Over the years, I’ve seen patterns in the types of financial problems consumers in Western North Carolina are facing. As an Asheville bankruptcy attorney, I help people with a wide variety of financial issues. Here is a partial list of the most common reasons why many of my present and former clients have considered a bankruptcy filing:
Losing a job or getting hours cut back at work. The job market in Western North Carolina is really tough. Our beautiful valley is expensive, and caters to our thriving tourism industry. Many of those jobs do not pay well. When folks have a job transition or move here from other parts of the country, they are frequently surprised to find themselves underemployed. I also have many older clients who are well-educated, but have a hard time finding a well paying job in a market that often prefers younger employees.
Parenting. Many of my clients are loving parents who want to provide their children every chance to succeed in life. In my practice, there are really two types of parent/clients who use bankruptcy as a tool. The first group are new parents who need bankruptcy relief because their expenses have increased dramatically after having one or more children. Diapers, baby food, medical care, and car seats are just a few examples of the expenses new parents encounter quickly. The second type of parents who use bankruptcy to recover financially are trying to help their adult-aged kids. They co-sign on student loans or car loans. They provide housing to their adult children (and grandchildren). Parents want their children to succeed no matter what, even if it sinks their own budget.
Life-changing events. Divorce, death, injury at work, or other bad luck in life can quickly change a family’s finances. Most people try to maintain the same lifestyle and expenses in hopes that the rough patch will pass and things will return to ‘normal.’ When that does not happen, bankruptcy can help get the finances back on track.
Small business failure. Whether its investing in real estate, opening a retail store, being a massage therapist, or landscaping yards, many small businesses don’t pan out as their owners had hoped. Failure is a big part of taking a risk, and sometimes bankruptcy is needed to get a family back on track financially.
Overspending. While definitely a minority, some honest clients will tell me they simply messed up and bought things they couldn’t afford. Many had not taken the time to create a budget, and didn’t have a good idea where their money was going each month. Some people bought a car that was too expensive or that dream home which now feels like a gigantic weight sinking the family’s budget. Everyone makes mistakes, and bankruptcy can help fix a poor decision to spend money that should have been dedicated to other necessities.
Any of these sound familiar? If so, I would be pleased to speak with you during a free, initial bankruptcy consultation.