Archive for the "Wealth Management" Category

By Carl Hampton

Having a hard time paying your bills? Do they seem like they just keep adding up? A lot of people in this situation think that filing for bankruptcy is the easy way out. In all reality, bankruptcy should be your very last resort. Most people do not understand the long term effects of this course of action they are also unaware that there is a very extensive process that happens before and after you file for bankruptcy.

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 states that people who plan to file for bankruptcy protection are now required to receive counseling from an agency that is government approved within a six month period before filing. After filing bankruptcy a debtors education course must be completed. The Department of Justice has a U.S Trustee Program wherein only counselors and educators that appear on the program’s list can counsel you. By law the U.S. Trustees Program cannot operate in Alabama and North Carolina because they have what are referred to as Bankruptcy Administrators.

The credit counseling and debtor education might not take place at the same time. But it is necessary to complete both for those who are filing for bankruptcy. The counseling must take place before filing, a certificate of credit counseling completion must be attained when filing for bankruptcy. The debtor education program normally takes place after the filing.

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The counseling session consists of an evaluation of personal financial situations, a discussion of alternatives to bankruptcy, and a budget plan. The session should normally take about an hour, and the filer has the option of taking the session in person, on line, or over the phone. For those that cannot afford to pay for the counseling the organization is required to provide their services free of charge. But for those who can afford to pay the fee will be about $50 depending on location. Once the counseling is complete you are given a certificate as proof you have taken the course.

It is up to you to decide what organization you will use for credit counseling. When you are calling around please make sure you ask some of the following questions. What services to you offer? What are you fees? What if I can’t afford them? What qualifications do your counselors have? Will you help me develop a plan for avoiding problems in the future. If you ask at least half of these questions, you will have a good idea about the organization and your decision making will be much easier.

The educational courses will consist of similar information as the counseling sessions, budgeting, using credit wisely. Like the counseling sessions you have a number of options on how you can take the educational courses, in person, over the phone or on line. These courses last longer at about two hours and the fee is anywhere between $50 to $100. You can seek a waiver if you are unable to pay. You should also receive a certificate as proof that you have taken the course.

About the Author: From the Author of ‘From Credit Despair To Credit Millionaire’


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Frivolous lawsuits and outlandish settlements got the public’s blood boiling a few years ago when a judge – yes, a judge – sued a small, family-owned dry cleaners for $65 million for losing a pair of his pants. Small businesses, this goes to show, are just as vulnerable to unfounded claims as their deep-pocket peers. According to the Small Business Administration, 52 percent of lawsuits target small businesses, which the Institute for Legal Reform estimated in 2007 cost small businesses $98 billion a year. the economic engine that creates 64 percent of America’s jobs.

Not a small business owner or big business executive? You could still face significant loss of assets from damages and court costs in a liability claim. You get some protection through your homeowners, renters and auto insurance, but every policy has limits and your policies may leave you exposed where you least expect it.

Umbrella policies provide extra, overall coverage beyond these specific policies. Amounts usually range from $1 million to $5 million and typically cover losses beyond what your other policies will pay. The coverage isn’t tied to your property or vehicle so it goes with you where you go, but it typically does not cover business activities, even if the business is operated from your home.

Your need for personal liability coverage depends on two factors: the amount of assets you have and the risks associated with your lifestyle. Do you have a pool on your property? Allow hunting on your farm or ranch? Have employees like a nanny or housekeeper working at your home? All of those factors expose you to risks beyond the scope of a typical homeowners policy.

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Do other factors make you a target for lawsuits? Faced with the prospect of deep pockets, some people will be tempted to pick them. Even frivolous claims can cost you in time and emotional distress. Public knowledge of your assets, recent inheritance, land holdings, income or lottery winnings – or even mistaken assumptions about these things – can bring out claims from the classic slip and fall to more elaborate ruses.

Typically, umbrella liability coverage extends to your spouse, your children and any relatives living in your household, under your care or under the care of a relative living with you. That can be a welcome reassurance when you have teenagers driving or college students living away from home.

Umbrella liability insurance can protect what you’ve saved for a rainy day. Your financial advisor or insurance professional can help you examine your current coverages and potential risks to determine how big your umbrella needs to be.

Copyright January 2010, Securities America Financial Corporation. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., a Registered Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory Services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc., an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. This January 2010 article may contain time-sensitive content that may change over time, becoming more or less pertinent and accurate. Facts, figures, theories and strategies represented in this article may not be appropriate for all investors at all times. Please visit with your personal financial advisor or registered representative before acting on any content from this article. Securities America and its advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult with your tax or legal professional regarding your individual situation. SAI# 136858

About Securities America Securities America Financial Corporation is a financial services holding company. Our financial representatives provide investment and financial planning services including securities and insurance brokerage, as well as asset management. Think of Securities America as the behind-the-scenes support for your financial representative. Through our extensive technology, compliance and operational support, our representatives can more readily provide comprehensive and professional service to you, their client.

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Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, Securities America Financial Corporation (SAFC) is the holding company for Securities America Inc and Securities America Advisors Inc SAFC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services.Author: Steven Donald