Bankruptcy

SERIES: I’ve Declared Bankruptcy – Now What? – Part Three

I’ve declared bankruptcy. Now what?”

This is a combination “statement – question” that millions of people have made over the past few years. According to the United States Courts website (HERE), 1,221,091 individuals and companies declared bankruptcy in the U.S. in 2012 alone. We’re launching this series to help people who have went through bankruptcy so they never go back and so they can prosper!

Part Three Fix the root cause.

Identifying the root cause is very important, but fixing it is even more important. Statistics indicate that nearly half of all individuals who declare bankruptcy will declare it again at some point in their life. You can ensure that this statistic is lowered by ensuring that you address the root cause and prevent it from leading to bankruptcy again.

Did a pile of medical bills incurred while you were without medical insurance send you into the financial ditch? Address the root cause (not having medical insurance) by ensuring that you never again allow medical insurance to lapse.

Did you get laid off from the job you held for years and a lack of savings sent you into a downward financial spiral? Address the root cause (not making savings a top priority) by ensuring that you save money every time you are paid money in the future. It is a bill you owe to yourself!

Maybe you entered into a business partnership based solely on trust and your partner left you holding all of the bills. Address the root cause (failing to seal a handshake agreement with a contract that clearly identifies ownership, roles, responsibilities, privileges, and liabilities) by never again entering into an agreement without a rock solid contract.

Perhaps poor spending behavior and impulsiveness finally caught up with you and left you with an overwhelming pile of debt. Address the root cause (failing to have a monthly budget that prioritized giving, saving, and investing) by submitting yourself to a financial coach who will hold you accountable to living and operating by a budget every month.

Changing behavior is rarely fun, but it is so worth it!

Read the entire series (available after 3/25/2013)

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SERIES: I’ve Declared Bankruptcy – Now What? – Part Two

I’ve declared bankruptcy. Now what?”

This is a combination “statement – question” that millions of people have made over the past few years. According to the United States Courts website (HERE), 1,221,091 individuals and companies declared bankruptcy in the U.S. in 2012 alone. We’re launching this series to help people who have went through bankruptcy so they never go back and so they can prosper!

Part Two Identify the root cause of what resulted in bankruptcy.

In your quest to move forward financially and to never again have to declare bankruptcy, it is vitally important that you conduct a detailed autopsy on what resulted in the death of your finances. What were the underlying real issues that created the financial mess? This can be a difficult process because you may have to sift through some painful memories, but this is what can help you never return to being totally broke.

The root cause is the real reason that bankruptcy occurred. If one is not really searching to fix the issue, they might say that the root cause of bankruptcy was that “they just felt overwhelmed.” Being overwhelmed is not the root cause. It is a feeling created by a deeper issue. For example, suppose this individual had purchased a new car and a new house, and then lost their job two months later. This situation certainly can create feelings of being overwhelmed, but we now have identified a contributing factor: job loss.

But the job loss is not the real root cause either! The REAL root cause is the fact that a new car and home were purchased without having any financial margin (savings) stored up “just in case of” a major negative financial event. Therefore, the real root causes of the situation are:

  1. NO SAVINGS  “Not having financial margin stored up”, and
  2. NO MONTHLY MARGIN  “Living against the edge by having all income pledged away to loans”

Do you see the process?

Here are some helpful questions to ask when determining the root cause(s):

  1. Did this happen because of one major poor financial decision or because of a series of poor ones?
  2. When did the situation become unmanageable? What made it that way?
  3. Why did you decide to declare bankruptcy?
  4. What could I have had in place that would have prevented bankruptcy from happening?

This is not about assigning blame and creating guilt. It is all about identifying the real culprit of bankruptcy so it can be addressed and prevented from ever causing bankruptcy again!

Read the entire series (available after 3/25/2013)

Read recent posts

SERIES: I’ve Declared Bankruptcy – Now What? – Part One

I’ve declared bankruptcy. Now what?”

This is a combination “statement – question” that millions of people have made over the past few years. According to the United States Courts website (HERE), 1,221,091 individuals and companies declared bankruptcy in the U.S. in 2012 alone. We’re launching this series to help people who have went through bankruptcy so they never go back and so they can prosper!

Part One If you are beating yourself up over declaring bankruptcy, STOP IT!

One of the biggest obstacles for anyone recovering from bankruptcy is overcoming guilt and embarrassment. In fact, many people never really get over these feelings. It is perfectly okay to say, “That was horrible. I’m never doing that again!” It is not okay to stay stuck. Acknowledge the very real feelings that come with the territory, and then resolve to move on. As the late great leadership expert, Zig Ziglar, would say, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life!”

Beating yourself up will tell you LIES. Here are some common examples (participate in the discussion by sharing others you’ve heard in the comments section):

  1. “I’m not smart enough to win with money.”
  2. “I hope I never get money again because I’ll just wind up broke like last time.”
  3. “My family and friends believe I’m a failure.”
  4. “The world is against me.”
  5. “I can’t trust anyone.”

These are LIES. Ignore them. They only allow you to beat yourself up some more. Stop it! (because you can do this!)

Read the entire series (available after 3/25/2013)

Read recent posts

SERIES: I’ve Declared Bankruptcy – Now What?

I’ve declared bankruptcy. Now what?”

This is a combination “statement – question” that millions of people have made over the past few years. According to the United States Courts website (HERE), 1,221,091 individuals and companies declared bankruptcy in the U.S. in 2012 alone.

Bankruptcy is an embarrassing, stressful, and humiliating process. It can make one feel like they are not just a financial failure, but a total failure as a person. That’s not true, of course. Many people have made the tough decision to declare bankruptcy (Dave Ramsey is a famous example in the world of personal finance – so grateful he shares about it openly!), and it became a catalytic moment in their life that launched them to an incredible future. This is the very reason the option to declare bankruptcy exists in the first place: to help people recover from extremely difficult financial decisions.

Because bankruptcy affects people so deeply, over a series of posts I’m going to help answer the question: “Now what?” The reason this matters so much to me is because a large percentage of people who declare bankruptcy once are likely to file again! In fact, 28% of the people who filed for bankruptcy in 2011 were “repeat filers.” It is my goal through this series to help bankruptcy filers become adept financial leaders and managers so that they can prosper and never be broke again!

To open this series, here are a few facts about the most common types of bankruptcy one can declare:

  1. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy  Liquidation of one’s assets (minus exempt items)
  2. Chapter 9 Bankruptcy  Municipality bankruptcy
  3. Chapter 11 Bankruptcy  Reorganization under the bankruptcy code
  4. Chapter 12 Bankruptcy  Family farmer or fisherman bankruptcy
  5. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy  Individual debt adjustment

And here are some interesting facts about bankruptcy:

  1. You can’t erase student loans by filing bankruptcy  This is true in almost all cases.
  2. You can’t erase taxes owed by filing bankruptcy  This is true in almost all cases.
  3. You can’t erase child support or alimony obligations by filing bankruptcy  This is true in almost all cases.
  4. More than HALF of bankruptcies are due to medical bills  The failure of our own bodies causes a financial collapse. Awful!
  5. Filings for bankruptcy have dropped substantially over the past few years (more than 10% each year)  Has the economic recession gotten our attention and made us better money managers?

I look forward to this series. Please share your stories and comments as it will help thousands of people who are in this process right now!

Read the entire series (available after 3/25/2013)

The I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. Group Study Kit costs only $20 and can help you avoid bankruptcy and position you to prosper! Check it out HERE.