By many measures the economy in the United States is stronger than it has been in quite some time. Less than a decade ago, we were in the beginning of what is know referred to as the Great Recession, and it seemed like things would never get better.

Even those who do not pay much attention to economics can tell things are good when they have a job and some extra money to spend. But then there are those who spend a great deal of there time following the economy and trying to predict what will happen in the near and distant future, and use that information to guide their financial decision making.
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As discussed in a recent article from Fox News, many people are obviously struggling financials largely as a result of a real property investment that did not appreciate as planned. Many people managed to purchase property when 100 percent financing was easy to obtain and they assumed the properties would go up in value as they had in the recent past.

When the economy collapsed in the later part of the 2008, many were unable to maintain their payments and were defaulted on their mortgages. In years past, this was exactly what the banks wanted since they could easily sell the homes. However, when millions of American’s defaulted on their loans at the same time, there was way to much inventory and the system collapsed. When this happened, people lost their homes, but since they couldn’t sold for as much as the amount of the loans, people were without their property and still very much in debt.
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For most people, declaring bankruptcy is a somewhat private matter. It is true the process takes place in federal court, and a bankruptcy trustee is appointed to handle the sale of assets in some cases, but this does not mean the whole community is aware that a private citizen has declared bankruptcy. This is obviously not the case when the person declaring bankruptcy is a celebrity, as this will often make big news – especially when the celebrity was one associated with big business ventures.

turntable-1419694.jpgRapper 50 Cent is one of these celebrities who is currently undergoing a bankruptcy proceeding, and the press has taken note. According to a recent news article from the Wall Street Journal, 50 Cent is being questioned about the accuracy of his lyric “you can’t get a dollar out of me.”
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Many people are aware of the proposition that student loan debt cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. This is a commonly held belief and was created following a major bankruptcy act reorganization in 2005 that was allegedly designed to prevent bankruptcy fraud. In reality, it was designed to keep credit card companies from losing money and also to make it more difficult for people to disclaim student loans as part of the bankruptcy process.

money-1239608.jpgHowever, according to a recent news feature from the Huffington Post, people are fighting in the bankruptcy court with assistance of their bankruptcy attorneys to discharge their student load debts, and, at least in some cases, the court seems to be agreeing to discharge the student loan debt.
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Many Americans spend every day thinking about how they are going to come up with enough money to pay their bills.

There are a lot of different types of debts, and there are many different creditors. Some people cannot pay their rent. Others cannot pay their student loan bills. Many are having trouble with mounting credit card debt, and others have unpaid medical bills. The creditors are calling multiple times a day, and they are wondering if they can or should declare bankruptcy.

money-1239608.jpgAccording to a recent news article from the Petoskey News, the first thing in making a decision is to get away from the line of thinking that filing for bankruptcy is the mark of failure, because that is not true. There are a lot reasons people can get into financial trouble. Many people base their current purchases on their expected income. This is completely normal, but what happens when there is a drastic reduction in income that was not expected?
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These days, athletes make a tremendous amount of money. Even the lowest paid players in Major League Baseball (MLB) are earning over half a million dollars a year, and the game’s biggest stars are making $20 million to $30 million annually. Some are signed to multi-year deals and paid well over $100 million. For example, the Washington Nationals recently signed a seven-year deal with Cy Young winning pitcher Max Scherzer rumored to be valued at $210 million.

However, despite these tremendously high salaries to play professional sports, we frequently hear about how former stars of the game have to declare to bankruptcy, as they have managed to spend all their money and save nothing for the future.

According to recent news feature from CNN, former National Basketball Association (NBA) star Antoine Walker, who was estimated to have earned around $108 million over his playing career, has now filed for bankruptcy.

Walker was 19-years-old when he helped his college team win the NCAA basketball national championship. He entered the 1996 NBA draft, and the Boston Celtics chose Walker as a high first round pick of that year’s draft. He became one of the game’s elites and was invited to the NBA All-Star team three times. He also helped lead the Miami Heat to a win in 2006.

Over his career, he had earned over $100 million, and that was far more money that he could have ever imagined growing up in a low-income Chicago neighborhood, as he said in the recent interview with CNN. He retired in 2008, and, two years later, he was broke. Walker said he thought he was financially set for the rest of life, but he was obviously wrong. Now he spends some of his time trying to help young athletes not make the same mistakes he did that lead to his filing bankruptcy.

Walker said like many other young athletes, suddenly wealthy, spend money on luxury items like cars, houses and jewelry. He also gave tons of money away to his friends and family and considered himself essentially an “open ATM” throughout his career.

He now knows that leading this kind of lifestyle cost him his financial future, and he hopes prevent people from making the same mistakes. He does admit to losing a lot of money from gambling but said that was not really a major cause of his economic downfall, and the media reports were overblown in that regard.
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We’ve all been there before-approaching the check-out line with purchases and the clerk’s aggressive prompts, “Would you like to save 15 percent by applying for our in-store credit card?”

Even if you refuse, they will invariably press on, “It will only take five minutes,” or, “Are you sure, you don’t want to miss this opportunity?”

Whether you simply don’t have time, don’t want to rack up more credit card debt or you don’t want to mess around with another credit card, it is important to know your rights when standing up to retail credit card bullying.


With the Christmas shopping season underway, consumers are already feeling cash-strapped and stressed, especially those burdening debt.

On second thought, you think, “Maybe an extra credit card would be nice?” You can move some of the debts around, free up space on another credit card and save that 15 percent.

Don’t let retail bullies sucker you into a card you likely don’t need or really want. Over time, more credit cards and debt can lower your credit score and make it even more difficult to get out of debt.
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Student loan debt is one of the greatest financial crises facing American youth. Throughout Alabama and nationwide, students are taking on debts to enter and graduate from college-though many graduates are not finding gainful employment with their new degrees.

In other cases, students drop out with debt and no gains from their educational loans. As debt continues to grow, recent studies have shown not all states are equal in the accumulation of student loan debt-and Alabama ranks among the highest. According to a personal finance website, state-by-state loan ranks Alabama as the 12th-worst for the accumulation of unpaid student loans.


Researchers analyzed the average amount of debt per student, by state, finding Alabama loan holders have an average of $28,895 in student loans and a 14.2 percent rate of default.

Critics largely blame secondary education to blame for the high rate of debt in the U.S. Alabama’s educational system notoriously graduates high school students who are unprepared for college. According to reports, at least 30 percent of Alabama college students have to take remedial classes. Based on this evidence, it is no surprise there are more Alabama students in default-with more time spent on classes that do not count towards a degree, the more students will take out to finance their education, and the more they will accrue in debt.
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Unmanageable and overwhelming debt plagues millions of individuals and families throughout the U.S. This problem is compounded by high unemployment rates and other factors that impact a family’s financial security-including divorce, illness or death.

Many debts, including medical expenses and credit cards are dischargeable through bankruptcy, one of the significant source of debt-student loans-is not.

Now representatives of the Center for American Progress are urging Congress to change the law to give those strapped by student loans a way out.


Student loans can give hope and opportunity. However, they can become a nightmare in the event of an illness or death. Parents who have co-signed student loans have not been released from private student loans, even when their child dies unexpectedly.

For students themselves who have not been able to secure gainful employment, or in the event of illness, the debts can be insurmountable. Unlike car loans, credit cards or other unsecured debts, student loans are not dischargeable through bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy has a long history of providing debtors a fresh start. It is not so with student loans, according to current laws. Congress has continued to stand behind the student loan exception to the longstanding bankruptcy rules.
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Americans are strapped with all forms of debt-medical bills, utilities, student loans and tax debt. The most overwhelming form of debt involves credit cards. With high interest, fees and surcharges, debtors may get deep into debt, without being able to see a way out.

In some cases, borrowers can renegotiate debt settlement with credit card companies, but this tends to be an uphill battle. After all, the companies set out to make a profit by keeping consumers in debt as long as possible.

If you are only making minimum monthly payments or you struggling to make those, there may be a new option. Peer-to-peer lending is a growing industry that allows you to take out a personal loan and pay off cards at a lower interest rate.


According to a recent report in the Huffington Post, peer-to-peer lending is a multi-billion-dollar industry helping thousands of consumers tackle their credit card debt.

Unlike ordinary financing or bank lending, it gives borrows and investors a “win-win” situation. Borrowers get low-cost financing and get to replace costly debts.

Investors get a low interest but significant turnaround earning back interest as borrowers continue to pay over time. This gives investors a “fixed income” investment strategy. Despite the many benefits of peer-to-peer lending, it may not work for everyone.
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