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The top 4 reasons people declare bankruptcy

The public myth that bankruptcy is a last ditch effort of irresponsible people to get out of their self-created debt problems is simply not true. Most people who declare bankruptcy are honest people facing tough circumstances. Unfortunately, due to bankruptcy myths and fear that bankruptcy is a declaration of financial failure, many people wait until their financial situation is dire before acting.

If you are facing overwhelming debt, you don't need to wait to learn about your options. Bankruptcy isn't failure. It isn't scary. It may save your financial future.

Here are four of the top reasons people file for bankruptcy.

Reason #1: Medical debt

According to a Harvard University study, medical debt accounts for nearly 62 percent of all personal bankruptcy filings. You may think the majority of people who file because of medical debt don't have health insurance, but that's simply not true; more than 75 percent of people who file bankruptcy for medical reasons have health insurance.

The reality is that the unexpected check-ups, ambulance rides, surgeries, medications and other medical expenses add up quickly. Thankfully, most medical debts are dischargeable through bankruptcy. People who face the myriad life changes and stresses related to medical emergencies should not have to also face the lifelong financial challenges that often coincide.

Reason #2: Job loss and pay cuts

Most Americans live within their means. When their means get cut, however, things start to implode. Job loss, pay cuts and bonus reductions can deplete savings accounts and send someone into a financial spiral that is largely out of their control.

Reason #3: Credit card debt from unexpected costs

Beyond medical bills and job loss, there are many other unexpected costs that can arise, from common emergencies such as car trouble to less common emergencies such as fires and storm damage. While most people have insurance, insurance doesn't cover many of the issues we end up facing throughout our lives.

Reason #4: Divorce and other significant life changes

When two incomes shrink down to one, life gets even tougher, particularly if kids are involved. While divorce itself doesn't cause bankruptcy, the many financial challenges that can arise during and after divorce certainly can.

Bankruptcy is a fresh start, not a crutch

As you can see, most people who declare bankruptcy are caught unaware by debt. Most people are good people who are simply trying to make ends meet. Let's work together to destroy the stigma attached to bankruptcy and see people who file for what they are: People like you and me, facing difficult life challenges. People who deserve a fresh start.

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