Testimonial of A Successful Bankruptcy Graduate
I never thought I be a successful bankruptcy graduate. My whole life I was taught to be honest, work hard and your part of the American dream is almost guaranteed. Over the thirty years of my working life there have been ups and downs. That was okay. Because there was always an “up” to the “down” – a good year and a bad year. But in 2008 things were already on a down and just when I didn’t think the rock bottom could go any lower, it did when the foreclosure notice came.
I have worked for others and owned a few businesses. I have had savings and investments. I worked 70 hour work weeks (before and after I had children) and I never gave up on the idea that wealth meant that I would have lots of money and that the more things I had, the more successful I would be. Who I though I was… was money and my things. My things and my money was me. I always figured I was a winner in life.
Considering bankruptcy made me feel like a loser. It made me feel sub-human and as if I failed at a game at which everyone was winning. I can see the big houses, cars, clothes and possessions all around me. Everyone was winning but me. Everyone was happy and wealthy but me. I felt as if a great game of musical chairs was going on and the music stopped with me standing resenting the people smiling in their chairs. I was a kid again. My mother and father would most certainly not approve of the idea that I would have to declare bankruptcy. That was so taboo to their generation that they almost certainly would rather hear anything come out of my mouth than that I failed at life. People are products of their time and their upbringing. As I looked back, Mom and Dad have been wrong about so many things in life. But it wasn’t their fault. Modern life is so different from when they were working. Back then, pensions still existed. A thirty-year mortgage seemed okay on the house you would raise a family in and live out your retirement . They had been so ingrained with the idea that if you struggle you must be failing and I inherited that belief. I lived under that lie for most of my life, at least up until the end. The idea of bankruptcy filled my mind with moving vans supervised by overweight, rude people holding clipboards loading my belongings into the moving trucks and snatching the pen out of my hand as I signed over the last shred of my dignity. Admitting to the world that I could not pay my debts made me feel as if I would never again get to vacation or have another car or house. Bankruptcy was the ultimate blow to my personal ego and feeling of self worth. It felt like losing and it made me angry.
But then it made me think.
The first thing I did was get information about bankruptcy and what it meant to successfully graduate. I wasn’t so broke that I didn’t have wi-fi and a laptop so research was easy. What was bankruptcy? How do you file a successful bankruptcy? Where did it come from and what mean to be bankruptcy graduate? Do people still get to rent apartments and drive cars if they are bankrupt? Does everyone know about your money troubles? Is there a registered “debt offenders” website that shows where all of us broke people live? The answers to those questions continued to spark my own personal examination about the feelings of shame and guilt I had when all my cards were being declined and the house was up for sale.
The original feelings of anger gave away to feelings of shame, but as the process unfolded and I let go of the ideas of holding onto the debt for the sake of my dignity… I had a break through!
I sat down with a calculator, a pen and some paper and began to figure out what credit accounts I have had since college. I started to list every furniture and appliance loan I had ever had. I began writing down all the cars I financed and the homes I have had. I wrote out every single store account I signed up for to get that 20% off at checkout. I wrote it all out and did my best to calculate what I spent against what I owed. From my student loans to home loans and everything in between. I discovered something I had not ever considered before and I was dumbstruck.
I had paid back many of my debts many times over but not if you ask Mr. Interest. My $290,000 home purchased in 2007 carried with it nearly $200,000 in interest! That house with interest, taxes, repairs and insurance would have cost me over ONE MILLION DOLLARS if I would have kept it for the term of the loan.
It turns out my bankruptcy attorney would do the same thing. He looked at all my debt. All the charge accounts, the mortgage and car loans and did the math. At age 49, I would never pay off my debt. Ever. I would have to work for the rest of my life and the debts would never be paid. Not amassing anymore debt (I couldn’t anyway, I was maxxed out), I would have to work for another 30 plus years in order to be debt free and have my once precious dignity.
I decided let go and move on with the knowledge and a positive experience that this difficult time in my life has brought. I am smarter today than I ever was before. I understand the way money and credit works and as much as I hate to admit it, I am less materialistic than I used to be.
Bankruptcy was a difficult process to go through but it wasn’t as difficult as the stress of keeping up appearances and the emotional lashings I gave myself. I am ready for the next chapter of my life.
The attorneys and staff at The Merna Law Group helped me understand that the process of bankruptcy is a process of success and learning not a process of failure and embarrassment. I am a successful bankruptcy graduate, more informed, debt free, and rebuilding my credit due to the attorneys of The Merna Law Group. You need to enroll in their unique course of recovery today.
Archived on blog by John G. Merna