The notions of filing for Bankruptcy and enjoying the holidays are not as foreign as one might think. Most people will try to forget their financial issues around this time of the year, but the financial stress can never be far from the surface. Creditors do not go on holiday. One of the primary goals of a bankruptcy filing is to restore some financial sanity to people’s existence – so that they can enjoy the rest of their lives.
The ability to create a plan of action which deals with the overwhelming burden of out of control debt is itself a form of relief. Long before the actual bankruptcy petition is filed with the Court, our office will tell clients to refer creditor and collection calls to us so that we can inform them of the pending Bankruptcy filing, and with it the imposition of the federally mandated automatic stay which stops everything in its place. Even though there may not be a legal bar for collection (although harassment is always prohibited under law), most creditor are not terribly interested in pursuing individuals about to file Bankruptcy. It is not in their financial interests to do so.
Although I admit it is not something people often like to hear, the holidays are the perfect time to consider Bankruptcy as the ultimate gift to one’s self. Freedom. The elimination of a mountain of debt incapable of otherwise being satisfied can be a release from a bleak and imprisoned future. The true opportunity for a fresh start in life is consistent with all the other New Year’s resolutions we give to ourselves and the basic need for self-revival.
I should be clear. This is not an excuse to go crazy with the credit cards on holiday gifts. Debts intentionally incurred in anticipation of Bankruptcy are akin to fraud and can be held non-dischargeable in Bankruptcy. Thus I do encourage our clients to be as frugal as possible and recall the sentiment of the holidays as opposed to the materialism. But from 30+ years experience, I can state most people do this anyway and there are relatively few examples of outlandish holiday spending prior to Bankruptcy filing.
In short, while the stress from an overbearing debt load can diminish one’s happiness at this time of year, a Bankruptcy plan can often be the perfect remedy and re-establish a sense of stability and financial security that is priceless and even enhance the joy of the season.