Archive for the ‘Financial Services’ Category

Declaring Personal Bankruptcy

By Alan Jason Smith

If you’re drowning in debt and creditors have your phone ringing off the hook, personal bankruptcy might seem the only way out. Indeed, for people whose debts dwarf their ability to pay, declaring bankruptcy can be a fast way to gain a fresh financial start.

There are two types of bankruptcy petitions you can file: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Each of these have a different purpose and different set of circumstances attached.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves the seizing and liquidation of your assets. This includes real estate, stocks, bonds and valuable property. Once liquidated, the proceeds are used to pay off the various creditors you owe. Property exempt from Chapter 7 bankruptcy includes vehicles worth less than $1500, most household furnishings and goods and clothing. You are also entitled to retain $18,450 worth of equity in your home.

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The goal here is to leave you with enough to make a fresh start after bankruptcy is declared so you don’t end up completely destitute. At this point, you are discharged of all remaining debts. Once bankruptcy is filed, your creditors must cease from any lawsuits, wage garnishing, letters or telephone calls compelling you to pay.

There are some debts that cannot be discharged by filing for bankruptcy. These include current or back-owed child support and alimony payments, most student loans, recent tax bills or debts to creditors toward whom you’ve exhibited dishonesty in the past.

Within a relatively short time period after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your debts will be discharged and you will have a clean financial slate. However, filing for Chapter 7 does not always guarantee freedom from your debts. If a judge deems you fit to pay, you may be denied Chapter 7 bankruptcy and forced to file for Chapter 13.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy’s goal is not to discharge you of your debts but to reorganize them and develop a court-ordered repayment schedule. A person who files for Chapter 13 bankruptcy typically has three to five years to pay off all debts to creditors. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is preferable for people who want to retain ownership of their property and assets, and/or have a reliable and prolonged source of income.

Regardless of which type of bankruptcy you file, you must consider your co-debtors carefully before making the decision to file for bankruptcy. If there are people who have co-signed for loans but who are not declaring bankruptcy jointly with you, if your debts are discharged, your creditors will go after your co-debtors to collect your portion of the debt.

You may be afraid that declaring bankruptcy will permanently ruin your credit rating, but this is not true. If you are already in a position to considering bankruptcy, chances are that you credit rating is already so poor that declaring bankruptcy could not make it any worse. A fresh financial start and the opportunity to rebuild credit from the ground up may even improve your credit rating in the long term.

Whatever decision you make regarding personal bankruptcy, it is never a bad idea to consult with a lawyer, financial advisor or credit counselor before proceeding. These professionals can advise you on the most prudent course of action to protect the integrity of your financial future.

About the Author: Alan Jason Smith is the owner of

which is a great place to find bankruptcy links, resources and articles. For more information go to:


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Are You Considering Buying A Repossessed Home? You Might Want To Know How That Home Comes On The Market In The First Place

By Tom Mead

Statistically, the figures for home repossession have risen by 45%, according to Government figures. There can be many reasons that lead to house repossession, such as: divorce, credit card debt, illness, secured or unsecured debts or separation.

The process of repossession can legally begin when 2 payments to a lender have been missed. The first missed payment brings the borrower into arrears with the lender, who then have to be contacted and a payment schedule agreed. If the borrower does not contact them, or cannot afford to make the payments and a second payment is missed, then the lender can begin the process of home repossession.

The first stage of this is for the lender to state in a letter that the borrower has seven days in which to meet the payments or to agree a payment scheme. If this is not possible, then solicitors will begin court proceedings, seeking a home repossession order.

Usually the court will try and see house repossession as the last eventuality. However, if the borrower is deemed to be unable to make the necessary repayments, including arrears and penalties, then he will be served with an eviction notice and a date will be scheduled to leave the house.

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The repossessed home is now the legal property of the mortgage lender. The lender can then instruct an estate agent to put the house on the property market or for it to be sold at auction.

First-time house-buyers can research these properties and they can become an affordable alternative in an increasingly expensive market.

Offers can be made on a repossessed house, but the lender may decide they want to publish a ‘notice of offer’ in the local press. This states that the lender will accept higher offers that are received by a certain date.

Auctions used to be mainly used by investors looking to by the property and sell it on at a profit, but now those wanting to get onto the ‘property ladder’ – but may not have the necessary funds for a standard purchase – can do so, as the properties are usually sold for less than their market value.

Other benefits include the bidding process, which is in an open forum so all bidders know the price and do not have to bid ‘over the odds’ to secure the sale. Also, the process is much quicker than the conventional sale process, usually taking 1 month from sale to occupation.

There are other factors involved, however. A repossessed home may be in need of repair and renovation or carry a negative credit rating associated with the address – although this can be absolved by contacting the relevant credit reference agencies.

There are lists of auctioneers available in local directories, but it is also worth contacting estate agents and mortgage lenders who have a vested interest in the sale of any repossessed property, although mortgage lenders can be secretive about their involvement in house repossession, in terms of image-consciousness.

The Internet offers many services that can supply lists of repossessed properties, but these are likely to generate a lot of interest, due to the potential to buy a house at less than market value.

About the Author: Tom Mead is a qualified mortgage advisor writing


editorial, on how best to

stop repossession

and save the house you live in.


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Pros And Cons Of Regular Bachelor’s Degrees And Top Up Degrees

By Donald Pang

Earning a bachelor’s degree used to take around four years. But after the implementation of intensive curriculums, three-year courses became available. Soon after, top-up degrees were introduced. And now, students with a diploma can earn a relevant bachelor’s degree in just one year.

The issue of a traditional degree and a top-up degree has been highly debated. Are students gaining enough practical experience when they study for three years? And are top-up degree students educated enough to join the workforce?

Here, we will discuss the pros and cons of a regular degree and a top-up degree.

Regular Bachelor’s Degrees

These degree programs span an average of three years or more. Diploma holders from relevant fields are usually eligible. You can also apply for these programs after achieving certain scores on your GCE ‘A’ levels or academic qualifications of equivalent value.

Most bachelor’s degree courses will have both theory and practical modules in varying ratios. It is rare to find courses that are 100% theory-based. In many cases, project work from these programs can give you field exposure.

To increase your employ-ability, pick a school that gives you opportunities to build a strong portfolio and industry contacts. Consider a dual education degree for a 50-50 exposure to formal theory and experience industry standards through company attachments.


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– Maximum time to plot your career course carefully.

– Plenty of practice to fine-tune your theory and/or practical skills before joining the workforce.

– Learn a broader range of subjects for a clear understanding of future options.


– Take longer to graduate. This makes you more dependent on others for financial support.

– Expensive tuition fees. You will take longer to repay your tuition loan.

Top-up Degrees

These degrees are widely common in the design and business field. Professionals with diplomas find this a popular option to further their studies. A top-up degree usually spans a year or two. And is ideal for those who want to spend minimal time in school, yet achieve maximum enhancement for their existing skills.

Some curriculum rely heavily on exemptions to cut the amount of time required to graduate. Exemptions allow students who have taken similar subjects to be excused from those modules.

If you have a clear idea of what you want for your future career, consider signing up for a top-up degree after you graduate with your diploma.


– Less spent on tuition fee.

– Intensive curriculum allows you to learn skills in a shorter time.

– Students graduate faster and can hunt for jobs while their peers are still schooling.


– Learn lesser modules in comparison to a fuller curriculum. This will make you rely more on your portfolio and experience rather than academic transcript when applying for jobs.

– Might not be as recognized when competing with other candidates for jobs in top companies.

Regular Bachelor’s Degree vs Top-up Degrees

Choosing the right type of degree depends on the economic conditions of your country. If the economy is looking good with plenty of job opportunities, a top-up degree will be the best option. With less time spent in school, you can put more effort into landing your dream job.

However, if the economy is down, taking a bachelor’s degree with more modules will have two benefits. First off, it increases your market value. Second, it reduces the effect of a bad economy on you. Chances are that when you graduate, the economy would have improved. And finding a job will be easier.

In either case, choose a good school. And make sure that you will have enough opportunity to build a strong portfolio and also, industry contacts.

Is the economy in your country down? Consider studying abroad to increase your future career opportunities. Raffles Education Corporation operates 38 colleges specializing in Design, Business and Science in 14 countries; Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Singapore, Sydney in Australia, Auckland in New Zealand, India (Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore), Colombo in Sri Lanka, Dhaka in Bangladesh, Hong Kong, China (Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou), Vietnam, Bangkok in Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia.

About the Author: Donald Pang, is an Admissions Director at the Raffles International Colleges offering fashion design schools with presence in 35 cities across 14 countries namely Singapore, Malaysia, Mongolia, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Philippines, Bangladesh, India, China, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Cambodia.


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