If you’re struggling with debt, you’re not alone. In fact, in July alone, more than 64,000 Americans filed for bankruptcy, which was a 5% increase from the number of filings in June. There have been more than 450,000 bankruptcies filed in the first seven months of this year. If those numbers seem shockingly high, they aren’t. Bankruptcy filings recently reached a 10 year low. Although 2018 saw 770,000 bankruptcies, that number is less than half of the number seen in 2010, which came in at 1.6 million.
There are a number of driving forces behind bankruptcy filings. While some individuals find themselves struggling with overwhelming debt simply due to overspending, most people who pursue bankruptcy are trying to find a way to cope with unexpected medical expenses or the sudden loss of a job. Far too often these individuals are left living paycheck to paycheck as interest rates and debt collection fees force them into a deeper hole of debt.
Some individuals may be afraid that the increase in bankruptcy filings is a sign that the economy is starting to slow or even contract. This is debatable and isn’t necessarily important for those who are just trying to get by day to day. What is important is realizing that bankruptcy is a debt relief option that has very real benefits. Millions of Americans have taken advantage of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy to secure a fresh financial start, so you shouldn’t be afraid to consider it, either.
Of course, bankruptcy and its resulting fresh financial start aren’t guaranteed. Instead, those who are navigating the process must meet certain federal requirements, which may include adhering to a payment plan over the course of three to five years. So, to increase your chances of successfully pursuing bankruptcy relief, it may be wise to discuss your circumstances with a legal professional experienced in this area of the law.