There are chores we all like to avoid: cleaning out the refrigerator, doing our taxes, walking the dog in the freezing rain. All of us can be procrastinators now and then. When our debts start to pile up and the creditors begin to call, it is natural to ignore the problem and hope it will get better on its own. The idea of bankruptcy can be embarrassing and daunting. Yet, if it is necessary, there are several good reasons not to delay. Below are five basic and good reasons to move forward.
1. It stops the problem from getting worse Once we begin to fall into financial trouble, our debts continue to grow worse and the hole we are in gets deeper. Late fees, penalties, and interest compound the debt into an obligation many times its original size. When a bankruptcy petition is filed, all of those charges stop. Creditors cannot continue to increase your debts with fees and interest. The bleeding finally will stop.
2. Creditors will stop harassing you Anyone who has been in the situation knows what it is like to have creditors calling all day, every day, trying to get you to pay up. Often, bill collectors will bully and intimidate you, hoping that they can scare or embarrass you into agreeing to a payment plan that you cannot afford or which is not really going to solve the problem. Creditors and collectors cannot contact you about your debts once you file for bankruptcy. You will no longer have to cringe when the phone rings.
3. Repossessions and foreclosures will be delayed or stopped Any efforts by creditors to resort to “self-help” tactics like repossession of a car or other property will be “stayed”, or stopped, when you file bankruptcy. Foreclosure proceedings on a home will be stayed also. The bankruptcy case may end up requiring you to give up such property, but it may also make it possible to keep them. Chapter 13 bankruptcies, which are plans through which you pay money into the bankruptcy court every month so that a portion of your debts may be paid, are more likely to help you keep a home or other property. In any event, you will not have to deal with creditors or mortgage companies taking action on their own.
4. Garnishment of wages and bank accounts can be avoided If a creditor takes you to court and gets a judgment against you, your wages can be garnished and a portion of your bank accounts can be taken. Creditors can take these steps once they have a judgment without giving you any additional notice. Filing bankruptcy can prevent these actions from being taken against you, and can avoid the awkward situation that you might have at work when your boss gets a notice of garnishment against you. If the garnishments have started, bankruptcy will stop them, but the money taken through garnishment most likely will not come back to you. Bankruptcy can ensure that all your creditors are treated equally and fairly.
5. You get to start over Many people develop financial problems due to medical bills, a failed business or unemployment, or some other difficult situation that overwhelmed them. The stress and fear that such a state can produce may affect a person’s health and damage relationships. Bankruptcy provides a means to start over, and move forward. The longer one delays, the more pain debts can cause. Take the first step to a brighter future, and put the nightmare of living in the grip of debt behind you.
Photo courtesy of URBAN ARTefakte