Get with the Plan: Couple should focus on erasing debt
News from The Star-Ledger –

Elton, 47, and Kate, 36, have an enviable income level, but their debt is pulling away at their chances for future financial success.
With two mortgages, two second mortgages, more than $ 50,000 in credit card bills, family loans, college loans, a 401(k) loan and business loans, they don’t have much of a net worth despite the higher salary Elton earns.
“When the market tanked, Elton’s company froze salaries and reduced bonuses. Likewise, my work hours were reduced and we went into pre-foreclosure,” says Kate.
“With family loans, we were able to stave off a judgment but that added to our debt load.”
And there’s more potential debt in their future. They will pay half the college expenses for Elton’s two kids, 17 and 14, from a previous marriage, and the couple has a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old together.
“Our biggest concern right now is our burdensome mortgage payment,” Kate says. “Five years ago, we bet against the house thinking home values would go up and that Elton’s position would reward him handsomely, so we envisioned a future refinance and construction loan to fix up the fixer-upper.”
Things haven’t gone as planned.
The couple, whose names have been changed, have saved $ 54,700 in 401(k) plans, $ 3,500 in IRAs, $ 433,900 in a brokerage account that holds stock in Elton’s company, $ 10,000 in money markets and $ 2,000 in savings. They…………… continues on The Star-Ledger –

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Though Bad Debts Fall, Lawsuits Over Collection Practices Rise
News from Fox Business:

Lawsuits filed by credit card customers and other debtors are surging, according to new data on filings, despite a decline in card debt and bankruptcies.

Though debt collectors long have been accused of employing unfair tactics — no one throws down a welcome mat for debt collectors — the report comes as a surprise, since there’s less bad debt to fight over. Some experts say the spike in lawsuits might reflect more aggressive filings by lawsuit-happy consumer attorneys rather than more illegal behavior by debt collectors and reporting agencies. Others disagree, saying the credit industry is more intensely pursuing whatever debt exists.

First, the numbers: Some 890 consumer credit lawsuits were filed in May 2012 in the 90 federal court districts in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a data gathering and research organization based at Syracuse University.

That’s an increase of 12.4% over the previous month. In fact, though the May number dipped a bit from the comparable month in the previous year, the volume of consumer credit lawsuits has grown every month since the beginning of 2012.

Moreover, nearly three times as many consumer credit lawsuits were filed this past May as were filed five years ago, in May 2007. During the first five months of this year, 6,256 consumer cre…………… continues on Fox Business

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