Bankruptcy…it’s a good thing!!

Yes, bankruptcy IS a good thing…at least it was for me.  Sometimes all it takes is to hear someone’s story in order to stretch your thoughts about how you feel about an event, a circumstance, an experience.   

In 2005 I ended an abusive marriage, cared for my 4-year-old that had suffered a major eye accident, and gave birth to my second child.  I was a single parent and financially broke.  I was also incredibly grateful for the love & support of my family and friends…for example, my father spent 2 days with me, in downtown Buffalo, waiting in line to apply for HEAP benefits so that I could afford to heat my house during the winter months.  It was a humbling experience…and at the same time I found it difficult to believe that my life had led me to this place.

Life didn’t get any easier, financially or personally, once I went back to work.  After the divorce was final, I was left with substantial debt…created by my ex-husband’s carelessness, broken promises, gambling, and my lack of discernment.   The debt felt incredibly heavy, restrictive, and depressing. Most of the debt collectors weren’t open to negotiating alternative payment plans…and my pride & ego would get in my way as well.  I finally decided one day that in order to support myself and my two children with greater ease, it was time to make some changes.  I was open to exploring any and all opportunities to change my financial circumstances. First priority, get rid of the weight of debt so I could breathe again.  

From debt consolidation programs to working an additional job…I considered it all…including bankruptcy.  I chose to work 2 jobs, and managed to pay off a decent chunk of debt.  Things appeared to be going well until I received a surprise notice from the IRS. My ex-husband defaulted on a tax liability that according to the terms of our divorce agreement, he was obligated to pay. Unfortunately, divorce agreements mean nothing to the IRS, and because my name was on that tax return, they demanded payment from me.  That’s when I said “ENOUGH!!” It became crystal clear that the one option I kept avoiding was the very thing I needed to do.  File for bankruptcy.  Why did I avoid it for so long?  Easy…my ego.  I cared too much about what other people would think about me, personally and professionally.

In order for me to file for bankruptcy, I had to make peace with it.  My initial beliefs and attitudes about bankruptcy was that bankruptcy was for “losers”, “failures”, “lazy people looking for an easy way out”.  I asked myself, “Am I a loser and a failure? Am I lazy?”  Hell no!!  That’s when I shed my ego and said, “I don’t care what other people will think, or say.  THEY don’t matter a whit!  What matters is what I feel is “right” for myself and my children.” 

Filing for bankruptcy was one of the greatest gifts I’ve given myself.  It gave me the opportunity to let go of certain beliefs, thoughts, and perceptions that said nothing about who I really am. Bankruptcy was my liberation! I could breathe again…and I  was free to pull myself back onto my feet, firmly grounded.  Bankruptcy allowed me to move forward with greater confidence and courage.  Today I’m a better mom, a better advisor, and I have a great desire to help others shift their own limiting beliefs and perceptions so they too can breathe more easily and set themselves free!

9 thoughts on “Bankruptcy…it’s a good thing!!

  1. Chris, this article will help so many people that are struggling with the worry about what others will think if they finally set themselves free and allow some breathing space to begin again. Thank you for sharing your personal stories in this way. They truly are so insightful and will help others make better decisions for themselves in the future. Thanks for sharing as always, Catherine

  2. Very nicely put, Chris!!! I, too, had to endure the liberations of bankruptcy! It has actually taught me how to be more financially responsible (in a sense LOL 😉 )

  3. It is nice to know that even bankruptcy is “positive”. What I liked best about the article
    was “I don’t care what other people think”. So often, what other people think,,,holds us back
    from doing what we truly want to do. Each day is a new day. We should do what truly
    makes us happy..”frees us”. Great testimonial that there is a positive future in all the deep
    valleys in life!

    1. Thank you Sue! No matter what life transition you may be experiencing, divorce, bankruptcy, widowhood, retirement, we all have the power to choose how we deal with the circumstances and create our life going forward. Life transitions calls forth change…a change in our thoughts, perceptions, behavior, and ultimately our reality. Question for most of us is this…”Are you willing to do whatever it takes to change, in order to create the life you want? (no matter what other people may think or say)”

  4. Wow!! Your words are inspiring. I was catching up this morning on your blog. Appreciate all that you are saying, now to make changes. Let me quote you…(.Are you willing to do whatever it takes to change, in order to create the life you want? (no matter what other people may think or say)”

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