COMMENTS ABOUT BANKRUPTCY

For most people, the idea of going bankrupt is frightening. People with financial problems don't feel comfortable in exposing their fears to a lawyer or accountant. People with debt are afraid to confide in friends or family. They find it hard to speak to people at work about financial problems. Many bankruptcy applicants have never discussed their fears with a person who has been bankrupt.

For many years we've sent a brief questionnaire to people who've just been discharged from bankruptcy. The questions allow the recently discharged bankrupt to express personal feelings about the bankruptcy experience. The following comments are some of the more revealing answers we've received. We've made no attempt to change spelling or grammar.

Return to Main Page

Return to General Information

horizontal rule

WHAT HAD YOU HEARD ABOUT BANKRUPTCY?

"I expected all my household belongings taken away & perhaps a jail sentence"
"Most of what I heard was false"
"All our worries would be off our shoulders"
"I thought bankruptcy was for losers; that it could be avoided"
"I expected several gruelling meetings with my creditors"
"heart failure"
"horror stories-you are basically stripped-every possession taken & sold-embarrassment"
"public humiliation"
"last resort"
"humiliating, defeated feelings"
"shame and disrespect"
"That people that go bankruptcy looses the dignity as a human being and member of society"
"that it is like a life jacket"

Return to Main Page

Return to General Information

horizontal rule

IF YOUR EXPERIENCE DURING BANKRUPTCY WASN'T THE SAME AS YOUR EXPECTATIONS, HOW DID IT DIFFER?

"The decision to declare bankruptcy was more stressful than the 9 months of bankruptcy"
"Treated with much more dignity and respect than expected"
"Had heard that bankruptcy was a state of disgrace. Instead it was a well structured procedure for resolving a crippling problem"
"The worry of debts caused me to have a major heart attack and the bankruptcy relieved me and I am strong again"
"I expected it to be more difficult and punitive"
"I felt I was treated like society understood & didn't judge me overly harshly"
"A feeling of failing, self humiliation and doubt"
"I experienced a sense of relief, a new chance"
"I found it more freeing than unpleasant. I felt I had more control over my financing"

Return to Main Page

Return to General Information

horizontal rule

WHAT DID YOU FIND MOST UNPLEASANT ABOUT BANKRUPTCY?

"Feelings of failure"
"The day before we decided to do it"
"Initiation of Process; overcoming the feeling of failure"
"How accessible your private affairs become to so many people/organizations"
"The bank I had a car loan with told me that all bankrupts were undependable"
"The somewhat public admission of my financial failure"
"Losing face and swallowing my pride"
"Our children would find out"
"the decision to do it; phone calls from creditors"
"anxiety, worried about failure, starting again, admission to those close to have "The stress of anticipation" high expectations"
"Inability go get small things (e.g. rent a movie) without credit card ID. Always a reminder!"
"losing possessions, and status among peers"
"the sense of personal defeat"
"personal embarrassment that I couldn't find any other solution"
"the depressed feelings"
"shame, loss of dignity, lost credit, friends etc."
"shame"
"I was a banker [former collections supervisor] and was ashamed that my financial affairs were a mess; also the calls from collection agencies were very upsetting"
"First visit with the trustee"
"The feeling of failure"
"I felt as if I took money away without paying it back to my creditors"
"Walking away from obligations & responsibilities"

Return to Main Page

Return to General Information

horizontal rule

CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE EFFECT THAT FINANCIAL DIFFICULTY HAD ON YOUR PERSONAL LIFE AND THAT OF YOUR FAMILY?

"Stress. I was afraid to come home from work & deal with phone calls & the mail"
"Running short of cash. Having to borrow from family and friends until payday"
"It almost broke up the marriage. It was really hard to even smile"
"Tension, high blood pressure, psychic stress, difficulty functioning, depression"
"I went from hero to zero fast. I broke up a marriage of nine years and experienced turbulence in all areas of family"
"Major adjustment to lifestyle"
"Traumatic - constant worry, no sleep"
"Moved 7 times, lost all friends & gave up dream of owning a business - severe depression"
"Our family was in a state of turmoil and unstable"
"I have lost self esteem, which will take time to rebuild"
"We are experiencing periods of anxiety - 3 of us are under dr's care and taking anti-depressants"
"Total humiliation, unable to pay rent, buy groceries, unable to collect UIC or even welfare. Had to borrow from friends. Resulted in sickness & DR.'s care"
"Debilitating, Depressing, Destructive"
"It seemed that no matter how hard I tried to pay the bills, they seemed to go on forever"
"I felt like I was going crazy with all the bills coming in and not having the money to even make the payment and realizing I was in over my head"
"I was growing tired of living hand to mouth, and sick of trying to negotiate with Canada Student Loans, and collection agencies and I felt guilt over my unpaid debts"
"I became insecure, hid out for a month, ashamed and unable to make simple decisions. Just getting over it a year later, but I find that I'm more cautious and trust people less."
"I became even more aware of each & every penny & how I spend it"
"Added stress. Increased drinking to forget"
"My children live up north. I have been unable to see them as often as I lost my car in the bankruptcy"
"very stressful; effected everyone in the family; frightens people around you; the fear of what is going to happen"
"I was embarrassed to talk about it. The only person that knows about it is my son who lives at home"
"Unable to live lifestyle we were used to"
"I had a wonderful job, a beautiful house and a loving husband. Thanks to my husband and his drug problem I lost everything I ever wanted that's why i divorce him. Now I am free"
"The loss of confidence by others and not being able to give your family what you want to"
"Separation from my husband"
"Ulcer, sleepless nights, worry, depressed"
"the effect was very stressful"
"made life miserable"
"very restricting on personal and social life"
"money anxiety brings up all of one's deepest fears and affects every aspect of one's life"
"It shattered my life & my children's lives"
"It exacerbated a difficult solution with my family"
"My personal life was devastated. Lost my family and a good job"
"I tend to be more conscious of money that I spend now"
"Brought family closer together"
"Lost total support of spouse"

Return to Main Page

Return to General Information

horizontal rule

DID THE TRUSTEE'S ACTIONS, ADVICE, COMMENTS OR GUIDANCE MEET YOUR EXPECTATIONS?

"After my discharge I jumped for joy. It was too easy"
"I found you to make the process emotionally quieting, orderly and reassuring"
"He was most helpful & patient, & took time to explain everything plain & simply"
"More than I expected. I expected a crabby, aging accountant who would give me a lecture on personal/financial responsibility. This was so far from reality - I was pleasantly surprised!"
"I was impressed by the courtesy and straightforwardness in the proceedings and the immediate tangible results of the service, e.g. the sudden politeness of the formerly rude and relentless collection agents"
"The trustee was the best part. He was understanding, direct and to the point and I felt he did everything he could have"
"Without his guidance during this trying time I'm sure I would have had a nervous breakdown"
"I expected him to tell me whether I could go bankrupt and to be more of a high school principal dealing with a delinquent. He was excellent, very personable. I felt less stigmatized after talking to him, less panicked, less overwhelmed by legalities"
"Above and beyond his obligations"
"Yes they did with a big "plus" in the guidance area"
"I found the trustee to be very kind & reassuring. He spent a substantial amount of time explaining procedures while guaranteeing the least amount of embarrassment possible"
"I expected to spend the time in his office in tears, instead he gave me hope and candy"
"They exceeded my expectations. Guidance was totally invaluable"
"Trustee couldn't have been more understanding and whenever I called worried about something in the bankruptcy he was always there to talk to & reassure me"
"well above expected [level of service], very thorough & most importantly very personal & human"
"Trustee gave us the confidence to continue our lives but it is an experience we would never hope to go through again. We felt so guilty. We're OK now"
"I came into my trustee's office with my tail between my legs & walked out with my chin up"

Return to Main Page

Return to General Information

horizontal rule

HOW DO YOU INTEND TO CONTROL YOUR FINANCIAL AFFAIRS IN THE FUTURE TO KEEP OUT OF TROUBLE?

" 1. Get a divorce; 2. Never own any credit cards; 3. No loans other than to buy a home"
"careful planning & budgeting"
"Use credit only when necessary. Have only one major card and control the limit"
"Use a lot of self discipline to not spend"
"No credit cards! No husband!"
"Keep expenses in balance with my regular earnings"
"I will pay cash for things I require & prioritize what I actually need and do without what I can't afford until I can"
"No impulse buying; careful management"
"Attend my 12 step meetings and work on my internal problems"
"Work long and hard; budget my savings; make money, save money and spend only when needed"
"Have more self discipline"
"Have priorities list. Have emergency fund. Do not have credit cards. Use willpower when something is not on priorities list"
"Carry over ''recession'' mentality even in ''good times''"
"Reduce my expectancy level"

Return to Main Page

Return to General Information

horizontal rule

THE TRUSTEE PROVIDED YOU WITH INFORMATION AND "COUNSELLING" REGARDING THE DECISION TO GO BANKRUPT, HOW TO CONTROL YOUR EXPENSES, BUDGET YOUR INCOME, AND MAKE SURE THAT YOU DON'T GET INTO FINANCIAL TROUBLE AGAIN ONCE YOU'VE BEEN DISCHARGED. WHAT OTHER KIND OF INFORMATION OR WRITTEN MATERIAL COULD HAVE BEEN PROVIDED TO HELP A PERSON IN YOUR POSITION?

"Cheapie Budget book handout to each bankrupt; brochure on financial ramifications of drugs, smoking, alcohol; real estate speculation + pitfalls; life-style self-evaluation pamphlet"
"We could use information on how to recover credit line"

horizontal rule

WHAT KIND OF SERVICE DID YOU EXPECT THE TRUSTEE TO PERFORM?

"Undertaker"

horizontal rule

WHAT COULD YOU SUGGEST TO MAKE BANKRUPTCY SIMPLER OR EASIER FOR THE BANKRUPT?

"Tylenol"
"Issue guns"

Return to Main Page

Return to General Information

horizontal rule

IF YOU WERE HARASSED BY A BILL COLLECTOR OR A COLLECTION AGENCY ACTING FOR A CREDITOR, DO YOU HAVE ANY COMMENTS ABOUT THE CONDUCT OF THE COLLECTOR AND HOW THIS AFFECTED YOUR DECISION TO GO BANKRUPT?

"They basically pushed me to decide to go bankrupt"
"I felt they were pushing me to declare bankruptcy so they could close the file"
"These people are inhumane. Their parasitic behaviour forced me to seek the option of bankruptcy. I was truly frightened by their threats of court action"

horizontal rule

WHAT KIND OF MATERIAL ON BUDGETING, PERSONAL MONEY MANAGEMENT, SHOPPING SKILLS, USE AND COST OF CREDIT, ETC. WOULD YOU FIND USEFUL TO MAKE SURE THAT YOUR SPENDING AND DEBT LOAN NEVER AGAIN GETS OUT OF CONTROL?

"I'm looking for professional help on money management"
"A short weekend or evening seminar lasting 3-10 hours outlining methods of controlling expenses and saving money"
"Strict discipline in all areas"
"A simple course in accounting with a dash of restraint for good measure"
"Something describing what the creditor is willing to look at as a viable risk and some tips on how to select a credit company or lender who is best suited to ones own needs & Income"
"One written in stone and hanging from my neck. But seriously, I now feel that one major card from a banking institution should be used ONLY"
"I would like to see a course offered in budgeting creatively"

Return to Main Page

Return to General Information

horizontal rule

DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER COMMENTS ABOUT BANKRUPTCY?

"I think that most people feel & think that personal bankruptcy is the end of the world - it's not - it's a new beginning"
"I wish that I had been taught at a younger age the responsibilities of finance. I never was taught to be frugal"
"Now I have more leeway to do what I want to do without being a slave to my finances"
"We are ecstatic about being discharged! Now is an upward battle to rebuild, we would certainly appreciate any information re: credit re-building, budgeting, management etc."
"Thank the great Creditor in the sky that it exists"
"This has given me freedom from debt and peace of mind"
"Spirit was willing but pocketbook was weak!"
"Bankruptcy is instant relief to a person who is on the verge of a breakdown from threats of creditors, when you refuse to answer the phone, no matter who the caller is"
"The most painful part of the process is overcoming the shame of being in such a situation"
"I wished I had asked for advice about bankruptcy sooner. I could have saved myself & family two years of stress. ... The process was a healing one. It is not taken lightly nor thought of as getting away with something but through the year things do become easier. Ultimately you have the money to pay for things at time of purchase, and bills as they are due. This gives a lot of personal satisfaction and freedom also happiness to realise that you once again have control over the money you work so hard to earn"
"What would assist potential bankrupts would be more factual publicity about life in financial crisis-before, during and after bankruptcy"
"We would prefer not to have to file for bankruptcy. Losing your home, your car and thousands of dollars invested in these items is a hard thing to accept. The humility gained by the process has caused us to re-evaluate our goals, our spending habits and to come to mutual decisions about our future. We have decided to approach spending in a more cautious manner"
"I am grateful for the opportunity to have a new start. My health has improved considerably, and I am much more productive at my job without the added stress at home. My trustee was so helpful both in providing information about the procedures in declaring bankruptcy, and also in offering guidance"
"I wish I knew more about money management, keeping records and books, etc."
"I have also learned to avoid men without the ambition to work"
"If bankruptcy is inevitable, walk tall, change your habits, change your values. Get help if required. Change your entire life if you have to. Just make a 5 year plan to rebuild your life, stick to it & have a definite goal of achievement at the end, then make another set of goals/plans for the next 5 years etc. Discipline yourself"
"It is a road that having any way around I would not have ventured down. But having made the decision - It certainly lessened the stress of each days mail & phone calls"

"Thank you again. Please don't take this next comment personally but I hope I don't see you again - financially anyway"

Return to Main Page

Return to General Information

horizontal rule