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How to Better Manage Your Finances and Avoid Bankruptcy in New Jersey: Part II

In our last blog post, we featured tips from an article from CNN Money about how Americans can manage their money better, particularly during these trying economic times. We covered good debt versus bad debt, how you should pay off your debts, and using your credit card smartly. Taking control of your finances and watching your spending habits can help prevent you and your family from falling into serious debt and potential bankruptcy in New Jersey.

The article also discussed several other money managing tips. They caution against falling into “the minimum trap,” which is when you only pay the minimum amount on your credit card bill. Paying your bill in this manner will hardly cover the interest charges and will take you months, if not years, to pay off your total balance. In the end, if you only pay the minimum, you will spend much more than the original amount you charged to your credit card.

You should also be aware of where you borrow your money to pay off debt. While it could be convenient to borrow against your 401(k) or your house, doing so can be very risky. You could potentially lose your home in a New Jersey foreclosure.

One of the most important recommendations the article makes is to plan for the unexpected. Start creating a safety net of a few months of living expenses in case of any emergency. Not having a disaster fund can seriously cripple your finances, if you suddenly have an expensive car repair or something of that nature that requires immediate action.

If you have a mortgage, one shouldn’t be so quick to pay down the mortgage instead of paying down the credit card debt, as a mortgage is likely to have a lower interest rate. Also, one is able to deduct the interest paid on the first $1 million of a mortgage loan, which can be very helpful. However, if your mortgage happens to have a high interest rate and you need to lower your monthly payments, you may want to consider refinancing your home.

If you find that you are still struggling with your debts, you should get help as soon as you realize the necessity. There are many debt counseling agencies with a good reputation that could help you consolidate your debts and help you manage your finances better. But be careful—there are also many disreputable debt counseling agencies.

Being smart about your finances can save you from many headaches and improve your quality of life. However, depending on your situation, it may be a good idea to file for bankruptcy in New Jersey. Every bankruptcy case is different, so you might want to consult with a New Jersey bankruptcy attorney to learn about your options. At the Law Offices of Robert Manchel, our lawyers have helped countless individuals navigate through the New Jersey bankruptcy process. If you have questions about filing for bankruptcy in New Jersey, please contact our office to talk with one of our knowledgeable and experienced bankruptcy lawyers. Call us today at 866-503-5655.

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