What are the Leading Causes of Bankruptcy?

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Bankruptcy is the state of insolvency or financial ruin that people would have every reason to want to avoid. Declaring bankruptcy has far-reaching effects. It may succeed in giving relief to the beleaguered debtor but it will come at a price - the price of bearing an unfavorable credit record. To most affected people however, that is a much preferred option than being continually harassed by creditors.A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer is the best person to consult about this matter.  So what brings people to bankruptcy? Here are some of the leading causes:

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Medical Expenses

There is good basis for the the saying that "Health is wealth". The moment it is lost and sickness comes in, people can be sent spiraling down in terms of finances. If it is expensive to live, living in sickness is far more expensive. Serious sicknesses will prevent afflicted people from working and therefore from earning. Sickness can also drain funds very fast since money tends to be spent faster than earned. The cure or the required procedure to get well can be very costly for life-threatening diseases.

Unemployment

The loss of a job, especially if not anticipated or expected, can be fatal to the financial condition of many. This is especially so if there are loans being paid or the unemployed is the sole breadwinner in the household. Bankruptcy will likely occur if another work cannot be found soon enough to save families from going through it.

Uncontrolled Spending

When expenses exceed income, financial difficulty is always a near possibility. Bank loans, credit card payables, and mortgage payments when added together with the cost of daily living is very expensive. Uncontrolled spending is usually the main culprit here.

Status Change

A good number of people can be forced into bankruptcy by a change in status. Women who have chosen to be stay-at- home moms  and have no paying careers to speak of may find it difficult to get by after divorce. They will need to find a paying job and that is always not easy.  Alimony can also be  a serious financial burden to carry.

Unexpected Disasters

When disasters like earthquake, fire, or severe flooding occurs, it is always possible  that bankruptcy is looming ahead. This type of occurrences typically force people to be in a serious bind. It is bad enough to face expected disasters if we are unable to avert it. So much so if disasters strike unexpectedly and during already difficult times.

How to Prep Your Car for a Show

Whether you’re into shine shows, cruise nights or meetups with others who share your passion for certain styles, makes and models, getting ready for your next car show is a big deal. You might be tempted to spring for an expensive detailing job, but you can actually do an equally killer job yourself and there’s no need to buy the most expensive equipment. The classics work, from using Windex and newspapers on your rims to a standard wax job. However, there’s more to prepping for a car show than just shining your ride.

It’s also about building community and showing off your knowledge. Few people know absolutely everything about their car, especially if it’s been customized or you recently picked it up from a reputable dealer or previous owner. Read up on the statistics, research the common issues with your make and model (there will always be a few things) and make sure you ask your body shop pro exactly what process was used for that custom color or design.

This isn’t just your car’s time to shine; it’s also yours.

Choosing the right meetup

There are niche shows and cruises for every type of car lover. It doesn’t matter if you’re into hip hop car culture, vintage VWs or all American muscle cars. Regardless of where you live, there are events happening year-round. However, a big struggle is actually getting to the show. Depending on how rare your ride, you may need to tow it to avoid putting senseless miles on it. This also means you’ll need to have a transportable detailing kit with you right before show time.

Finding your right niche is kind of like rushing a fraternity or sorority; some trial and error is required. You can get a feel for the group via social media. Check out what other cars have made appearances to gauge how you’ll fit in. There’s a right match for every collector car, and spreading yourself too thing can be frustrating. Since there are car shows every week of the year, choose wisely (especially if there’s an entry fee).

Making connections

Unfortunately, many people attend car meetups and shows solely to show off, which means they miss out on the biggest perk: Socializing. It’s challenging to find others who share your same level of passion. Use this as an opportunity to connect, and listen more than you speak. Asking questions is a great way to get to know someone and you’ll even learn something in return.

 

Drugs and Alcohol: Their Impact on Crime Rate

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Among the developed countries of the world, the U.S. is one that continues to struggle with crime. Each year, it attracts international attention owing to the crimes committed by its citizens, young and old alike. Most of these involve murder which sometimes are attributed to drug and alcohol abuse. Research has also confirmed a correlation between drug use and criminal behavior.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in its 2012 report entitled Crime in the United States, said violent crimes went up by 0.7 percent or more than 1.2 million violent crimes. The ratio was 386.9 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants and this rate was the same as the 2011 record.

These crimes involving drug and alcohol use are costing the government and taxpayers billions of dollars each year. The cost of controlling drug and alcohol crime alone already costs $44.1 billion while the cost to taxpayers is pegged at $32.7 billion.

Drug-related Crimes

An estimated 14.8 million Americans were found to be drug users based on the 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. Authorities stressed that this chronic use of illicit drugs is what causes criminal activity and damages the nation.

In 2010, 37,000 drug related deaths were recorded with 1.6 million adults and 196,000 juveniles arrested. The Federal Bureau of Prisons reported that more than 50 percent of inmates that are in federal prison were jailed due to drug offenses.

Drugs being abused in the U.S. are plenty these days. However, those commonly identified when crimes are committed include cocaine (27 percent), marijuana (22 percent), methamphetamine (16 percent), heroin (6 percent) and prescription drugs (2 percent).

Drug-related crimes are classified into three categories - victim/offender use-related, economic-related and system-related. Crimes that are victim/offender use-related refer to the ingestion of a drug that causes violent behavior. Economic crimes are those committed by drug users to support additional drug use while the system-related crimes are those directly or indirectly related to the system of drug distribution and trafficking which is also linked to the commission of violent crimes.

Alcohol-related Crimes

Crimes committed as a result of too much alcohol intake are also common in the U.S. Each year, nearly 13,000 of people are killed on roadways due to alcohol-related accidents. The 2010 record showed the arrest of 595,000 adults and 13,000 juveniles for such crimes.

In 2004, it was estimated that 17.6 million people in the U.S. were dependent on or abused alcohol. Additionally, while drunk driving is what commonly gets much attention, the use of alcohol has been attributed to other crimes including domestic violence, underage drinking and assault.

The Saratogian News reported that some 183,000 cases of rape and sexual assault as well as robberies, aggravated assaults and simple assaults recorded every year involved alcohol use.

Offenders charged with drug and alcohol related crimes can still seek legal help if they want to. They can turn to defense lawyers in their area such as a drug possession lawyer for those based in the state of Arizona. These legal professionals are skilled in defending their clients and supporting them throughout the trial process.

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Tricks to Save Money in Your Daily Life

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When Americans feel a pinch in their financial situation, cost-saving tips becoming valuable to the average family. The MintLife Blog states that only 32 percent of American households currently draw up a detailed budget to control spending and track income.

While the typical budget-conscious individual may know to forgo that daily Starbucks treat at $5 a pop, he or she may be unaware of smartphone apps or negotiation advice that can save hundreds of dollars a month. You can benefit from the following tips of financial wisdom.

Understand your monthly expenses

According to The Savor Blog, tracking every cent of your expenses can help you develop better spending habits. Even though you may have cut a costly Starbucks habit, you could still be spending money on other habits that cost hundreds of dollars a month.

People who are addicted to cigarettes can easily spend $200 to $300 a month on them. By tracking every cent of your expenses in a smartphone app or Excel spreadsheet, you’ll become fully aware of your spending habits and make required changes.

Take advantage of circulars

Grocery shopping can a great area to reduce expenses. ABC News recently discussed a list of smartphone apps that provide circulars in electronic form.

If you feel like you don’t have time to sift through newspapers or clip coupons, you may want to use a smartphone app to glance through circulars in your spare moments. Whether you’re waiting to pick up the kids from school or stuck in a long line, you can use this time to your benefit by finding electronic circulars and coupons.

Negotiate your medical bills

Some people suffer the financial pinch when they owe thousands of dollars on a medical bill. Instead of struggling to pay the total amount, you could try to negotiate the amount down.

Only 31 percent of Americans ever attempt to negotiate over an amount owed on a medical bill, yet 93 percent of Americans who do are successful. If you plan on discussing a medical debt, make sure you deal with the ultimate decision-maker.

Those who are in charge of billing decisions can help you out by cutting the amount you owe for your medical care.

Negotiate in all contexts

In addition to negotiating your medical bills, you should also feel comfortable to do the same in just about any other context. Even if you’re at a farmers market or clothing store, it may be possible to haggle for a lower price on something you want.

Improve the security of your home

You can lower the rate for your home insurance policy by taking the trouble to improve security measures. Adding a free wireless security system may help you save as much as five to 20 percent on your home insurance policy. Also, selecting the e-policy or e-bill delivery option can result in some savings.

Following the above tips can add some wiggle room to your monthly budget. Take advantage of these strategies so you can free up extra cash and get more value for your dollar.

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How Tweens and Teens are Using Social Media

Teens and tweens are among the most active users of social media today. With their smart phones and tablets in tow wherever they go, these youngsters often hang out on their favorite social networking sites many times a day. They keep in touch with friends both inside and outside of their school.

Surveys have found that majority or 81 percent of kids aged 12 to 17 use social media. This figure is higher than the 72 percent of internet users overall.

Among tweens, statistics show that 48 percent of girls between 6 and 12 years old own a cell phone while 51 percent of them have a smart phone. Half of adolescents, on the other hand, log into a social media site more than once each day.
View Infographic ›

Why Water Damage Needs to Be On Your Radar in a New Home

When someone makes a move into a new rental or consider purchasing a home, most don't think about water damage. However, pre-existing damage or potential threats can dramatically reduce the value of a property, lead to the damage of your belongings, and create health hazards. Getting the facts about current water damage and threats, and then being proactive about addressing these issues is key during your move-in process. Leaky pipes, malfunctioning appliances, and condensation are sources of water damage that can affect your quality of living and your water bill.

Water Bill Spikes

When you receive you water bill, does it fail to make sense? Your money might be dripping away in the form of leaks and spills. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a single faucet that drips once per minute wastes up to 34 gallons per year. This can really add up, especially if your toilet is not working efficiently, and if your home has other leaks.

Learn how to check your water meter at home. If you're not sure, contact your local utilities company to get more information. Keep a close eye on the meter. The folks at Water Damage Defense recommend a simple test in their recent Water Damage By the Numbers infographic: note the measurement, then avoid using water for two hours. If the measurement has changed, then you probably have a leak.

Mold Concerns

Unseen leaks won't only cause water damage to your belongings and home structure, but it can lead to dangerous mold growth. This is no laughing matter, since mycotoxins from mold can cause severe allergies, breathing problems, and chronic illnesses. Mold growth may or may not be visible, especially if it is taking place behind walls. If you live in a home that develops condensation on walls or windows, make sure that the space is properly ventilated and even wiped down, to prevent moisture accumulation.

If you suspect a leak, contact your landlord or hire a contractor to address the plumbing issue first. If mold is discovered, hire a professional to clean it – they will have the appropriate filter masks and cleaners to deal with the issue safely. If you're a renter, check your local department of health to see what your tenant responsibilities are regarding mold assessment and cleanup.

Preventative Measures

Whether your home is affected by water damage concerns or not, it's a good practice to be prepared for any upcoming incidents. One of the easiest ways to monitor water levels is to equip your home with water sensors, emergency shut off systems, and backup pump systems. For example, if your washing machine or icemaker suddenly springs a leak, then the system will detect a rising water level and switch off the flow of water. This can save you thousands of dollars in damage.

Before you move into a new home or rental, it is very important to examine a property for current water damage and threats. Not only will this awareness help you save money on your water bill, but it will also increase the safety of your household. Equipping your house with preventative devices can also save your home investments in the long run.

 

How to Buy the Right Used Car

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Buying used items is accepted in today's society and people don't mind it at all. Buying used cars is even more common these days as a brand new vehicle may not be within easy reach for those wanting to own one.

Many have noted an increase in the sales of used cars which is why www.carshop.co.uk have come up with this infographic that highlights what to look out for when buying your used car.
The process of buying a second hand car, however, can be more challenging compared to getting a brand new one. You need to be meticulous about checking the different parts of the vehicle inside and out to ensure it's in good running condition and won't fail you moving forward.

On the exterior, some of the important parts that need to be properly inspected are the tires, overspray, brakes and welds in sills. The doors and locks should not be forgotten as well.

Inside the vehicle, things to check are the car seats, carpets, air conditioning and the odometer. The odometer records the mileage or the age of the car and a normal driver would have driven between 10,000 and 15,000 miles per year.

Finally, a must for every car buyer is to test drive the vehicle. This will help you determine the real condition of the car while you're maneuvering it. Certain things to check during a test drive are the aircon, lights and other electrical works, clutch and brake, suspension, exhaust and the balancing part.

More tips here in our infographic below.

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Top 10 Most Successful Kickstarter Projects

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Projects on Kickstarter come in different types and sizes and if your early guess on the most successful ones are the games, you are definitely right. Games including video games dominate the list of the 10 most successful projects on Kickstarter.

This is no surprise at all as a great number of people today particularly those who own mobile devices have a penchant for gaming and technology. Men and women young and old alike today keep themselves occupied with games when they're out in the malls or while waiting at and riding on public transport stations.

Surveys on mobile gaming have shown that playing games is a popular activity among people who own smart phones these days.

Statistics also show that mobile games are the most popular app category.

In the Top 10 list of successful Kickstarter projects, five are video games. One gaming console and gaming figures are also in the list.

Among the Kickstarter indie games that received much pledges are Project Eternity on the third spot, Double Fine Adventure on fifth place, Wasteland 2 (7th place), Elite: Dangerous (8th place) and Homestuck Adventure Game (9th place).

Project Eternity which received nearly $4 million in pledges is a video RPG featuring a new fantasy world as its main setting.

Double Fine Adventure is a graphic adventure game in a downloable point and click format. It gained a total of more than $3.3 million in pledges which will be used to support production, promotion and distribution.

Wasteland 2 by InXile Entertainment is a sequel to the 1988 original RPG Wasteland and attracted nearly $3 million in pledges.

On the other hand, the Ouya video game console for TV which gained a total of more than $8.5 million in pledges occupied the second spot. Ouya is known for its top quality controller, console and interface. The console features a touchpad for any games with the convenience of using the television.

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Comic Book Reading Habits Revealed

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Since time immemorial, comics have been a source of entertainment for many people, young and old alike. It's a reading material that gives comic relief and even lessons sometimes. It's something where kids can get inspiration and ideas particularly for those who have an inclination towards drawing and sketching.

Despite the introduction of the digital form of comic books in recent years, studies have found that comic lovers still prefer to read the print version. And although women tend to lose their interest on comics are they reach adulthood, research findings reveal that adult men continue to love it.

Reading comics has many benefits as well. It goes beyond just being able to provide entertainment to the reader. Studies have found that it enhances the reading abilities of children, improves their vocabulary and helps relieve stress for adult lovers. View Infographic ›

5 Things to Think About When You’re Having Plumbing Problems

Clogged drains, burst pipes, leaky faucets. It seems like no matter what precautions you take, plumbing breaks down one way or another.

Plumbing problems can be a huge headache, but if you're smart about making repairs and replacing equipment you can save yourself a lot of time and money.

Making smart repairs

When you're having plumbing problems, you obviously want to get things back in working condition as quickly as possible and save as much money as you can. But depending on the situation, it might make more sense to replace the broken equipment completely rather than just fix the problem temporarily.


 

Here are a few things that you should consider when deciding whether to repair or replace:

  1. Cost of repairs

  2. How often your plumbing needs to be repaired

  3. How long the broken equipment has been in use

  4. Energy efficiency of the current system

  5. The safety of the set-up you have now

Some plumbing problems, like a clogged drain or a leaking faucet, are easy to repair on your own, and your plumbing will be as good as new. Other problems, however, are the result of old, leaky pipes, recurring clogs, broken equipment, and harmful lead pipes. These items should be replaced, since repairing them isn't a long-term solution.

If you do choose to repair rather than replace, there are plenty of local and online retailers for inexpensive replacement parts and tutorials to help you along the way.

As long as you feel confident making repairs and replacements yourself, you can save a lot of money by doing the work yourself. Otherwise, it may be worth it to call in a professional, whether to assess the situation or do the actual repairs.

It's better to be stuck with repair bills than make the problem worse by leaving it untreated or risk making it worse.