Should I feel guilty about filing for bankruptcy?
What do all the following have in common?
Mickey Mouse (Disney Co.)
They all filed bankruptcy and generally went on to great success afterward!
Courts consider bankruptcy the responsible approach if you can no longer pay your debt. By filing bankruptcy, you draw a line in the sand and agree to be responsible for all future debt even though you may not be able to pay past debt. Congress was concerned that people would be unable to pay basic living expenses or support their families without bankruptcy protection. Remember all the suicides during the great depression? Now we have a law to help people start fresh, support themselves and their families and not become a burden on welfare.
By filing bankruptcy you allow yourself to get back into the game financially and plan for future expenses like home purchase, college tuition and retirement. There are many ways to give back to the community in the future and you will be better able to do this if you have a solid financial foundation.
Trading Guilt for Determination
Here is my philosophy on guilt, you can take it or leave it. Feelings of guilt are normal, even when we are not actually at fault. Many of my clients that file bankruptcy due to medical bills feel guilty about their bankruptcy although they have no control over the cause of their financial problems. Other times the guilt is appropriate because we have had at least some control over our own situation. I have found that guilt can make me feel terrible and hamper my work, my personal life etc. So I think it can be a very destructive emotion.
So my philosophy is to trade guilt for determination. Example: Each time you feel guilty about filing bankruptcy, think about one thing you can do that will improve your financial life or at least remind you that you are back on track. It could be as easy as paying your electric bill the day it comes in the mail. It could be planning to make pizza together with your family instead of going out. Instead of letting yourself feel crappy, trade that feeling for one little determination and do it! If you can make this a habit, than every time you feel guilty about something you will make one small change that will improve your life and reduce future feelings of guilt, because you know you are taking action to improve your situation.