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Eugene Bankruptcy Law Blog

Requirements to discharge student loans in bankruptcy

Many people in Oregon struggle to repay their student loan debts. Unlike other types of unsecured debts, such as credit card balances or medical bills, student loans are normally not dischargeable in bankruptcy. However, student loans may be dischargeable in some cases.

In order to discharge student loans, one must be able to show that repaying the debts would cause them undue hardships. Most jurisdictions use the Brunner test to determine whether or not a student loan may be discharged. In order to prevail under this test, debtors must be able to illustrate that they have circumstances that create hardships and that the hardships are likely to last for the length of the loans' terms. They will also have to demonstrate that they have made good-faith efforts to repay the loans.

Have high interest credit cards? You may be able to lower them

Are you frustrated by overwhelming high interest rates on your credit cards? Does making the minimum payment each month feel useless because the interest charges nearly replace that payment? Did you know there is a chance you can lower your interest rate just by asking?

Right now, the average interest rate on a credit card is over 16%, it is over 20% for cash out credit cards. If you see your cards at these rates or higher, there are ways to lower the rate without finding a new card that will charge you balance transfer fees. All you need to do is speak with your credit card company or bank and negotiate with them on a new lower rate. Of course, they may very well say, "no," but they are more likely to approve a lower rate if you follow these steps:

Late Credit Card Payments Continue To Rise

With the rise in interest rates has also come an increase in late credit card payments. According to Business Insider, while late payments on other kinds loans (student loans, for instance, and mortgages) remain the same or are in fact decreasing, late payments on credit cards are on the rise.

According to Michael Pearce, a senior US economist at Capital Economics, the rise in late payments does not indicate a crash like 2008. It could, however, be a portent of things to come.

How to time a bankruptcy filing

Oregon residents may not file for bankruptcy because of the stigma surrounding it. However, it may be harder to truly get a fresh start after filing for those who wait too long to file. As a general rule, anyone who has a debt-to-income ratio of more than 40 percent should file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 protection in the near future. The same is true for anyone who is not able to buy food or other necessities.

However, certain types of debt cannot be eliminated in a bankruptcy. For instance, student loans and court judgments are generally ineligible to be discharged. However, people who have credit card, medical or similar types of debt will likely find relief by filing for bankruptcy. Finally, a key sign that filing for bankruptcy may be prudent is the fact that a person goes into debt to pay off old debt.

Do you know the APRs of your credit cards?

Families can face all kinds of expenses, including the many related to raising children. It is not uncommon for families to turn to credit cards to help with these costs.

Many things can have major impacts on families that use credit cards. This includes the annual percentage rates of the cards they use. However, a recent survey indicates that many consumers are unaware of what their APRs currently are.

Smart ways to rebuild your credit

Having a credit card is a big responsibility. Seemingly limitless money can be dangerous and it’s easy to dig yourself into a financial hole.

Good credit can help you in the long run, should you want to apply for a loan or mortgage a house. But if you are reckless with your spending, your credit will not help you in the future.

Preventing credit card debt by avoiding certain transactions

Consumers in Oregon and elsewhere may use credit cards to fund a variety of financial transactions. While making smaller purchases on credit accounts might seem harmless, these purchases can add up quickly if a person isn't careful. However, while a person can amass high amounts of credit card debt under a variety of circumstances, financial experts suggest that there could be consequences to placing certain purchases on similar accounts.

While tax season takes place the same time every year, many may be unprepared when a tax bill comes due. In times of financial need, one may choose to turn to a credit card to cover monetary obligations, but experts suggest that using similar methods to pay for taxes isn't advisable. In addition, using a credit card to pay for big ticket items that a person would otherwise be unable to afford could bring about extensive monetary hardships in the future.

Steps to take when medical debts are too great

It was an emergency. Your daughter was injured in a car accident and had to be rushed to the hospital. She was bloodied and bruised, broke her leg, and is now on the road to recovery. Nevertheless, it was a shock that no parent wants to experience.

Weeks later, a second surprise hits: Sticker shock from the medical bills that ranged from emergency care, physician consultations and treatments to prescriptions. It's all too much, and you just can't pay it right now.

Bankruptcy: Debt a growing concern for retired individuals

Carrying substantial amounts of debt can be a burden for many individuals in Oregon and elsewhere, regardless of age. However, those who are saddled with debt upon entering retirement may face additional challenges that often come with living on a fixed income. Since monetary struggles could have a devastating impact on the life of a retiree, those experiencing such troubles could find it helpful to speak with a bankruptcy attorney for advice on how to pursue some much-needed relief.

Exploring one's options when medical bills prove intimidating

With the high costs involved in seeking medical care, it may take little more than one sudden and unexpected trip to the hospital for an individual in Oregon to become encumbered with debt. Those who experience such emergencies may feel they are left with few options, and some may turn to a credit card for relief. However, paying medical bills with a credit card might not be the best solution, and seeking guidance on the other options available could be advisable.

Upon receiving a bill for medical care, attempting to figure out how to cover the full amount can be a harrowing process. However, paying the entire bill in one payment might not be necessary, and a person could consider attempting to negotiate a payment plan. In some cases, those who are struggling financially may also be eligible for financial aid, and there might be programs or organizations that can provide assistance to those in need.

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