Most people don’t like the idea of filing for bankruptcy, even when debt issues are growing and growing, causing them to lose sleep, affecting their relationships with others and threatening their mental and physical wellbeing. It is common for people in debt to think they just aren’t trying hard enough or that if they can just get that better job or get a particular debt paid off they’ll be in better shape. Meanwhile, past due balances and high interest rates, penalties and fees continue to grow and grow and cause the problem to get worse and worse.
It’s often difficult for people to see that it’s time to file for bankruptcy. People in debt may think of filing bankruptcy as giving up (which is simply not true) or think it’s not bad enough to consider bankruptcy just yet. Often they may be afraid of losing important assets like their home or car which is almost always not true. Often people take advice from family and friends and search the internet for answers and get more and more confused. However, when bankruptcy is in order it’s important to get it done before the situation gets worse. Below is a list of indicators that strongly suggest that bankruptcy should be considered as an option and a consultation with a Massachusetts bankruptcy lawyer may be beneficial.
Indicators that it may be time to file for personal bankruptcy
Financial problems are like an illness or a disease. The more symptoms a debtor suffers the greater likelihood that filing for bankruptcy is in order. It is really no different than going to a doctor when your symptoms start becoming more and more serious. Most individuals and families who can benefit from filing for bankruptcy experience several of the following:
- The financial hardship keeps getting worse and worse — interest rates and penalty fees and other factors exceed the payments you make and cause your debt load to increase in month rather than decrease
- Can’t afford payments that will pay off debt within three years (36 months) — if payments are too low, interest rates and penalty fees can keep a debt going on forever so a debtor can’t get out from under it; debtors should be sure to include future interest when calculating how much it will take to pay a debt off in three years
- Borrowing to make debt payments — this is like trying to put out a fire by throwing gasoline on it, yet many debtors resort to this just to get aggressive creditors to go away even if it’s just temporarily
- Can’t afford to pay minimum payments on all credit cards, loans and other debts — sometimes it’s not the size of any one debt or the size of the required payment for a single debt but rather the impact of many debts piled together; failure of a debtor to make minimum payments on all his/her debts will cause penalty fees and interest to accrue until the debt load is out of control. Paying on some debts while ignoring others is a strong sign that bankruptcy might be an option
- Paying debts with retirement funds — the closer a person is to retirement the worse of an idea this is, yet seniors, who can least afford to jeopardize their retirement income, are those most likely to do so to avoid bankruptcy because of the stigma this generation traditionally puts on bankruptcy. Retirement money is protected in bankruptcy for a good reason which is that you will need it someday. Using retirement funds usually on puts a Band-Aid on the situation and only provides temporary relief. The stigma of bankruptcy is all but gone. No one will really know that you filed unless you tell them
- Others will suffer if situation continues — the more dependants a debtor must provide for, the less they can afford to make payments to credit cards and other unsecured debts rather than save money for emergencies or pay for health insurance; if any single symptom can indicate a need for bankruptcy, this one is it, yet trying to continue making those payments could result in foreclosure or eviction and everyone ends up without a home. When you feel as if you are one financial problem away from disaster you should consider a free consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer
- Creditor collection calls threaten employment — if a creditor calls to garnish wages for a judgment and upsets your employer, the debtor may be in jeopardy of losing his/her job, which will make it impossible to keep up with any of their debts. It is common for employers to get nervous about your employment at their company if you start receiving collection calls at work. Your employer could look to the person with financial trouble if money or property is missing
- Other options are not available, practical or helpful — insufficient income, poor credit scores and other factors put options like debt settlement programs, consolidation loans, negotiating with creditors, loan modification, lifestyle changes, or gifts from relatives out of reach, but they should be considered before filing for bankruptcy. People in debt can only cut back so much. When a person in debt starts buying less food and having insufficient insurance on their vehicles to save money it is an indicator that bankruptcy may be an option.
- Upside down on their home with a second mortgage and/or equity line of credit — many debts secured by real property will survive a foreclosure and the debtor will still owe any remaining balance after the property is sold and proceeds subtracted from the balance; bankruptcy, however, can completely discharge these debts
The Next Step Is To Call A Bankruptcy Attorney For A Free
Anyone who suffers any of the above symptoms, or a combination of 2 or more, should strongly consider filing for bankruptcy. The next step is to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can help the debtor confirm that bankruptcy is the best solution. If it is, the attorney will file the case in court and notify creditors, which will put a stop to all collection efforts until the bankruptcy process is complete or the bankruptcy court lifts the stay.
In Massachusetts, bankruptcy and debt solutions attorneys Robert Simonian and Anthony Bucacci can assist in identifying the best options and solutions for your situation and put a plan into action that will resolve your debt issues and get you back on your feet. Call our office at 508-673-9500 to schedule a free consultation today or visit us at www.massbklaw.com