It was easy to spend money a few years ago, somewhere around late 2005 and into 2006, when the economy was flying, anyone could get a loan and every house in the zip code was appreciating at eight percent a year.
Those who managed to avoid subprime loans and the desire to keep up with whatever the other side of the cul-de-sac was spending turned out to make it through the recession in decent shape, provided the unemployment crisis didn't catch up with them.
Truthfully, the degree of financial difficulty at which someone finds themselves is no measure of intelligence or social wherewithal. In many cases, the difference between staying above water and getting flushed down the financial torrent is simply a matter of luck. Some people step on a hard-to-see loose stone when navigating dangerous waters and others don't. It's that simple.
Lifestyle choices do have a great deal to do with bankruptcy. Sure, many people have to file because of things well out of their control. Heck, that's why the bankruptcy code functions like it does. Nevertheless, you can make decisions that will either prevent you from getting into serious long-term debt or help you rebuild after filing. It's a matter of discipline, economic cognizance and common sense.
Key to keeping financial order in your life is to avoid the desire "to own". Instead of accumulating "things," accumulate experiences. Focus on staying healthy, emotionally and physically. Deep debt can really take a toll on one's psyche. It can pull at the edges of a marriage, damage relationships with friends and invoke self-doubt and even depression. Once out of the woods, you should be able to only see things that matter, which will help you avoid becoming stressed over the next bill that arrives. Now you know how to handle it. The money is there and the bill gets paid. Bankruptcy helps you separate money from emotion. Thus, you can focus your well-being on rebuilding not only your credit record but the holes that appeared in your circle of friends and family.
Many studies have demonstrated that eating well impacts mental states and yes, the state of your bank account. It's no secret that healthy food often costs more. However, the savings show up in reduced health care spending.
We know these tips are easier typed than done. But we've been in the bankruptcy business for a long time and hopefully you only have to go through it once. Give it some thought. Stay healthy, and stay wealthy.