Jeffrey M. Rosenblum, P.C.
A Fresh Start

Long Island Bankruptcy Law Blog

Can lawmakers help take the sting out of surprise medical bills?

Almost everyone has to deal with a large, unexpected medical bill at some point. A car crash, burst appendix, skiing accident or bout of food poisoning can send you or a family member to the nearest emergency room or urgent care facility. Sometimes, we're taken there by an ambulance or a loved one, and we have no say in choosing our medical provider -- let alone worrying about whether they're in our insurance network.

That's what can make these surprise medical bills so devastating. When a hospital, doctor and/or lab is out-of-network, a patient can be stuck with thousands of dollars in expenses.

Your age likely affects your attitude toward credit cards

You might assume that younger people would use credit cards more often than older ones do. The convenience of buying now and paying later is still relatively new to them. They also haven't had years of paying interest on unpaid balances.

However, according to a recent survey by GOBankingRates, those most likely to say that they relied too much on their credit cards were 65 and over. Some 39% of seniors said that. That percentage dropped into the 20s for those between 35 and 64. Respondents between 25 and 34 were least likely to feel that way (just 11%).

Why most people's 401(k) savings won't support them in retirement

Are you counting on the savings in your 401(k) to support you in retirement? Most Americans don't have nearly enough to adequately fund their retirement years. A new report using U.S. Census Bureau data states, "A 25-year-old median earner in 1981 who contributed regularly would have about $364,000 by age 60 [under ideal conditions], but the typical 60-year-old in 2016 had less than $100,000."

Why is that? There are a number of reasons. For one thing, many people don't have access to a 401(k). Last year, just a little over a third of people in the private sector worked for employers that offered them.

How can you get creditors to stop calling?

When you started receiving calls from creditors about outstanding debt, you may have thought that your best course of action would be to ignore them. Unfortunately, like many problems in life, ignoring creditors does not mean that they will go away. In fact, it could invite additional actions against you.

You may worry about dealing with creditors because they can be intimidating. While this is true, you may want to remember that you still have rights, and creditors cannot treat you any way they want. In fact, if creditors harass you in their attempts to collect, they have violated the law.

Are you prepared for a recession?

Economic experts are warning that another recession appears to be headed our way. In a recent survey by the National Association for Business Economics, 38% of economists who were polled predicted that it would occur next year. A little over a third said they expect it the following year, in 2021.

Americans aren't completely helpless in the face of a recession -- particularly if they prepare for the possibility of it. That's always a wise move -- even without these dire predictions. No economic upturn lasts forever. We should never assume that our own personal good fortune or that of the entire nation will continue without some bumps in the road.

Why are more baby boomers filing for bankruptcy?

It used to be (or at least seem) like once Americans reached their mid-60s, they could relax, travel and enjoy the fruits of many years of work. Now people are living longer and working years past the once-traditional retirement age of 65.

Sometimes they don't do so by choice. They need the income to make ends meet. Many older Americans are finding themselves in serious financial straits. The number of seniors who opt for bankruptcy to relieve some of their financial distress has risen in recent years by 300%, according to The Financial Times.

Why are bankruptcy rates on the rise this year?

The number of personal as well as business bankruptcies in the U.S. has been increasing recently. There were 5% more filings in July of this year than in June. There were about 1,000 more consumer bankruptcies during the first seven months of this year than the same period in 2018, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.

These bankruptcy filings have a number of causes. Some people get loans when they don't have the money needed to make the payments. Unexpected events like the loss of a job or a health issue also cause some people to determine that bankruptcy is their best option. Job loss often means loss of health insurance, which doubles a person's likelihood of filing for bankruptcy.

Credit card debt often begins in college

If you have a child going off to college this fall, you're likely concerned about all sorts of potential dangers. Let's discuss one you may not have considered.

Credit card companies target college students, often with booths and representatives set up on campus. They're a valuable commodity. A person who gets their first credit card before they're even out of their teens will have decades ahead of them to rack of credit card bills -- and likely pay a significant amount of interest over the years.

Owners of New York debt collection companies agree to settlement

On July 25, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the New York Attorney General (AG) announced that they had fined three New York-based debt collection companies and their owners over $60 million for illegally inflating consumer debts and barred them from further debt collection activity.

That settlement with the companies, Enhanced Acquisitions, LLC, Northern Resolution Group, LLC and Delray Capital, LLC, was announced with a joint consent order. That order alleges that over at least the past decade, the firms "purchased millions of dollars' worth of consumer debt, inflated those consumer debts, and relied on illegal tactics to extract as much money as possible from consumers for their debts." Their alleged activities, which included impersonating law enforcement officials, violated state and federal laws.

Good debt, bad debt and your financial future

Taking on a significant amount of debt can lead to financial distress for many New York consumers. If you find yourself dealing with debt, you may be wondering how you can ever manage it on your own or how you can regain your financial stability. It may help to learn more about different types of debt and what they can mean for your financial well-being.

Certain types of debt are not necessarily negative debts. While having more debt than you can manage is never a good idea, some balances can help you accomplish certain things. Most people have debt, but whether yours is good or bad depends on the details of your individual situation and whether you can afford payments.