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Pittsburgh Legal Issues Blog

The different three years can make

Apparently, Equifax was not content with the image problems created by the fallout that followed their hacking controversy in September. The prominent credit-reporting agency made what they likely considered a recently discovered, small change that had a huge impact on hundreds of thousands of consumers.

Without announcing the policy shift, Equifax decided to enhance the penalty for those who filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

What consumers should be doing to prepare for the holidays

It was only a matter of time after Labor Day before we started seeing displays for Halloween costumes, cards and candy. Yes, Halloween is a few weeks away, but retailers want to make an impression on consumers as soon as possible, so expect to see commercials for Party City advertising Halloween costumes this week as well.

Halloween is not the only holiday that will be coming soon. As soon as the last bit of candy is purchased, displays will quickly transform to holiday season mode, which is the season that retailers depend on to make their profits. So expect retailers to pull out all the stops to get consumers’ dollars.

Older credit card debt common among U.S. consumers

Having high balances on one’s credit card can put a lot of financial stress on a person. Many things could lead to a person facing this situation. One is carrying a credit card debt for a long time, given the high interest rates that can apply to credit card balances.

A recent report points to having credit card debt stick around for awhile being something a good deal of Americans are dealing with. According to the report, around 29 million American consumers have a credit card debt that they’ve carried for at least two years. And around half of these individuals have carried this debt for at least five years.

Why are you putting off bankruptcy?

Like any significant life decision, especially one that may bring about notable discomfort, it is normal to waffle around before taking the step to undergo a bankruptcy. While bankruptcies are often not what people expect, they are still a significant event that carries a certain amount of social stigma, although this is fading slowly over time.

Despite the many benefits that bankruptcy offers consumers, many individuals who might greatly benefit from a bankruptcy choose to put it off, often only making matters worse.

Dealing with student loan debt after a co-signer passes away

It’s no secret that student loan debt is a prominent credit issue today. In fact, it is arguable that the amount of student loan debt in America is outpacing credit card debt. This is likely because a greater number of students are taking out loans from private lenders.

When these loans are co-signed by parents (or even grandparents) they can come with some hidden responsibilities. For example, many borrowers may not know that a lender could require a loan to be paid in full immediately if the co-signer passes away. In fact, this has grown to be a common complaint lodged with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency created through federal legislation stemming from the financial collapse of 2007.

Consider all the options you have to pay off debt

Feeling like you just can't keep up with the bills isn't a pleasant experience. You might decide one day that you need to do something about the overwhelming debt you are in. This is when you will have to make a decision.

When this happens, you have a few options. You can continue to struggle to make only the minimum payments. You can make a plan to try to pay off some of the debts to ease your burden. You can file for bankruptcy.

Buying time for consumers needing help with medical debts

Medical debt has reigned supreme as the number one financial burden that leads to bankruptcy filings. A 2016 study revealed that approximately 43 million or 20 percent of American adults faced challenges in covering healthcare costs, including those who have insurance coverage.

Those who can pay unexpected and extremely high medical bills end up depleting their savings. Those blindsided by the costs that cannot cover the costs have their accounts placed in collections.

Agencies and old debt

Consumers who deal daily with overwhelming debt from multiple credit cards, mortgages and car loans tend to focus on the sum total of their financial obligations. Looking at the finer details of the delinquent balances on each account becomes overwhelming.

Not all debts are made the same. Some have higher balances than others do. Some are more recent. Others are years old.

Money worries high among working millennials

Anxiety can come from many sources. This includes money issues. Money-related anxiety can sometimes get to very high levels. When it does, it can have all kinds of major impacts on a person's life.

A recent study indicates that high levels of financial anxiety may be particularly common among working millennials. According to the study's estimates, among millennials:

Using Chapter 13 to keep property and relieve debt

When it comes to consumer debt relief, Americans considering a bankruptcy have two primary options — Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcies. Although they both ultimately help a person discharge debt, they use very different methods.

Chapter 7 allows a debtor to forfeit his or her property in return for debt discharge. Fortunately, the law allows for a number of exceptions to what one must forfeit under Chapter 7, but it still ultimately strips a person of many of one's belongings and investments.

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