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Filing for bankruptcy - when life has hit the fan, simplifying your life is an option

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  • Filing for bankruptcy - when life has hit the fan, simplifying your life is an option

    As I await confirmation of my Chapter 13 Plan, and I continue to tweak my budget, I am learning some very important things about myself. The difference between fighting the CC debt I had on my own and finally filing C13 is this - it has made my life, and more importantly me, simpler. What I say that follows is the clarity of hindsight.

    When I was spiralling downwards with job changes that paid less money and an economy that made things cost more, I had a tool available to me to "help" - consumer credit. That little piece of plastic enabled me to purchase that needed item. Needed items such as a car repair, a new iPod to replace an old one, a TV for the bedroom, clothing, a hotel room, etc. Without realizing it I was in the western civilizations financial rut of middle class America. I didn't realize I had concocted definitions of living comfortable, and what a necessity was. I saw the CC balances building, but somehow I truly believed that just around the corner was a better paying job that could pay down my CC debt. I saw my mortgage balances and my other monthly costs, yet I recalled years ago the salary I was making and knew without a shadow of a doubt I would return to those better salaries. I also knew that I wasn't going to retire. Hey, I'm a CPA. I can work at a desk so age won't effect me as much as a job that requires physical skills. I was a believer that I could do it.

    Then the wife gets sick. That job doesn't come. My income goes down. Costs go up. The debt is staggering. I decide to file.

    I walk into C13 without a lot of emergency funds, but I'm not scared. I'm actually relieved. My life really is simpler. I'm not juggling multiple credit cards and looking for that next 0% balance transfer. Now I start the month with $X in the bank. I have a budget I've made that makes sense. And when a surprise comes along like Hurricane Irene that has some costs associated with it, I add that to my budget and reduce something else for that month. It's not that hard.

    I don't know what major monetary surprises are in store for me in the future. But I won't worry about it until I cross that bridge. Instead I'll concentrate on the today. I now live a simpler life with a checking account. No plastic to fall back on, and that's OK. I've redefined necessity. I look at what I have and realize I have plenty. Sure I run the risk of a medical or other catastrophe that could force me to lose my house or fail the C13. But why worry about it. Concentrate on my job and try to make more money. Live on a budget that makes sense, and my wife who was never into the finances until C13 knows the budget and understands it.

    Truth is, we will survive C13 no matter what. Why? Because I have my wife of 30+ years, two wonderful children, a grandson, and great parents. With a good support system, failing isn't an option. All it means is not knowing which road I'll be driving down tomorrow. That's fine. My life is now simply a nice Sunday drive with some direction but not mapped out. I'll drive forward and see where the road takes me.
    Last edited by fileda13; 09-07-2011, 08:48 AM.

  • #2
    Well done.
    All information contained in this post is for informational and amusement purposes only.
    Bankruptcy is a process, not an event.......


    • #3
      Very well said. I don't think that the majority of people plan on having to go bankrupt. I say majority because obviously there are some that do. We all live with the presumption that when things are good they will continue to be good...until something happens. It is sad to see that some people see others who file bankrupcy as uncontrolable spenders or lazy. Could I have not used my CC to buy that new TV? Probably. Did I ever think that I wasn't going to be able to pay for it? Absoulutely not. I didn't see the medical problems that caused me to lose my job or realize that when I did lose my job I wouldn't be able to get another one except one that paid 2/3 of what I was making. I may have 20k in CC debt but my daughter and her husband have over 200k in student loans. A lot of that money was used to pay for dorm rent, sorority fees and living expense not just tuition. Somehow though THATS ok because it is being used to further their education and potential earning threshold. Life happens and when it goes downhill it can go very fast! I have learned some things throughout all of this though....Plan for the worse and hope for the best and keep a good pair of scissors handy to cut up any CC offers that may come your way. Ironically, even though I have not paid my CC for a year and haven't filed yet, I just received a CC offer from Mastercard in the mail. Are their mailing list that outdated. If they took the money that they spent sending CC applications to people that clearly would not be approved they might be able to lower their interest rates!
      Filed 11/17/11 Chapter 13, 341 meeting 12/21/11. Plan confirmed 1/19/12 - DISCHARGED 12/16/15


      • #4
        You will be OK, it is clear. It sounds like you have a great sense of what's really important.

        It's very strange in a way because I actually look at how broke I was and what I spent the money on (all living expenses, really--or health care) for so long--it's not that huge a debt. And I always managed to pay it. But the interest rate! Yikes. That's what gets most of us, I suspect. Chase jacked me on the interest rate by changing the due dates and then claiming I paid late (but only because they no longer made me pay every 30 days)--so I had to transfer the debt and then I was pretty much sunk.


        • #5
          CLAP, CLAP, CLAP

          What a wonderful lesson. Your post tends to lean towards Mrs. and My credo called "The Station".

          Here is the link to it.

          If I knew it all, would I be here?? Hang in there = Retained attorney 8-06, Filed 12-28-07, Discharge 8-13-08, Finally CLOSED 11-3-09, 3-31-10 AP Dismissed, Informed by incompetent lawyer of CLOSED status, October 14, 2010.


          • #6
            Thank you for sharing your mindset. It was really tough for me to come to terms with filing. We had a disposable income business, with over 2mil in debt - some of which was secured by real estate - We are young. We are entrepreneurs. We did our research, we did our homework, we worked our tails off. And we never saw this coming.

            I had never been late on anything. I had never borrowed more than i could pay back. I couldnt come to terms that the change in the economy meant this trend would end.

            Three things changed my point of view. 1. My dad told me that just because i file for BK and have debt discharged doesnt mean i cannot come back and pay the creditors later when i can afford it. The moral obligation i put on myself felt a tad bit lighter. 2. I read a comparison about how a family is like a business. And a business must do everything legally necessary to protect its stockholders, that is the only party of importance. Similarly, the members of a family are the only party of importance. I did what i had to do to protect my family. To protect them from the monster i was becoming due to all of the emotional weight i was carrying. To protect them from the financial burden my husband and i had created. 3. A friend of ours was diagnosed with leukemia in december. He is 22 years old. He almost died three times. The doctor told his family to say their goodbyes, that he wouldnt make it through the night. He did on three different occasions! And he has served as an inspiration to us. When i think things are really bad, i remember my friend, and i remind myself how different my situation could be.

            Since we have filed, we have been able to move on. We are still awaiting our discharge, and we may lose our cars (sometimes i feel so retarded, like i am the only person who actually has equity in a depreciable asset...), but its only a car. I can buy another one. I, like you, have my health, my husband, and a job that pays enough to put food on my table.

            It really is about the journey, and making lemonade. I finally figured that out.


            • #7
              Well stated filda13. I too know that when I take a good look, I have a fortune in family, friends and for the most part good health! Those are truly the important things in life. We can all live without material things, it's those you love and who love you that make our lives rich!

              With your attitude, your road will be much easier to travel!
              Filed CH 7 4/15/11
              341 5/23/11
              DISCHARGED & CLOSED ON 7/27/11


              • #8
                Originally posted by sunshinepa View Post
                Well stated filda13. I too know that when I take a good look, I have a fortune in family, friends and for the most part good health! Those are truly the important things in life. We can all live without material things, it's those you love and who love you that make our lives rich!

                With your attitude, your road will be much easier to travel!
                Also well said. We lost quite a lot of "things" in our BK. We were fortunate only by the Grace of God in gifting our family farm to the State for a Park. We got our park and we retain "life estate". Once we lost our wealth, God allowed us to keep our 1860 heritage.

                I/we feel our life was "turning around" the split second we realized that BK was our only hope. We now are poor, and actually take picked up cans in (now $0.70 a pound) and some days look around for change needed. Are we happy? WE SURE ARE. Life has gotten much better than when we had mega disposable income. Why? Our values have changed. Our health is good and we try to keep it that way, we appreciate our spouses and are more tolerant of each others down falls. We smell the roses and appreciate the beauty of just being.

                Happiness is a state of mind. You choose your day every day you can get out of bed. The day you cannot, you have done your best and God needs you elsewhere. While here remember one thing: "God's gift to you is every day. Your gift to God is how you use it". 'Hub
                If I knew it all, would I be here?? Hang in there = Retained attorney 8-06, Filed 12-28-07, Discharge 8-13-08, Finally CLOSED 11-3-09, 3-31-10 AP Dismissed, Informed by incompetent lawyer of CLOSED status, October 14, 2010.


                • #9
                  fileda13 - very very very nice post - we (spouse and I) walked into the 13 not having done "planning" - that is, say not paying cc's for six months to build up cash...we're a bit complicated because of stupid large student loan - made a joint 13 impossible - so...spouse's 13 is now in it' - 6th month!!! (Confirmed a day early in June!!)

                  BUT - me - I've a meeting in a few days with same atty - to see if he can now file a 7 for now I'm not making as much as I should/could, plus paying the 13, plus the cars and mort, so every little thing hurts...BUT...once I've paid atty, once that's done and he filed (oh then my other anxieties can start :-) least I won't be trying to squeeze out two grand again (that's his fee - well actually 2800 - including filing fees, and credit counseling fees).

                  I now try to budget like...four months in advance...with some luck :-)


                  • #10
                    ...and here I am today post discharge

                    It's been a tough decade+ of financial difficulty which drove me to CH13. Last Sept I made it to the discharge. I had vowed while in bankruptcy that I would never possess a credit card again. I'm buried in the mortgage, but since I needed a reliable car (I drive 20k+ miles a year), I figured this made the


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TBA View Post
                      Three things changed my point of view. 1. My dad told me that just because i file for BK and have debt discharged doesnt mean i cannot come back and pay the creditors later when i can afford it. The moral obligation i put on myself felt a tad bit lighter.
                      Obviously we have given different forms of fatherly advice. The advice to me was:

                      Always look out for #1, because no one is going to do a better job of it than yourself.
                      Oh, and don't feel sentimental about your creditors; their business is to figure out risk, and your defaulting on them is part of that risk.


                      • #12
                        Still driving the truck and payments are current Do not and will not get a credit card ever again. Other than the truck I am not overly interested in focusing in on building credit beyond the truck payment. THings are tight, and throughout the Ch13 and post discharge I continue to contemplate one major potential move, and that is walking away from the house which I will probably never own outright in my lifetime. I have other things in my life that complicates things (as I assume we all do in one form or another) - elderly parent care, chronically ill wife on disability just to name a couple. I sometimes wonder as an empty nester how important is all of this material stuff that I have collected over my lifetime. Whether I use/enjoy it or not is irrelevant. The mortgage payment is the biggest albatross, and if I downsized that would force me to unload a lot of the stuff I have. At 57 it just seems so pointless to work just to scrape by. We shall see.


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