Every day, people come to our offices seeking relief from debt collectors.   Millions of Americans are contacted by debt collectors each year, many related to medical expenses.  In fact, survey results from a January 2017 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) study show that more than 40 million Americans are contacted each year about medical related debt.  That is more than one in eight Americans! Healthcare is Complex and Expensive Healthcare in this country has been and continues to be very complex and expensive.  This leads to many people dealing with high or even incorrect bills due to the complexities of…Read   More

This episode of the Next Lawyer Up podcast features attorney Gary Conchin. Gary’s name is synonymous with great lawyering. In addition to his legal acumen, Gary is as down to earth and easy going as they come. He is very easy to talk to which makes it no wonder why he always has a multitude of people seeking his representation. Gary is a shining example of a professional and what a lawyer should represent. Gary practices throughout Alabama and surrounds himself with other well-respected partners, associates and staff at the law firm of Conchin, Cloud and Cole. I have known…Read   More

Subprime Auto Loan Crisis Looming

Posted on April 24th, 2017 by Jace Ferraez

Several weeks ago, I wrote on the possibility of another subprime mortgage crisis. Now, it appears that subprime auto loan defaults are nearing crisis levels. According to a Morgan Stanley research booklet, finance providers and the consumer debt market as a whole should take note that auto delinquency and default rates are on the rise. Specifically, 60+ day delinquencies in subprime loan pools—4.51%—are nearing crisis levels. While not at crisis-era peak levels yet, if that delinquency rate holds up, it will pass the peak level of 4.69% by year’s end. And what about default rates for subprime auto loan pools?…Read   More

Why do clients end up in my office every day?  Today, a client told me it started innocently with a t-shirt.  He was in college and offered a credit card with a $200 limit.  How much trouble could he get into with that small of a limit? Well, about twenty years later, that credit card debt grew and grew and snowballed into a lot more. Common Reasons for Bankruptcy Here are some common reasons clients end up in my office: Credit Cards. Like my client today, it can start out small and the next thing you know it can double…Read   More

The Federal US Bankruptcy Code section 525 (a) prevents the government from discriminating against a person for filing a bankruptcy petition.  This section establishes the following (in part): “a governmental unit may not deny, revoke, suspend, or refuse to renew a license, permit, charter, franchise, or other similar grant to, condition such a grant to, discriminate with respect to such a grant against, deny employment to, terminate the employment of, or discriminate with respect to employment against, a person that is or has been a debtor under this title or a bankrupt or a debtor under the Bankruptcy Act, or…Read   More

Up until I read this story, the answer has always been an emphatic yes. I will amend my answer to say yes in all but the most unique of circumstances. To quote John Fogerty, “I ain’t no fortunate son.” I believe that most of my clients fall into this category as well so my advice to them is to answer the SF 86 in a full, complete and honest manner. In fact, here is how the SF 86 form begins and it certainly gives you a strong sense of the import and solemnity of the form and the process. SF…Read   More

In a scathing 113-page report, released last Monday, Wells Fargo’s Board of Directors described its former chief executive as a tone-deaf leader who protected an irresponsible lieutenant and worked for board members who didn’t keep the pair in check.  According to The New York Times, the report stated that then Chief Executive John Stumpf and then lieutenant, former retail-bank chief Carrie Tolstedt’s behavior was so reprehensible that it decided to claw back an additional $75 million from the pair in the form of pay and incentives. Largest Claw Back for Financial Firm The latest decisions on pay brought the total money clawed…Read   More

Did you receive a tax refund this year?  How did you spend it?  The average refund this year is approximately $3,000.00.  A recent article from CNBC offers advice on how we should spend our refund.  They offered a list of nine ways to get the most out of your 2016 tax refund. How To Get the Most Out of Your Tax Refund Pay off your high interest rate credit card and loans. Save the money in your emergency fund for unexpected car repairs, unexpected home repairs, an unexpected cut in hours, an illness or job loss. You can fund a big…Read   More

Paycheck to Paycheck is No Way to Live

Posted on April 14th, 2017 by Ed Woods

According to a recent story in the New York Post, half of the working families in the United States are living pay check to pay check.  Living this way may work for a while or even a long time; however, the problem it presents is the inability to effectively cope with an unexpected crisis. 50% of People Unprepared for a Financial Crisis According to the news article, fifty percent of people are “woefully unprepared” for a financial crisis. Nearly twenty percent of Americans have nothing set aside to meet an unexpected financial crisis. Almost a third of Americans have less…Read   More

According to a University of Colorado Denver study, there is a direct link between an increased risk of death and financial strain.  The results of this study were published recently by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.  The three economists who produced the study found that higher individual mortality risks were higher for those suffering with severe delinquent debt and bad credit.  This would make sense considering that we have known for years that stress can affect ones health. This study found that those who find themselves in debt quickly rather than over a long period of time are the…Read   More