It’s a great American financial phenomenon: The economy appears strong and unemployment rates have bottomed out, yet millions of Americans are still struggling to make ends meet and pay all their bills.
With high levels of middle-class consumer debt creating a complicated picture, it’s hard to understand where things really stand for the “average” person. It’s important to realize that many people with “good jobs” and nice homes are considering bankruptcy as a way to get real debt relief.
Have things gotten that much better since the Great Recession?
In many ways, yes. The national unemployment rate is at a shockingly low 3.7 percent, the lowest it’s been in decades, with a very healthy 250,000 jobs created in October, according to a New York Times story that explores bigger themes like the relationship between inflation and interest rates. Fewer people are stuck with bad mortgages now, and there are fewer home foreclosures nationwide.
At the same time, the number of non-business bankruptcy filings shows that millions are struggling with debt. Though the number of bankruptcies has dropped from a high of more than 1.5 million in 2010 to 767,000 in 2017, according to United States Courts statistics, many people are experiencing high stress because of their debts. In many cases, this has much more to do with unexpected events — like a divorce, and illness or even a job loss — than our bigger economic picture. Life happens.
Get legal advice if you need it
All this is to say that bankruptcy can be a great help to anyone who needs it and qualifies for it, regardless of education level or career accomplishments. If you are considering bankruptcy as part of your debt relief strategy, talk to an experienced attorney who can evaluate your situation and help you explore your options.