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Sometimes our clients make a big mistake before they ever reach us: waiting far too long to declare bankruptcy. Waiting means your options for debt relief dwindle, and it means exposing yourself to unnecessary pain and stress as you continue to fight your creditors.

Often, this happens for one of two reasons.

Sometimes it happens because the client is scared. They’re afraid they’re going to lose their house, car, or personal property in the bankruptcy. They’re also afraid of other consequences. Few realize bankruptcy can actually help them protect these assets. While the process is not consequence-free, neither is it the end of the world. Most people who need to file bankruptcy and do so end up in better circumstances than when they began.

Sometimes it happens because the client is ashamed. But anyone can wind up having trouble with their finances. Some of the world’s most successful people filed bankruptcy at one point or another. Some have filed bankruptcy multiple times.

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself when you’re trying to determine whether it’s time to contact a bankruptcy attorney.

“Am I robbing Peter to pay Paul?”

Do you often find you’re alternating which bills are going to get paid late this month so you can try to keep yourself afloat? This is a big sign you’re completely financially overextended. And if you use credit cards to pay off other credit cards, you’re really in some serious financial trouble.

Bankruptcy can give you a fresh start which will allow you to reorganize your life in a way that helps you live within your current means.

“When’s the last time I paid anything other than the minimums on my credit cards?”

Paying the minimum on your credit card means you are barely touching the principal balance on that debt. You’re mostly paying interest.

Let this go on long enough, and you will end up paying way more in interest than you ever owed on the actual balance of the card.

“Am I paying for necessities with credit cards?”

If you have to use your credit cards to pay for your light bill, get groceries, or pay for your prescriptions, you’ve got a problem. For one thing, this situation isn’t very sustainable. Sooner or later you’re going to hit your credit limit.

A fresh start may be the only answer.

“How much money is in my savings account?”

If you can’t even get $1000 in your savings account you have a situation in which any emergency can push you right over the financial edge. It may only take one more blown tire, injury, or illness to ensure you simply cannot meet your obligations anymore.

Everyone needs a financial cushion.

“Are credit card companies starting to notice how much trouble I’m in?”

Sometimes credit card companies are pretty adept at spotting trouble, even before you start falling behind. If you receive a notice that your interests rates are being increased or that your card is being terminated, beware. Visa and MasterCard may be seeing something you aren’t.

And if you’re paying for necessities with a credit card that just cancelled, you’ve lost that resource.

“Am I in danger of losing my house or car?”

If you’re falling behind on your monthly mortgage or car payments it’s a good idea to call us right away. You may have options. Coming to see us right away gives you the best chance you have to retain these valuable assets.

“Has my financial stress become overwhelming?”

Are you and your spouse fighting about money constantly? Are you depressed or stressed to the point where you can’t concentrate on work or your children anymore? Do you feel like the phone never stops ringing because creditors are harassing you day and night?

At some point, continuing to fight your creditors ceases to make sense. If you don’t like the answers to any of these questions, give us a call today. We’ll take a look at your situation, discuss your options, and figure out the best move for your unique situation. You’ll begin feeling empowered to turn your life around instead of paralyzed and at the mercy of others. Remember, we you can speak to our offices 24/7 with one call.