Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Understanding Bankruptcy and How it is Not the End



For most people, the decision to file for bankruptcy relief is a difficult one. It is a scary process a nd it can feel like that you are just giving up. 

That you will never be the same again. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Bankruptcy doesn’t have to be the scary process. While it may be difficult and life changing, it is actually meant to help you start over. 

With that said, bankruptcy is a process that should never be taken lightly and it will likely be a process where you will need help in order to get through it in one piece.

What Bankruptcy is


Bankruptcy is a legal process that allows some people and businesses to repay or completely eliminate debts. It occurs when a person or business cannot repay their creditors. 



While bankruptcy is not usually the first option, for many individuals it is the only one that makes sense. It can help you get your life back on track. Since this is a legal process, you are going to need to hire an attorney with expertise in the field. 

Bankruptcy laws are complex. Do you need to file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13? Do you know the difference? A bankruptcy lawyer will work with you through the process. 

In addition to the bankruptcy filing, you should also consult with an attorney like those at the Law Offices of Barbara B. Braziel.

What Bankruptcy is not


The stigma attached to a bankruptcy no longer exists. It is not a sign that you have failed. It does not mean that you have been reckless with your finances. 

It does not mean an end to your dreams of home ownership or new cars. It is a setback. It is a setback that will take some time depending how bad your financial situation is. 

You may not be able to buy that nice house or nice shiny new car when you originally planned on it. You have to postpone those purchases. Bankruptcy is meant to help you start over and reset your finances and for you to get everything in order again.

Is There Life After Bankruptcy?


The answer is a definitive “yes.” You are not the only one to face financial difficulties. It is true that a bankruptcy record will be on your credit file for up to ten years. 

However, most people are surprised to find that even with a history of bankruptcy, lenders are often eager to extend credit. That actually makes good sense. With your bankruptcy, your debt has been eliminated. 




You now have more funds available to make your payments than prior to your bankruptcy. In many ways, you are seen as a better risk than someone with existing debt. Many people who file bankruptcy are surprised to learn that they can often purchase a new car within a short period of time. 

Most mortgage companies are willing to finance a home if you wait at least 24 months after your bankruptcy has been discharged.

Bankruptcy is not the first option for most individuals, but it is the only solution for many. Especially if you have hit some financial hard times or have owned a business that consequently went under. 

The bottom line that everyone needs to understand, is that while bankruptcy may carry that negative connotation, while it may not be as situation anyone wants to be in, it is ultimately there to help you out of the financial hole that you might be in. 

With expert legal help, you can survive a bankruptcy and face a future that is brighter than you may expect.


Financial Planning: The 5 Best Practices of Taking Care of Your Family's Estate



Many people are uncomfortable thinking about death and aging. This discomfort, however, is not an excuse to avoid making the decisions needed to take care of your family when you are no longer able to provide for them. 

ortunately, legal and financial professionals can assist you in developing a solid estate plan. Below are some tips for ensuring that your funds are used in the way you want them to be after you die. 

Plan While Healthy


Begin the estate planning process before you have significant concerns about your well-being and ability to make critical decisions. 

The last thing you want to do is get to a point in your life where you are no longer mentally or physically capable of making decisions when it comes to the future of your estate. 




You need your wits about you. You don’t want someone outside of your family or even other family member making decisions about your estate that you never intended. If you haven't already, contact a lawyer to discuss estate planning options.

Address Estate Planning Comprehensively


While a will is the foundation of your estate plan, it is not the only document you'll need to have drawn up. 

Depending on your situation, you will also need to name guardians for your children, develop an advance care plan that directs your medical care at the end of your life, and to name beneficiaries your insurance policies and retirement benefits.

Consider Trusts


During the estate planning process, some people become concerned about whether their heirs will be able to responsibly manage the money left to them. 

Trusts can be used to protect funds while also ensuring that your heirs are able to accomplish their goals with the money left to them.

Talking to an experienced banker is one way to learn about and establish trust funds. In some cases, there may also be tax benefits for both you and the beneficiary. 

Companies like Home State Bank will understand your concerns and be willing and able to help you with these aspects of estate planning.

Open Communication with Beneficiaries


Serious illness and death can sometimes trigger conflict within families. Communicating with heirs about your estate plan while you are still alive can minimize the likelihood of this happening. 




It will also ensure that your estate is divided up fairly between your family, and everything be taken care of the way you intended it. 

Review and Update Your Estate Plan Regularly


You want to make sure you are keeping track of your estate, making updates, and planning for the future of it as needed. 

You may have one plan, but life will likely throw some curve balls your way and you will likely have to make some changes in your estate planning. If you experience important life changes, such as a divorce, death of a spouse or ex-spouse, or the birth of a child, update your estate plan immediately. 

If a former spouse dies, be sure to talk to your lawyer about changing your qualified domestic relations order (QDRO), which divided your retirement funds with your ex-spouse.

Addressing financial planning issues now can save you, and your family, a great deal of stress later. It gives you a lot less to have to worry about down the road knowing that everything will work out as it needs to when you are gone. 

Don't be afraid to ask questions of the professionals who you work with, and allow yourself the time to think about your plan so that you can feel confident about your family's future.

How to Actively Invest in Your 50s and Enjoy It



For so many years, we’re taught to invest in order to prepare a better retirement for ourselves. Frankly, a lot of us did just that and developed a strong investment portfolio; strong enough to allow us to enjoy the best things in life once we retired. 

The idea is to stop working and worrying about returns or revenues by the time we reach retirement age.

In truth, however, there are more opportunities to explore – and even better investment options to consider – once you’re actually retired. You have more time on your hands and more money to use. 




These make investing a lot more fun. If you’re intrigued by the idea of actively investing after retirement, here are some tips to help you get started.

Learn and Be Patient


Since you now have more time on your hands, the best way to get started is by learning more about the investment opportunities available to you. 

You can study the stock market or take lessons on how to invest. You can even learn how to be an investor for an up and coming tech startup.

There are two advantages of understanding how to invest your money wisely when you’re in your 50s. First, you don’t have to rely so much on advisors and third-party services, which means you can save a lot on fees. 

You can still use the services of investment firms, but this time you have the ability to assume more control.

Secondly, there are plenty of exciting things to do when you’re involved in the investments actively. 

If you’re worried about not having enough things to do or if you’re afraid you’ll get bored a few months into retirement, becoming an active investor is definitely worth considering.

Seek Revenue-Generating Investments


At this point, you already have a strong portfolio designed to secure your retirement. Chances are you have several investments aimed at long-term capital gains acting as the foundation of that portfolio. 

If the goal is to be more active in investing your money, then revenue-generating investments are what you need to be making.



There is no shortage of interesting opportunities to explore. You can look into agriculture investments from companies like Crawford Park Farming AG

You can join a VC as an investor and be part of the latest and greatest startups. You can even start your own business with the help of younger entrepreneurs.

Maintain a Buffer


Last, but certainly not least, always make sure you invest the money you can afford to lose. 

While it is a good idea to get back in the game, the adrenaline rush can sweep you off the ground; before long, you’ll get carried away and you won’t be able to make solid, objective investment decisions.

Remain on the safe side and always have an exit strategy whenever you’re venturing into new investments. You’re here to have fun and earn healthy returns, not to take excessive risks and chase losses. 

Remember the tips we’ve covered in this article and you will find investing in your 50s to be a fun ride.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How to Get Quality Dental Care on a Tight Budget



If you are like a lot of people, you might have trouble paying for good-quality dental care. After all, a dental appointment can be expensive, especially if you have a lot of dental issues. 

Luckily, you do not have to give up on getting good care just because you are on a tight budget. Instead, try these tips for getting the dental care that you need at a price that you can afford.


Use a Local Dental School


One excellent option to look into is getting some of your dental work done at a local dental school. 

For example, if a local community college has a dental hygiene problem, you might be able to have a basic cleaning done for much less than you would pay at a dentist's office. If there is a full dental school in your area, you can look into having other types of dental work done there for a discounted price. 



It's important to remember that students will be the ones who are working on your teeth if you choose this option, but they are generally overseen by licensed, knowledgeable professionals. 

Even though this might not be the best idea for more major dental work, it can be an affordable choice for basic care.


Sign Up for Dental Insurance


Signing up for a dental insurance plan can be a good way to save money on taking care of your teeth. Plus, simply knowing that you have this coverage can provide you with peace of mind. 

Consider asking your employer if dental insurance is available through your job, where you might be able to score it a little cheaper. You can also search online for your dental insurance options.


Look Into a Dental Discount Plan


Another option that you can look into is a dental discount plan. This is not insurance, but it can help you save on your dental appointments. Basically, you pay a monthly fee to be a part of this discount program. 

Then, if you see a dentist that works with the dental discount plan company, you can often score more affordable pricing on common procedures and checkups.


Shop Around for Pricing


It's never a good idea to go to the first dentist that you come across. For all you know, you could be paying a lot more for services than you have to. 

It's always a good idea to shop around and compare pricing between different dentists in your area. Just make sure that you are looking for reputable dentists who you can count on for high-quality care. 



Finding your options can be as simple as making an area specific google search like “dentist in san angelo tx” or “dentists near me.”


Consider Your Financing Options


In some cases, you can finance the dental work that you need to have done. For example, your dentist's office might work with a lender that will help you make payments on your dental care. 

Many dental offices also accept credit cards, so if you have a credit card, you could consider using it as a means of paying for your dental care. Just make sure that you keep an eye on interest rates; you don't want to end up paying a whole lot more for your dental care just because you financed it. 

However, you might find that it's easier for you to cover your costs when you are able to make monthly payments rather than coming up with all of the money at one time.

As you can probably see, you don't have to have a ton of money in order to take good care of your teeth. 

If you try these tips, you might find that dental care is a lot more affordable for you than you thought it would be.


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