While many people think of bankruptcy in a negative way, it can often be the change needed to turn your life around. Some people who have been through bankruptcy share their experiences below.
Have you ever found yourself trying to figure out how to accomplish something without any resources to accomplish the task? For me, that task was paying on a massive amount of debt - not only debt that I incurred myself, but also my father’s debt that was passed down to me. Keep in mind that I was in my early twenties starting with a family of my own. This is how filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy has impacted me and my family. But first, I have to give you a quick tour of how I got into the situation.
My father was in his seventies when he was diagnosed with dementia and was unable to take care of himself. I had no other family to take care of my father, and I was an only child; so it was up to me to accomplish providing care for him. In addition, I had just started a new job that was very taxing on my time and made care for my father even more difficult. To add to it even more, I was also living with my wife in another town, adding a one hour commute to see my father. Then came the day he started having falling accidents which made it necessary for him to be in a nursing home. This required that all of his assets be sold and all proceeds went to my father’s care. His house did not sell, and my father’s money was used to pay the $5,500 per month charge for care. With my back against the wall, I had no other choice but to talk with an attorney regarding bankruptcy options.
Once we had everything laid out to determine the best route, the lawyer recommended chapter 7 due to the amount and the house foreclosure. Until then, I would have never understood the relief I felt after the decision was made and the bankruptcy process started. I was able to breathe and start my life over. Granted, my credit took a massive hit, but my sanity and family was much better off. From here, I was able to get back on my feet and finally accomplish moving forward in my life; I finished my education and kept my career intact due to the efforts of my attorney. I thought I would have felt shame, but instead I felt forgiveness. This option comes with consequences, but it was better than losing everything.
What I can say about bankruptcy is that it should never be taken lightly. It should be a tool that, based on your situation, gives a second chance like in my case. It did prevent me from making some financial decisions right away, but it provided a clear path to eventually get there. Overall, the process made me a better person.
When we filed bankruptcy, our financial situation was was tough. We had massive student loan debts, and we had run up a large amount of credit card debt trying to pay for everything we didn’t actually have money to buy. My husband owned his own company and was working hard, but the money just wasn’t coming in the way we needed. I was a stay at home mom with two children under 3. I tried to go back to work, but it was difficult to find a job that paid enough to cover the cost of daycare for two little ones and still have money to pay other bills. I remember going grocery shopping and having to choose certain things over others because money was so tight. When a child got sick, I not only worried about their wellbeing, but also about how I was going to pay for doctor’s visits or medications they needed. I received constant calls from my credit card companies wanting payments, each of them making my anxiety a little worse. I got to where I dreaded to hear the phone ring. Most of my conversations with my husband were about my worrying about our financial situation, which just added more stress to him.
When my husband suggested bankruptcy, I didn’t want to hear it. I felt like it was admitting defeat, and that we would never recover from something like that. I had never heard anything good about bankruptcy. But I felt we had nowhere else to turn, so I finally agreed to meet with an attorney.
As soon as we filed bankruptcy, all of the phone calls from the credit card companies stopped. We were set up on a payment plan where we were able to make one monthly payment to all of our creditors, leaving us with enough money to create a budget and start buying the things we needed again. And with our plan we were able to keep our house and car, too. Our credit scores took a hit, but we learned to live off of the money we had and not use credit. Bankruptcy gave us room to breathe and get back on our feet, and it helped us learn how to better budget our money.
Now that our bankruptcy is over, we have been able to build up a savings account again. We also have been able to purchase a new home that better fits our family’s needs. And when emergencies come up, we don't have to worry as much because we know we can find a way to pay for them. What I thought was one of the worst times of my life is probably one of the best things that happened to me. I am thankful for the relief and time to reset that bankruptcy gave me and all of the lessons I learned along the way.
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