I Am Under So Much Debt, Should I File Bankruptcy?

In this trying economic times, it is acceptable if you find yourself in some grave financial difficulties. If personal bankruptcy has crossed your mind, have you thought about talking to a bankruptcy lawyer to discuss all your available options? Seeking personal bankruptcy protection is your legal right and you should not feel embarrassed if this is your best option to achieve financial stability in the near future.In the last 2-3 years, you have heard stories of big corporations such as Bear Stearn and Lehman Brothers declaring bankruptcy. Individuals like you and I can file bankruptcy and there are essentially 2 flavors of personal bankruptcy. There is chapter 7 bankruptcy and also chapter 13 bankruptcy. A qualified bankruptcy lawyer can assist you clear up any question you have regarding chapter 7 bankruptcy versus chapter 13 bankruptcy. Since the passage of the amended bankruptcy law in 2005, it has become more difficult for an individual to file bankruptcy than before. In order to stop people from abusing the bankruptcy law, the US congress passed the new law in 2005. But if you are facing severe financial hardship, you should have no issue passing the assorted criteria to file for bankruptcy. The process to file bankruptcy protection is relatively easy and painless, but there are many implications that you should be made mindful of in advance. Here are some of the issues you will face after filing bankruptcy:Anticipate to have low credit score for extended period of timeAs part of the bankruptcy process, your credit score will be greatly affected as credit bureaus will fundamentally start your credit score near the minimum of 300. Since the credit score range is from 300 (worst) to 850 (best), you should have the mental readiness that you will be in the 300+ range. Credit score can be repaired over time so you should not get too despaired over it. Building your credit score back to the mid 600s or low 700s can take a few years if you are careful about taking care of your financial well-being. Here is a resource that can help you rebuild your credit score over time.For the next 10 years, your credit report will indicate you have filed for bankruptcyOne of the most lingering effects if you choose to file for bankruptcy is that your credit report will indicate this financial status for up to 10 years. Whenever you are applying for a job or a credit application, it inevitably will ask if you have filed for bankruptcy before. It never ask if you have filed bankruptcy in the last 10 years. So in essence, even though the bankruptcy record disappears from the credit history, it will never wholly disappear from your life.You can still maintain a lot of the assets that you own even if you filed for bankruptcyEven though the creditors have the right to reclaim your assets, there are definitely some assets that you own that are protected under the bankruptcy law. You are allowed to keep “exempt assets” when you have filed for bankruptcy which prevents the creditors from any repossession activities. Since it is such a crucial issue to retain as much assets as possible, you should consult your bankruptcy lawyer to get the maximum exemption possible. The act of filing bankruptcy is the easiest, but to come to the decision to file bankruptcy is perhaps the hardest one to make. This is a life changing event, and you should unquestionably not take this decision lightly. Filing bankruptcy should not be done in haste and you should consult a bankruptcy lawyer to gather all the facts before making the ultimate decision.

The Six Phases of Critical Thinking

Critical thinking can be defined as “learning to think better by improving one’s thinking skills.” Individuals who are critical thinkers use the thinking process to analyze (consider and reflect) and synthesize (piece together) what they have learned or are currently learning. Unfortunately, much of everyone’s thinking tends to be biased, imprecise, unclear, uninformed or prejudiced. Since this becomes severely limiting, critical thinking is needed to improve its quality and value.Within the organizational setting critical thinking is necessary for: overcoming problems, making changes, modifications or adaptations within work structures, methods and problem solving situations, resolving situational conflict and pressing issues, and inventing and implementing new ideas, techniques and solutions.Critical thinking development is a gradual process. It requires: mastering plateaus of learning as well as maintaining a serious focus on the process itself, changing personal habits of thought, which tends to be a long-range project, and extensive development time.Within the process of critical thinking it is important to recognize what does not comprise its basic elements or components. Critical thinking is not accomplished by: saying something without carefully thinking it through, taking a guess at what one thinks “should” be done, memorizing material to analyze, discuss or examine, doing something just because it has always been done, believing something because it is what everyone else tends to believe, or arguing about something when there are no facts to back up the argument.Critical Thinking QualitiesThere are certain qualities critical thinkers possess and these characteristics tend to categorize individuals as “deep thinkers,” which separates them from more typical “basic thinkers.” Critical thinkers tend to be self-disciplined, self-directed, self-monitored and self-corrective thinkers. They raise essential or crucial questions and problems and then proceed to formulate them clearly and precisely. Critical thinkers gather, assemble, evaluate and appraise relevant information. They come to well-reasoned deductions, conclusions and solutions, while measuring and testing them against relevant standards and criteria. They also keep an open mind within alternative systems of thought while continually recognizing and assessing their assumptions and lines of reasoning. Finally, critical thinkers communicate effectively with others in seeking out and determining solutions for challenges and problems.There tends to be six developmental thinking phases that lead to “mastering” the art of critical thinking. Through extensive practice and applications of the process, individuals can expect to begin altering and eventually changing their individual habits of thought. Each progressive phase is described below.Phase One: The Unenlightened Thinker – individuals generally are not consciously aware that significant problems do exist within their current patterns of thinking.Phase Two: The Confronted Thinker – individuals are aware that existing problems are evident or apparent within their process of thinking.Phase Three: The Novice Thinker – individuals try to initiate improvements within their thinking, but without relying on regular or consistent practice.Phase Four: The Proactive Thinker – individuals do recognize the importance of regular practice to improve and enhance their thinking.Phase Five: The Developed Thinker – individuals begin to advance in accordance with the amount of practice that is awarded to the process.Phase Six: The Mastery Thinker – individuals become skilled and insightful, where reflective, analytical and evaluative thinking becomes second nature.Individuals can only develop through these phases if they accept the fact that there are serious problems with their current processes and methods of thinking, and are able to accept the challenge that their thinking presents to them and make it a point to begin regular practice to improve and enhance the components and elements of critical thinking.Critical Thinking Relies Upon Clarity of PurposeIn order to develop critical thinking, it is important for individuals to be clear as to the purpose of the task or topic at hand, and the main question that is at issue in regard to it. To accomplish this goal, it is essential to: strive to be clear, accurate, precise and relevant, practice thinking beneath the surface, be logical and fair-minded, apply critical thinking skills to all reading, writing, speaking and listening activities, and apply these skills to all aspects of work as well as life in general.Questioning: The Impetus for Critical ThinkingDead questions reflect dead minds. Unfortunately, most individuals, (even managers, leaders and trainers) tend not to ask many thought-stimulating types of questions. They tend to stick to dead questions like, “Is this going to be what is expected from now on?” or, “How are we supposed to understand (or do) this?” and other questions that outwardly imply the desire not to think.Some managers, leaders, trainers or facilitators in turn are not themselves generators of in-depth questions and answers of their own making, which aids in establishing non-critical thinking environments. These individuals are not seriously engaged in thinking through or rethinking through their own initiatives, issues, concerns, topics or instructional concepts and resort to being mere purveyors of the “questions and answers of others.” They often end up initiating or responding to some initial concerns or issues that tend to surface spontaneously during a discussion or meeting, without having personal background information that would otherwise help stimulate deeper levels of creative probing and evaluative questioning. Sometimes they tend to apply second-hand information, knowledge or questions that have been passed down, which limits creative assessments and deeper level questioning. Often they find themselves referencing authors or others who are considered to be experts or leaders in their field rather than questioning important workplace-related issues, ideas, methods or concerns that need to be probed in-depth.Questioning Through Critical Thinking Keeps the Organization AliveEvery company stays alive only to the extent that fresh questions are generated and taken seriously. These questions are then used as the driving force for generating and implementing changes. To think through or rethink anything, individuals within an organization must ask questions that stimulate deeper levels of thought. Questions define tasks, express problems and identify issues. While answers on the other hand, often signal a full stop in thought. Only when answers generate further questions does thought continue to add value in terms of personal as well as organizational growth and change.It is important to remember that individuals within an organization, who generate and ask serious and insightful questions, are the ones who are, in fact, truly thinking, developing and learning. It is possible to move an organization forward by just asking employees to list all of the questions that they have about an issue, method or topic, including all questions generated by their first list of questions. However, deep questions drive out thoughts that rest underneath the surface of things and force individuals to deal with complexity. While questions of purpose force individuals to define “their task,” questions of information force individuals to look at their source(s) of information as well as its quality.Excerpt: Developing Critical Thinking Skills: The Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Seriesby Timothy Bednarz (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011).

Wedding Entertainment on a Budget

If like most brides you are trying to plan your wedding on a budget, you be stuck trying to plan top notch entertainers at a low cost. You do not have to settle for below par entertainers just because you have limited funds. Try these tips to get wonderful professional wedding entertainment at a reasonable price.First, shop around. Ask family, friends and friends of friends for recommendations, then spend time comparison shopping. Take a hard look at what each vendor is offering for the price. While one might come in with a lower initial bid, another’s higher price may include more free extras that you really want. Don’t be afraid to ask a wedding entertainment vendor you really want to match the price of another bid you’ve gotten from someone else for comparable services.Tell your entertainers of choice what your budget is up front. While they might not be able to give you full service at that price, they may be able to offer you other options such as a shorter performance time or fewer performers. Have the same small band play at both your ceremony and reception – paying for extra hours is often less expensive than hiring a second band, and two of the performers can provide lovely acoustic music during your vows. Remember that everything is negotiable, so don’t be afraid to discuss the points of the contract that are unnecessary for your event but affect the cost.Figure out your budget priorities. You can really wow your guests with a short but spectacular performance by a magician or fire eater, and find the money by providing music from a playlist you created on your iPod rather than hiring an expensive band or DJ. If you absolutely cannot live without the most popular (and expensive) wedding band in town but your budget is already stretched tight, find the money in other parts of your budget by switching to less expensive, in-season flowers or serving chicken instead of prime rib.Save money by combining wedding entertainment with favors. Hire a caricature artist to draw your guests, or provide a photo booth with funny props. Guests get to bring their new portraits home as a remembrance of your special day.Have a bunch of friends who love to perform? Rent a karaoke machine and let your guests provide the music! Fill in music with an iPod playlist made especially for your celebration. Use the money you saved by not hiring a band or DJ on something like a spectacular fireworks display or a juggling team – something that will really wow your guests.Always remember to check with your facility to make sure they have all the necessary requirements for your wedding entertainment, such as fire permits and audio equipment, before signing on the dotted line. Having to provide these yourself can quickly break your budget. In addition, make sure all your vendors have liability insurance. If they don’t and the worst happens, you will be on the hook for any costs incurred. Of course, all of these things should be included in your wedding entertainers contract, which should be signed before any money changed hands.

Make Money Online – Failed?

I was analyzing why people trying to make money online fail. Where do they go wrong in their venture of making money online?First of all what misleads most of the people is the BIG myth that “it is easy to make money online. You can do it overnight. You can make money online with just a few clicks. You can make money online $$$$ while you sleep.”There are a lot of full time on job people who start out thinking it is an easy option that they can work at with minimal effort along with their jobs. And make money online while they SLEEP. Well success and money never come easy be it offline or online. I would add though that making money online is easier and less risk prone, less investment compared to making money offline. BUT it involves a whole lot of effort, specially when you are a beginner and there’s a learning curve ahead.A second myth that misleads people is that you can earn money online fast. So people set out, put in some effort and look forward to quick results and big bucks. But when they do not see quick results, they are demoralized /frustrated/lose faith in their ideas and online venture. It is important to note that a website does not start drawing traffic immediately – it take time for the traffic to grow or rather to be made to grow. Your ideas may not yield instant results. Some of them may not work but you need not stop experimenting if you want to make money online. Want to make money online – then learn this virtue: Patience pays.A third reason why people trying to make money online fail is information. Information is a cause in one or more of the following waysMisinformation: If you read up any of these make money online related forums you would see the most viewed/answered threads are those which talk of ‘Make money online $$$ in 15 minutes’, ‘Tried ways of earning $$$$ in a week’. People swarm to such posts and are mislead. I am not saying these forums are full of junk, there is a wealth of information out there on how to make money online. But you need to filter out misinformation , you need understand that there are no shortcuts to making money online.Overload of information: There is so much information out there on the net about how to make money online that people are bogged down, flooded with ideas. So many ideas that they never end up executing any of them consistently and with focus. They jump from idea to idea without planning a course of action and focussing on it.Can they make money online? Well, NO. You need to have focus and planning before execution.Less information – There is this other category of people who jump to execution with limited information and planning. They need to build knowledge, something that no one should ever stop building be it about making money online or any other occupation. Keep yourself updated on information, learn from people, forums, subscriptions, newsletters, books.A fourth reason why people fail to make money online is not being able to take risk, not being able to experiment. You cannot learn till you go all out experimenting and taking risks. Chances are that some of your experiments would fail but unless you experiment you would never learn what ideas work for you to make money online. And there is no one out there sitting to share the tricks of their trade with you. People may guide you about how to make money online but you need to take the risk of experimentation.Are you trying to make money online? Do you identify yourself with any of the above?
Then pull yourself up, plan your course of action than just sitting back and tracking your statistics everyday. Stick to it and have patience to see results. If you persevere you sure can make money online. Start afresh NOW! All the best!