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Credit Card Purchases: Why Calculating Interest Is the Most Important Step You’ll Ever Take

Posted on Friday, August 19th, 2016 at 11:02 am    

credit-cardsCredit cards are ubiquitous in American society. We get offers to take out a new credit card when we turn eighteen, prisoners get offers to take out credit cards while they are still in jail, and even the recently deceased still get offers to take out a credit card well after the day they died. It is obvious that credit card companies don’t pay much attention to whom they are loaning money to, and therefore have no idea whether they’ll get paid back. So how do they make money? The answer lies in the magic of compound interest.

Most of Lawrence & Associates’ bankruptcy clients never think about the massive amount of money they will put toward compound interest in their lives. Many schools don’t teach students how to manage their finances, and many parents don’t learn these lessons through life experience in time to pass them on to their children. For the poor and middle class, a multi-generational cycle of dependence on debt is now in full swing, where grandparents were sold on an idea that the American Dream is fueled by debt, and their grandchildren already have more debt – starting with student loans – than they can pay off in their working lives.

Some debts are necessary; almost no one can buy a home without financing a large part of the purchase. And some debts are smart; it can be a good idea to take out a low interest SBA loan for the purpose of financing a well-planned business venture. But many debts are neither necessary nor smart, and this brings us back to credit cards. It is important for anyone anticipating a credit card purchase to understand the effect that compound interest will have on their purchase. Unfortunately, a shockingly small minority of people know how to calculate compound interest.

How to Calculate Compound Interest

Before making any credit card purchase, the buyer should determine whether they can pay this purchase off at the end of the credit card’s monthly billing cycle. A credit card purchase paid off before the end of the monthly billing cycle incurs no interest, and is actually a smart decision because it improves the buyer’s credit. Only purchases that cannot be paid before the end of the monthly billing cycle will incur interest and need to undergo the following calculation:

The Compound Interest Formula looks like this:

compoundinterest
There are also a number of compound interest calculators on the internet that will perform this calculation for you, taking into account the effect of your monthly payment toward the debt. (The monthly payment toward the debt makes the formula shown above even more complicated.)

The numbers are staggering once you take a look at this. This article shows how an average credit card debt of $15,956, with the average credit card interest rate of 12.83%, results in the credit card company making a whopping $2,629,628.64 off of you in interest between ages 25 and 65. Again, that is over two-and-a-half million dollars in interest on a balance under $16,000!!!

Is it any wonder 819,240 Americans filed bankruptcy in 2015? Despite that huge number of filings, the credit card industry rakes in billions of dollars every year. As shown by the example above, the interest they charge is so astronomical that the credit card industries are mathematically certain to make tremendous amounts of money even if a large number of the people they lend to file bankruptcy or otherwise don’t pay them back. This is why credit card companies don’t bother checking a person’s credit score, or even whether they are still alive, before sending them a credit card offer. It is a volume industry, and the more money they lend the more they are likely to make.

What Can You Do If You Have Crippling Credit Card Debt?

Given all we’ve said above, a large percentage of the people reading this article are statistically likely to be in credit card debt that they have no hope of paying off. How can they get a fresh start and return to financial stability? There are many ways, but the surest way is to file bankruptcy on the credit card debt. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy wipes out credit card debt completely. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires you to make payments toward credit card debt, although often the debtor pays only pennies on the dollar. In either event, the debtor – who has probably paid off the original debt many times over – saves a large amount of money on credit card interest.

Bankruptcy has other benefits as well. All running interest on credit card debt must stop. All lawsuits must stop. Collection calls must stop. In a bankruptcy, for the first time, the debtor has all the muscle and all the power. Credit card companies must follow laws that are favorable to the debtor, rather than the laws that are typically more favorable to the creditor.

If you think you may need to file bankruptcy on credit card debt, call our attorneys for a free consultation. We’ll let you know if bankruptcy is right for you, and if so, what kind of bankruptcy you should file. There is no obligation to a consultation, and our friendly staff will make you feel at ease. We are working hard for the working class, and we can help you!


The Injured Plaintiff’s Bankruptcy — Pitfalls for the Civil Litigator

Posted on Friday, June 24th, 2016 at 11:21 am    

Justin Lawrence recently wrote an article for the Advocate, Kentucky’s trial lawyer community’s premier publication, about what needs to be done when a person who is injured by an automobile accident, slip and fall, or workplace injury files for bankruptcy while their lawsuit is still pending.

Justin regularly advises other attorneys on the best course of action to take when personal injury, workers’ compensation, social security disability, and bankruptcy claims come together, so injured men and women get the best results possible.

Click here to read his article on the injured plaintiff’s bankruptcy.


What are the effects on my spouse if I file bankruptcy?

Posted on Thursday, June 9th, 2016 at 7:30 pm    

In this video, Justin Lawrence talks about the effect on a non-filing husband or wife when their spouse needs to file bankruptcy. What happens to their assets? Which debts get discharged? And what happens to the non-filing spouse’s credit score? Watch this video to find those answers and more!


How Long Do I Have to Wait Between Bankruptcies?

Posted on Monday, June 6th, 2016 at 1:18 pm    

In this video, Justin Lawrence discusses the complicated rules governing how long you must wait between bankruptcy filings, depending on what kind of bankruptcy was filed previously (Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13), what kind of bankruptcy is being filed now, whether a discharge occurred in the prior bankruptcy, and whether a discharge can occur in the current bankruptcy.

Although the rules are complicated, Lawrence & Associates’ experienced attorneys can cut through the clutter to ensure you file your bankruptcy at the time that is best for you.  Have questions?  Call today!


How does filing bankruptcy affect my credit score?

Posted on Thursday, May 26th, 2016 at 11:28 am    

In this video, Justin Lawrence addresses a problem many people worry about before filing bankruptcy:  the effect that filing bankruptcy will have on their credit score.  Several rules of thumb are given that address when the opportunity to take out a loan will become available, how long interest rates will be affected, and how long the bankruptcy will show up on a credit report.


The Dangers of Taking Out Debt Before Filing Bankruptcy

Posted on Friday, May 20th, 2016 at 2:40 pm    

Justin Lawrence from Lawrence & Associates talks about the dangers of taking out debt before filing bankruptcy, including the 90 day presumption of abuse used by bankruptcy courts to discourage the use of credit cards and loans within 90 days before filing a bankruptcy. This video applies to both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, and examples including credit card debt and buying a new car are given.


Two Steps to Preserve a Claim When a Tortfeasor Files a Bankruptcy

Posted on Thursday, April 14th, 2016 at 10:07 am    

Check out this article written by Justin Lawrence, in which he discusses how an injured person can preserve their claim when the person who hurt them files for bankruptcy.  Many lawyers cannot practice in both bankruptcy and in injury areas of practice (such as personal injury, workers’ compensation, and social security disability).  Lawrence & Associates has experience in each of these areas of practice, which gives our attorneys a unique and comprehensive perspective when these worlds collide.

If you have been injured or have been put on notice about a bankruptcy, click here to read this article for more information!


The Difference Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Posted on Tuesday, April 12th, 2016 at 11:16 am    

In this video, Justin Lawrence from Lawrence & Associates describes the basic differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy in a nutshell.

Chapters 7 and 13 bankruptcies are the kinds of bankruptcy that are available to most consumer debtors, which includes nearly every individual filing bankruptcy. Learn the length of time you could be in each kind of bankruptcy, the restrictions on filing each type of bankruptcy, and the requirements for each type of bankruptcy once it is filed.

Watch the video for more details!


Bankruptcy Can Stop Wage Garnishments and May Offer Refunds

Posted on Sunday, March 27th, 2016 at 11:19 pm    

This week, our bankruptcy web video series explains how a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy can stop a wage garnishment.  Justin Lawrence, the founder of Lawrence & Associates, explains how a bankruptcy can even force the company garnishing your wages to return your money to you if the bankruptcy is filed within ninety (90) days.  Time is of the essence, so watch this video and call for more information today!


How to Protect Your Tax Refund When You File Bankruptcy

Posted on Monday, March 21st, 2016 at 12:13 pm    

In the newest video in our bankruptcy web video series, Justin Lawrence of Lawrence & Associates explains how bankruptcy filers can keep a tax refund in either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and how the tax refund can be used to pay necessary bills or even for the bankruptcy itself!

This video applies to Kentucky and Ohio bankruptcy filers; if you live in another state, please confirm that the rules given in this video will apply in your state as well.

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