Filing bankruptcy is a serious financial decision. Before filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy you need to understand what it will and will not be able to do for you. Recently on our bankruptcy forum a user asked, “I am considering filing bankruptcy, but I want to know if it will really help me live a better life?”
What will bankruptcy do for me?
Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy will help certain debtors discharge certain unsecured debts such as medical bills, credit card debt, and unsecured personal loans. It is not the best decision for everyone. In fact, it generally should be the last resort for resolving a financial crisis.
Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy will not discharge all unsecured debts. Whether it is right for you or will help improve your financial situation, however, will depend in large part on the type of debt you owe. If your debts are not dischargeable (i.e. child support debt, spousal support debt, recent tax debt, most school loans) then filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy might do very little for you.
What bankruptcy will not do for me?
Filing bankruptcy does not generally change the inclination or spending habits of debtors. For example, some debtors simply spend money they do not have on luxury items they should not purchase. These debtors may file bankruptcy only to find themselves in the same cycle of debt accumulation and financial crisis they were in months before their first bankruptcy filing.
Other debtors, however, have to file bankruptcy due to a one time catastrophic event (i.e. death, divorce, unexpected medical crisis) and overspending is not their general habit. These debtors might have a better life after their debts are discharged.
Whether bankruptcy will help you live a better life will depend on whether you are like debtor one or debtor two.
If you who find yourself asking questions like how many times you can file bankruptcy or how long you have to wait to file bankruptcy a second or third time, filing bankruptcy may not have taught you anything.
For instance, if you received your first bankruptcy discharge only a few months ago, returned to your uncontrolled spending and lavish lifestyle, and you owe thousands of dollars in credit card bills, it’s clear filing bankruptcy has not given you a better life. Instead, your behaviors are costing others money, and your irresponsibility is now borne by millions of other Americans, many of whom are trying to do the right thing and live within their means.
What should I do?
Before making any type of financial decision it is a good idea to assess your financial situation. How much debt do you have? How much income do you have? Do you know the amount of your fixed expenses? Are their variable expenses you can cut each month? Can you do this on your own? What are your financial options? After you understand your problem you can develop a solution.
Bottom Line: Bankruptcy and a Better Life
Bankruptcy can be a great way for some debtors to get a fresh financial start and create a better life, one desperately needed after a financial crisis. Other debtors frivolously live on the sweat and hard work of other Americans. This is irresponsible and unfair. This debtor is unlikely to learn any lessons from bankruptcy, and it is unlikely to help them live a better life.
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