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Dealing with life's financial emergencies

Life comes at us in unexpected ways. Some people suffer unexpected health problems, or the untimely death of a spouse. As we know well in Texas, others find themselves in the path of a natural disaster that destroys a home and devastates a community. And in a tough economy, many millions of Americans have had to deal with an unanticipated loss of a job, foreclosure and bankruptcy.

A recent article addresses ways we can cope with a “life emergency” that involves financial losses. The writer stressed that the financial problems inherent in each of the emergencies – divorce, natural disaster, death of a spouse, loss of a job and bankruptcy – can be managed if we know which steps to take and which ones to avoid in the wake of a disaster.

Obviously, each of the first four events listed (divorce, natural disaster, death of a spouse, loss of a job) can potentially lead to the fifth event: bankruptcy.

For instance, the death of a spouse is often preceded by an illness that drains family financial resources. Medical bills mount to astronomical figures in short order when a life-threatening illness is involved.

Studies have shown that a majority of bankruptcies are the result of medical expenses that create unmanageable debt.   

Other major factors involved in many bankruptcies: divorce and loss of job.

With all of these gloomy subjects looming over this post, let’s offer a ray of sunshine: bankruptcy is no longer uncommon, meaning it no longer taints a person for life, either financially or socially.

It’s very possible that societal attitudes toward bankruptcy have shifted because so many people have been forced to seek bankruptcy protections. As it turns out, those folks are family members, friends, co-workers or neighbors. 

Another ray of sunshine: filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy gives a person a fresh start in life. They can put past misfortunes behind them and move ahead, rebuilding credit enabling them to purchase a home, buy a car and so on.

For those facing the possibility of bankruptcy, a conversation with an experienced attorney can help put the mind at ease and begin the transition to life with a clean slate.

Source: Lifehacker.com, "How to Bounce Back from Five of Life's Biggest Financial Emergencies," Sheryl Nance-Nash, Feb. 28, 2014

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