Should Foreclosure or Filing Bankruptcy Carry a Stigma

Should facing a foreclosure on your home or having to file for bankruptcy protection cause you to have to carry a stigma in our society? This question was recently raised on a bankruptcy forum website.

English: A sign advertising foreclosure rescue...

Is this a sign of the times? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One debtor blogged, “I overheard a conversation the other day where a woman was discussing all the details about her recent foreclosure. I have had several friends foreclose, and they will openly discuss what happened. I also have several friends who filed bankruptcy and no one really talks about it. What gives? Why is a foreclosure less stigma than a bankruptcy? I never hear chatter about “oh a foreclosure might keep you from getting a job” like people say about a bankruptcy.”

One blogger responded to these questions with, “IF I stop paying my mortgage and am foreclosed on, I have left the mortgage holder the property, which was our deal all along, and they still have the option of going after me if there still is something owing. They are protected. On the other hand, IF I file bankruptcy on my unsecured loans, I leave the loan holders only the memory of me and what they paid on my behalf, based on their belief I would pay them back. So it’s less fair to the creditors than foreclosure…If I HAD to talk about one or the other, I would talk about the foreclosure and not the bankruptcy. The reason for me is I would not feel good about having left someone with nothing. In filing bankruptcy, everyone pays according to their means, and the court said I didn’t have means. But still, I am not going to talk about it to people who wouldn’t relate to financial hardship.”

These questions raised about foreclosure and filing bankruptcy are viable questions. The point made by the blogger answering the questions is a viable point. Nevertheless, there need not be any stigma in today’s American society for either having to walk away from your home or filing for bankruptcy protection.

Both foreclosure and filing bankruptcy are business decisions, plain and simple. You have heard the old adage, “buyer beware.” Let me add an additional saying that has been a long time coming in this culture- “Seller Beware!”

Business decisions are two way streets. Because big businesses have more financial resources to financially protect themselves than what the average American citizen has, communities, state, and federal laws are made by our society to help level the playing field for doing commerce.

A stigma is something defined by the Merriam Webster online dictionary as a mark of shame or discredit; or an identifying mark or characteristic. Identifying such can only be accomplished by someone willing to make a comparison between the object of the ridicule and either themselves or some ideal they may hold as the standard. In either regard, it takes a superior judgment to make a true discernment of such notoriety. I contend that mankind does not have the capability to singly make such accurate judgments.

In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was plagued by businesses taking advantage of its citizenry. God sent one Prophet after another to speak out against the sins of their actions.

I say this to illustrate that the problem of big business and financial problems with the average citizen is nothing really new. Financial problems are as old as man, and judgmental man has always tried to stigmatize the average citizen in order to control them.

Going into the foreclosure process or having to file for bankruptcy protection should not be stigmatized in today’s world. Both creditors and debtors have a responsibility to remember financial dealings are business decisions, and they can sometime turn sour.



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