I have been considering bankruptcy since I was 26. After multiple conversations with different people and going in to the bankruptcy building and getting a feel for the process I decided not to. I went to the Bankruptcy court downtown Brooklyn in Cadman Plaza after reaching out for free help multiple times in which those attorneys always seemed to be on "vacation". I left that office with a list of things I needed to do bills I needed to have and it included everyone I owed, their amount and their address. I thought it was weird that they charge poor people for being poor and proclaiming publicly that they're poor. If I had an extra $900, I would just pay off some of my debt. Our nation has a habit of thinking backwards. Out of all the things I was told, what left a lasting impression to me was that once I go through with this process whoever I forgot to include in the bankruptcy process, I would still owe. That scared me.
It was a good thing I decided against it. Previously I had owed over $40,000 in school loans and credit card debt. After doing my taxes in 2014, and receiving a very large bill from the IRS, I realized something happened. Since I had not paid my student loan debt with Chase in over 7 years, they wrote my debt off and magically I was no longer liable for it. We have been taught to believe that all of our student loan debt will always be looming over our heads but unbeknownst to us, there's always a loop hole. My chase loan was a combination of a private loan and one of my Sallie Mae debts that was apparently sold to Chase. I did have to pay $2,000 of taxes or re-do my taxes for that year which is a small price to pay for a free $20,000.
It is important to not only pay your bills but keep track of the bills you don't pay. Imagine if I had spent my last few dollars doing the bankruptcy process only to be exonerated of thousands of debt in the very near future. I've been raving about Credit Karma but it has been such a help for me to keep track of what I pay, what I owe and how long I have until I no longer have to pay these people any more. Credit is a game of time. Those who win understand the game and play it well.
OTHER POSTS IN MY PERSONAL FINANCE SERIES
Assistance if you've fallen behind in your rent
Life after fucking up your credit
Buying a Metrocard can help build your credit
Wage Garnishment in New York