Entrepreneur magazine published an article last year about how entrepreneurs rebound from filing bankruptcy and move forward with their lives. After reading the article I believe the recommendations are solid for individuals who have filed or are considering filing.
My Thoughts on the Recommendations
- Face your financial problems head on. The worst thing you can do is bury your head in the sand and believe the issue will go away. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer can help you understand what you are facing and help you see your situation without the emotions that affect your judgment. Turn a lemon into lemonade.
- Take a financial inventory. How much do you have in savings? How much do you owe? What assets (property) do you have? Be realistic about your current financial situation and get advice from an experienced professional who can put together a game plan to get you headed in the right direction.
- Create a budget to move forward. A plan to move forward is a must! Put together a minimum budget that you can live on and stick to it. In this article, the couple forced themselves to stick to a budget for 1 year no matter how much they made. It has been my experience that people will spend what we make. However, through discipline and sticking to a budget you can be successful saving money. For example, create both short term (30-60 day) and long term (1 year and longer) financial goals. Then, when you reach those goals, celebrate in some meaningful way so as to encourage yourself.
- Intense focus. Get rid of anything in your life that is distracting you from your goal of making it through your bankruptcy case and getting a fresh start. Cancel gym memberships, cut off the TV cable, look at your insurance policies to see if you are paying too much for life, health, or auto. Take a hard look at personal and business commitments you have made. It may mean backing out of some, even if temporarily, so that you can concentrate on financial goals. Do what is necessary to rebound and get that fresh start you are dreaming of.
- Engage again. Filing for bankruptcy does not mean you are a failure. Money is just one small part of your life. Picture in your mind that your life up to this point is represented by a blank, white sheet of paper 8 by 11 ½ inches. Now take a pencil and make a small circle on that piece of paper and shade in with the pencil (this will represent your bankruptcy). Now tell me what you see? Some of us will focus only on the shaded circle while others see the white piece a paper with an extremely small shaded circle. My point is that a bankruptcy is just an extremely small part of your life and should not be what you or others should focus on or judge you by.
Remember, it is vitally important that you reach out to experienced professionals and get solid legal advice. At Bond & Botes we have been helping good people through bad times for over 25 years. We always offer a free initial consultation with an experienced, practicing attorney who can review your situation and make recommendations.
Robert Reese is a Managing Attorney at the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Birmingham, Alabama. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Jacksonville State University, and a Juris Doctorate from the Birmingham School of Law. Robert is also a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA). Read his full bio here.