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Is Filing For Bankruptcy The Solution

Bankruptcy may seem to be an easy solution for major financial problems. But it is always better to avoid filing bankruptcy at all cost and to turn to it only as a last resort.

Once you file for bankruptcy, this point will remain on your credit record for ten years. This will make it difficult for you to receive loans and credit. Some lenders may allow for limited credit with bankrupt; but only after extensive explanations, and at a higher interest rate and with added credit fees. Another reason for avoiding bankruptcy is that some types of bankruptcy call for repossession of assets. Once the bank finds that there is something with you that is not necessary for living, the item may be seized to pay for debts and bankruptcy expenses.

With bankruptcy, financial difficulty will not be solved and your life becomes an open book as the court pries into all aspects of life wherein you will have to provide all financial information like savings, investments and assets. Though bankruptcy may seem to suggest some freedom from financial debts, there may be other debts that will have to be paid like alimony, court judgment costs or child support.

So keeping these points in mind, it is always better to avoid bankruptcy. Debt consolidation is one of the best means of avoiding bankruptcy. These companies help you by examining your current loans and come up with a program that incorporates all these debts. The company handles the payment to all the creditors; you just have to make a single payment to them every month. They will also get you a lower rate of interest and a longer time period to repay the loans, thus making you save some money.

Easy access to credit cards and credit accounts at department stores has now made it rather easy to fall into debt. It is better to pay bills with cash, and not use credit when money runs low. So cancel the credit card account! If you fall in debt, instead of hiding from the debt companies, it is better to talk to them as they may be able to negotiate and help you solve your debt. It is always better to plan a budget calculating debt ratio to income when in debt. Just write all the bills and expenditure that you have. Then you can determine how much has to be paid for bills, and how much is left for other spending. If required, you can also sell your home and downsize to avoid bankruptcy.

The only benefits of filing for bankruptcy are that the stress of dealing with numerous creditors is relieved. Once bankruptcy is discharged, as most of the debts get written off, creditors cannot pursue them. However, the disadvantages to bankruptcy are many. Businesses can be sold and employees dismissed with bankruptcy. Equity in a home is most likely to be sold as with bankruptcy, reliable assets of value are lost.

Bankruptcy is a costly process where all the fees for courts and trustee are drawn from the debtor’s assets. On filing for bankruptcy, it is not possible to hold certain public offices like MP, magistrate or even practice as an accountant or a solicitor. Moreover, with the new bankruptcy reform law, it is difficult to use Chapter 7 bankruptcy to get a new start in one’s financial lives.

Under the old law, one could file for bankruptcy through Chapter 7 or 13. In Chapter 7, you can keep your exempt property like the equity in your home. Here most of the debts are discharged. However, in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you have to agree to pay off all your debts over a period of three to five years. So according to the new bankruptcy law, most of the bankruptcies are forced to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Moreover, according to the new law, you have to meet with a credit counselor for six months before applying for bankruptcy. However, as there are insufficient credit counselors, it is rather hard to accomplish this. It is also required that you attend money management courses at your expense before discharging your debts. However, it is always better to approach a good bankruptcy lawyer before taking any steps!

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Lower Your Bills While Keeping Your Cool

As utilities throughout the U.S. propose rate increases of as much as 70 percent, many homeowners are looking for ways to lower their energy bills. Simple steps such as home sealing can lower a home's heating and cooling costs by up to 20 percent, saving homeowners hundreds of dollars.

"Having an energy-efficient home is just as important in the summer as it is in the winter. Home sealing is a simple way to keep cool air in, stay comfortable, and reduce energy bills," says Steve Baden, Executive Director of the Residential Energy Services Network, a non-profit energy efficiency organization. "One of the first steps homeowners should consider is properly sealing the home. Air leaking through gaps and cracks can add up to as much airflow as an open window, and an air conditioner is one of the largest summer energy expenditures."

Sealing the home with silicone sealants limits the costly escape of cool air from air-conditioned environments. A typical home can be sealed with four tubes of GE Silicone II, meaning that $20 could save a homeowner hundreds of dollars in energy costs.

GE offers a variety of silicone and acrylic home sealing solutions that can help a homeowner have a tighter, more energy efficient home. Jeff Davis, General Manager of GE Sealants & Adhesives, recommends a premium silicone sealant for summer home sealing.

"Silicone sealants provide homes with an air and water-tight seal that creates the highest level of efficiency and protection against the elements," says Davis. "And because of its unmatched durability and adhesion, homeowners only have to seal a home once with silicone."