A little over fifteen years ago I declared bankruptcy. This was mainly due to compulsive gambling that I financed with credit card advances. My total debt was only about $20,000. When I think about that amount now I know I could have paid it off eventually but at the time it seemed like an insurmountable total. One of the main reasons that it seemed insurmountable is the my credit card companies kept hitting me with late fees,over the limit fees and punitive interest rates so even though I was making monthly payments my debt just kept getting larger. Getting into debt was one hundred percent my fault but I feel the credit card companies should have at least tried to work with me. With the credit card companies offering no flexibility on the repayment terms the situation seemed hopeless. I gave up and declared bankruptcy.
The bankruptcy law has changed since I declared bankruptcy, someone filing today would have a different experience. The lawyer fees and court fees together were about $500. I’m sure it would cost more now but it was a lot to me at the time and it was a struggle to come up with the amount. The bankruptcy hearing itself was pretty simple. None of my creditors showed up. The judge asked me if I had any assets. I replied that I did not and that was pretty much the extent of it.
The aftermath wasn’t too bad either. I’m sure my credit was very poor after that but I wasn’t applying for any loans so it didn’t really matter. I was able to rent an apartment while the bankruptcy was pending. The apartment management didn’t really care about the bankruptcy. I was told as long as my rental history was fine then there wouldn’t be a problem. My rental history was perfect because I always considered my rent payments more important than credit card payments. Since the bankruptcy was quite a while ago it no longer has any effect on my credit and I have above average credit.
All in all my bankruptcy experience wasn’t that bad. It was probably too easy but since the law has changed I don’t think that is true now. I wouldn’t do it again in the same circumstances though.