Archive | October, 2013

Home in Foreclosure? File Bankruptcy

Over the recent years, most Americans have heard quite a bit about the foreclosure problem and how many Americans have had to file bankruptcy to stop creditors from their aggressive behavior. Because there is so much information out there, many Americans have become armchair lawyers and offer up their opinions to their friends and family members. Everyone has an opinion and has their story, but what an individual needs to do is decipher the truth from exaggeration. It’s best to cut to the chase and talk to a bankruptcy attorney, but some folks kick the idea around for a while and listen to their friends and family members before they do something about it.

In January 2014, one in every 96 homes nationally was in foreclosure. This is up 8% from the end of 2013. Back in the summer of 2013 it was reported that the housing market had turned around and foreclosures are at their lowest rates since 2007. Everyone thought the economy had turned a corner and we were back to normal. The grand total of foreclosures for 2013 was 1.36 million properties nationwide. Despite all this “good news”, in December of 2013 9.3 million properties or 19% of all homes nationally were considered deeply underwater. This term means that the homeowner owes 25% more than the home is even worth. Even though over the last couple years home prices seem to have rebounded somewhat, some areas are coming close to their 2007 highs when the real estate bubble bursts. This leads the skeptics to believe another bubble has been created and is on the verge of popping. Those that are barely hanging on are once again being faced with the threat of losing their home to foreclosure. The government recently reported that unemployment is now at 6.5%, the media continues to bang the drum saying the troubles are behind us. When you look at the real numbers, you’ll see the employment population ratio is down to 56%. If unemployment is 10% back in 2008 and the employment to population ratio was 63%, how could the unemployment rate be 6.5% if the employment to population ratio is now down to 56%? It’s obvious, less people are working and are no longer receiving unemployment insurance, thus have fallen off the radar. Those that believe the mainstream media need to take off the rose-colored glasses and get a reality check. When I was a kid, my dad used to always say, if it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true. People need to wake up and see the writing on the wall. The good news is we still have a legal system that includes the option of filing bankruptcy if necessary.

It is true, filing bankruptcy will stop foreclosure if needed. But what people need to realize is there are different chapters of bankruptcy filing. While all of them will stop foreclosure, one will only work temporarily as the creditors will exercise their right to file a relief of stay with the bankruptcy court. What it comes down to is filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy which is form fitted to the foreclosure problem. When filing chapter 13 an individual and their bankruptcy attorney will have to submit a feasible repayment plan to the bankruptcy court. Since debts are paid by priority, with secured debts getting priority payments and unsecured getting whatever’s left over, the person will be able to negotiate something with their mortgage holder and keep their home as long as they can continue making the payment. Any debts like credit cards that are left unpaid at the end of the 3 to 5 year Chapter 13 plan, will be included in the bankruptcy discharge and wiped out. For people that are still employed and just got caught with their pants down by charging too much Chapter 13 bankruptcy has a lot to offer.

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Top 15 Insights on Neuroplasticity, Brain Training, Emotions, Cognition And Brain Health – Ready?

Curious about modern brain and mind science and about what it has to offer to improve education, health and quality of life?

Here you have 15 thought-provoking ideas and facts about neuroplasticity, brain training, emotions, cognition and brain health, based on the latest scientific evidence. Which of these highlights surprise you the most? Why?

1. Emotion is the system that tells us how important something is. Attention focuses us on the important and away from the unimportant things. Cognition tells us what to do about it. Cognitive skills are whatever it takes to do those things.

2. Working memory is the type of memory that allows us to both hold information in mind and work on it as needed.

3. The central concept in this new approach is neuroplasticity, the brain’s lifelong capacity to change and rewire itself in response to the stimulation of learning and experience. This includes both the lifelong ability to create new neurons – neurogenesis – and to create new connections between neurons – synaptogenesis.

4. Controlling and managing emotion (including stress and anger) is crucial for performing successfully in anything.

5. Sometimes our hypothesis will be right, and sometimes it will be wrong. The fear of failing, the fear of looking not smart, is a key obstacle to learning.

6. A healthy brain is a brain that has the right amount of plasticity.

7. Meditation is one of the techniques to change both brain activity and structures, and may give us unique control over attention by promoting broadening and focus.

8. Learning is physical. Learning means the modification, growth, and pruning of our neuronal networks, through experience.

9. True brain fitness refers to having the brain functionality – cognitive, emotional, executive – required to thrive in the environment we face each day.

10. The only leisure activity that has been associated with reduced brain function is watching television.

11. A consequence of the brain’s plasticity is that the brain may change with every experience, thought and emotion, from which it follows that you yourself have the potential power to change your brain with everything that you do, think, and feel. So brain fitness and optimization are about much more than crossword puzzles and blueberries; they are about cultivating a new mindset and mastering a new toolkit that allow us to appreciate and take full advantage of our brains’ incredible properties.

12. In every field, elite performers devote more time to practice than to the actual performance. To perform at the highest level, you need to protect and optimize practice and learning time.

13. We need to expand our vocabulary: “IQ” and “memory” do not encompass all of the brain’s functions. The brain is composed of neuronal networks serving distinct functions, including various types of memory, but also language, emotional regulation, attention, planning, and many others. This is important because our life and productivity depend on the functionality of all these brain functions, not just one.

14. The more a network of neurons is activated (i.e., the more often the neurons fire together), the stronger the connections become. If a network supporting a brain function is repeatedly stimulated through practice and training, it will become stronger, contributing to the optimization of that brain function… the less a network of neurons is activated the weaker the connections become, and weak connections end up dying. This accounts for the popular idea “use it or lose it” – brain functions that are not stimulated end up losing their efficiency since the neural networks supporting them weaken or dissipate.

15. Physical activity and physical exercise are different… Physical exercise (e.g. swimming) refers to the effortful activity of particular parts of our bodies. While both may bring benefits, it is clearly physical exercise that helps build capacity and muscle strength. It is thus physical exercise that contributes to staying physically fit. This is the kind of exercise that also brings brain benefits.

As you can see, much food for thought, and much room to start transferring these findings and concepts from research labs into our daily lives.

Copyright (c) 2014 SharpBrains

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Helping Hints When Applying For Buy Here Pay Here Financing At Used Car Dealerships

With so many dealerships out there, a car buyer with a low credit score can feel lost. There are many questions that arise. Some are looking for what financing options are out there? Others are wondering which dealer would even finance them? Yet others need dealerships that do not ask for high down payments. Let us see how a car buyer with low credit should start looking for answers.

First, before digging to find answers, car buyers with bad credit need to prepare their proof of income documents! Yes, it should really be the first thing on their mind especially if their credit score is not helpful! There are many dealers who offer financing using “buy here pay here” methods who do not check the credit score but do ask for the customer’s proof of income. So the faster that the clients can provide that proof, the faster they can get those keys. Remember that having a stable and decent income indicates to the dealers that this car buyer is financially capable of paying the monthly car payments. So a higher income would mean that the loan amount that is approved can be also high resulting in more modern cars.

A great way to find an answer to all these questions and many more would be to start online! With many dealers moving to the web for better organization, many provide online applications. There, the car buyers can find out if they are pre-approved at a given dealership before they go there. This saves the car buyers needless trips to dealers that might not accept them even after they inspected the cars and test drove them. Another advantage of the online application is the time saved. There are websites that combine many dealerships into a network of dealers. This is often a better choice. By applying to a network of dealers at a time, one form allows the car shopper to apply to see which dealer fits them the most. This provides faster help and hence faster results. Remember that not all dealers accept the same criteria for financing even if they are all offering “buy here pay here” financing. While they should all not check the customers’ credit scores, some of these in-house dealerships are looking for proofs of income higher than others. Also, some locations might accept forms of incomes other than work, like Social Security Income, while others will not. In addition, the down payments that the customers plan on paying might be too low for some locations while others might offer zero-down incentives to increase their number of sales. So one application can often filter all these criteria and give the best-fit result for any given applicant.

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