Archive for February 2016

Who is the typical Bergen County New Jersey Bankruptcy client?

The first thing people say when they walk through my door is that “this is the last place I thought I would be.”  After doing this for more than 10 years I can tell you financial distress does not discriminate among race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, profession or gender.  To quote a recently retired bankruptcy court judge, “life happens.”

What I can say is that the large majority of client come to office after what I call a trigger.  These triggers are beyond the control of my clients (who I call “victims” of circumstance) fall under the category of “life happens” and include: divorce, illness, separation, death in the family, unemployment, and underemployment.

The government claims that unemployment has gone down.  Do you believe it?

The government claims that unemployment has gone down. Do you believe it?

It is not their fault they fell victim to these life altering circumstances.  For example, despite the government’s claim that unemployment has gone down and the economy is slowly getting better we hear that Walmart and many other retailers are simply laying-off employees and closing down hundreds of stores.  Yahoo is laying off 15% of its workforce.  AIG announced cuts of about 23% of its senior management.  AIG’s cuts have been part of what I would characterize as rolling lay-offs in 2014, 2015 and continuing into 2016.  These are just some examples of how larger companies are fairing so imagine how smaller companies are doing.

Bankruptcy filings for 60+ year-olds continue to rise at an alarming rate.  More often than not they seek bankruptcy protection after being late off after working for decades at the same company.  They know all to well that they will likely never work again and if they do work they will be underemployed because someone much younger (and who will work for a lot less) will replace them in the newly created position (created to force out the 60+ year old).  This same group has often signed parent-plus loans and/or co-signed student loans for their children totaling as much as $50,000.00 to $250,000.00.

Most people who are employed at this point consider themselves lucky and raises are infrequent and often non-existent.  What happens when someone receives a raise is that their health care contribution usually goes up a minimum of 10-20% thereby causing the “raise” to evaporate.

I understand the reluctance of filing and the sense of guilt and shame that is associated with even the prospect of filing.  My office is caring and compassionate and together we can come up with a plan that will give you financial relief.  There is hope and life after bankruptcy!

 

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