Most of Wynn at Law, LLC's bankruptcy clients face sudden situations that have them considering filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. I'm talking about things like massive medical bills or sudden job loss. Finances can be a difficult balancing act at other times as well, so I put together a quick list of warning signs.
1. Wage garnishments. These are a dead giveaway that something got out of hand at some point and a bankruptcy filing may be in the cards. However, before a wage garnishment can take place, the creditor has to take you to court to get the order. So, here is the real heads up...
2. Summonses. If a creditor wants a piece of you and has been unsuccessful with collections on its own or with the help of a collection agency, they take you to circuit court. The court is in the county in which you reside. Walworth County Circuit Court, for example, is in Elkhorn. The court sends out a summons when a creditor files against you.
3. Missed or late payments. When you lose track of paying bills by the due date, it's probably time to use a calendar. If you're regularly late or paying at or below the minimum payment, that's a warning sign. It's also a money drain. Late fees are a nuisance. When you start paying interest on late fees added to your account balance, the situation can spiral out of control quickly.
4. Maxed out cards. One reason we miss payments or pay below the minimum is because a credit limit can be a tempting way to extend your income. Buying groceries on the credit card is one example. Even if you're a super couponer, paying for Pick 'n Save on the Visa negates any incremental savings from the coupons.
5. No savings. When you’re not following the old adage that you pay yourself first by putting money into savings or investments (like your retirement plan), it’s a signal. It could flag an unhealthy relationship with money that could bring anyone to Wynn at Law, LLC. Not every saver can squirrel away enough to make it through an unexpected loss of income… but it provides cushion.
The pattern in these five warning signs is in reverse order. If you're at warning sign #1 already, call us. If you're at warning sign #5, there's probably still a lot you can do before needing an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
*The content and material in this original post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
Photo by Igor Stevanovic, used with permission.