It can be quite disheartening to listen to political leaders, the media and other reports as to how well the economy has rebounded since 2008, with record employment and sky-high stock numbers – yet at the same time realize you are living from paycheck to paycheck and things have never been tighter for you and your family. You still remain one emergency or unexpected expense away from financial ruin and putting food on the table.
I do not profess to be an economist but can relate to all that our practice has had one the busiest summer seasons in my entire career. Clearly, the economic recovery is not universal by any stretch of the imagination. The regular folks who come into my office day and night are still struggling every bit as much as they were ten years ago. They are struggling to keep up with the ever-rising property taxes and health care costs, they are struggling to provide a basic quality of life for themselves and their families and there is no consideration for setting money aside for a rainy day or other emergencies – much less retirement!
Constantly, I am presented with decent hard-working people who can’t understand how they can work full time at what they thought was a decent paying job – and still not make ends meet. Out of necessity, they resort to the credit cards (if not the payday and predatory lenders) not for luxuries or extravagances, but rather for the basic necessities of life. Then, of course, those bills come due, sapping ever short resources to make the minimum payments. The result is untenable as the debt load will ultimately consume the budget leaving no money for anything at all.
Obviously, there is not just one story here and every individual will present unique facts and circumstances which contribute to the need for a Bankruptcy consultation. What I can assure anyone considering this step, however, is that it is hardly ever the sole result of some personal failure or malfeasance in budgeting. It is a combination of many facts, many if not most of which are outside of the individual’s control. My best advice to struggling potential debtors is to turn the TV off and don’t listen to those who tell you what you see with your own eyes is not real.