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    If you are considering bankruptcy

    I have been thinking about this since we hit our half way point of Chapter 13 and since I have realized how many people I know or know of have gone through a bankruptcy. It's something we do not talk about, it has a terrible stigma. The emotional/psychological part was the most difficult aspect for me to accept BK and then to deal with life after BK.

    I want to say if you are in the final situation where BK is what has to happen do it SOONER rather than later.
    I was 53 and my husband was 60 when we finally filed. We should have done it at least two years sooner and probably really should have considered and done it maybe 3-5 yrs before that. We struggled so much with finances some through circumstance and some by the way we handled it. We went a long time using credit cards and paying the minimum payment only to keep charging more. It got to the point of being a viscous circle. The whole process started at least 20 yrs before we filed when we had financial debt growing and we'd chip away at it, but then would have an event happen and we'd be back in debt again.

    Time goes by, file when you are younger (even 5 yrs can make a difference) you can learn from your mistakes instead of making the same mistake over. Even though we THOUGHT we were getting rid of debt and twice we were almost at our goal, but life happens whether it's getting a huge pay cut or having another unforeseen circumstance.

    I just saw a couple who are age 56-57 sell their home and buy a nicer one, nicer neighborhood. They went through BK 13. She made a comment once that kind of slipped out about BK and then covered it up. I didn't ask her anything because I could tell she didn't want to talk about it. We had already seen one attorney and then put off and procrastinated longer because he was not a good one. I later looked them up on PACER. I felt bad for snooping, but I really did it for myself and to see that YES other people have dealt with this and don't talk about. I don't have contact with these people now since they are the family of my child's ex fiance.

    They had their BK13 finished a good year before we started ours. Time can make a difference not only to get a restart and out of that cycle, but for your standard of living. My husband will be about 1 1/2 yrs from full retirement age when we get out of the Chapter 13 so our take home income will go down. He's not prepared to retired, but he is going to do it and at least has a pension. I do not have any retirement saved up except for old 401K that only has about 100K and then social security. He will probably work a small paying part time job when he retires not only for the money, but to stay active.

    I am not dwelling on the situation because what's done is done. But for anyone in the situation where you are trying to avoid BK because of the stigma, because it's not what any of us what to do. It is unpleasant. BK 13 it's really hard to budget and to live on the cash only budget and it's hard if you have a college student, disabled child or older parents who the courts think can fend for themselves. For those who pay back less than 100% you have to worry about any financial windfalls and paying the trustee instead of making needed/necessary home repairs. Those of us paying back 100% worry about the tight budget and not making needed repairs or worrying about an appliance breaking down and not to mention worrying about what would happen if our income drops.

    All those worries aside it is so much LESS stressful than when we had the debt taking over our lives. This is a better stress with a light at the end of the tunnel. Don't procrastinate. Once you get that feeling that there's no way to conquer the debt and in your gut you realize that BK might be an option don't deny it, but see attorneys and get informed so you can stop the cycle and the stress and get on with living life the way it should be!

    #2
    Carmella - thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experience. As someone who has been through it and also avoided doing it for years due to the perceived stigma, I totally relate and agree with the things you’ve said. For anyone thinking about it or waffling on a decision, this a great perspective to read. Carmella I’m happy you’re half way to the end of this journey.
    Filed Chapter 13 - 07/20/12
    Discharged 8/2/16

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks Carmella, your words cover a lot of ground and very much resonate with me and my situation, not only financial but age/retirement related as well. When I filed in 2015 my wife and I were separated and she was a gnat's whisker away from filing for divorce (by that I mean, she was literally at her attorney's office with the paperwork already drawn up and the pen in her hand); I was almost 58 at the time and had a whopping $25,000 in my 401K and maybe $1,000 left in my IRA. Had I/we filed sooner the bet is we'd have preserved much of our 401Ks and IRAs, but also avoided the separation (which was mostly driven by the financial stress).

      So, with the above in mind, I'd like to reiterate your words for all readers of this thread:
      Originally posted by Carmella View Post
      All those worries aside it is so much LESS stressful than when we had the debt taking over our lives. This is a better stress with a light at the end of the tunnel. Don't procrastinate. Once you get that feeling that there's no way to conquer the debt and in your gut you realize that BK might be an option don't deny it, but see attorneys and get informed so you can stop the cycle and the stress and get on with living life the way it should be!
      Latent car nut.

      Comment


        #4
        Thank you so much for posting this! We are 33 and 34 filing for chapter 13. Our kids are 4 and 1. We probably should’ve filed sooner, but we wouldn’t have our house, so I guess it’s good we waited. After we got our house we started mass spending and financing things. We had gotten everything so good before buying the house and then as soon as the house closed we stopped paying attention. My husband has expensive taste and I didn’t question him enough on purchases. I don’t know what I could’ve done differently when I saw red flags. I just trusted him.

        We have so many unanswered questions which is the hardest part. Everything is so “up to your trustee.” It feels a bit like going into the process on blind faith alone!

        Comment


          #5
          If you file pro-se, then yeah, pretty much everything is up to the Trustee, however, if you get a good lawyer, then you have someone in your corner of the ring fighting for you. I'm thinking my monthly payment to the Trustee was easily $1,000 a month lower than it would have been had I gone it alone. Said another way, the $4,000 I paid my attorney resulted in roughly $60,000 in payments I didn't make to the Trustee.
          Latent car nut.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by shipo View Post
            If you file pro-se, then yeah, pretty much everything is up to the Trustee, however, if you get a good lawyer, then you have someone in your corner of the ring fighting for you. I'm thinking my monthly payment to the Trustee was easily $1,000 a month lower than it would have been had I gone it alone. Said another way, the $4,000 I paid my attorney resulted in roughly $60,000 in payments I didn't make to the Trustee.
            It seems like our attorney has a good relationship with the trustee so I’m hoping things are okay. But our petition was sent to us to review with so many errors that I’m frustrated.

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks! imtryingtho hang in there and take it one step at a time. Sorry you are finding errors. It's good you do this young and while the kids are too young to really notice. You can entertain them cheaper at that age! The big thing is to learn from your mistakes and get into better financial habits. Our financial problems started after we bought our house. First with putting money into repairs and other household things then a large pay cut. We tried to fix it ourselves literally for years unsuccessfully and falling deeper into debt.

              Comment

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