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Oh yeah, it can happen to you

Sometimes a catastrophic event, a job loss, a sudden illness, will trigger a slide in your finances that will quickly lead down the slippery slope to a bankruptcy filing. Perhaps your employer in Louisville shuts down, leaving you out of work or you are in a car accident that leaves you injured, unable to work and with mounting medical bills.

But for many, a bankruptcy filing, a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13, has a less clear beginning. You get out of school, and you have some student loan debt. You meet your future spouse, find a place to live, get married, and start having children. Expenses increase, as does credit card debt, but you manage. 

But, instead of paying off entire balances, maybe you only pay part, and then, as things become tighter, you drop to only paying the minimum amount. You work hard, so you take a vacation or two. Your car is a few years old, and you decide you really like the new models, and take out another loan.

When you eat out, you get a bottle of wine, along with appetizers and dessert. And before you know it, you have missed a mortgage payment or a few credit card payments. Your interest rates jump and the bank begins foreclosure proceedings.

How could this happen? Don't think it can't happen to you? A recent posting tells of a debt counselor, and his story provides a cautionary tale. Debt is easy to acquire and painful to eliminate. Bankruptcy may not be an option; it may be your only option once your economic health has been overwhelmed by debt.

Your best strategy is always to minimize your debt as much as possible. Of course, it is not always possible, and whether it was due to poor management of your finances or a catastrophic event, bankruptcy can help you acquire a fresh start for your economic health.

Source: DailyFinance.com, "I'm a Debt Counselor ... and I Filed for Bankruptcy," Dave Landry, January 27, 2014

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