Tag Archive: debt

  1. Save For Retirement Now, Benefit Later

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    Start Your Retirement Investments Now to Better Your Financial Future

    When is the best time to start saving for retirement? The answer is simple: as soon as possible. But like most things in life, that is easier said than done. Given the job market, high student loan payments and other personal situations, the last thing young adults want to do is sacrifice a portion of their retirementhard-earned paycheck for a retirement that is not happening for at least 30-40 years.

    A recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article highlights how putting away even as little as $20 a month can compound and grow into much more by the time retirement rolls around:

    Click for Post-Gazette Article

    As the article explains, saving money takes discipline and financial planning. Our financial expert, Matt Herron strongly believes the only way to acquire wealth is through saving and earning interest, not paying interest. So take advantage of your automatic deduction 401k plans to help save without effort. Additionally, avoid borrowing and taking withdraws from you retirement or 401k. Your 401k is not a checking account. Early withdraws and loans are expensive and will dilute your ability to compound money.   If debt is keeping you from making your best effort to save call us to eliminate your debt and develop a plan to start saving your financial future depends on it.

  2. A Letter to Small Business Owners…

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    Dear Small Business Owner,

    Having been a small business owner myself, I have a passion for helping other entrepreneurs like me. Businesses are a puzzle that require finding the right mix of a good product(s)/service(s), finding the right people to work in the business, finding the right customers, and controlling your expenses to make a profit. After 13 years of working with and in both successful and unsuccessful businesses, I have had a lot of valuable experiences that can help business owners.

    However, because I am a bankruptcy attorney, most business owners will avoid talking to me until it’s too late. Most people would think that seeing a bankruptcy attorney is the end of their business, but I see my job as the opposite. Good bankruptcy attorneys help businesses survive. I always remember the words of one of my colleagues: “As bankruptcy attorneys, we perform resurrections, not funerals.”

    Here are some of the ways a bankruptcy attorney can help your business:

    • We can help you structure your business to protect personal assets.
    • We can assist in selecting the right corporate structure for asset protection and tax planning.
    • We can eliminate personal guarantee liability.
    • We can lower your debt service by eliminating or restructuring debt.
    • We can develop a plan to reallocate resources to pay off secured debt or taxes.
    • We can help identify quality professionals that help with accounting, bookkeeping and efficiency.
    • We can prepare your business for sale.
    • If necessary, we can wind down an existing business while preserving value to start a new business or transitioning into a new career.

    Many of these strategies can involve solutions that may not include filing for bankruptcy. Even if you did have to file for bankruptcy you would be in good company as some of America’s greatest businessmen have utilized bankruptcy prior to building some of America’s iconic brands, including Milton Hershey, H.J. Heinz and Henry Ford.

    When is it time to see a bankruptcy attorney?

    • When you are considering taking a loan that includes collateral or a personal guarantee. Some careful planning at this point can help you avoid taking on an onerous debt obligation. Careful planning can help you protect personal assets and give you options if your business experiences a downturn or fails.
    • When your income is insufficient to cover all of your monthly bills.
    • When debt service is keeping you from making a profit.
    • When you begin to have internal issues with investors or business partners.
    • When you are considering taking a factoring or accounts receivable loan. (These are the business equivalent of check cashing loans and should be avoided at all costs.)
    • When you have a tax debt you can’t pay.
    • When you are unable to pay trust fund taxes like payroll and sales. Business owners and some employees could potentially face personal liability and criminal sanctions for failure to pay these taxes.
    • When your bank stops lending or declares you in default.
    • When you or your business receive a law suit.
    • When you can no longer take a salary or draws for your hard work.
    • When you lose your passion for the business to continue.

    As small business owners and entrepreneurs, our job is more than a place we work. Our jobs become part of us.

    It is not a 9-5 job and in good times and bad we stay up at night thinking of ways to grow our enterprise or navigate the next big challenge. If you get to the point that you need help, I can be an excellent resource for thinking out loud about creative solutions to common issues you face.

    Personally, I love helping small business owners – at all phases of building a business – and in many cases these opportunities give me a new perspective to help future clients, or incorporate into my practice.

    So, don’t hesitate to call. I offer a free consultation. An hour with me can uncover a new path forward to increase profitability, restructure your business, or put past difficulties behind you so you can reignite the passion for what you do. Most of all, please do not wait until it is too late.

     

    Sincerely,

    Matt Herron

    Managing Attorney

    The Debt Doctors at Quatrini Rafferty

     

     

  3. Bankruptcy: The Tool To Make You Or Your Company Stronger

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    It’s time to dispel the common myths about bankruptcy and instead showcase it as an instrumental tool for debt relief. The focus of this blog will be bankruptcy and the benefits it provides for individuals to large corporations trying to get out of debt.

    For years very intelligent and successful businessmen and women have been using bankruptcy as a solution to make their companies stronger. Unlike the average person, successful business men and women are exposed to more risks financially. For this reason, they may be faced with the difficult task of filing for bankruptcy more often than your average person. This choice is not easy to make and requires them to be both forthcoming and honest.

    Well-known entrepreneur and controversial, Republican nominee for President, Donald Trump used bankruptcy as a solution not once but four times.  He has filed bankruptcy to help his companies not only restructure debt but also free up capital. As mentioned in Forbes.com, Trump stated “Basically I’ve used the laws of the country to my advantage and to other people’s advantage just as Leon Black has, Carl Icahn, Henry Kravis has, just as many, many others on top of the business world have.” (Clare O’Connor, Fourth Time’s A Charm: How Donald Trump Made Bankruptcy Work For Him, Forbes.com).

    Business men & women have used bankruptcy to make their companies stronger.

    There is a reason several entrepreneurs have turned to bankruptcy to reorganize their debts and create a fresh start for their companies. Here are a few key and important facts to know about bankruptcy:

    • It’s available to individuals, corporations and partnerships.
    • It can help protect assets.
    • It can eliminate unsecured debt.
    • It can give you a plan to keep your house or your car.
    • It can restructure existing debts.

    In reality despite the negative connotation associated with bankruptcy, it’s a smart decision. Individuals and corporations have used bankruptcy as a tool to escape debt and save their companies and personal financial situations. These moguls realize businesses can come out in a better financial standing than before.

    Overall, filing for bankruptcy does not mean a business has failed, it does not mean a person can’t fulfill their duties and it does not mean there is a defect in someone’s character. If anything it shows an individual or corporation is ready to make changes and leave the process not only wiser but also in a better financial situation than before. Ultimately bankruptcy gives individuals and corporations a second chance to learn from their mistakes so they don’t make them again in the future.

    What do you think? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page!

  4. Bankruptcy vs. Debt Consolidation, Debt Settlement and Credit Counseling (Part 1)

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    There is a common misconception when it comes to bankruptcy.  Over the years, the term has become synonymous with failure and financial ruin. This myth is simply not true.  Ironically, we have found that when you are in financial distress, the damage you fear to your credit from bankruptcy has already been done as a result of your late and missed payments.  Bankruptcy can provide you with a new financial beginning.

    Bankruptcy Is The Better Option It’s amazing that a whole industry has been created by banks and credit card companies to take advantage of this overstated fear of bankruptcy. Debt consolidation, debt settlement and credit counseling are all essentially the same thing—a last ditch collection effort for people who should be considering bankruptcy.

    Since there are so many reasons why bankruptcy is always the better option, we will discuss the key reasons in a two-part blog series.

    Part 1

    We are Attorneys, Not Customer Service Representatives

    The Debt Doctors at QuatriniRafferty are attorneys.  We are required to adhere to a strict professional code of ethics. In addition, we must complete annual, continuing legal education. We also have the fiduciary responsibility to act solely in the best interest of our clients.

    At the Debt Doctors we take our job very seriously.  It is our professional responsibility to give you valuable advice. Our ultimate goal is to leave you in a better financial place than where we found you.

    These standards do not exist with debt consolidation, debt settlement and credit counseling services. In most cases, their objective is to make money off of your debt and sell you a service that fails more often than it succeeds.

    Bankruptcy is a Legal Remedy Provided to You Under Federal Law

    Bankruptcy protects you from your creditors. As soon as you file for bankruptcy, a federal bankruptcy court issues an order called an automatic stay. This automatic stay prohibits debt collectors from calling you, suing you, taking your property and/or collecting debt by any other means.

    Once you complete the bankruptcy process, you receive another court order called a discharge. The discharge order gives you permanent protection against collection of any and all debts which you incurred prior to filing the petition for bankruptcy.

    Bankruptcy protection also offers you other powerful tools.  These tools include:

    1. Stopping foreclosure actions
    2. Creation of a plan to catch up on a delinquent mortgage
    3. Court ordered mortgage modifications
    4. Potential to restructure auto loans
    5. Power to avoid judgment liens
    6. Ability to restructure or eliminate certain tax debts
    7. Ability to force an income based repayment plan on your student loans

    The power of the federal bankruptcy court will give you certainty. If you are honest and deal in good faith you will know a definitive timeline of when you will be out of debt, assurance of a resolution to your debts and a favorable court setting to fight your creditors if they violate a court discharge order.

    Debt consolidation, debt settlement and credit counseling do not offer you any of these protection tools. In fact, while you are in one of their plans, the creditors can still report negatively to credit reporting agencies, send you collection letters, and file a legal collection action against you that can result in the loss of property.

    As you can see, bankruptcy is a powerful financial strategy that has many tools and protections. We will continue to provide the analysis of bankruptcy vs. debt consolidation, debt settlement and credit counseling in Part 2 of this blog series.

    To get immediate advice during a free consultation contact the Debt Doctors now. Call 412 395 6001 or email us at [email protected].

  5. Savings: The Key to Financial Freedom and Building Wealth

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    Saving money should be a financial priority for everyone. It’s the simplest way to build wealth. Money in the bank accrues interest, generating more wealth over time. This will help you navigate any financial issue, emergency, and retirement.

    However, the undeniable fact is that just setting some money aside is not enough to assure a comfortable financial future. According to Teresa Ghilarducci, an economics professor at the New School for Social Research, about 75% of Americans preparing to retire in 2010 had less than $30,000 saved. More people need to realize that you only have a limited time to save for retirement. If you don’t start saving from a young age, there are consequences.

    It might seem like common sense, but saving can be difficult. The following tips will help you save and build your wealth more effectively:

    Eliminate Debt
    This might seem obvious, but debt can hurt your ability to save. The interest accruing on your debt can easily outweigh the interest you gain from your savings. This is particularly troublesome when it comes to unsecured debt of $10,000 or more. Pay down your debt before attempting to build up your savings in earnest. Once you’ve addressed your standing debt, avoid incurring large credit card or further unsecured debt payments. If your debt is holding you back from saving, it may be time to look into bankruptcy.

    Keep a Budget
    Keep a budget so you can better manage the ebb and flow of the economy. Include expenses for any dependents, transportation, insurance, housing, personal wellness, recreation, taxes, and any other regular costs you incur. If you can fit savings or investments into your budget, be sure to weigh your options. For example, this USA Today piece shows that a seemingly safe investment option could cost you.

    Set Your Goals
    Set realistic savings goals that you can confidently fit into your budget. Whether you’re setting aside $50 or $100 per month, or setting up a direct deduction from your paycheck to your retirement, these goals will help you save responsibly. You’ll be able to cover your bills and necessities, and your savings and retirement accounts will become more robust.

    Treat Yourself…
    On the other hand, there are ways you can spend money that are beneficial in the long run. The idea is not to spend for the sake of spending — it’s to treat your spending like an investment. Ask yourself: would this investment add value to my life? Will it help me earn more money in the future?

    Consider spending money on a new suit for meetings or interviews. Look into conferences or seminars where you can learn new skills and trends pertinent to your work. Your employer might be willing to reimburse you for costs associated with such professional development. Attendance at these events also broadens your professional network and reflects well on you when it comes time for a raise.

    …But Be Responsible
    As tempting as it may be to spend money on an enticing investment or a once-in-a-lifetime experience, try to take a step back and survey your financial situation before jumping in. If an investment would put you in a precarious situation, try setting a goal similar to your savings. When you reach the goal, make the investment without fear. For example, for every $10,000 you save, you could invest $1,000 in stocks, mutual funds, or a CD.

    However you choose to invest that money, try to do so conservatively. Protecting your investment should be your first priority. Safe investments will help you do just that. Aim to have at least half your portfolio in blue chip stocks to ensure you aren’t putting too much money at risk. These big-name, sure-thing investments will offer some protection while you explore other investment opportunities.

    What if the financial landscape you are surveying is overgrown with debt? In most cases, time and consistency will help you build a healthy financial situation in which you can budget, save, and invest more freely. If this does not help, then bankruptcy could be a useful tool that can eliminate costly monthly payments and restructure your budget so you can save and have a healthy financial situation. If you endlessly struggle with debt with no end in sight, you are wasting time and money that could be used to save for a house, college or retirement. If you are having trouble saving, call us. We can create a plan that will help you eliminate debt and start saving.

The Debt Doctors

607 College Street, Suite 101
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

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