report

Errors on credit report are common occurrences. You might be someone who is affected by these mistakes on your report and you do not even realize it. Having a credit report error is very serious, and could severely hinder someone's credit score. It only takes one error on a report to lower your credit score and then end up paying thousands of dollars on high interest payments.

What are the benefits of filing for bankruptcy?

In most circles bankruptcy is not considered a positive thing. In fact, most people in Tampa, or anywhere else, never want to even think about having to file for bankruptcy. While it is true that having a bankruptcy on your record can have some negative effects on your financial future, there are also several positive aspects of filing for bankruptcy in some situations.

Being in debt is difficult. In fact, it can be overwhelming in many cases, which is one reason why filing for bankruptcy can be beneficial. By choosing to file for bankruptcy you can discharge all your unsecured debt, including medical bills and credit card debt. Another benefit of filing for bankruptcy is being able to eliminate second mortgages on your home.

Are You Paying Off Debt Wrong?

Even as the economy is improving, Americans debt problem is increasing. National debt is up 5% from last year, totaling about $11.74 trillion.

Many people in debt are there because of common, avoidable financial mistakes. Some of these mistakes include:

· Taking out pay day loans or title loans.

· Transferring a balance to a new zero interest rate credit card, and then not paying off the balance before the higher interest begins.

· Borrowing from 401(K).

· Only paying one debt at a time.

A comparison of Chapter 13 vs. Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a serious matter and should never be taken lightly. If a person in the Tampa area is considering filing for bankruptcy or has already decided to file for bankruptcy, then perhaps the first decision he or she will have to make is which kind of bankruptcy to file: either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

These two types of bankruptcies have some similarities, but they are also different in many other regards. According to USCourts.gov, the purpose of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to allow people the ability to start over fresh, without the weight of creditors and debt holding them down. When people file for Chapter 7 they turn over their possessions to a trustee, who then converts those assets into cash and pays back the creditors with that money.

Post Grads Still Deal with the Troubles of Student Loans

Student loans seem like a good investment; you take out a loan, and then you can afford to graduate with a degree. Then, after graduation you will get your dream job and be able to pay off your debt within a few years. However, for thousands of college graduates that is not realistic.

Some people who have graduated over 20 years ago are still dealing with the troubles that come with student loans; for recent graduates it is worse. In a recent study, people who graduated in the past four years with more than $50,000 of debt are significantly less likely to feel their lives serve purpose; they don't have supportive relationships, lack financial security, a sense of community and physical well-being, than those who graduate without debt.

Don't let debt ruin your retirement

When it comes to debt, none of it is good. Whether its credit card debt, medical debt, student loan debt or mortgage debt, they all have the ability to leave you in financial despair now and for many years to come. Being in debt is bad for everyone in the Tampa area, as well as for anyone else in the country. Now it appears that debt is starting to affect people who would otherwise retire successfully.

According to reports from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 30 percent of homeowners age 65 or older had mortgage debt in 2011. Compare that to the year 2001, when only 22 percent of homeowners in that age bracket had mortgage debt. Meanwhile, the news was even worse for those 75 and older. Their rate jumped from just 8.4 percent to 21.2 percent.

Raise Tuition to College, Raise Revenue

In a recent article posted in Forbes Magazine this week, they discuss the source of tuition price in college across America, and the formula created to essentially raise revenue for colleges, even if that means cutting aid to students who truly need it.

The article shows the method colleges use in deciding what their endowments should fund. First they say that the tuition price people see when applying to college should be high. Second, colleges put a good amount of their money into perks for students and campus amenities, which in turn boost their rankings among the Nation's schools. Finally, the school's financial aid is used not solely to benefit those who actually need it to afford school, but for wealthier kids, to get them to attend a school if a discount is given to them, and then they will be able to afford the rest of the full price tuition.

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Timothy J. Sierra, Attorney at Law
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