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Bankruptcy

The idea of filing bankruptcy as been around a very long time but with a lot of changes occurring. Not so many years ago, filing bankruptcy was something embarrassing and humiliating. Unfortunately, our laws have made this procedure easier to do, easier to live with, and thus less embarrassing.

The idea is that you owe so much money that there is no way you can ever pay it all off. So you file bankruptcy. In the old days, this meant that your creditors could still take everything that you had left to try to compensate them somewhat for trusting you. The laws now protect the individual up to a point. That is, you are allowed to keep any vehicles deemed necessary to earn a pay check and you can keep your home in order to have a place to live. Then your creditors have to leave you alone. Today the law also says that this bankruptcy will be stricken from your credit files after seven years. Thus, in the future you will be able to get loans again and once more get yourself into debt.

What the law says and actually enforcing that law can be two different things. For instance, technically an old bankruptcy is to be stricken from your record. However, in actual life, any bank running a credit check on you is going to find out about that bankruptcy and will deny you credit. Yes, this is illegal, but they do not deny you credit because of the bankruptcy. They simply find some other little item that they can use as a reason. This is what actually happens no matter whether you approve of bankruptcy or not.

Now, in all fairness, we have to tell you that we do not approve of bankruptcy. You took on your debts and it is your responsibility to pay them off. Our constitution guarantees us life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It does not guarantee that it will take care of us financially for the rest of our lives nor should it. There is no debt that cannot be paid off eventually. Yes, your children may end up paying it off after you are dead, but it can still be paid off. Obviously, it is much better to work at paying it off now and staying out of debt for the rest of your life.

Keep in mind, that in the “old” days and in many countries around the world, if you do not pay your debts for any reason, you end up in prison. We did away with debtor prisons believing that a person imprisoned then had no way to work at paying off those debts. Therefore, we allow people to remain at large filing bankruptcy and then getting into even more debt. No, we are not suggesting going back to having “poor farms”, but we do feel the bankruptcy laws are actually hurting individuals more then helping them and, in the process, are hurting the financial well-being of our country which ends up effecting your family, friends, and even future generations.

Basically what this boils down to is that you need to have pride in yourself and you cannot have pride in yourself if you feel our government should be taking care of you instead of you taking care of yourself. Remember to be socially responsible about debt and be realistic about what you really need and can afford. If you need a new car, you may not be able to afford a BMW convertible, but you can afford a Chevy.

Are we the only people who feel this way? No. In studies of people who do pay their bills (even if occasionally late), the vast majority felt that our bankruptcy laws end up hurting the debtor by making it too easy to get out of what they owe. It also hurts our economy and families who do not have debt because companies have to make up that lost money from somewhere and guess who pays the bill? The rest of us. Interestingly, this same study found that the majority of Americans do feel that others who file bankruptcy should feel embarrassed by their actions. So if you decide to file for bankruptcy and feel there is nothing to be ashamed of, you are still looking at the world through rose-colored glasses just as you were when you ran up all those loans and charge card accounts.

If you are so far in debt that you cannot make your payments even after cutting costs and earning more money, you need to talk to your creditors and set up smaller payments. Most creditors will work with you on this. They really do not want to spend the time and money necessary to foreclose on your home or repossess your car. However, keep in mind that you have already promised them once that they would be paid. If you do not stick to even the reduced payments, your creditors will come after you very quickly.

Then you could end up loosing your home and everything you own including your self-respect.

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