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Bankruptcy filings are tough decisions to make, both financially and emotionally. Most of us are too proud to admit we can't pay our debts, and we're also unsure of the long-term effects on our credit and our lives. And most of us will be eager to return to our normal lives as soon as possible after filing bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help relieve your debt burden now, but how long will that bankruptcy filing hamper your ability to buy a home in the future? Here's a look.

If you're coupling your latest tax filing with a little spring cleaning, you may be tempted to put the whole year behind you and toss everything. After all, your return is filed and you don't need all these receipts and forms cluttering your home or office for another 365 days, right?

Well, as nice as it would be to ditch it all and rely on electronic records, there may be some hard copy documents you'll want to keep around, just in case. Here are some of the documents you'll want to save for tax and financial reasons.

For many people, handling money is a breeze. They work, earn money, live within their means, and die a humble death. For others, money is the eternal, literally existential, problem. When people go so far into debt that the light at the end of the tunnel is actually a freight train barreling towards them, threatening financial ruin, bankruptcy might be a viable alternative to financial destitution.

Bankruptcy is the process by which a person throws up their hands and says: “Court, please save me from these creditors.” Depending on the type of assets a person holds and their level of income, there are different forms of bankruptcy that may be available.

Safe deposit boxes can provide individuals with confidence that important documents and valuable or prized possessions will be kept safe from loss, accidental destruction, and theft. However, courts do have the authority to issue an order requiring a bank to freeze, or open, a person’s safe deposit box.

When it comes to collecting delinquent unpaid taxes, the IRS has quite a bit of leeway, but cannot act to seize assets without court approval, or other particular circumstances being met. In addition to freezing accounts, levying accounts, garnishing wages, and seizing assets, the IRS can get a court order to freeze and seize or force a sale of the contents of a safe deposit box to satisfy a tax debt or penalty.

In response to the 2007-2008 financial crisis, the Obama Administration passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, aimed at regulating big banks, making their operations more transparent, and keeping them from becoming "too big to fail." Republicans at the time opposed the bill, so it's no surprise that Dodd-Frank has become one of the many financial regulations on President Donald Trump's chopping block.

So what does the Dodd-Frank Act do right now, and what would it mean for consumers if its protections are rolled back?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has filed a federal lawsuit against one of the largest private and federal student loan servicing company, Navient Corp. The lawsuit alleges Navient of "systemically and illegally failing borrowers at every stage of repayment."

Basically, they are alleged to have regularly deceived borrowers into choosing higher cost options.

Whether your aunt doesn't know what size sweater you wear or has no idea that you wouldn't be caught dead in that sweater, your holiday gifts this year might not have been perfect. But a lack of perfection shouldn't be a problem -- you can always return or exchange the gift, right?

Not so fast, my unfulfilled friends. Absent a clear warranty or exchange policy, returning gifts to a store may not be as easy as you think. Here's what you need to know (and do) if a store won't take back a gift.

As you and your spouse worked for most of your lives, contributions to Social Security were automatically deducted from your paychecks. But the benefits that you're due to receive now that you're done working aren't quite so automatic.

You may have some choices to make when it comes to receiving Social Security benefits as a married couple, and certain decisions could be the difference between maximizing those benefits and leaving money on the table.

Financial experts will all say that planning for retirement should start as early as possible. Starting the process may be difficult for many 20 somethings who don't have a clue where to start. Dedicating a set percentage of your monthly income to savings is not appealing to anyone, let alone younger people just entering the workforce; but the benefits of consistently doing so are exponential.

If you're struggling to get started, below you'll find 3 essential tips to help you start planning for retirement.

When a person defaults on a loan, they may lose their home and have their credit rating ruined. But the effects of the default may not be limited to just that person -- enough loan defaults can be felt across an entire city.

That's what the city of Miami is claiming in a lawsuit filed against Wells Fargo and Bank of America, trying to hold the lenders liable when irresponsible loans cause broader economic damage. The suit was initially dismissed by a trial court, but now the Supreme Court will review whether Miami can sue for discrimination, on the basis that predatory lending has harmed the city as a whole.