People file for bankruptcy for a variety of reasons. It’s an important decision to make and one that should not be taken lightly. Before deciding on this financial course of action, it’s important to understand what causes someone to file for bankruptcy in the first place.
What causes someone to file bankruptcy?
Medical expenses are one of the most common causes of bankruptcy in the United States.
In recent years, medical bills caused millions of Americans to file for bankruptcy protection. The American Journal of Public Health estimates that about 50 to 60 percent of all bankruptcies are related to medical bills or illness-related job loss. https://www.apha.org/AJPH
This is particularly true for Americans who lack health insurance coverage or have inadequate coverage that doesn’t fully cover their medical costs. Even if you have health insurance, there might be deductibles and co-pays that add up quickly and can lead to serious financial difficulty if you’re unable to pay them off promptly.
Job Loss or Underemployment
Another common cause of bankruptcy is job loss or underemployment.
Many people find themselves filing for bankruptcy after being laid off from their jobs due to downsizing or other economic factors outside their control. Job loss often leads to a decrease in income which makes it difficult, if not impossible, for people to continue paying their bills on time and maintain financial stability. If this happens, filing for bankruptcy may be the only way out from under crushing debt obligations.
Similarly, an individual may file for bankruptcy if they are underemployed. This means they are working fewer hours than usual or making less money than they need to pay their bills. It might be due to circumstances beyond their control such as a weak economy or changes in the job market.
Divorce is another frequent cause of bankruptcy.
When a couple decides to end their marriage, one spouse may end up with more debt than they can handle. In some cases, a spouse enters the marriage with more debt or accumulates debt throughout the marriage. In other cases, it’s the divorce process that drives one or both spouses into crippling debt.
Filing for bankruptcy is a serious decision that should never be taken lightly. However, it might be the smartest decision when debt is affecting your everyday life.
If you’re struggling with unmanageable debt due to any of these reasons and considering filing for bankruptcy protection, it’s best to speak with an experienced legal professional. This way you can make an informed decision about how best to proceed given your unique set of circumstances. They can assess your specific situation and determine if another option might be better for you or if bankruptcy is the ideal way out of your situation.