Sunday, September 10, 2017


What bankruptcy will do is give you back up when you want to say NO to any family members or friends who continue to ask for money.

You know what I am talking about.  Your kids or adult children, parents, or friends who continue to hound you about money, and you just can’t say no to them. You try to say no, you know you should say no, but you just can’t bring yourself to say the word, no.  Why is that?  My clients feel incredibly guilty when saying no to just about anyone.

Guilt is a fascinating emotion that if allowed to exist unchecked, will lead to spending patterns that may lead to a bankruptcy filing.  Think about those people in your life who are stingy with their time or money; they have no trouble saying the word no even before you have finished the question.

People who say no value their time and resources and will choose very wisely on when, where and how they will spend these assets.  You too need to take a moment and learn the power of saying, NO.

It will not be easy as every action will have an equal and opposite reaction.  Meaning, as you become more comfortable with saying no to requests the more people will ask what is wrong with you or why are you mad at them. You are not being selfish for taking this stand but rather you are placing value on your time and financial resources.

How hard did YOU work to obtain your money?  Did you work 1-2 jobs?  Did you work overtime? Did you work holidays and weekends? Did you do without something you wanted or needed simply because you gave your money to someone who asked for “a loan”?  A loan that you have not seen the repayment even though it has been months or years since you initially gave them your money.  Now ask yourself, what is the person who is asking for money willing to do?

Have they tried to get a job? Any job?  If they have a job, are they trying to pick up extra hours?  Have they tried to sell something to make ends meet?  Have they offered to do a job for you as an effort to help out if you give them a loan?  We could go on and on, but more often than not, the answer is still going to be no.  Why?  Because they know you will feel guilty and eventually give them the money they requested.

Break this pattern of financial insanity and use your power of saying NO!  How does bankruptcy help you with this?  You tell whoever is asking for money:  No, I may not give you any money because my attorney and I have worked out a budget.  In this budget, there is absolutely no room for me to give you any money at this time.  You can even say you have signed the bankruptcy schedules under penalty of perjury of law, therefore, by giving them money you place yourself at risk for breaking federal law.  Finishing by informing them you rather not spend five years in jail for lying to the court.

Learning to say no is truly a power that will provide you with a lot of strength.  It won’t be easy at first but then learning to walk for the first time wasn’t easy either but today you can do it without thinking.

Analyze each request as to whether you can afford your time or finances.  Make a pro and con checklist to see if the pros outweigh the cons.  You will make two columns.  In the pro column, you will list all the reasons why the request is a good one and you might say yes.  In the con column you will list all the reasons the request is not a good one and therefore, the answer should be no.  In the analysis ask the question, what is this person willing to do to assist with the request? If the answer is nothing, your answer should immediately be no.  Otherwise, review the final work product and see which column has more answers that will be the way you should consider the request.

The practice of listing out the pros and cons will assist you in making an educated decision about answering any request.  The more you practice this technique the easier it will become.  Soon you will catch yourself running a pro and con list in your head as to whether or not the request is even worth considering.

Remember, knowledge is power.  The more knowledge you have about valuing your time, money and resources, the greater chance you will have to use your power of saying, NO!

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Mark Williams, Guam's Best Lawyer, on Dededo Law Office's websites:                 

Tuesday, September 05, 2017


Debt Settlement Services are not as consumer-friendly as the industry presents it:

• One woman didn’t realize she would face a tax bill on her forgiven debt.

• Another man opted against bankruptcy in part because he erroneously thought he would lose his personal possessions (wrong).

• Another woman was shocked after enrolling in Debt Settlement Services, at how far her credit scores tumbled and how much interest she was charged when she applied for a new car loan, and the negative impact on her credit report extended for years, as is typical with the process of completing a debt settlement program.

Where debt settlement falls short

Here are some of the biggest problems with debt settlement:

Negotiations can take years. Customers are told to stop paying their credit cards, loans and other debts and funnel money instead into a savings account. Freedom Financial Network, the nation's largest debt settlement company, says half of its customers eventually settle at least 75 percent of their debt, but the process usually takes three to four years!  During this time, customers endure the constant risk of being sued over their debts.

The math often doesn’t work. Debts are reported to be settled for 45 percent to 50 percent of the current balance, however this is misleading because this amount is often higher than the initial balance, because of late fees, penalties and interest.  On top of this problem, the typical debt settlement fee is 20 percent of the debt at the time of enrollment. 
On top of all that, the forgiven debt is reported to the IRS as taxable income! 

This means that when the Debt Settlement Program is done, with inflated balances, and a 20% fee charged by the Debt Settler, a consumer in a 25% tax bracket can expect to pay about 90% of the original debt balance owed, and this is considered a successful result!  However, the successful result is only in the pockets of the Debt Settlement provider, which is profiting from consumers' credit problems!

Many debt settlement companies actually spread false information about bankruptcy.  National Debt Relief, another large debt settlement company, claims on its website, “Declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy may mean saying goodbye to most of the assets that you’ve accumulated over the course of your life.” In reality, very few people who file for Chapter 7 lose any assets at all, and instead erase most if not all of their debts in two to three months.

Debt Settlement companies also claim that bankruptcy is harder on credit scores. In reality, credit scores begin to recover immediately after bankruptcy. The main difference, of course, is that Chapter 7 bankruptcy typically takes months, while debt settlement typically takes many years.  Plus, only bankruptcy halts any collection activity, including lawsuits, garnishments, and foreclosures.

When it comes to cost, effectiveness, and rebuilding credit, “the one option that shines above all the rest is bankruptcy,” says Steve Rhode, a former credit counselor. “It’s the cheapest and fastest and the best way to rebuild your credit" and deal with creditors and your debts, and protect you and your families' property.

Check out more valuable information about Guam's Laws and working with
Mark Williams, Guam's Best Lawyer, on Dededo Law Office's websites: