Money Matter Bankruptcy as a Financial Planning Tool

You want to save more for retirement. You want to save for your kid’s college. You want to plan for your financial future and set financial goals. Standing in the way is your debt. You can’t seem to get ahead or make a dent on the amount of debt you have. It is the ever growing gobstopper. Each month your debt seems to mount even though you never miss a payment. You are current on everything. However, that $50,000 credit card debt is now sitting at $75,000. Everything is maxed out.

As is human nature, we have two immediate responses fight or flight. For the fighters out there, you start searching for ways to solve this problem head on. You start looking at what you have that you could turn into cash to throw at the debt. Maybe it is your retirement account or the equity you have in your house. Maybe it is your mother’s wedding ring. Whatever it is, you’re willing to part with it to deal with the debt problem that you are faced with. That may be a shortsighted response.

A much overlooked financial planning tool is a personal bankruptcy. A bankruptcy is an opportunity for a fresh start, a new financial beginning. It allows you to address your debt and move forward with setting and achieving your financial goals. You no longer feel stuck.

Example 1: John is 50 years old, married, and the guardian of his two minor grandchildren, ages two and five. He qualifies for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. He has $50,000 in credit card debt and is current on making the payments. However, he has now maxed out all of the cards and is stuck. He and his wife have a goal to start saving something for their grandkids college, but can’t because of their debt. He has $50,000 in a retirement account that he is thinking of withdrawing to pay down his debt. If he does this, he will have $0 saved for retirement and will have to pay taxes on the amount withdrawn. Alternatively, he could file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and be debt free in as little as 3-4 months. At the same time, he could keep his retirement account in place because it is exempt (protected).  The money he was spending making minimum monthly payments on credit cards can now be used to save for his grandchildren’s college.

Example 2: John has $250,000 in his retirement account and a house with $60,000 of equity. He has $100,000 in credit card debt and does not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy because his income is too high. Rather, he qualifies to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which involves a five (5) year repayment plan where he will pay some or all of his debt back. The amount paid on debt depends on John’s income and the value of his assets. At the end of the plan, he will be debt free. John gets to keep all of his assets, including his retirement account and his house, which will most likely continue to accrue value.

If you or someone you know is in financial distress because of debt, bankruptcy should be considered as a viable solution. Liquidating an asset may ultimately do more harm than good. A bankruptcy may allow you to move forward with setting and achieving your financial goals.

Figuring out how to handle your debt by yourself can be overwhelming. Contact Koenig│Dunne today and schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys who can help you become debt free through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Patrick Patino

CategoryMoney Matters