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Pine Bluff Bankruptcy Law Blog

Rapper files for bankruptcy, then poses with stacks of cash

Some Arkansas readers are familiar with the work of the rapper known as 50 Cent. The entertainer, whose legal name is Curtis James Jackson, is also an actor, and has appeared in multiple movies and television projects. Jackson filed for bankruptcy last year, but is now being called back to court to discuss photos that he posed for and then posted on social media. Those photos show him posing with large stacks of cash.

Jackson filed for bankruptcy after losing a lawsuit involving the release of a sex tape. The woman who sued is now entitled to a $7 million payment from Jackson, but she has been unable to collect any of that money due to the open bankruptcy case. She flagged the photos, which were displayed on Jackson's Instagram account, and brought them to the attention of the judge. One of the pictures shows him arranging stacks of money to spell the word "broke," another has him snuggled up in bed with piles of cash.

Debt settlement could improve the lives of children

When an Arkansas family is struggling under a heavy burden of debt, stress levels will rise. Increased stress can bring on tension between spouses and can make it difficult to enjoy life. What many parents fail to understand is the impact that serious debt can have on their children. A recent study looked at the issue, and the results may lead some families to give debt settlement or bankruptcy serious consideration.

The study looked at more than 9,000 children between the ages of 5 and 14, and evaluated the level of debt held within their families. Researchers tracked the behavior of those children over time, as debt levels changed within the families. The final result was the determination that high debt has a serious impact on the behavioral health of a child.

Many senior citizens require discharge of debts

Many people envision their retirement as a time to step away from the demands of their career and refocus their energies on more personally fulfilling goals, such as family, hobbies and travel. For some Arkansas residents, retirement looks nothing like this ideal, and is defined by financial turmoil. In such cases, taking proactive steps to bring about the discharge of debts is the only way to regain a strong financial foundation and find peace in one's later years.

The reasons behind senior citizen debt vary. In some cases, debt acquired during middle age lingers as one transitions into retirement. For others, an unexpected illness or injury leads to a sudden debt crisis. Often, simply living on a tight budget can make it difficult to save for an emergency fund, and expenses as mundane as a significant car repair or necessary home improvement project will lead to high levels of debt.

Student loan debt can lead some to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Many American families still consider a college education to be an essential component to becoming an adult. In fact, some students are willing to go into serious debt to achieve a college degree, and believe that they will have improved job prospects once they have that piece of paper in their hands. In reality, however, the job market is not always as lucrative as many believe, and quite a few college graduates in Arkansas and elsewhere are faced with unmanageable debt. While bankruptcy can offer relief, many people try many other debt relief options before turning to Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Some graduates are fortunate enough to find a position with a company that will help repay their student loans. An example is found in the consulting firm PwC, which will pay $100 per month toward student loan debt for a period of six years. Other companies take a different approach, offering employees a lump sum loan payment once the worker has completed a predetermined amount of time on the job.

Choosing between medical debt negotiation and bankruptcy

After a serious illness or injury, many Arkansas residents are left with a lasting reminder of that experience. While some will have scars or lingering physical reminders, many more will face staggering volumes of medical debt. When considering how to address a mountain of medical bills, consumers have a few choices. They can try to negotiate lower rates that would make repayment a possibility, or they can choose to move toward personal bankruptcy.

Negotiation is a powerful tool in reducing overall medical expenses. The power of negotiation is best leveraged prior to having a procedure or treatment done, as this gives the patient the ability to walk away from negotiations and take his or her business elsewhere. Even if the care has already been received, however, there is still a chance to negotiate medical bills down.

When is the right time to seek Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

In the early stages of financial distress, many Arkansas residents firmly believe that the situation is only temporary and that it will be possible to fulfill any outstanding financial obligations. They don't consider Chapter 7 bankruptcy as an option or feel that it is a last ditch effort, at best. As time goes on, things may shift and that optimism can fade. This is especially true for consumers who have tried and failed to work with their banks to have a loan restructured.

Many people are confident that their lending institutions will work with them to restructure a loan and help the borrower get back on track to repay that debt. In reality, however, banks are often inflexible in regard to lending terms. In many cases, the bank representatives have no authority to change those terms or work out a creative solution that would allow repayment. This leaves the consumer with little option in addressing the debt.

Could small debt lead some African Americans to bankruptcy?

A recently published article looks at the issue of institutional racism and discusses the financial challenges faced by many African American families. According to the authors, black families in Arkansas and across the nation continue to suffer from disparities within the court system, which can lead to serious financial troubles. For some, bankruptcy is the most viable solution and can provide a chance to start anew and build a stronger financial foundation.

The article focuses on small debt, and how those seemingly minor financial obligations can snowball into serious financial straits. Small debts can include utility bills, traffic tickets or other accounts that hold a minimal balance. When an individual or family is unable to pay those expenses, the result can be a lawsuit intended to recover the past due amount. Statistics show that in communities where the population is predominantly black, judgments for small debts are more than 50 percent more common than in areas where the population is mostly white.

Credit card lawsuit: Bankruptcy filing can stop legal action

After the excitement and joy of handing out presents to loved ones over the holidays, the reality of overextended credit card debts may hit some Arkansas consumers in January. No one wants to face a credit card lawsuit, and when the bills start arriving, consumers may explore remedies that will provide a quick solution. A popular choice at the beginning of every year is said to be 0% balance transfers on credit cards. Although the potential of quick debt relief without interest may be appealing, there are several pitfalls to consider.

Balance transfer offers from the different credit card providers vary, but each one has a time limit for the zero percent offers. Debt that is not paid within that time will be subject to the provider's regular interest rate that may -- in some cases -- be higher than the rate on the original card. Consumers may also want to clarify whether the offer of no interest includes balance transfers or only applies to purchases. When selecting a balance transfer offer, it may also be important to take note of the fees charged. In most cases a percentage of the transfer amount is charged as a fee.

One Chapter 7 bankruptcy success story

When faced with financial difficulties, many in Arkansas fail to understand the power that bankruptcy can have. Others understand the benefits of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but they feel that filing is some sort of mark of failure. Many people assume that individuals who seek bankruptcy protection are somehow irresponsible or cannot achieve any level of success.

In reality, however, many successful people seek and make use of bankruptcy protection. An example is found in financial expert Patrice Washington. After writing multiple books and building a name for herself in the personal finance industry, Washington encountered a number of financial setbacks. She had a difficult pregnancy, and she racked up nearly $400,000 in medical bills before bringing her daughter home from the hospital. Her real estate business was also in trouble, and the debts were climbing.

Too much holiday debt? Consider your bankruptcy options

After the holidays, Arkansas consumers may find their finances stretched, and some suggest immediate action may be necessary. Although the bankruptcy option is available, many people may want first to try stricter debt management before taking that step. However, ongoing credit card debt can result in additional interest and late payment fees.

To understand the extent of the problem, the most appropriate step would be to obtain a credit report to check obligations. Interest rates should also be verified. This is also an opportunity to check for errors and report them. Before drafting a budget, some suggest recording every cent that is spent in one month, even insignificant amounts. The amount of money spent on non-essentials often surprises consumers when they review their exact expenditures afterward.

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