Attorney Eric Kornblum Speaks With Katherine On “This Needs To Be Said” About How To Stop Chasing Your Financial Tail.

Katherine:

Hello, everyone, thank you so much for joining us today on This Needs to be Said. Listen, as we talk about finances, and we interview attorneys on this show, and we bring experts in to help you with your financial woes, this is another one of those times where you need to take your pen and paper out. So, Attorney Kornblum is going to come and talk with us about how to stop chasing your financial tail. Welcome back to This Needs to be Said. How are you?

Eric Kornblumo:

I’m doing well today, thanks, how are you?

Katherine:

I’m doing great. Let’s go ahead and get into this. You were sharing with me off-air, a great analogy, and I am in an area where people, their pets are important. Like we have health insurance, we have daycare for them, and we have parks where we can go and drink beer with them. So I know that my listeners are going to want to know about what you were sharing with me: your analogy between your dog and our financial woes. Can we get into that?

Eric Kornblumo:

Oh, certainly, nothing that I love better than talking about my dog. He’s a four-legged family member. And I find that a lot of things-

Katherine:

What’s his name?

Eric Kornblumo:

His name is Loki, which you have the name of the god of mischief. And he has a

Katherine:

Oh, is he mischief?

Eric Kornblumo:

He has his moments.

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Katherine:

Okay.

Eric Kornblumo:

He’s a good boy. But he has his moments that he gets us scratching our head. But, I find that, I guess maybe because I’m just so wrapped up in what I do, helping people out of their financial things, I’ll see some of his behaviors, and I make analogies to what I see a lot of my clients do. And one of those is, sometimes, in the morning, he wakes up and he has to go out and do his business. But if it’s raining, he will sit there, and stammer, and move his feet around, snuff at the weather, but he won’t go out. And I kind of try to push him out. And so even though he needs to do something that will benefit him, it’s uncomfortable, because it’s wet, or raining, or a little too cold. And he’d rather just sit and be … He’ll stay and be miserable until he finally just can’t hold anymore and he has to go outside.
So I find that a lot of people with their financial problems, they’re not going to talk to anybody, they’re not going to seek relief until the house is burning down, in a literal sense. Or their creditors are calling, or dragging them to court. And when it gets really bad, that’s when people end up taking action.
And I find another thing that Loki does, is he will get … We call them the zoomies, He’ll, just all of the sudden, out of nowhere, just start running around like a maniac throughout the house, outside. And then he’ll just stand and run around in circles, chasing his tail, if you will. I think maybe it’s fun for him, and hey, I wish I had half that energy, but I see that my clients, many times, before they come and come to me for advice and become clients, they’ve done similar things. Not running around the house, or, maybe they have. But their actions-

Katherine:

In a sense.

Eric Kornblumo:

… are, have them running in circles, if you will. And while they’re spending a lot of energy, they’re spending a lot of money but not really getting any benefits or positive results from it.

Katherine:

Ouch.

Eric Kornblumo:

And it … And, yeah, and the thing is, they mean well. They want to pay their bills back. And there’s so many, there’s so many people that are willing, or companies that are willing to help people empty their wallets if you will. There are some dead management programs, or they call them credit counseling programs, and maybe they help some people, and maybe they mean well, because they say, “We’ll negotiate with your creditors, and lower the interest rates, and do things to help you get back on track.” But what ends up happening is, even if the interest rate is lower, and if they’re working with this company, many times the payments that they have to make still are not affordable. Whether the interest rate is 21% or 14%, their monthly payments are still really capping them. Maybe they’ll have a couple of months more.

Katherine:

I have to interrupt you for a second. Because you-

Eric Kornblumo:

Yeah.

Katherine:

… you said, and I agree, people want to pay their obligations, but somehow, they’re not able to. And I’m listening to what you’re saying, and I believe that these people believe they’re doing the right thing, so why isn’t it working? So I needed to jump in, and ask you that question, because their intentions are good. They’re trying to honor their agreement. They may have to modify it, but they’re trying, and they’re supposedly going in the right direction, why doesn’t it work?

Eric Kornblumo:

Well, it doesn’t work because sometimes they just don’t have the resources. If people lose a job, or they get hurt, or any number of other reasons, the income just isn’t there anymore, or there’s additional expenses, maybe another child, maybe a parent has moved back into the home. An elderly parent that they’re taking care of.
So, for some reason there’s not enough funds, there, and these companies make it sound really attractive, and they’ve got their sales pitch all down, and they, before you know it, you’re already signed up and agreed, and you’ve given them your checking account information, and they’re all set to start pulling money right out of your bank account. Whether or not, you know, they haven’t really done analysis of money that comes in and money that has to go out, to see if it’s really affordable. And the thing is, I think people just say, “Oh. Well that means less money that I have to pay, but I’m still honoring my obligation.” Like you said. So they try that. They will try consolidation loans.

Katherine:

Yeah, I’ve tried that.

Eric Kornblumo:

And, so again, with the thought being they’re not paying as many creditors, but in essence, they’re still paying the same amount of debt. Maybe at a lower interest rate, but again, we look at it, okay, it’s not enforceable. Or, they pay off these other debts, but they still have some credit cards. And they find that, well, the water heater breaks. Or, they need tires for the car. Or other-

Katherine:

Anything. Yeah.

Eric Kornblumo:

… will happen, and those credit cards are still there, and before you know it, those get racked up again, just by normal life events.
And so now they have the credit card obligations they have to pay, and that consolidation loan. And I find that it’s, something that just keeps people in misery or keeps them on that treadmill. And they’re running, and running, but really not getting anywhere. Or, like Loki, they’re running around in circles, and not … just maybe wearing a hole in the carpeting, or in their wallets.
I just met with a gentleman a few days ago, and he was telling me what he does, is he plays catch up. And it’s, again, another form of running in circles, where, he’ll get his income tax refund, which is, essentially, a loan that he’s made to the government for a year. But he takes his income tax refund, and he pays, he gets caught up on a car payment, or his insurance, or some other things that he didn’t have the ability to pay during the year, because he was paying the credit card debt, or paying a car loan, or paying some other things. And so, he finally gets this chunk of money, he pays some other things. But, then, other debts are being sacrificed, or are not being paid.
So it’s a constant pay this, because that’s the hot item, and I’ll let a couple things go, and then next month, I’ll pay those. So again, it’s just, my heart goes out to these people, because they’re really trying their hardest, but they’re just not able to get on track. And we need to put in some type of intervention.

Katherine:

Wow. It’s very painful, it is very painful to admit that you need help when you have trouble asking for help, and it seems that a lot of people have this problem, because you’re there, and there’s a need for you to have to be here sharing and educating us on how to get ourselves out of those situations. So I was thinking of, you’re talking about Loki wanting to wait until the last moment. I don’t want to go in the cold, and I don’t want to go, but that misery has to outweigh the misery I’m … The misery I have inside has to outweigh the misery of going outside, is what it sounds like. So it’s like two unpleasant options, because, you know, we earn money, and when we look at our bills, our obligations, things that supplies our expenses, we don’t want to have to spend all of that money. And it is frustrating to spend everything on all that you have to do, and not what you get to do.
So it’s overwhelming to the mind. It’s defeating as an adult to think you couldn’t solve this problem. But that only comes from, in my opinion, not knowing when to ask for help. My three year old grandson, he’ll try something, and he doesn’t say, “I can’t.” I haven’t heard him say that, and I love that. I’ve heard other kids say, “I can’t do it. I can’t.” But he doesn’t. He’ll try it, but then he’ll look up and say, “Can you help me?” And instantly, we want to support that. “What do you need us to help you to do?” And if it’s something you could do, maybe we make adjustments, maybe he needs help tying his shoe, or putting on his shirt, you know what I mean?

Eric Kornblumo:

Exactly.

Katherine:

But, he knew to ask for help. And what I’m hearing you say, and Loki may be having a great time, I’m imagining him chasing his tail, and jumping up and down, and it looks fun. And to the human, we may be chasing our tail, and we feel like we’re being productive. I made this plan. That makes sense. You make a plan, you set up a strategy. You call the debt consolidator, or whoever has presented themselves as your solution. Because bankruptcy is supposed to be a bad word. But it’s not. It’s about resetting yourself. And what I’ve learned, every time you all have come on this show to speak with me, and my This Needs to be Said audience, to teach us, is that you really mean you want to help.
You want to listen to the individual person’s situation, and you will let them know if you can help them, meaning that you’re not going to just take them for a ride. Because everything you were sharing with us today has proven to be unproductive, because people end up coming to someone like you after doing all of those things. Am I making sense? I didn’t want to go on a rant, but so much came up as you were talking. And I wanted to make sure I shared that I’m getting this, and I want to make sure I’m on the right track.

Eric Kornblumo:

Oh, without question. And you know, I’ve been doing this well over 25 years. And I see so many … I can almost finish people’s sentences, because I’ve-

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Katherine:

Wow.

Eric Kornblumo:

seen these situations before. And what I look to do is provide people with options and education. Because information is so powerful, and most people don’t have the information, or information that’s out there is out of context or may be old and incorrect. So I like to be able to sit down and talk to people, and find out what’s going on, and present them with different options. And many times, it’s a … maybe it will be filing a form of bankruptcy. And I can dispel the myths that exist, or the fears that people have about bankruptcy, and explain that it’s not a bad word, it’s not a new concept, and there is a good, fulfilling life after bankruptcy. You know, so many of my clients-

Katherine:

You only know … You won’t know until you do this. And-

Eric Kornblumo:

Right.

Katherine:

I’m still thinking of Loki. And he doesn’t want to go out in the cold, doesn’t want to go in the rain, and his bladder is, you know, he’s got to go. And he’s willing to … And we do it, too. I think about it. I’m watching something on television, or I’m talking with a friend, and I begin to wiggle around, I don’t want to leave the conversation. You know?

Eric Kornblumo:

Yep.

Katherine:

Just whatever it is that holds us in that place of misery versus misery. Because we don’t know enough to say, “That is not what I planned.” Because that’s more of what it is. It wasn’t my idea, it wasn’t my plan, isn’t the way I want to tell my people that I’ve overcome my problem, you know?

Eric Kornblumo:

Yeah. Yeah.

Katherine:

We want to do it ourselves too much. Go ahead.

Eric Kornblumo:

So with Loki, what we’ll do, is sometimes my wife will take an umbrella and go outside with him. Or finally, he’ll go outside. And then he trots back in, we dry him off, and stuff, and he runs right back to the bedroom, climbs into bed, gets up by the covers. And then he does one of these sighs. It’s so funny, because he’ll sigh. He’ll be like, “I feel so much better now.”

Katherine:

He’s relieved.

Eric Kornblumo:

And you, I see, with my clients, even at the first, at the initial consultation I have with them, when we’re talking about what they’re going through, and what their options are, at the beginning of that conversation, I can see that gray cloud, figuratively hanging over their head. Or I see how stressed they are. And as we start talking about that, I explain what other clients have felt, they feel the same way, my other clients have.

Katherine:

Right.

Eric Kornblumo:

And as we go through this process, they realize that they can have money to buy shoes for their kids, or put food on the table, or take … They don’t have to work seven days a week, maybe. And they start easing up and feeling better. When we present the options, and they realize what they can do, and they’re going to be able to keep their house, or their car, or the shirt on their back, and that there will be life after bankruptcy. I see this, I see them smiling and just their whole posture, the way they’re sitting is better. And it’s almost like that, “Thank you.” They have that sigh of relief. And I’ve had people say, “Thank you, I have hope now.” Or, you know-

Katherine:

Yes.

Eric Kornblumo:

My stress is gone. And that, to me, it really strikes me, and I feel so grateful that I have the ability to help people find that relief.

Katherine:

I want to say thank you for coming on this show. Thank you for introducing Loki to us, as well. That, my face is smiling. You can’t see that over radio. But thank you for sharing that. That gives us insight. It gives us a common thing, and pet lovers, I know, can relate to what you were sharing. And then, humans can relate to having a sigh of relief and knowing I’m not the only one who is going through this stuff, you know?

Eric Kornblumo:

Right.

Katherine:

So thank you, so much. Thank you for the work that you do. Thank you for the people that you help, and the people that you’re preparing to help. Attorney Kornblum, tell people how to get in touch with you outside of This Needs to be Said.

Eric Kornblumo:

They can reach me by telephone at area code 413-568-3900. Or they can reach us on our website, debtfreema.com. So it’s D-E-B-T-F-R-E-E-M-A.com. And there’s a whole bunch of information on there, and I’m looking, I haven’t done it yet, but we’re looking to get some pictures of Loki uploaded onto the website as well.

Katherine:

Oh, do that quick. I’m looking forward to it. Thank you so much, and until next time, have a wonderful day.

Eric Kornblumo:

Thank you, you too.

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