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Considering Bankruptcy?


Alena was raised by a “very money smart single mom,” as she says.  Her mother didn’t make a great deal of money, but made what she had work well.  They didn’t have a lot of things growing up, but they had love and gained financial management wisdom.  “Mom’s biggest lesson was to always put some money away no matter what.  You are always going to have bills, but if you give them everything you have, then you will have nothing for yourself.”  So Alena always pays herself first and her creditors second.  She’s putting the finishing touches on her education so she can help to empower other women with financial matters.


Submitted by Alena Williams – Pennsylvania, USA

Women hold key roles in their families.  It is important for a woman to be well versed in financial matters, especially considering that it is women that do most of the shopping.   If you don’t know about finances, take a few courses. Search on-line for basic budgeting courses, there are many free ones out there.  Once you have a good understanding and grasp of the basics, check your local community centers and colleges for workshops on investments, retirement funding and other parts of money management.  Educate yourself.  The tools available and often free!

In these present times it is not uncommon for families to have  financial problems.  So many people have lost their jobs and lost their homes.  Many of us are just scrambling from week to week, paycheck to paycheck and in a lot of cases from day to day.

Our society programs all of us to shop.  Women even adopt the popular slogan:  “Shop til you drop!”   But, it’s a fallacy; it is fantasy and illusion.  If you are the kind of person who is always shopping, ask yourself – why am I shopping all of the time?  What am I doing?  What am I achieving?  Stop, look and listen to yourself.

The need to be glamorous, to be dressed in the latest fashion, the most attractive shoes, all of these things are illusions.  There is nothing wrong with looking nice.  Looking nice is good, but we have to have some limits and some common sense.  Those credit cards can very quickly get out of hand and your debt can be in control as you lose control.

If you are at the point where you are being threatened with garnishment, foreclosure or repossession, contact consumer financial services places.  These non-profit organizations can contact your credits and put you on a repayment program.  Make sure that you check out the legitimacy of the company that you decide to work with.  Make sure their fees are not excessive or unreasonable.

If all else fails, you may want to consider bankruptcy.   You have the right under federal law to file for bankruptcy relief from your creditors. Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding in which a person can get a fresh financial start. Bankruptcy can be very useful and effective in resolving financial problems in certain cases. However, it is not the answer to all financial problems or the right step for everyone.   What bankruptcy does is eliminate all of your debt.  Your creditors can no longer contact you and request payment for anything.

You can only file bankruptcy once every six years.  You want to save this option until you really need it. Also, you may not need to file bankruptcy even though creditors are threatening you because you may have no nonexempt property or wages. Which that means you have nothing the creditors can take from you. You can’t be put in jail for failing to pay your civil debts (other than fines or other court ordered amounts).

Discuss your situation with a financial counselor first, and if they suggest bankruptcy (and if your situation is severe, they might), then talk to a bankruptcy attorney. Every case is different and laws change from time to time, so you need to be represented by an expert.


Alena is pursuing her certification as  a financial planner.  She also blogs about pennsylvania bankruptcy laws.