Americans learn almost from birth that it’s a good thing to buy all sorts of goods and services. Through advertising, a highly paid army of persuaders surrounds us with thousands of seductive messages each day that all say “buy, buy, buy”. Easily available credit makes living beyond one’s means easy. If for some reason, such as illness, loss of work, or just plain bad planning, our ability to pay for the goods or services we need is interrupted, fear and guilt are often our first feelings. We sometimes believe that if we fail to pay for our debts right on time that we are deadbeats. We may even feel that we’ve failed as human beings.
NONSENSE! There’s a lot more to life than an A+ credit rating, and lots of better things to feel guilty about than the failure to pay for a snowmobile or a summer vacation right on time. The fact that the American economy is based on consumer debt should not be forgotten. Nor should the fact that $50 billion has been spent nationally for bailout of poorly run financial institutions. Keeping those facts in mind, you really shouldn’t feel too guilt-ridden about the debts you’ve run up.
In fact, large creditors expect defaults and bankruptcies and treat them as a cost of doing business.
Fortunately, it has been recognized that debts can get the better of even the most conscientious among us. From Old Testament times to the present, society has discouraged debtors from falling on their swords and provided sensible ways for debt-oppressed people to start new economic lives. Today, this is done through bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy is a truly worthy part of our legal system. It helps keep families together, reduces suicide, and keeps the homeless problem from growing even larger. One of the major benefits of bankruptcy is that many creditor actions are stayed — debt collections efforts must stop and foreclosure is halted. Of course the primary benefit is the discharge of past debts that are weighing you down, giving you a fresh start and the opportunity to resume status as a productive member of society.
If you suddenly find yourself without a job, socked with huge, unexpected medical bills you can’t pay, or are simply snowed under by an impossible debt burden, bankruptcy provides a chance for a fresh start and a renewed positive outlook on life. There is immense personal relief in being relieved of the burden of working to pay for yesterday’s expense instead of living for today and planning for the future.
Although a bankruptcy filing remains on your credit record for up to ten years, many creditors disregard bankruptcy after five years. In a short time, you can probably rebuild your credit to the point that you won’t be turned down for a major credit card or loan. You may be also able to obtain a mortgage loan after a year or so. Most major creditors look for steady employment and an ability to repay. If you can establish a history of making and paying for purchases on credit since bankruptcy, you are well on your way to rebuilding your credit rating. Ways to establish credit include getting a secured credit card (line of credit is based on amount of money on deposit in savings account), taking out a loan with a relative or friend as cosigner, and setting up a payment schedule for purchase of items with a local merchant (i.e. jewelry, furniture, or appliance store).
But before you race into filing for bankruptcy, take some time to understand what bankruptcy is all about and what your alternatives are. A qualified lawyer can help you make the right decision for your particular situation. We are here to help. Contact the Law Offices of Sheryl S. Graf for a free initial consultation.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.