Hold on! The roller coaster of a personal debt crisis and then of bankruptcy
There are so many reasons people can find themselves over their heads in debt. Some of the more common include job or business loss, medical problems, death, divorce or separation, student loans, natural disaster, shopping or gambling addiction, home or vehicle repairs, accidents and identity theft. The impact on emotional health can be significant. First, you go through the reason for the debt and then you have to face the mountain of debt itself.
According to The Simple Dollar, the average American credit card debt is $15,950 and the average student loan level of a college graduate is $40,000. Add regular living expenses to these – rent or mortgage, utilities, insurance, food, transportation, medical bills and more – and many people find themselves in the red or worse.
Some of the emotional reactions people may experience include:
- Anxiety and stress
- Embarrassment and shame
- Resentment and anger
- Guilt and regret
- Denial and rationalization
- Low self-esteem
If you are in this situation, please be easy on yourself. The distress is real and there may be a real reason for concern for the future, but there is also a range of ways to resolve high debt, including potentially Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. There are mental health professionals as well as legal professionals who can each provide their own kind of support.
Of course, in our country some people equate wealth with worth and fiscal responsibility is expected in many families. But unexpected situations happen that are out of our control and sometimes we think we are making the right life choice and it ends up not being so. Or, we simply face personal challenges in our lives that can lead to unwise or confusing choices. But none of these should negatively impact our self-worth and ability to institute change and recovery on all levels – you are never powerless.
Bankruptcy is a legal way for a fresh financial and personal start. Millions have used this tool to better their situation and start over. It should not be viewed negatively, rather, it shows that the debtor is taking the bull by the horns, so to speak.
Talk to a lawyer about whether bankruptcy is the answer for you (or if another approach may be a better option) and do not approach the issue with shame or embarrassment, which are not helpful and enforce a feeling of self-judgment. Look forward to taking control now and to financial relief in the future with professional advice and representation.
The bankruptcy attorneys at Jimmy E. McElroy & Associates in Memphis help clients both legally and emotionally through high debt and bankruptcy throughout west Tennessee and north Mississippi.