Friday, April 13, 2012

Follow That Pension

During these tough economic times, it is more important than ever to make sure that you get every penny of salary that you earn, and that includes your company’s pension plan.
Last year, over 100 pension plans failed, writes Susan Johnston for U.S. News & World Report and reported in the Chicago Tribune. Even simple errors by your employer and overlooked by you could cost you thousands of dollars over your working years. If you can’t afford to lose that kind of money (and who can), read on for some angles from certified financial planner, Rick Rodgers.
•    If the company that you work for has merged or been bought out by another, your pension plan may have changed, making things a bit complicated. “The Pension Protection Act of 2006 requires plans to automatically provide individualized benefit statements”, writes Johnston. Request a copy of your plan and study your statements to make sure you are receiving full benefits. Talk with your company’s benefits officer if you have questions.
•    If you have changed jobs or have moved and did not take a lump-sum cash-out from your last job, make sure that you keep in touch with your past employer and let the benefits officer know each time you move. You should receive plan updates every three years, Rodgers avers.
•    Make sure that your Social Security information is correct. For only $15 you can request your Social Security earnings information by using form SSA7050.
•    If you marry, get divorced or lose a spouse, be sure to update your pension status. Don’t neglect this important step; there are many unfortunate ramifications of incorrect or out-dated information.
•    The decision of when to start drawing your pension, including Social Security, can be a crucial one, especially if you decide to work past the age of 65. Schedule an appointment with your accountant or financial planner to decide on the best plan for you.
You can also go to www.NAUPA.org to check on any accrued pension money, Rodgers states.
If you have insurmountable debt due to the difficult economy, take control of your future. For experienced and knowledgeable Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy assistance, trust the attorneys from Macey Bankruptcy Law; we have helped hundreds of thousands of satisfied clients discharge their overwhelming and debilitating debt. For your free initial consultation, please call 800-260-1402 or log onto our new easy-to-navigate and interactive website atwww.maceybankruptcylaw.com.

Financial Literacy 101 – Part 2

As promised in Part 1 of this article, following are some online resources to help you improve your financial awareness-most sites are free; some have a small fee attached (from Gregory Karp at theChicago Tribune):
Government Sites
•    mymoney.gov
•    usmint.gov/kids – H.I.P. Pocket Change
Private Sites/Organizations
•    smartaboutmoney.org – National Endowment for Financial Education
•    feedthepig.org – American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (love the name)
•    mint.com – owned by Intuit, maker of Quicken software; site/mobile app helps you set goals & budgets
•    getrichslowly.org – popular blog for discussing financial issues
•    consumerjungle.org – aimed at educating young people about consumer issues, by    the Take Charge America Institute at the University of Arizona
•    threejars.com, digibeanz.com, countmybeanz.com, tycoon.com – sites where children can learn about “earning, spending, saving and giving
Games & Other Stuff Sites
•    tinyurl.com/finfootball – Financial Football; NFL-themed game to test money-management skills – for that armchair QB who could use a little additional financial knowledge
•     smgww.org – The Stock Market Game gives middle school through high school students the opportunity to invest an imaginary $100,000 in online stocks, bonds and funds. By the SIFMA Foundation
•    practicalmoneyskills.com/avengers – see such  Avengers comic book heroes as Spider-Manand Hulk discuss money topics
These sites are a good start for both adults and kids to deepen their financial knowledge; as they say “Knowledge is Power”.
If you are experiencing mountains of unpaid bills, filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy could be the key to unlocking your financial security. However, filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy is complicated. You need a knowledgeable and experienced bankruptcy attorney from Macey Bankruptcy Law to help you navigate the court system. Log ontowww.maceybankruptcylaw.com for vital, timely information 24/7 and call us toll-free 800-260-1402 Monday thru Saturday to arrange  your free initial bankruptcy consultation.

Financial Literacy 101 – Part 1

Numbers matter:
•    46% of American workers have tried to estimate how much they will need to save for a comfortable retirement;
•    49.7% of adults in the U.S. can define ‘budget deficit’;
•    65% of Americans have not requested a copy of their credit report in the last year;
•    70% of Americans say that their inability to save enough money is a ‘significant obstacle to their achieving the American Dream’;
•    13 states require high school students to take a course in personal finance;
•    20% of teachers feel they are ‘very competent’ to teach a personal finance course;
•    $25,250 is the average amount of student loan debt owed by 2010 college grads;
•    $125,000  is the average amount that American workers 60 years of age and older have in the 401(k) accounts-enough to generate some $6,000 of annual income during retirement years, withdrawing no more than 5%/year.
These statistics from various sources as reported in the Chicago Tribune.
Gregory Karp, writing for the Tribune, reports that many/most Americans do not have the knowledge they need to make sound financial decisions—that is decisions about earning, investing, saving, spending and dealing with credit and debt.
In his article, Ted Beck, CEO of the National Endowment for Financial Education and Laura Levine, president and CEO of the youth financial literacy organization JumpStart Coalition agree that most of us need to improve our awareness of the basics of finances in order to make smarter monetary decisions.
If you are contemplating filing for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy, do not proceed without an experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney from Macey Bankruptcy Law at your side. For your free initial consultation, call us Monday thru Saturday and evenings at 800-260-1402 or log onto www.maceybankruptcylaw.com. 
And please read Part 2 for resources to improve your financial expertise.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Work of Artz Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The Austin, Texas, barbecue restaurant, Artz Ribs, known for its live music as well as its ribs, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The bankruptcy filing shows that the business owes $303,000 in unpaid wages and taxes and has assets of only $23,400.
Owner Art Blondin is hoping to open another restaurant within a month, but could not relate details of his plans, reports Addie Broyles for www.statesman.com. Blondin states, “’The customers have been absolutely wonderful. They stuck with us through the hard times. We would not have made it as long as we did if it wasn’t for the generosity and hardworking help from all of our customers.’”
Artz Ribs opened in August 1992. In 2009, the restaurant was temporarily closed when Blondin’s wife was ill and he was repaying back taxes. A fundraiser held that year raised some $10,000 to reopen the restaurant. However, a year later, Blondin filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to try to reorganize his debt.
Charlie Stewart, a manager of some Austin-based bands and who has been going to Artz since 1995, said the eatery was an indispensable venue for his bands when they were just getting started. He said, ‘”…they were always willing to give new artists a chance.’”
Former Austin City Council member Max Nofziger, who now plays in a band called the Harmony Brothers, said Artz was one of the group’s favorite places to play. He reflected that “’It was one of the few places that actually fed you and paid you. Now where do I go to get barbecue? I haven’t had to think about this for 20 years’”.
 For information on filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy protection, please callMacey Bankruptcy Law toll-free today at 800-260-1402 to speak with a qualified and compassionate bankruptcy attorney or log onto www.maceybankruptcylaw.com. Since 1994,Macey Bankruptcy Law has helped hundreds of thousands of people who, like you, have complicated financial and legal encumbrances. We may be able to help you, too, unravel your financial difficulties. Call us now.
By the way, for authentic Texas BBQ, try The Saltlick, just outside of Austin in Driftwood.

Apps Can Help You Manage Your Finances

As tax-time draws ever closer, most Americans start thinking about ways to get their household finances organized, if not now, for next year. Following, from a Parade article by Dan Tynan, are some apps for your smartphone. While we at Macey Bankruptcy Law are not endorsing any of these apps (we haven’t even tried all of them out yet), we are all for anything that helps manage our money.
•    Can I Buy? – Enter your salary, assets and debt and discover if you can really afford that vacation or vintage Corvette. (Android, Apple – $2)
•    Debt Snowball Pro – This app tells which of your loans has the highest interest rate and are, thus, the ones to pay down first; more features, as well. (Apple – $3)
•    DOXO – Photograph any bill/statement & file it in the appropriate category. This app will track due dates & payments and, soon, be able to pay some bills directly from your phone! (IPhone – free)
•    Manilla – This app can organize all of your online accounts (bank, frequent flier, etc.) and even pay bills from your phone. (Android, Apple – free)
•    Paypal – One you sign up for Paypal, you can make purchases at thousands of websites (Amazon, EBay), donate to your favorite charities and even bill for business services; I personally know that this comes in handy & is secure. (Android, IPhone – free)
•    Shoeboxed – Another app where you can take a photo of receipts, organize them & export them to a personal finance or tax-preparation program. (Android, Apple – 30-day free trial then plans starting at $10/month)
•    Turbotax 2011 – A potential great help for those Americans who prepare their own taxes; lots of easy-to-use features to make tax preparation easier & more accurate. (Android tablets, Apple IPad– free download; $30+ for federal, $37 for state income tax)
Macey Bankruptcy Law has been representing consumer debtors in bankruptcy cases since 1996. Through tireless hard work, dedication to customer service and commitment to fair and reasonable fees, Macey Bankruptcy Law has helped hundreds of thousands of Americans get the debt relief they need. For expert Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy advice and representation, call our attorneys Monday through Saturday, including evenings, toll-free at 800-260-1402, and request your free, initial phone consultation. Give us a call.  Log onto our newly-designed website atwww.maceybankruptcylaw.com for important and up-to-date bankruptcy information. Oh yeah, get your taxes done now!

Mizzou Businessman Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Bruce Swisshelm, owner of a variety of restaurants and other business ventures in the Springfield, Missouri-area, as well as in Florida, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. His wife, Margaret M. Laughlin-Swisshelm, was listed as a joint debtor in the case, which was recently filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Western District of Missouri.
The bankruptcy filing lists the couple’s assets at $7.62 million, with liabilities of $17.6 million. They reportedly owe money to over 100 creditors. They list their monthly income at $548, with monthly expenses of $4,209, according to an article on www.news-leader.com by Wes Johnson.
According to the bankruptcy, the Swisshelms gave up their $500,000 home, which had been used for collateral for $7.7 million in loans. Mrs. Laughlin-Swisshelm also owned a $150,000 property that had debt claims of $1.2 million against it.
In the bankruptcy filing were a number of unpaid gambling debts, including a $120,000 IOU toPalace Casino. According to the Office of District Attorney Bad Check Unit in Mississippi, the Swisshelms paid $82,500 on a debt to Goldstrike Casino, but still owed $28,500.
The bankruptcy petition lists 16 companies that Mr. Swisshelm operated, including San Francisco Oven, Horned Frog Deli, Fog City Coffee, two Ebbets Field restaurants and WC Arch Deli. The bankruptcy petition lists numerous debts owed to businesses, suppliers and employees of Horned Frog Deli, dba McAllisters Deli at several Florida locations.
Creditors seeking repayment include Great Southern, BancorpSouth and Liberty Bank, as well as several other local banks. There is also a $7,352 claim from the Missouri Department of Revenuefor unpaid taxes on personal property.
A phone recording at his Swisshelm Group, Inc., office says that the office is permanently closed.
If you have been considering filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy due to overwhelming debt, contact the lawyers at Macey Bankruptcy Law. We are experienced and knowledgeable in all aspects of personal bankruptcy protection. Call us toll-free at 800-260-1402 for your initial free consultation. Log onto our newly-designed website atwww.maceybankruptcylaw.com for important and up-to-date bankruptcy information. The bankruptcy attorneys at Macey Bankruptcy Law are here for you. Call us today; you will be glad you did.

Baby G Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Baby G Farms, a Lakeville, Massachusetts, agricultural operation, has recently filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy with reported assets of $58,000 and liabilities of $916,000.
Its two largest creditors listed are Guida Dairy of New Britain, Connecticut, and Oakhurst Dairy of Portland, Maine, reports Eric Convey for The Boston Business Journal.
The company incorporated in Massachusetts more than 30 years ago.
Macey Bankruptcy Law employs some of the most knowledgeable consumer bankruptcy attorneys in the country, representing tens of thousands of new clients each year in consumer bankruptcy matters. The attorneys of Macey Bankruptcy Law are current on the new Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy laws across the country. Our attorneys answer their phones Monday thru Saturday so you can get your initial complimentary consultation at a time that is most convenient for you. Our aggressive representation and extensive experience have earned Macey Bankruptcy Law a national reputation for excellence in the representation of debtors in financial distress. Call us toll-free at 1-800-260-2402 and log onto our newly designed, easy-to-navigate, interactive website atwww.maceybankruptcylaw.com.