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Bankruptcy Warning Signs: Identifying Early Indicators of Financial Distress



Bankruptcy Warning Signs: Identifying Early Indicators of Financial Distress

23 August 2023
Bankruptcy Warning Signs: Identifying Early Indicators of Financial Distress

Discover the Indicators that could Forecast a Looming Bankruptcy

1. Consistently Overspending Beyond Your Earnings

This tops the list for a significant reason—it’s a frequently observed precursor to potential bankruptcy. Many individuals find themselves grappling with bankruptcy due to unforeseen medical emergencies, divorces, or job losses that aren’t covered by insurance. Others simply struggle with mismanagement of their finances on a day-to-day basis.

If you suspect you fall into the latter group, take a moment to list all your monthly expenses. Refer to your bank statements, credit card bills, and other invoices to ensure you’ve accounted for every expenditure. Sum up the total and compare it to your monthly income.

Should the total exceed your earnings, you’re left with two choices: refine your money management skills or explore avenues to augment your income. You might only need an extra $150 monthly to balance the equation. But beware, putting this amount on a credit card with an 18% interest rate could lead to a snowballing debt exceeding $4,000 within a couple of years. The crucial question is, how will you settle this debt if you’re struggling to cover your regular expenses?

Consider potential approaches to earn an additional $150 each month—perhaps through overtime at work, assisting a senior neighbor, or capitalizing on a hobby to sell handmade items. If these options are unsuitable, assess areas to cut back expenses. Could you opt for a more affordable cable or phone plan? Adjusting your thermostat and reducing salon visits might also aid in savings. Effect change in your financial equation—trim expenses, enhance earnings, or a combination of both. Ignoring the issue will only lead to unmanageable credit card debt and eventually bankruptcy.

2. Relying on Credit Cards for Emergencies

Credit cards can be handy, but their high interest rates warrant caution against carrying a revolving balance. If you’ve managed to curtail your spending or found supplementary income, prioritize settling your credit card debt in full. Establish an emergency savings account as a next step. Even saving a modest $50 monthly can provide a buffer for unforeseen expenses.

Imagine a scenario a year from now—an unexpected car repair costing $500. Tack on $85 for a two-day car rental, and the total bill becomes $585. With diligent saving of $50 monthly since reading this advice, you’ve amassed $650.32, which covers the cost. This path leaves you with a positive savings balance of $65.32.

Now contrast this with a situation where you haven’t started an emergency fund. In that case, you’d resort to charging the car repair and rental to your credit card. Repaying the 18% interest-bearing credit card balance over 13 months would amount to $57 in interest alone. The difference between these scenarios is clear—one leaves you financially ahead while the other traps you in a cycle of accumulating debt.

Choose the path of financial prudence—begin an emergency savings account today to avoid the pitfalls of bankruptcy.

3. Postponing Essential Payments Due to Cash Flow Problems

Delaying necessary expenditures, such as dental care, eyeglasses, prescriptions, roofing repairs, plumbing fixes, or car maintenance, can magnify the risks associated with these needs. Inability to cover these costs upfront hints at overspending, inadequate earnings, or insufficient savings.

For instance, neglecting regular dental check-ups not only invites dental issues but also paves the way for harmful bacteria linked to heart problems. Failing to correct your vision with updated eyeglasses elevates the risk of accidents. Skipping prescription refills compromises your treatment, potentially worsening your health conditions. Deferring a new roof or plumbing repair puts your home at risk of water damage, while ignoring car maintenance jeopardizes both your vehicle and your mobility.

Maintaining your health, home, and transportation is paramount, and adjusting your spending or boosting income can make these vital payments feasible. Relying on credit for such necessities could ultimately push you toward bankruptcy.

4. Absence of Disposable Income for Enjoyment

Money serves the purpose of sustaining your lifestyle. Evaluate your current way of life—can you allocate funds for social outings, hobbies, or travel? A lack of discretionary income is a sign of overspending elsewhere or insufficient earnings. And if you do indulge in leisure activities or make purchases like a used convertible, do you resort to credit? The question arises—how will you manage to clear this debt?

By optimizing monthly expenses, exploring opportunities for added income, and initiating an emergency savings fund, you can steer clear of unnecessary credit card interest. The money that would have gone toward interest payments can now be directed toward enjoyable pursuits.

5. Persistent Anxiety and Stress Regarding Finances

Many people rank finances as their primary source of stress. Chronic stress not only exacerbates health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, and mental health disorders but also diminishes overall well-being. Taking charge of your financial situation using the advice presented here contributes to both your physical and emotional welfare. If your debts have grown unmanageable, engaging a bankruptcy attorney might be a prudent step. If concerns about these potential bankruptcy indicators trouble you, it’s never too late. Filing for bankruptcy could discharge your unsecured debts, offering a fresh financial start. While your credit score might experience a temporary dip, you gain the opportunity to reset your financial trajectory with a bankruptcy and taking part in our post-bankruptcy Annual Financial Review Program. To address these concerns, reach out to the Wright Family Law Group today for a complimentary consultation at our Danvers or Tewksbury offices.

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