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It is important to realize that filing bankruptcy does not mean that you are a bad or irresponsible person. Perhaps you were in over your head before the economy took a nose dive, went from two incomes to one in a divorce, lost your job, or became ill. A credit card company may have suddenly raised your interest rate until you could no longer afford your minimum monthly payment.
You are Not Alone
Whatever the reason, you are not alone! The statistics are staggering — in the first half of 2010, bankruptcy filings shot up 40 percent. Chances are, many of your friends, neighbors, and co-workers have filed for bankruptcy, and you just don’t know it. It’s time to stop beating yourself up and take a deep breath. It takes guts to face your debt, overcome your fears, and move forward. No matter what caused your financial troubles, you can now take control of your financial future for you and your family.
Common Reasons for Filing Personal Bankruptcy
More than 90 percent of bankruptcy filings are traceable to factors largely out of anyone's control such as job loss, illness, or divorce. Bankruptcy is a safety valve to prevent people from being buried by debts that they can never repay. Bankruptcy is also more honest than pretending you can manage your debt while continually falling further behind and putting your family at risk of losing their home.
Statistics of those who file bankruptcy:
- 38 is the average age
- 44% are couples
- 30% are women
- 26% are men
- Slightly better educated than the general population
- Two out of three have lost a job
- Half have experienced a serious health problem
- Fewer than 9% have not suffered a job loss, medical event or divorce
Source: The Fragile Middle Class: Americans in Debt by Elizabeth Warren, Harvard Law School