This is a hard post for me to write. However, my goal here is not only to help myself but to help and encourage others as well. In 2008 I went bankrupt after years of struggling to hold my head above water.
What I view as my biggest life failure took place over the course of about six years. In 2002 a man that I was engaged to walked away from our relationship leaving me in deep financial waters without a lifeboat. I had foolishly combined our income and allowed him total control of our finances without having any input. When he left, he cleared out our bank account, left months worth of bills unpaid and the house we had bought 18 months earlier on the verge of foreclosure. For the next several months I tried to pull myself out of the financial hole I found myself in. Unfortunately it was a lost cause. The bank foreclosed on my house and at 23 I moved back home brokenhearted and financially busted.
Over the course of the nest few years I tried to work with my creditors and pay back what I owed. However, this never seemed to work out the way I wanted or needed it too. In 2004 my mom had a routine knee replacement surgery. Eight weeks latter, just two days before she was to return to work, she was readmitted into the hospital. She had developed a staff infection that was so severe she almost died. My mother spent the next year fighting to get better and I spent it being her full time caretaker. I also spent that time taking care of my three high school aged foster bothers. In the fall of 2005 my mom was finally able to start caring for herself for a couple of hours a day and I took that opportunity to start attending classes at my local community college. Things were starting to look up…or so I thought. In 2006 I had an emergency appendectomy. With no insurance to help pay for the surgery I was now faced with a $15,000 hospital bill that was added onto the pile of debt I had been struggling with. In the end it was to much for me to handle at that point in my life.
Finally in 2007 I started the process to declare a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It took a while for me to save the funds I needed to hire the lawyer, and pay for the court costs. It wasn’t until 2008, shortly before I got married, my bankruptcy was granted and I was free from that consumer debt that had hung around my neck like a weight pulling me down.
In the last six years I have shied away from taking on anymore debt without a plan to repay it. While my husband and I weren’t focused on paying off debt for the first few years of our marriage we did manage to pay off about $15,000.00 of consumer debt. Today we are focused on becoming debt free within the next five years.
I am sharing my bankruptcy story with you so that you will have an understanding of where I have come from and where I hope to go. While going bankrupt isn’t ideal it did give me the ability to start again. My hope is that if there is someone out there who is that deep in debt and considering bankruptcy they find my story and know that it isn’t the end of the world.
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