|Katherine:||Hello everyone, and thank you so much for joining us on This Needs To Be Said. We are here with our friend, Attorney Daigle, and ha ha, he’s a Patriots fan. Anyway, we’re going to be talking about bankruptcy. You can tell I may not be a Patriots fan. He’s come and talked with us several times before about matters concerning bankruptcy, showing us a brighter side of it, that it’s not a bad word. We know that there are other people that are joining the conversation who may have not heard us discuss these topics.
He is a professional. This is what he does all the time, so we’re going to talk about it all the time. If you’ve heard us talk about stuff before, I’m sure you’re going to pick up something new, so as always, take your pen and paper out, class is in session. And if you are new to our conversation, welcome, thank you. It’s been a while since I’ve talked with you, Attorney Daigle. How are you?
|Peter Daigle:||Fantastic, Katherine. It’s such a pleasure to talk to you again.|
|Katherine:||I always enjoy it.|
|Peter Daigle:||I mean, this is a subject I enjoy talking about and providing your listeners some really good information, so …|
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|Katherine:||Absolutely. Absolutely. I enjoy speaking with you as well. I always learn something, so if ever I’m in a situation, I know I have someone in my pocket that can help me get through this time. You know, we feel like the time is tough because we don’t know how to navigate it, and that’s really what it is. When you help people with bankruptcies, you’re helping them to navigate unknown territory to them, because we’ve talked about how people feel bad. They feel guilty that they were not able to meet their obligations, or somehow they failed their family or they failed themselves or even their community. They feel bad.
You’re helping people to look at this as a way to reset. Not necessarily a way to get out of doing things, but a way to reset their lives so that they’re not feeling that weight of guilt. They’re able to try again and do it again. As adults, that’s so hard to grasp because we’re not supposed to make mistakes. That’s only for the children. As we talk with you about bankruptcy and getting back on good financial ground, we want to take the bad taste out of peoples’ mouths when it comes, with sometimes we fall down, and sometimes we need help getting up, and that’s what you do.
Today I want to talk about how does bankruptcy make good financial sense, and I figured this would be a great topic with you because of the way we always flow back and forth when we talk, and you seem to be so generous with my listeners to share with them tips to help them put their lives back on track. So, talk to me about your point of view when it comes to bankruptcy, and it making good financial sense.
|Peter Daigle:||Okay, great. Sure, I will. First of all, most of the folks that come to me, come to me because it’s an event that’s occurred in their life, whether it be a divorce or an illness or a loss of a job, or some type of a health reason that causes them to either lose some or all of their income. When that occurs, what happens is they’re unable to keep up with their monthly obligations. Generally, to retire debt, most people earn their way out of their debt.
When it becomes apparent that it’s going to be difficult for you to earn your way back out of your debt, that means making your mortgage payments, your rent payments, your car payments, your credit card payments, all your payments, when it becomes evident to you, you’ll know it. You’ll feel it, because you’ll be waking up in the middle of the night. You’ll be looking at your checking account and getting late notices and all the like. It’s something that just would happen as a matter of course. When it becomes evident to you that you just can’t earn your way out of that debt, then it’s a good time to consider bankruptcy.
Now, bankruptcy doesn’t cure all of your financial matters. What it does do is it gets rid of what’s called unsecured debt. Examples of unsecured debt are credit cards, medical debt, old cell phone debts, old utility debts, and also certain types of taxes to the IRS and the state taxes. It doesn’t get rid of all of your obligations. For instance, it won’t get rid of your student loans and your child support and your alimony and things like that. And also, it will not eliminate a mortgage on a house or a car loan.
What it does is it lightens your load a little, so if you’re making payments, minimum payments on credit card debt for instance, and you’ve also got some medical debts and copays, those are the prime examples of debts that can be discharged in bankruptcy. What it really does is it gives you an opportunity for a fresh start, and be kind to yourself by looking at your circumstance and give yourself that opportunity to get the fresh start, which will mean that you’ll be essentially without any of the unsecured debts that I just mentioned, and you’ll start fresh.
Part of starting fresh is also rebuilding your credit. One thing that we are offering here now is a credit rebuild program that we do as part of the bankruptcy. We shoot to get folks back to 720 credit score within about 12 to 18 months. The reason why the 720 is significant is that’s the minimum rate that you use to get the really good rates on the car loans and things. If you walk into a car dealership with the 720, and really it doesn’t need to be any more than that, you’ll be able to get the 1.99% or whatever they’re offering at the local dealer. Anything less than that and you’re going to pay the higher rate.
So the goal, really, is to get a fresh start but also to rebuild your credit, because if you just get a fresh start through the bankruptcy and the debts are gone, it takes a while to get the credit back, and you’ve got to take affirmative steps to do that. Those are things that you’re going to want to do for sure as part of the process. You’re essentially rehabilitating yourself back to a point where your credit’s good again, and then there’s no negatives from the bankruptcy.
That’s really when it makes sense, because you’ve got to pay your rent and your mortgage and your car payments.
|Peter Daigle:||As long as you’re making those payments, the rest of the debt that you have can be wiped out.|
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|Katherine:||Yeah. You gave a big overview, and it’s a summary of what it looks like, but the 12 to 18 months can be taxing because there’s other things we want to do. Sometimes we get comfortable, because when we’re not in so much pain, you get a little breathing room, you go back to old habits, so you really need to be disciplined and focused to reset. And sometimes, I would even challenge to say that we would end up with a credit score better than what we had prior to filing bankruptcy.|
|Peter Daigle:||Exactly, yup.|
|Katherine:||So, definitely putting you in a position to receive the full benefits of a 720, not just have it one or two times on your credit report and then you go back to old ways. I’m not saying that people have necessarily bad habits of paying their bills, but when you feel like, “Hey, I’m good. Nothing’s in trouble. I’m not in trouble of losing anything. I can go and splurge or do something.” Sometimes doing something you’re supposed to do just seems like a punishment.
What I’ve learned from you over the times that we’ve talked is we have to look at it as a way to reset, to rehabilitate, to reward ourselves, because now you have an opportunity possibly to do something you hadn’t done before. Like, I would say a credit score of 720, a person may have not ever seen that, or even paid attention. They may have not even had that, so now they get the opportunity through working with you and getting back on track.
That puts you in a position to get the same things you had before with lower interest rates, which would make lower payments, and also be able to probably get some of your friends back, because their debts weren’t included with your bankruptcy. More than likely, you’re in a position where you have more cash flow, and you can pay people back and thank them for bearing with you while you got back on your feet. And 12, 18 months is not a lot of time, but it could be a lot of time. Like, you couldn’t hold your breath for that long. But getting back on your feet, you want to make sure that you go slow and steady so that those practices and principles stick that you’re learning. Tell me a little bit more, because you said, “What we’re doing here,” so it sounds like you got a program going on.
|Peter Daigle:||Yeah. Essentially, it’s split into two parts. The first part is approximately a three-month program in which the debt is just extinguished. It’s gone as part of a bankruptcy. The next 12 months or so, approximately, is the time that you spend rebuilding the actual credit. Now, part of the process that is required to file bankruptcy, and also to rebuild your credit, is debtor education. You’re going to have to be taking a credit counseling course online. You don’t talk to anybody, but we’ll be sending you a link to take a credit counseling course.
What it is a budgeting course, and it forces you to take a hard look at what you spend on everything from your cable bill to your going out to dinner and to your electric bill and your rent. And looking at what your income is to make sure that going forward you can live with a balanced budget, because how a lot of folks get in trouble in the budget isn’t balanced. This is not something that you learn in any kind of school or even sometimes your parents don’t teach you. This may be the first time in your life that you’ve actually taken a hard look at your finances through a budget course. It’s only an hour and a half course, but that’s one of the requirements now to file bankruptcy.
Also, subsequent to the bankruptcy discharge, which is in about three weeks, we’re going to put you through a credit rebuild program, which is the same thing. Watching a series of videos and then following the steps, disciplined steps to get credit cards. Again, we’ll show you how to do them. Use them, pay them off, use them again, get a new card, building your credit back by using credit. It’s really about providing education to folks that they may have not ever had before, and to give them a chance to live debt-free versus living beyond their means.
|Katherine:||I have one question for you before we wrap up for the This Needs To Be Said audience, and of course, you have to give your information, but I want to know what do you see as the biggest challenge people face when they have to look at themselves face to face in their finances?|
|Peter Daigle:||It’s just fear. They’re afraid, and usually that fear is not … They don’t have the education, the debtor education or the information that they need to make a good decision so they live in fear. They fear that their spouse is going to find out. They fear their children are going to find out. They fear their friends are going to find out. They fear that by filing bankruptcy or all this that their life as they know it’s going to come to an end.
It’s not operating in a sense of fear. That’s mostly what people come to me is that they’re paralyzed, and so for years they keep on throwing money at credit cards, paying minimum payments, borrowing from their family, borrowing from their friends. Keeping their head just barely above water and yet creating a life so full of stress. It’s really, it’s all fear-based is what most of these cases that we see are, and that’s just information, yeah.
|Katherine:||Yeah, and then I would even say add to that is that you have to come to terms with yourself. This is what’s been going on. Not necessarily that you could have done anything about it, because if you didn’t know, like you said, we don’t necessarily get this education at school, and sometimes not from our parents, so you didn’t do it on purpose. You didn’t say, “I know what to do and I’m just going to do the opposite.” But you are now looking at, “I’m an adult,” and for me it would be, “I am really this stupid,” but you’re not stupid. I feel that you do feel that way because why didn’t I know that, and we know the answer. We’re not taught these things. But in that moment of vulnerability you do feel, so I could see that.|
|Peter Daigle:||Exactly. Of course, yes. It’s human nature. It’s getting in touch with how you feel, and then you’ll notice that as you get rid of the debt and you get on a really…|
|Peter Daigle:||… good system of managing your financing going forward. But the main thing, if you look at what your, well, like the cable company will do to you. I mean, before you know it, you’re going from basic cable to all these different types of programs that you just added, then you’re hungry so you swing by and get some takeout food, and then before you know it, you’re not really living disciplined enough within your paycheck.
Once you look at the numbers, you’ll actually see what they are. You’ll see it and how to make it work. It makes you become more aware of your own spending habits. And nobody looks at it but you. It’s just you and the computer looking at it, and then coming to grips with what you need to do in going forward, you know?
|Katherine:||Absolutely. Thank you so much for having this conversation with me.|
|Peter Daigle:||Sure, of course.|
|Katherine:||I’m definitely going to continue the conversation. I did, actually, I lied, and I don’t normally waste lies. I thought I had one more question, but I want to know is the program that you’re offering, because I’m curious, is the program that you’re offering only for people going through bankruptcy, or can anyone take this program?|
|Peter Daigle:||Here’s the thing about the credit rebuilding program. The good thing about filing bankruptcy is that we clean the slate. It’s harder to rebuild credit when your credit’s already bruised. So, the way we work is only strictly after a bankruptcy process, because you’re coming to us with a credit score like you’re 18 years old again, and it’s essentially clean. You can rebuild a program back through it. The cost of the course is $299, and we can sign you up for the course, but the caveat would be is that if you have lingering things on your credit as it is, you’re not going to maybe get to the high level that we can pretty much guarantee if we had started with a clean slate.|
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|Katherine:||With a clean slate.|
|Peter Daigle:||That’s the only-|
|Katherine:||I got you.|
|Peter Daigle:||The systems are sort of the same doing it, but it really depends on how hard your credit’s been hit by liens and judgements and all that stuff. That could be lates, repossessions and foreclosures. I mean, really, that stuff is hard to get off. I guess that would really be the only caveat is we really like to start with a clean slate.|
|Katherine:||Okay. Well, with that being said, tell people how to get in touch with you, Attorney Daigle, outside of this interview.|
|Peter Daigle:||Sure. If you just go on my website, daiglelawoffice.com, that’s D-A-I-G-L-E law office dot com, www.daiglelawoffice.com , and look me up. You can send me an inquiry through my website, you can request a book, or you can give me a ring and we can talk.|
|Katherine:||Awesome. Thank you so much, and until next time, have a wonderful day.|
|Peter Daigle:||Sure. Okay, Katherine, you too. Bye bye.|