Over 46,000 foreclosures are filed per week in the United States. Per week! In my own state of North Carolina, it is estimated that over 1,000 foreclosures per week will be filed for 2009! Credit Suisse estimates that 8.1 million mortgages will be in foreclosure over the next four years!
With the housing sector responsible for one in eight jobs in the United States, more foreclosures will lead to more unemployment and additional contraction of consumer spending and a further drag on the economy. The foreclosure crisis is affecting the tax base of local governments meaning that taxes may increase and services decrease. The increase in housing inventory is clogging the market making selling your home difficult. The situation is dire indeed.
Many experts including Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve Board agree that until the housing crisis is stemmed, the economy will continue to struggle. Since the mortgage foreclosure crisis exploded in 2007, a number of consumer and housing advocates, civil rights groups, and economists have stated that judicial modification of mortgages in chapter 13 bankruptcy cases is an effective approach to stemming the foreclosure crisis. A recent report from Credit Suisse estimates that this step alone will reduce foreclosures by 20%.
But the lending industry opposes this step.
Budgeting your money is critical in a chapter 13 bankruptcy case because you will have to make a payment to the chapter 13 trustee every month. If you do not make this payment, your case may be dismissed and you will not gain any benefit from your bankruptcy filing.
Therefore, it is very important that you know how much money you have coming in to your household and how much you have going out so that you can make this payment and meet your other obligations.
As part of your chapter 13 bankruptcy case preparation, you are required to go through financial counseling. You must also provide a lot of information about your income and your expenses to your lawyer. These are good starting points but most people seem to underestimate their expenses or do not take into account non-recurring expenses that are important and can be budget busters.