Should You Feel Guilty About Bankruptcy? Do You Have a Moral Obligation to Pay Creditors? Thanksgiving Musings on Debt Skip to main content

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Should You Feel Guilty About Bankruptcy? Do You Have a Moral Obligation to Pay Creditors? Thanksgiving Musings on Debt


Thanksgiving turkey

Thinking about debt instead of dressing this Thanksgiving?

Image Source: Flickr User Andrea Westmoreland

It’s Thanksgiving this week when people sit down, break bread, and acknowledge what’s good in their lives. But if you’re not earning enough to get by and are overwhelmed by debt, you may feel like you have little for which to be thankful. The good news is, there is a legal debt relief option available to most consumers – bankruptcy. Have you dismissed the idea of bankruptcy because you feel guilty about not fulfilling your debts? Do you believe you have a moral obligation to pay every penny of what you owe? Here are some things to consider.

In a perfect world, yes you should pay your debts

If you can easily afford to pay your debts, you definitely should. Otherwise, skimping would be cheating. But it’s not a perfect world. Most people do not intentionally take on more debt than they can afford – but life can be a slippery slope. It’s true that some people end up deep in debt because they went a little crazy and maxed out their credit cards, overspent at every turn, and then realized they were in over their heads. But for most people in precarious debt, it accumulated little by little like drops of water until eventually, you find you’re drowning. The fact is, it’s not a perfect world.

You can’t control what life throws at you debt-wise

Maybe your debts were in line with your earnings but then you lost your job and it took nine months to find another. Maybe your spouse ran up your credit cards and then left you. Perhaps you were in a car accident that left you with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills and diminished your earnings because you missed work for several weeks. These things can happen to anyone. If only the things you planned for occurred, you’d always be in a great financial position. But life isn’t like that and even if you have an emergency fund set aside, it may not be enough to address a given financial dilemma.

It’s just business to your creditors

To you, your debt is a very personal thing. When you send off payments each month and watch your checking account balance dwindle towards nothing, it’s stressful. When you deal with aggressive debt collection calls, it’s upsetting. Debt can drive you to emotional extremes, keep you up at night, and have you worrying every waking hour. On the flip side, for your creditors, it’s just business. It's what they do every day - loaning money and collecting what's owed to them (sometimes hyper-aggressively) and they don’t give you a second thought. Creditors don’t see you as a person - you're just an account number - and anything you’re going through (divorce, illness, unemployment) doesn’t matter to them.

Creditors file bankruptcy all the time

If the creditors that you owe got too deep in debt, they would file bankruptcy without hesitation. Business bankruptcy is common for businesses of all size. As taxpayers, we spent $700 billion bailing out banks under the TARP program. Those are banks that you likely owed a debt whether it was a mortgage, car loan, home equity loan, or a credit card. When the banks struggled, they didn’t give a second thought to using taxpayer money to cover their losses. For creditors, bankruptcy is just another business opportunity they can use to take advantage of to try and turn their business around if their debts threaten to take them under.

Drowning in debt helps no one

If you tried hard to pay your debts but simply can’t afford them, you should not feel bad about considering bankruptcy. Although this is a very personal decision to you that you may agonize over morally, the creditors you owe are in no position to judge you (and aren’t interested in judging you). You filing bankruptcy is just business to them. They will note your file as discharged in bankruptcy and move on without a second thought. The best thing you can do for yourself is to get into a position where you can live within your means and save for retirement. This benefits you personally and the economy as a whole.

This Thanksgiving, give thanks for what you do have - but also realize you don’t have to keep living with debt anxiety. If you’ve tried your best to pay your debts and simply can’t, consider bankruptcy. It’s what your creditors would do if they were in your position. It’s a legal option and one you should not feel bad about morally. Getting back on your feet financially is the best thing. You deserve a life without debt collectors harassing you non-stop and nights without staring at the ceiling agonizing over what you owe.

Contact the Law Offices of John T Orcutt today – we have locations in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Wilson, Greensboro, Garner or Wilmington and can help you explore your options for debt relief. Call +1-919-646-2654 for a free North Carolina bankruptcy consultation today.

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