Friday, September 16, 2011

Should You Pay Your Bills? - Florida Attorney Says Maybe Not

New Book "Stop The Bleeding" Gives Credit Advice In Bad Economy

The economy is bad, and it might not improve for years, says author and Orlando area attorney Matt Englett. As a syndicated radio show host, Englett listens to sad stories every day from people in dire economic trouble, whether having lost jobs, or owning a house with a mortgage exceeding the market value. 

Englett endeavors to give advice to the unemployed, the underemployed and the struggling business owner in his new book "Stop The Bleeding," and daily on his radio show.

Englett says although we're nowhere near experiencing the same problems as during the Great Depression years, things are not good, and they won't be getting any better for a while. He advises taking a careful look at how the nation's and state laws can protect people experiencing deep financial troubles.

In his book he addresses a question many have never considered before, "When should I stop paying my bills?" Englett contends "There is a point when capital preservation needs to take precedence over good credit."

He says, "It's not a happy place, but it's out there." Sometime not paying your bills is the only way to stop the bleeding, he says.

Englett leads the reader through steps to get out of a bad financial situation, whether it means working with your creditors or using the litigation process to your advantage. He tells how ultimately you can get bill collectors off your back to get your life back together.

Englett's advice begins in chapter four titled "When Should I Stop Paying My Bills?" He says a good yardstick is to stop paying when you have been "dipping into savings and retirement accounts for three months or more and have nothing concrete in terms of a job or the prospects of an increase in income."

He strongly advocates preserving your capital and assets above paying creditors and asks readers to decide whether it's better to have a good credit score or keep your money.

He says most of the time, paying off creditors with savings is just putting off the inevitable, eventually you're going to run out of money and your credit will be ruined anyway, and you'll maybe be left destitute.

Englett warns though, that even though stopping payments might be advised, creditors will eventually come after you for their money. He says be ready to negotiate the amounts down to something affordable, likely settling on 30 to 50% or a 12 month payback plan. Extending payments over 12 months will usually mean paying off about 75% of the balance due.

If that doesn't work, be prepared for litigation, and hiring an attorney.

And if all negotiation fails, Englett gives advice on filing for bankruptcy. One type, Chapter 13 allows "stripping" away a second mortgage and could be useful in cases where two mortgages exceed the home value. And some judges will force mediation to adjust the amount owed to more affordable payment schedules.

Chapter 7 will discharge all debts owed and will only take a few months, compared to years in Chapter 13.

In 2010, 1.6 million people filed for bankruptcy, up 14% over the previous year, Englett says.

While Englett's explanation of how the country got into it's current financial situation is less than a sure bet (he contends the troubles began in 1995 when the U.S. and Canada signed the North American Free Trade Agreement allowing cheap Mexican goods in and exporting jobs to Mexico), the book is well written, and at 86 pages concise and to the point.

And if purchased through as a Kindle ebook, a bargain at $2.99. The paperback version is priced at $12.95. - Radio Show Web Page with links to previous live shows


  1. Nicole4:05 PM

    What great advice! Honestly, more people should listen to common-sense advice like this. Why pay creditors when you will eventually run out of money, and end up with a poor score anyway...just nothing in terms of savings to show for it. I'm definitely going to grab a copy of this book. Thank you!

  2. Anonymous7:15 PM

    great advice for this economy

  3. Interesting perspective. Hopefully people try to work their debts down, but if it's not possible, it's good that there are other options out there. A good bankruptcy lawyer can help provide good counsel and lay out what should be done.