Bankruptcy Affecting More and More Americans, According to Harvard Law Prof.

“The rise in bankruptcies is not about something that happened last week or last month,” said Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard Law School professor and a bankruptcy expert. “It’s about the fundamentals. It’s about declining wages, rising costs, inadequate health insurance, job instability. More hardworking middle-class families simply can’t make it in this economy, and it’s only getting worse.”

I couldn’t agree more.  95% of the people that walk into my office needing bankruptcy aren’t traditionally “poor”; most are employed or had been employed for years before losing their job to layoffs that were beyond their control.  Most have families that they’re trying to support.  Without health insurance, with the credit crisis and with the devastating effects of Adjustable Rate Mortgages, many people are quickly swallowed up by the common, albeit tragic, events we read about in the papers and watch on the news.  Unfortunately, our society presents a double-standard that makes it hard for many people to take the appropriate steps to help themselves: Our legal system offers bankruptcy as a practical way to solve these problems, but at the same time our notions of pride, and perceptions of social stigma that go with bankruptcy, often keep people from taking action soon enough. 

So here’s my advice: If you’re reading this and you think you may need a bankruptcy – even if you don’t think you need it yet, call a bankruptcy lawyer.  DO NOT borrow against your 401(k) or other retirement account without talking to a bankruptcy lawyer first.  I cannot emphasize that enough.  Even if you are a financial planner and have a PHD in Economics, if you do not know about bankruptcy, do not borrow against your retirement before talking to a bankruptcy attorney!  Find someone you’re comfortable with.  If you want to check me out, go to my website at  

Published in: on May 28, 2008 at 1:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

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