Every year millions of Americans file for bankruptcy. As recently as 2005, up to one in 15 households had used bankruptcy to help them climb out of debt. Bankruptcy is one of the most popular tools consumers use to repair financial damage and get a fresh start.
How Do You Know Bankruptcy is Right for You?
As common and helpful as bankruptcy is, it’s not the right option for everyone. First and foremost, you must qualify for bankruptcy. You must also be able to afford to file, and you must be in a situation in which bankruptcy will make your situation better, not worse.
The most common reasons people turn to bankruptcy to help with their financial struggles include medical expenses – accounting for more than 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies – job loss, divorce, and unexpected expenses. In most cases, bankruptcy results not from irresponsible choices, but from events in life that are unpredictable and difficult to overcome.
Signs Bankruptcy Might be the Right Choice for You
Though bankruptcy is a personal decision, and whether and when to file varies from case to cases, there are a few things that indicate you might be headed down a path toward bankruptcy.
Are you dealing with any of the following?
• Your debt continues to mount with little hope of paying it off
• You’re turning to credit cards to pay for necessities
• You’re only able to make minimum payments or no payments at all on your credit cards each month
• Most of your income is put toward credit card payments and/or mortgage payments
• You’re receiving calls from bill collectors
Though it’s possible to climb out of debt and get control of your situation without filing for bankruptcy, if you are dealing with these occurrences on an ongoing basis, chances are you’ll need to do more than just “tighten the boot straps” to repair your financial situation.
Unfortunately, too many people wait too long to file for bankruptcy and they find themselves in a more dire situation than necessary. Had they taken action earlier, bankruptcy could have been easier. Filing for bankruptcy isn’t free, and waiting until you are penniless to file can backfire. You are better off taking action at a time when you still have some control and when you are able to proceed as you choose, instead of making desperate decisions with very little room for error.
For more information on the expenses related to filing for bankruptcy, view this article from US News and World Report.
What’s the Next Step?
If you are struggling with finances, unable to save any money each month, or unable to make the monthly minimum payments on the bills you owe, it’s time to consider bankruptcy. Even if you ultimately choose not to file, you need to gather information and make an educated decision based on your circumstances. Speaking to an attorney about how bankruptcy may or may not help you is a great place to begin.