Paying Off Student  Loans Early May Be a Big Mistake

Student Loans Start Off Well-intended

Student loans are great.  They allow you to seek out your dreams and pursue your passions.  Most importantly, they enable you to earn more money so you can provide a better life for yourself and your family.  But student loans come at a cost – literally.

Student Loans – The Cost

The average student in the class of 2016 had $37,172.00 in student loan debt.  That’s a down payment on a house or a brand new car.  If you’re actively repaying those student loans, you are not buying a new car or putting a down payment on a new house.  That means there is one less car being made and a whole slew of professions/industries that aren’t benefiting from a new house being purchased (construction, appliances/electronics, roofers, lawn care, etc.).  When you spend money, other people around you make money – then they spend money and other people around them make money.  Its not rocket science.

Student Loan Payments Leach From the Economy

However, when you have a whole swath of the wage-earning American population spending huge portions of their income to repay student loans – that money goes nowhere.  Correction – it goes to the federal government – which might as well be nowhere.  That money then gets folded back into the federal budget to get spent on projects like solar-powered beer, llama farmer regulations, or the search to find North Carolina’s best fiddler.

Ok – What’s the Solution?

The solution to the student loan problem may be this – don’t pay them.  Well, don’t pay all of them.  Current legislation says that if you use a certain type of repayment plan through the William D. Ford Program, then you may be eligible to have your student loans forgiven after 25 years of payments.  That may seem like a long time.  However, if you cannot afford your current student loan payments, you may want to learn more.  If paying your student loans are preventing you from making the major life purchases (a house, a new car, a nice vacation), then you may want to learn more.  If you simply want to minimize the amount of money you give Uncle Sam and maximize the amount of money you get to keep, you may want to learn more.

Learn More

Contact The Law Offices of Dax J. Miller, LLC today to learn how we can help you manage your student loans.  If you qualify, we may be able to help you get a lower payment and, eventually, get those student loans forgiven.



How Long Does Bankruptcy Stay on Your Credit Report?

How long bankruptcy stays on your credit report is a factor to consider prior to filing bankruptcy.  Your credit report is important when it comes to financing a car or a house.  Understanding how bankruptcy may affect your credit is key to knowing what to expect after bankruptcy.  Generally, federal law (the Fair Credit Reporting Act) dictates that credit bureaus may not report bankruptcy on your credit for more than 10 years from the date of filing.

How Long Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Stay on Your Credit Report?

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy stays on your credit for 10 years from the date of filing the bankruptcy.  Your credit report will read something similar to “Discharged – Chapter 7 Bankruptcy”.  However, you can obtain credit almost immediately after your receive your Chapter 7 Discharge.  You typically receive a Chapter 7 Discharge about 4 to 6 months after your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is filed.  The old myth that “you cannot get credit for at least 10 years after bankruptcy” is just that – a myth.

How Long Does Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Stay on Your Credit Report?

Federal allows the credit bureaus to leave Chapter 13 Bankruptcy on your credit report for up to 10 years.  However, the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, Transunion) choose to remove Chapter 13 Bankruptcy from your credit after 7 years from the date of filing.  They do this to incentivize consumers to file Chapter 13 (instead of Chapter 7) and attempt to repay some of their creditors.  Once you receive your Chapter 13 Discharge, your credit report will read something similar to “Paid as agreed – Chapter 13 Bankruptcy” or “$0.00 – Chapter 13 Bankruptcy”.

What Does Having Bankruptcy on Your Credit Mean?

Again, just because your credit report lists a Bankruptcy does not mean you cannot obtain credit.  It is just a way to give potential lenders notice that you file on a give date.  It will also tell those potential lenders what types of debts were included in the Bankruptcy.  The lenders use this information in two ways:  1.  They use it to determine whether to offer you credit and how much to charge you in interest; and 2.  They see that Bankruptcy date and know that they are safe because they know you cannot file bankruptcy again without waiting several years (depending on the type of bankruptcy you file).  Naturally, having a single Bankruptcy on your credit is better than having numerous past due credit card or collections account.  Plus, it shows that you take responsibility for your finances instead of just ignoring them.

Read “How Does Bankruptcy Affect My Credit Score?” to learn more or….

If you have questions, act now.  

Contact your local Evansville Bankruptcy Lawyer at The Law Offices of Dax J. Miller for free unlimited consultations.

How Does Bankruptcy Affect My Credit Score?

Generally speaking, most people try to protect their credit score.  Having a decent credit score allows you to finance a home, a car – any expense you cannot afford to pay for all up front.  But what if you are considering bankruptcy?  How will bankruptcy affect your credit score?

Bankruptcy May Positively or Negatively Impact Your Credit Score

Everyone assumes that filing bankruptcy is a death knell to one’s credit score.  That is rarely the case.  Consider the following examples:

Example:  Bob Smith

Bob Smith lost his job about six months ago.  He is in an industry where he knows it is going to take 4 – 6 months to find another decent paying job.  He has been trying as hard he can to find another one – he just can’t.  As a result, all of his medical bills have gone into collections, his credit cards are behind and he even lost a car to repossession.  About 30 different bill collectors call Bob everyday demanding payment.  Bob is now getting sued in Court.  Bob’s credit is probably sitting right around 450 or so.  Bob has gone to numerous banks to try to get a car loan so he can get transportation so he can get a job.  The banks won’t touch Bob because of his credit score.

Bob files bankruptcy.

After Bob’s bankruptcy is over, Bob’s creditors are now forced to report “Discharged in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy” on his credit report.  Now, when Bob goes to get that bank loan, the bank knows that all of the bad debts that used to be on Bob’s credit are now gone.  The bank knows that those creditors cannot collect on those old debts – that makes the bank feel more optimistic about actually receiving their monthly payments from Bob going forward.  Moreover, the bank knows that Bob cannot file another bankruptcy for quite some time (up to 8 years in some instances).

As far as Bob’s credit score goes, bankruptcy generally affects your score like this:

If you have really good credit, like an 850, your score will likely come down 100 – 150 points.

If you have an average score, like a 650, your score will likely fluctuate up or down by about 50 – 100 points.

However, if you have a poor score, like Bob’s 450, your score will likely increase by 75 – 150 points just because you are almost immediately eliminating all of that ongoing negative reporting to your credit.

Example:  Robert Smythe

Robert has had a great job for 15 years.  He has a perfect 850 credit score.  However, Robert just found out that after 15 years, he is being let go with no notice.  Robert is also in an industry where he knows it is going to take 4 – 6 months to find another decent paying job.  Robert does not have the savings to service all of his debt during that 4 – 6 months.  He knows, as a certainty, that bills will not get paid and his credit will begin to suffer.

While Robert is not currently behind on anything, he knows its coming.  He bites the bullet and files bankruptcy.

Robert has avoided the inevitable negative reporting to his credit.  He has avoided the phone calls, the collections letter, the lawsuits and being turned away by potential lenders.  Yes, Robert’s credit score of 850 has fallen to around a 700.  However, had Robert not acted when he did, all of those creditors would have started negatively reporting.  Robert’s score would have gone from an 850, down to a 750, down to a 650 – and, before you know it – Robert and Bob would have been right there together sitting at a 450.

The bottom line is that filing bankruptcy is not the end of your credit.  Usually, it’s just the beginning.

Check your credit score for free here and then act now. 

Contact your local Evansville Bankruptcy Lawyer at The Law Offices of Dax J. Miller for free unlimited consultations.


Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Claims Process

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is reorganization bankruptcy.  It allows one to obtain the protection of the bankruptcy code in order to restructure one’s debt in a more manageable, affordable way.  Clients file Chapter 13 Bankruptcy for a number of reasons.  Some file to save a house or car from repossession or foreclosure.  Some file to reorganize state or federal tax debt.  Others file to reorganize credit cards, collections, medical bills and even student loan debt.

How Do My Creditors Know I Filed Bankruptcy?

When your attorney creates your bankruptcy petition, the Bankruptcy Code requires you to list each creditor to which you might owe money.  Then, once we file your case, the Bankruptcy Court sends out notices to to each of your creditors informing them of the bankruptcy.  The notice contains your name, address and social security number to better assist the creditor in identifying your account.

Claims Deadline

This notice also gives the creditor a specific deadline by which it must file a claim in your case.  This deadline is 70 days from the date of your case was filed.  However, governmental units (IRS, Indiana Department of Revenue, etc.) are permitted a full 180 days from the date your case was filed.  So – 180 days from filing for the government and 70 days from filing for everyone else.

Objecting to Claims

After the claims deadline passes, the Chapter 13 Trustee and your attorney have the opportunity to review each claim.  Each claim must comply with the Bankruptcy Code in order to be deemed a valid, payable claim.  If a claim does not comply with the Bankruptcy Code, both the Chapter 13 Trustee and your attorney can object to it.  The objection must cite with specificity the reason why the claim is invalid.  If the creditor fails to respond to the objection within 30 days, the Court will rule in your favor.

You heard right – Barbie might need a Bankruptcy Lawyer.  Toys R Us’ Chapter 11 Bankruptcy rocked Mattel toys, makers of Barbie and Hot Wheels.  Toys R Us filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy last month as a result of a substantial decrease in sales and increase in debt.  Mattel had previously pulled back on shipping Barbie and Hot Wheels to Toys R Us.  Unfortunately,they were not prepared for the subsequent drop in sales.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy vs. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is reorganization bankruptcy for consumers.  It allows you to take all or most of your debt and consolidate it into one pool overseen by the Bankruptcy Court and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee.  A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy typically lasts three to five years but can be much shorter depending on several variable.  How your Evansville Bankruptcy Lawyer structures your plan of reorganization, whether your creditors actually get to file a claim against you and how much of that claim ends up being allowed all play into how long you are required to stay in the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy is reorganization bankruptcy for businesses OR for consumers with more than $1,184,200.00 in secured debt or more than $394,725.00 in unsecured debt.  Toys R Us filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy to reorganize and barter down its $5 billion debt.  Chapter 11 Bankruptcies are not limited to the max five year plans in Chapter 13 BankruptciesChapter 11 Bankruptcy can last mere months or it can last off and on for years and years.  The duration of the plan depends on many factors including how favorable the plan treats the debtor-in-possession and whether the debtor-in-possession is able to consistently comply with the plan after it is confirmed by the Bankruptcy Judge.

Barbie’s Bankruptcy Lawyer

So unless Barbie racked up more than $1,184,200.00 in secured debt or $394,725.00 in unsecured debt (buying all those convertibles and beach houses), then she would likely file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

Needless to say, Barbie would benefit from speaking to a Local Bankruptcy Lawyer.

If you have questions about the different chapters of Bankruptcy, contact us today.  We offer unlimited free consultations and Bankruptcy Fee Options to fit your budget.

Yet again, Congress has given multi-billion dollar banks more control over your daily life.  Yesterday Congress repealed a rule that would make it easier for American citizens to sue banks that had committed fraud or cheated customers.  

The Old Arbitration Rule

The old rule was simple – if you signed up for a credit card or a bank loan and you discovered some form of fraud by your bank, you were not forced into arbitration.  This rule was valuable to you because it allowed you to get together with other customers who were also wronged and sue your bank as one big class action.  Without the rule, you were forced to participate in arbitration if you wanted any chance at recovery.

The New Arbitration Rule

The situation doesn’t seem complicated on the surface but consider this:

  1. Banks tend to use the same arbitration companies over and over;
  2. Those arbitration company employees then get cozy with the bank employee (lawyers);
  3. The statistics show that arbitration overwhelmingly favors the banks, not the customers.

Think about it – you’re a bank who repeatedly hires the same arbitration company.  That arbitration company gets paid for each successful arbitration.  If that arbitration company consistently rules in favor of the bank that’s hiring it, it ensures that that bank will continue to hire the arbitration company.  It is not rocket science – these arbitration companies are clearly in the pocket of the banks that force their customers to use them.

Use Bankruptcy or Debt Relief to Fight the Arbitration Clause

Federal Bankruptcy Law is not subject to these arbitration clauses.  You can file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and the big banks have no recourse against you as far arbitration clauses are concerned.  Additionally, non-Bankruptcy options like Debt Relief can sidestep arbitration clauses by dealing directly with the creditor or the creditor’s attorney.

The Bottom Line….

If you feel like you were wronged by a bank there is a good chance that your complaint might be subject to an arbitration.  If that is the case, you need to seek legal counsel.  Your bank likely already knows its rights.  Do you?  You can’t afford to “take a knife to a gunfight.”  

Call The Law Offices of Dax J. Miller today for a free consultation.

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Who is the best Evansville Bankruptcy Attorney?

Choosing the right Evansville Bankruptcy Attorney probably seems like an overwhelming task.  You know you want to make a good decision but you’re concerned because there are so many to choose from.  Some firms boast what sound like too-good-to-be-true attorney fees. Some firms are large and you worry you might become just another number to them.  Other firms may practice in multiple fields of law like family law or criminal law.  This may result in a lack of expertise in Bankruptcy law.

Be your own advocate

The best advice I can give you is “Be Your Own Advocate”.  Know what you want in an attorney and seek that person out.  You may have to speak to more than one law firm. You may have to hold more than one consultation. But at the end of the day, filing bankruptcy is one of the most important decisions you may ever make.  You want to hire an attorney that will zealously represent you and has the knowledge and skill to do so.

Read attorney reviews about your Evansville Bankruptcy Attorney

One of the best resources for choosing an attorney are attorney review websites.  Sites like Avvo and Lawyerratingz allow you to read what other clients have said about an attorney.  Obviously, an attorney with more good reviews might be a better choice than an attorney with few or poor reviews.

Get a second opinion

Getting a second opinion when it comes to bankruptcy is simply a smart decision to make.  In many, if not most instances, our firm may counsel against filing bankruptcy.   We explore all possible solutions before advising in favor of bankruptcy.

Some firms only have a hammer – so everything they see needs to be a nail.

At The Law Offices of Dax J. Miller, we use every tool in our tool belt to address your problem.  Moreover, we do so in the most cost-effective, streamlined way so that we may pass the savings on to you.  Call today for a free consultation. Better yet, if you’ve already spoke to an attorney at another firm, call today for a free second opinion.  We offer UNLIMITED FREE CONSULTATIONS so you can be confident in your decision.

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The Law Offices of Dax J. Miller are now officially on Twitter!

Follow Dax J. Miller on Twitter!

By using our Twitter account, we hope to keep all of our followers up-to-date on local and national headlines regarding Bankruptcy and Debt Relief.

As your Evansville Bankruptcy Attorney, we are dedicated to staying on the cutting edge of any and all developments that might affect both our current and future clients.  By staying well-informed, we are able to maximize the benefit of our legal advice to our clients and minimize the cost of that advice.  By using Twitter, we only share what is directly related the issues that might affect our clients.  Issues surrounding foreclosure, loan modifications, repossession, wage garnishment, credit repair, debt settlement, student loans, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy will drive the discussion.  Those are the issues that concern our clients in Southern Indiana and that is what we promises to focus on.

Many times, Bankruptcy Judges publish new case law that impacts the outcome of a client’s case.  New case law affects issues like whether one may retain a certain asset, whether a debt may be dischargeable, and whether one might qualify for a bankruptcy in the first place.  Only by staying educated do we serve our mission to provide the best, most cutting-edge legal representation available.  Naturally, you do not want to find yourself on bad side of a Bankruptcy Judge or a Bankruptcy Trustee just because your Evansville Bankruptcy Attorney neglected to read the most recent court opinion.

Perhaps more importantly, we like to stay involved in our community.  We follow the Indiana Governor, the Evansville Mayor, the Evansville Police Department just to name a few.  That way, when the Governor tweets about a new economic stimulus package or the Mayor tweets about a new job training program, we can relay that information to clients who could potentially benefit.  It never hurts to keep an ear out for good information.

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Big Companies Do Not Consider You’re Bottom Line When They Want to Make More Money

If you’re considering bankruptcy and worry about your bankruptcy hurting companies like Bank of America of Ford Motor Credit or GM Finance – DON’T!  Those companies did not take the job status of you or your brother or aunt or cousin into consideration when they moved operations out of the country.  Then they made billions of dollars in record profits from that decision.  Now they want to come back and guilt you into feeling bad about not paying back a car loan or credit card?  Do not take the bait.

The Stock Market is Doing Well – How Come I’m Not?

You may have recently read or seen news clips stating that the stock market is at an all-time high and set to climb even higher.  News like that sounds great for the economy as a whole, but how does that help you?  Many times politicians like to point at the stock market as indicators of economic accomplishment.  Unfortunately, unless you personally own the stock that is doing so well, you rarely see any of the trickle-down prosperity from those gains.

American corporations continue to move operations out of the country and those same companies continue to line the pockets of the politicians that supposedly represent us.

Bankruptcy Hurting Companies You Owe?

These companies play by one set of rules when it comes to making money and expect the American Public to play by another when it comes to losing it.  Many times, the only way to get any relief or justice in this country is to take it yourself.  Filing bankruptcy may provide you that relief.  If you truly need the service of an Evansville Bankruptcy Attorney, we can explain just how the process works and what you stand to gain from it.  Call today for a free consultation.

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