Life after Bankruptcy
After reading the highly recommended blog post by nuf2b, I decided it is time to offer an opposing view. There is so much negativity and pessimism on CAPS lately that I just wanted to offer some hope - especially during this particularly stressful (for some) holiday season.
I am a single Father who went through a horrible marriage that ended in a nasty divorce in 2000. Two years later I lost my six figure income as a result of the post 9-11 economic downturn after I was laid off from a startup techology company. I spent the next 2 years living off my credit cards, paying my divorce attorney and a child custody evaluation to try to rescue my daughter from her emotionally abusive mother. In early 2004 I landed a contract position in Las Vegas that paid well and I began to rebuild my life. A year later I won full custody of my daughter who came to live with me and still does. I filed for Ch 13 bankruptcy, lost all my credit cards, and spent all of my 401k savings that I had spent 15 years building up, but was able to keep my house which I owned for 13 years. In late 2006 I sold my house, paid off my attorney, and got my BK discharged early.
My 1-year contract job in Vegas extended into more than 4 years of employment and I lived a meager existence with my daughter during that time. I had to manage my cash flow very carefully and focus on buying necessities while putting off buying "stuff" that was not essential to life. But I managed to rebuild my credit, I have money saved, and 6 months ago I landed a full-time position at a decent salary with a local government agency that still has a pension plan (in addition to a 401k)!
I rent my home now, I am investing a little bit when I can, and my only debt is a car payment. I have been putting some money into savings accounts, a 529 plan for my daughter's college expenses, and I was fortunate enough to get some inherited money from an uncle who died unexpectedly last year. And best of all, my daughter and I have a great relationship, she is happy, healthy, an honors student in middle school, and an accomplished equestrian (I have also managed to afford to pay for her passion of riding horses!)
Yes, the economy is in bad shape, and yes there are many people who are being adversely affected. The important thing to remember is that time heals most wounds, and that slow and steady savings with reasonable willpower to avoid non-essential items can get you back on track to have a wonderful life.
I hope this inspires people who are struggling. Please give generously this year if you are one of those who are not suffering hard times. There are a lot of good people who have been the victims of bad times or sketchy business practices. Let's lend them a hand and help get them through these tough times.
Best wishes to all in Fooldom for a peaceful, joyous, and prosperous holiday season!