Most people who file for bankruptcy are not reckless spenders. Rather, they often are lower-income workers who experience an unexpected financial hardship and can no longer meet their daily living expenses.
Gas Prices Rising
Continued turmoil in Iraq has caused gasoline prices to rise to a six-year high and experts are predicting that they will remain high through at least the summer months.
Gasoline prices often peak in spring and drop in June. However, that is not the case in 2014. As of June 22, 2014, for the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton area, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.72. A year ago it was $3.64. While the current price is lower than the highest recorded average price for the area, which was $4.18, which occurred on July 17, 2008, this nearly $0.10 per gallon increase since last summer may be all it takes to stress already tight consumer budgets.
There does not seem to be a lot of optimism that prices at the pump with go lower any time soon. According to Michael Green, a spokesperson for AAA, which issues daily reports on nationwide gas prices, “If the situation (in Iraq) continues to get worse, American consumers can expect to pay more at the pump.”
Food Prices On The Rise Too
Other consumer costs, like those for food, have also jumped in recent months. The most recent Consumer Price Index showed food prices rose by 0.4 percent in March compared to overall prices, which rose by 0.2 percent. The biggest increases are being seen in staples such as eggs, milk, butter, oranges, ground beef, pork, and poultry. Another factor that contributed to the overall increase in consumer prices was the increased cost of shelter, electricity, and airline travel.
Predictions by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicate that there is unlikely to be any relief for consumers in the near future. The USDA believes food prices will rise between 2.5-3.5 percent this year.
Bankruptcy Can Provide An Option For Consumer Debt Relief In West Palm Beach
The Bankruptcy laws allow consumers to create a payment plan or liquidate their assets to pay their debts. It helps consumers get a fresh start when they can no longer pay their creditors.
Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which is also called a wage earner’s plan, individuals with a regular income can develop a plan (usually with the assistance of an experienced bankruptcy attorney) to repay all or part of their debts.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case though does not involve a repayment plan. Rather, the debtor is allowed to keep certain assets (called “exempt” assets, which can include things such as a homestead, insurance benefits, checking or savings accounts, vehicles, support benefits, and other personal property to ensure that the debtor has enough to meet basic living needs), with the debtor’s non-exempt assets being sold to pay creditors.
Help With Getting Debts Under Control
Although this is a short summary of how consumers can be helped by the bankruptcy laws, an experienced bankruptcy attorney at Kelley & Fulton, P.L. can provide a full explanation of your options. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in the West Palm Beach area and would like to learn more about Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy possibilities, please call us today at (561) 203-8357 or contact us through our firm’s website. We would like to help you.