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How to protect your assets as a sole proprietor

Operating a sole proprietorship comes with many benefits. It is simple and cheap to run your business under this structure. While having complete control over your business with minimal costs may be beneficial, running a sole proprietorship also comes with some inherent risks. 

For instance, you are personally responsible for any liabilities that your company incurs. This means debt collectors and the IRS do not consider your business to be legally separate from you as a person. Without any legal distinction between you and your business, you may find yourself dishing out personal assets if you get into debt. Here are some ways you can protect yourself as a sole proprietor.

Pros and cons of debt settlement

If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy but want to explore other options, then debt settlement could be one. Generally speaking, it is a process in which you or your representative such as your lawyer negotiates with each of your creditors for a partial debt payoff. Some creditors agree to accept less than you owe them because it may be more than they would see otherwise. For example, in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all of your credit card bills might be wiped out, with the credit card company getting nothing from that.

So, debt settlement can work, but not always. Here are some pros and cons of the process.

4 fundamental benefits of starting an LLC

You have a lot of choices when it comes to starting a new business. As an entrepreneur or aspiring small business owner, you may find the numerous business structures available a little overwhelming. You may think you should go for a corporation right off the bat or play it simple and operate as a sole proprietorship.

However, one of the best business structures for a small business is a limited liability company. Here are the main benefits of starting an LLC

Avoid the trap of payday loans after a bankruptcy

The discharge of debt you received after your personal bankruptcy was most likely a great relief. You no longer have to worry about insurmountable credit card bills, and your expenses have been reduced. However, life can be uncertain, especially when you are just recovering from a bankruptcy. You might have been hit by an unexpected medical bill or lost your job during a particularly vulnerable time. If you are like many other South Carolina residents, the thought of a “quick fix” payday loan may be tempting when you are continuing to struggle financially.

However, one payday loan can easily turn into a vicious borrowing cycle, warns Bankrate. Additionally, payday loans usually come with high interest rates, sometimes as much as 300 percent. If you take out a payday loan, you might easily fall into the trap of needing to borrow from the company each pay period to cover your expenses and repay the previous loan. The following alternatives are far preferable to falling into the payday loan trap:

  • Consider getting a second part-time job or asking your boss to work overtime.
  • If the expense can be delayed, save up until you are able to pay in full.
  • Obtain a small, low-interest loan from a credit union – many credit unions and small lenders are willing to work with people who are recovering from a bankruptcy.
  • See if a family member or a friend might be willing to lend you money – but be sure you have the means to follow through with repayment.
  • Sell plasma, which has the double benefit of improving someone else’s life.
  • Speak with a financial advisor about ways to manage your expenses and have enough left over for unforeseen circumstances.

The basics of Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Like many South Carolina residents, you might be feeling the strain of overwhelming debt. In addition to utilities and basic living expenses, your credit card bills, medical debt, vehicle payments and mortgage might be more than you can handle at this time. Filing for bankruptcy is an option you are considering, but you worry that you might lose your assets, including your home and vehicles. Is a Chapter 13 bankruptcy the right option for you?

Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which discharges most types of debt and would likely result in the liquidation of many of your assets to repay your creditors, Chapter 13 allows you to repay all or most of your debt in a manageable repayment plan. If you have a home, cars, property and other valuable assets, you would stand to lose them if you file for Chapter 7. Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be ideal if you have a steady job and sufficient income to cover your expenses.

Can you go to jail for not paying a debt?

Debt is an unfortunate part of life for many people in the United States. While the average household debt for the average American is $5,000, the median debt is actually closer to $16,000. 

A big concern for many people with debt is the threat of going to jail. Some people genuinely receive phone calls from debt collectors where the caller threatens the debtor with jail time. However, people can rest easy. This is an illegal tactic, and people cannot go to jail in South Carolina for unsecured debts.

Do you have to take a means test to file for bankruptcy?

When you are drowning in debt, you are likely looking for the least damaging way out. One of the debt relief options you may be looking at is bankruptcy. The two types you can file for as a regular consumer (as opposed to a business or other entity) are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

Chapter 7 eliminates most debts, whereas Chapter 13 involves creating a manageable plan for paying off some of the debt. Both have its pros and cons, and which is best for you depends on your circumstances. If you are considering Chapter 7, one thing to be aware of is that you must meet certain requirements to be eligible to file.

How to make your credit card debt more manageable

You may seem like you have it all: a good paying job, a nice home and several cars in South Carolina. Despite this, you may be drowning in so much credit card debt that you are losing sleep trying to figure out how to deal with it.

Though you may feel overwhelmed by the bills that keep racking up, there are things you can do to make them more manageable. Here is a brief overview of ways to lower your credit card debt. 

3 things credit card companies do not want you to know

If you are like many Americans, you probably rely on your credit cards regularly to get through the month. It can prove all too easy to pull out the plastic for purchases, because somehow, using that card makes it seem less like spending than when you hand over actual cash.

Perhaps this is why so many Americans find themselves drowning in overwhelming credit card debt, and that is just how the credit card companies like it. The longer you remain in debt, the more money they make in interest, and the primary  goal of these companies is a simple one: to make money. They often do so using sneaky measures, too. Here are several important things your credit card companies do not want you to know.

3 tips for forming and running an LLC

You want to open a new business but are not sure where to start. Forming a small business as a limited liability company, or LLC, is a popular choice for many people. You might consider this option due to the legal protections this business structure offers without the burdens of a corporation. The thought of creating and operating an LLC may seem daunting, but it can be done with the right help.

Of course, you will want to choose a business name and fill out your Articles of Organization, but the process requires more if you want to do it correctly. Read below for some helpful tips on starting your LLC with information from Forbes.

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