• Mother of Pint-Sized Gymnast Had Olympic-Sized Debt

    As we mentioned in our last blog post on Monday, the financial woes of Russell Brand’s father, Ron, were just one story published on August 7, 2012, discussing the relative of a celebrity facing bankruptcy. As the CBS News clip above touches on, gold medal-winning Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas’s mother, Natalie Hawkins, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year in Virginia. This news was also reported the same week that the parents of fellow US Olympian gold medal-winning swimmer Ryan Lochte were facing foreclosure in Florida.

    “It was really hard for us growing up – my dad had left us, so he wasn’t really in the picture anymore,” Douglas told the New York Post. “So my mom had to front all these bills. My dad didn’t really pay the child support. He was short [on money]. It was definitely hard on her part, and she had to take care of me and the rest of my siblings.”

    The Post also noted that Douglas has landed a $100,000 deal to appear on a box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, one of what is likely to be multiple endorsement opportunities for her and other Olympic athletes. Many people in situations similar to Natalie Hawkins’ in the sense of trying to raise a family as a single parent, however, will not be so lucky.

    If you are raising a family by yourself and have become overwhelmed with credit card debt or are facing foreclosure, a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy could provide you with the fresh start you need. To see how our firm might be able to help, you can contact us at (866) 930-7482 or complete the form located on this page to have our Chicago bankruptcy attorneys review your case.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyers

  • Teens Need to Learn Dangers of Credit Cards Before Heading Off to College

    As the video above from WOLO-TV notes, one group being targeted by many credit card companies is college students. In a July 12, 2012 article entitled “Credit cards and college students can be a dangerous mix,” the USA Today discussed how the Credit Card Act that took effect a little less than three years ago made it more difficult for anyone under the age of 21 to get a card. However, “Under-21s can still obtain a credit card if they have a qualified co-signer or proof of sufficient income to repay the debt,” The USA Today reported. “And card issuers still market aggressively to college students, targeting them with pre-screened mail offers.”

    With thousands of families getting ready to send teenagers off to college, this is an important topic that needs to be discussed and handled responsibly. Many of the nation’s graduates are already struggling with the student loan debt they incur during their studies, and adding credit card debt on top of that only compounds the problem after graduation.

    As USA Today noted, some credit card issuers will say that as long as an applicant under 21 has a job and can afford a monthly minimum payment, they can be approved for a credit card without requiring a co-signer. Whether parents are co-signers or not, they should encourage their teenagers to use credit cards only for emergencies or pay off the balance immediately. A secured credit card can be a far safer option, and both debit and prepaid cards also avoid much of the trouble associated with traditional credit cards, although neither of those options will help build credit scores.

    Whether you are a student or not, filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be able to eliminate your credit card debt and help you get a fresh start. If you are tired of struggling to pay your monthly minimums, you should contact our firm at (866) 930-7482 or fill out our intake form on this page to let our Chicago bankruptcy attorneys see how we can help.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyers