America’s sluggish economy resulted in job loss, earnings loss, and opportunity loss for many Americans. Economists tell us that the vast majority of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and when paychecks are cut or disappear altogether, many Americans turn to the bankruptcy system for help.
Bankruptcy laws were put into effect to provide financial relief for people without the financial ability to resolve their debt. The system is designed to help Americans manage or discharge their debt and move toward financial solvency. Despite the law’s intent, clients often tell me that they had been reluctant to seek the financial assistance they desperately needed, mostly because filing a bankruptcy petition triggers a slew of emotions and uncomfortable inner (and outer) story telling.
Over my years of practice, I’ve found that bankruptcy clients are typically honest, hardworking individuals who encountered unexpected financial setbacks. They have experienced job loss, medical disasters and/or divorce. I’ve spoken with clients who were defrauded out of their money and with others who invested their last dollars in businesses or financial instruments that didn’t pan out. My message to them is that “You are not your money!” Don’t let past or present financial difficulties define the person you believe you are. Instead, use the legal tools and financial education available to you to help you rebuild financial strength.
Remember that seeking bankruptcy protection is not a failure on your part. It’s a first step in removing yourself from the overwhelming burden of debt. Don’t wait to file based on your emotional beliefs about bankruptcy. If you are like many of my clients, you believe that if you keep working hard, you will eventually get out of your downward financial spiral. The problem with that thinking is that the longer you wait to file your case, the worse your situation is likely to become. Sometimes, if you wait too long, you can miss opportunities that bankruptcy can offer you. Hit the reset button on your financial life and get started moving forward today.
Finally, the biggest factor holding individuals back from seeking help is fear of the unknown. In general, the bankruptcy process can be simple and streamlined with the help of an experienced attorney. Your attorney will walk you through each step and help you feel prepared. In general, most people will never even know you filed a bankruptcy case unless you tell them.
If you have serious financial problems, and you look at the bankruptcy process with logic, rather than emotion, it will become clear that filing a case is not only a good decision, but also one that you should have made months ago.