Happy Bobby Bonilla Day!

As a New York Mets fan, I’ve had my share of disappointment. Today, and every July 1st until 2035, are reminders of that. For those who are confused, Bobby Bonilla Day started July 1, 2011, and is an annual celebration ending on July 1, 2035. Don’t be fooled, this is not a good kind of celebration. Bobby Bonilla was a six-time all-star who played for the Mets. He was traded away in 1995 but brought back in 1999. Read More

Your Bankruptcy Attorney is Not Taking Advantage of You with Fees and Here’s Why

Legal fees are always a touchy subject. Many people think that overall, lawyers charge too much and bill at absurd hourly rates. There may be some truth to that, but bankruptcy attorneys are usually the exception. Most consumer bankruptcy matters are billed at a flat fee rather than on an hourly basis. If I charged my clients on an hourly basis, my fees would likely be double that flat fee. In short, legal fees for Read More

Pandemic Aid Disappearing in Some States

There’s an ongoing debate whether all of the government assistance is encouraging Americans to delay returning to work. Some argue that between the stimulus payments and federal unemployment supplements, people are no longer motivated to return to work. There may be a compelling argument there, as they may also qualify for low or no cost health insurance. The government has provided quite a bit of pandemic relief Read More

Our Brains and Spending

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article highlighting a study on how shopping with credit cards affects our brains. Conducted by MIT, the study compared brain activity when shoppers planned to pay with a credit card versus paying with cash. The results indicated that people were more willing to purchase expensive items using credit cards compared to cash and were also willing to spend more if using credit Read More

Bankruptcy Filings Down Nationwide Over 38%

For bankruptcy attorneys, it’s no secret that bankruptcy filings have dramatically decreased since the start of the pandemic. While we initially believed that it was merely a function of people not going out to see their attorneys (despite the rise of virtual meetings) or the closing of courts and therefore collections activity, the filings remained in decline. In fact, from April 1, 2020 until March 31, 2021, Read More

Speaking of High-Interest Loans

Two weeks ago we wrote about the dangers of high-interest loans. ESPN ran a story on the same topic, but from a different angle. The ESPN article focused on current and former professional football players who invested in companies that provided high-interest loans to borrowers with low incomes and poor credit. It turned out to be a terrible investment for these athletes, as the companies defaulted on their payment Read More

Be Wary of Long-Term and High-Interest Loans

A recent article caught my attention highlighting the dangers of long-term and high-interest loans. In New York State, the legal limit for interest rates before considered usury is 16%. However, there are loopholes that allow some lenders to charge what is seemingly an unethical rate of interest. Sub-prime loans typically carry a higher interest rate (although not to the level of usury), as do payday loans and title Read More

New York State Bankruptcy Exemptions Updated

In a prior post, we discussed how a New York debtor can protect property in a bankruptcy by using either New York State or federal bankruptcy exemptions. Both sets of exemptions get adjusted every three years. The adjusted New York State exemptions took effect on April 1, 2021, and any adjustments to the federal exemptions will take effect on April 1, 2022. The New York State Department of Financial Services makes Read More

If you owe taxes…

While the deadline to file your 2020 tax returns has been extended to May 17, 2021, this will be my final tax season post so I can move on to other interesting topics. This tax filing extension is certainly a benefit to all filers. Tax filers benefit because they have more time to get everything in order and make payments (if they owe taxes). Accountants also benefit from the additional time. As I mentioned in a Read More

PPP Loans and Taxation

Three weeks ago I wrote a post explaining when forgiven debt is taxable. In light of the current pandemic and three stimulus packages that have been passed, this topic deserves some additional attention. As part of two of the three stimulus packages, Congress provided funding, through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP program provides loans to small Read More