“Other than credit card debt, most of these events are beyond a person’s ability to control,” Trumble said. “Very few people declare bankruptcy because they splurge on cars or luxury vacations. It’s usually because they’ve hit an unexpected rough patch and don’t have enough savings to see their way through it.”
The kinds of crises that lead to bankruptcy can strike anyone, regardless of income or education level. According to a survey conducted by ACCC, more than half (53 percent) of the 1,985 participants who filed for bankruptcy had completed at least three years of college. Fourteen percent of those surveyed had a graduate degree. Another survey by ACCC indicates that of the 2,857 people who filed for bankruptcy, more have a higher annual salary of $60,000 (25 percent) than make $20,000 or less (20 percent).
“Long-term hospital stays can run tens of thousands of dollars, so having a high income doesn’t necessarily protect you from bankruptcy when a major crisis like a medical emergency suddenly strikes,” Trumble said. “The best way to protect yourself is to be prepared for anything. Work out a plan to start saving money now so that, in the future, you’ll be better equipped to weather a financial storm if a disaster occurs.”
American Consumer Credit Counseling’s certified and experienced counselors offer a variety of financial education, counseling and debt management services to help consumers achieve long-term financial health and stability.
ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization, that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:
• For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
• For bankruptcy counseling. call 866-826-6924
• For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
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