What is the first thought entering your mind when you think of filing bankruptcy? For most it is FEAR! Fear of the unknown. Fear of being a failure. Fear that others will know. Fear that you will lose everything. Fear of etc… Joel Osteen says “Fear is using your faith in the wrong direction. “ Fear and faith are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Guess what, you have the ability to choose which end of the spectrum that you are going to live in. Are you going to let creditors and the unknown to continue to hold you down in fear or are you going to step out in faith and take control of your financial life?Stepping out in faith and seeking knowledge leads to power. Power to make an informed decision about whether or not bankruptcy is right for you. As your faith takes hold through knowledge and power you will see that your fear begins to fade away. Article after article on this site seeks to provide you knowledge so that you can make an informed decision. In fact I have written prior articles with respect to fear. So why spend time on writing yet another article about this subject? Because until we have eliminated all wrong information about bankruptcy our job is not done!
2 Timothy 1:7 states that For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. Again I truly believe that you have the power to choose which end of the spectrum to live in. A young man recently came in stating that he does not qualify for a Chapter 13 and a Chapter 7 is the best place for him. So how much does it cost and how do we do this? I was very impressed because he actually did do his homework as evidenced by his preparation notes and questions. He researched bankruptcy on the Internet and then read two NOLO books about the subject. But fear definitely had taken root in his life as he has waited for four years to seek advice thinking the economy was going to turn around. His fear told him that bankruptcy would ruin his life and he would never qualify to purchase a vehicle or a home in the future. But now he is at the point where he has to attempt to overcome that fear or continue to drown in debt and let his business run him into his grave.
Even with all the input from his friends and the Internet his fear continues to have a strong hold on his thoughts. Fear that he does not want to disappoint the local banks by filing bankruptcy. They had taken a chance on him and it is just not right to file bankruptcy. But when we reviewed his budget the prospect of the rental business proceeding is very bleak. He also fears he might be arrested if he does not pay his debt.
What does he need? He needs a reboot of his financial life and bankruptcy maybe able to do that despite his fear.
We reviewed the potential for him to file a Chapter 7 and while doing so discovered the divorce decree states he will hold his ex-wife harmless from a joint debt. The fact is this debt is not dischargeable in a Chapter 7 but it is dischargeable in a Chapter 13. Even with everyone he talked to and the research he did, he did not one across the issue of the divorce obligation. When I told him this you could literally see the fear wash over him and strangle his thoughts. “I can’t file a 13 because I can’t afford to pay back all the debt.”
“Who told you that in a 13 you have to pay back all your debt? Everyone and the Internet.” When I hear this statement, which is often, I cannot help but think of the new State Farm commercial. In this commercial the lady says that “[t]hey can’t put anything on the Internet that isn’t true.” The fact is you may not have to pay any of your unsecured debt or you may have to pay all of your debt back, it just depends. But whatever the case don’t let fear keep you from stepping out in faith to change your financial life.
Fear is one of the greatest negative powers in our life. Fear kept this gentleman from filing bankruptcy several years ago when many in the rental industry where getting out. Fear almost kept this gentleman from seeking information from a bankruptcy attorney and possibly making a grave mistake by filing a Chapter 7 on his own. I could tell when he left that fear was still seeking a stronghold in his mind telling him all the reasons of why he should not file bankruptcy and certainly not a Chapter 13. Now he will have to sit down and review the facts of whether or not bankruptcy will be right for him and whether a Chapter 13 may provide the reboot for his financial life.
When fear comes a knocking as the Good Book says let faith answer the door. Don’t let fear take root.
Remember that knowledge is power. The more knowledge you have about bankruptcy, the more power you will have to step out in faith and take charge of your financial life. Once you do this, you will control the fear instead of letting fear control you.