New year brings Illinois a fresh shot at financial security

For many people in Illinois, 2012 was a touchy year financially. Many people lost their homes and had to file bankruptcy. For those people and many others, 2013 brings a fresh start at financial security. There are steps that people can take to improve their financial position and it's never too late to start.

Getting an accurate picture of the family's financial situation may be a good place to start. Knowing this will make it easier to begin a budget that will not only meet the monthly needs of the family, but also allow for the family to begin paying off bills. Paying the minimum on all but one debt with the highest interest rate is a good place to start.

In addition, starting an emergency fund should be part of the budget. Even if a family is only able to contribute a few dollars a week at first, it is better than nothing. The goal is to be able to live within the means of the family and not use credit while paying off bills and saving money.

For some people in Illinois, this may seem like an insurmountable task. Filing for bankruptcy protection may be a way for a family to be able to get the fresh start they need. Unless a creditor receives specific permission from the court, collection calls, foreclosure proceedings and the like are halted during the course of a bankruptcy giving a family the room they need to deal with their financial situation. Once a bankruptcy is discharged, a family may be able to lay the groundwork for a return to financial security.

Source: St. Louis American, "Resolve to Be Financially Secure in 2013," Jason Alderman, Dec. 27, 2012

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