In recent years, millions of Americans have experienced financial hardship. The economic troubles that began around 2008, gave way to rising rates of unemployment and underemployment which forced a growing number of Americans to rely heavily upon savings accounts and credit cards. For many middle class individuals and households, years of savings were wiped out and time previously spent taking vacations, eating out and purchasing goods at will were instead spent worrying about mounting debts.
With the recent economic depression, many Americans quickly realized they were only a job loss or medical emergency away from financial ruin. In turn, as the economy improved and unemployment rates fell, many made attempts to pay off debts and get back on their feet. In some cases, however, individuals and families were forced to explore other options including bankruptcy.
Memories of the nation’s recent economic problems have been slow to fade as scores of Americans continue to struggle with large amounts of debt. A recent survey conducted by YouGov shows that an estimated 18 percent of American households have declared bankruptcy. Additionally, another 23 percent have considered or were close to doing so.
Given our nation’s recent history, the stigma once attached to bankruptcy has largely dissipated. In fact, the same YouGov survey found that 55 percent of Americans today view bankruptcy in a positive light, and regard Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy as a means to “start fresh”. Indeed, for those Americans dealing with mounting credit card, personal loan and medical debt; bankruptcy can provide much-needed debt relief and aid in helping one regain financial stability.
New Jersey residents who want to learn more about the process of filing for either Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy would be wise to consult with a bankruptcy attorney. In addition to determining whether bankruptcy is the best option, an attorney can provide information, advice and assistance related to the bankruptcy process.
Source: Mainstreet.com, “One-Quarter of Americans have Considered Filing for Bankruptcy,” Hal M. Bundrick, Feb. 26, 2014