I’m Curious About Bankruptcy

Posted by on Sep 14, 2017

When is it right to declare bankruptcy? That’s the question on my mind these days. I’ve found myself more underwater than I expected after my year exploring new careers. I should have just stuck with my old job—I was working as a bar manager and making pretty decent money—but I’d convinced myself I was capable of doing more with my life.

It turns out, I was, but not for nearly as much money. I’ve picked up some work as a photographer—the dream job—but with so little experience, I mostly work for free. It feels great to get the photos posted and seen online and around Waco, but it’s cost me quite a bit. I’ve taken on a mountain of credit card debt, which just sits atop my mountain of college loan debt, which is nestled next to my mortgage for the house I foolishly bought two careers ago (when I was an office manager).

Now, I just don’t know. The debt is crushing. I want to keep going with the career, but I can’t so long as I owe so much of my measly income. Should I just go ahead and declare bankruptcy? What kind do I even declare?

I know there are those out there who assure me that bankruptcy isn’t that painful. I’ve seen a Central Texas bankruptcy lawyer’s websites that say all the right things: that it’ll help turn my life around, that it’ll be a relief, that I’ll walk away from some debt and reorganize some debt and I’ll be able to breathe again. That’s what I want to hear, but I’m afraid I’m just canceling out all the noise that suggests I’m in for far more financial hurt than I’m prepared for.

I mean, I don’t even know if I’ll lose my house. Or my car. Or my camera? What exactly am I entitled to holding on to?

Again, the lawyer pages all say I can keep those things, but can I trust them? Maybe I should have chosen this career change to be in law. At least I’d have an idea what I’m up against by now.

Maybe I’m not even afraid of losing everything. Maybe, honestly, I’m afraid of looking like a loser. That’s the word I associate with bankruptcy. Loser. I know, I’m aware at least, that very successful people declare bankruptcy sometimes. The president’s done it more than once they say. So it can’t be that bad. Can it? There are so many “chapter” types. Maybe some of those are for rich guys who aren’t losers and the other chapters are for photography fans who happen to also be losers.

Maybe I should just hang on for a while longer and wait to see if that great big photography contract comes in. Or maybe I should go back to the bar.

I have no idea at this point. All I know is I need to make a choice one way or the other.

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