Many people in New Jersey have a bad habit when it comes to managing money. If everyone was doing everything right, there would be no need for credit counseling or bankruptcy courts. Even though consumers are doing the best they can with what they have, it's those bad habits that may end up keeping consumers in debt despite their best efforts.
Most people in New Jersey have been affected in some way by the recession. Doctors are no exception. With fewer people going to the doctor in order to save money, there are several doctors whose practices are in jeopardy. This has caused many doctors to file for bankruptcy protection as a responsible means of dealing with their debt.
Anyone in New Jersey that has had a debt sent to collections knows how it feels to be harassed by debt collectors. It's stressful enough to be subjected to some debt collectors' tactics while contemplating bankruptcy; but when the debt doesn't even belong to the party being harassed, the stress can be just as bad. One debt collection agency has been under investigation for harassing people who have either paid off the debt in question or don't even owe the debt they are being harassed over.
There are quite a few in New Jersey that are struggling to pay medical bills. People with serious or chronic medical conditions often turn to bankruptcy protection due to the cost of their care. Even people with medical insurance are forced to shuffle their expenses and stretch their budgets in order to afford the care they need.
Many people around the country, including in New Jersey, are having a difficult time paying their bills and are often living from paycheck to paycheck. For many, the situation has reached the point where they are looking for help. Debt relief options, including bankruptcy and other strategies, programs each have pros and cons depending on each individual situation. Those facing these options may benefit by considering every aspect of a debt relief option before committing to one.
As we enter the last quarter of the year, Congress has yet to renew the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, which is set to expire on Dec. 31. This law provides that any amount of debt forgiven by a lender on a home mortgage loan is not taxable as income for those that qualify under the terms of the law. The expiration of this statute would mean that thousands of New Jersey homeowners would have to pay federal taxes on any amounts forgiven by their lender as a result of a loan modification, short sale, or foreclosure.
New Jersey fans of the Olympics may remember Rulon Gardner. He won a gold medal for wrestling in the Olympics and later appeared on the reality television show "The Biggest Loser" in an attempt to lose weight and qualify for the 2012 Olympics. Over the years, Gardner has invested in several businesses that have left him millions of dollars in debt. As a result, he has filed bankruptcy.
Over the last several years, foreclosure actions have ground to a virtual halt in New Jersey because of issues with the paperwork presented by lenders as they sought to repossess homes. But now, efforts to stop foreclosure may ramp up after a decision was handed down by the state Supreme Court in a 5-0 ruling on Feb. 27.
The ongoing recession that began in 2008 continues to hit our communities hard. Small businesses in New Jersey, especially those offering so-called nonessential products and services, have had their share of struggles trying to survive in a down economy. These types of commercial entities that rely on people with expendable incomes have understandably had a difficult time trying to balance their own budgets and pay their own obligations. The result is that some, like one small operation in Jersey City, have turned to Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection as a means of confronting their financial problems and planning for a fresh start.
The foreclosure locomotive in New Jersey appears set to pick up steam once again. The process was slowed considerably over the last two years because of an investigation by the state attorney general's office into allegations of fraud in the home repossession legal process.