A couple of weeks ago, the federal bankruptcy court approved the petition of the city of Detroit to declare themselves bankrupt. This means the city’s debts will be discharged - municipal bonds, pension debts, healthcare benefit debts, and other credit obligations to financial institutions. They are asked to submit a restructuring plan on March of 2014 that will indicate the city assets (e.g. art collections) that they can sell off. The profit will be distributed towards their creditors and whatever cannot be paid will be discharged.
The reason why Detroit had to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy is because of their dwindling revenues from taxes. The local government had to rely on credit to pay for running their city and providing the benefits that they needed to satisfy. It was really a disaster waiting to happen and we can learn a lot from their mistakes.
Here are some of the lessons that we can get off of them.
- Take action now. In our own personal finances, we always try to make light of many things to keep ourselves from feeling too depressed about our mistakes. While this is okay for motivation’s sake, it can sometimes be dangerous. If you can act on the problem now, then make the necessary sacrifices to avoid further destruction of your finances. Stop deluding yourself that your debts will go away if you ignore them. If you need to earn more, there are legitimate work at home jobs that can help you grow your money for debt payments. It is better to sacrifice your time now if it means you can save yourself from bankruptcy later on.
- When all else fails, it is okay to opt for bankruptcy. In case things have gotten out of hand and you have no choice but to declare yourself bankrupt, then just dive into it. If you think that no second job or negotiation efforts will save you from your creditors, then just file for bankruptcy. Prolonging the situation after exhausting all the other options and still be in a financial rut will only make things worse. The interest, charges and other fees will only add up to grow your debt even more.
- Let go of the disappointment. Bankruptcy, although it paints you as a financial failure, should be taken as a positive light. Do not wallow in self pity and just be as optimistic as the mayor of Detroit. He encouraged his city to just move forward and concentrate on fixing their city.
As Detroit is trying to get back up to rebuild their city, so you need to start looking at how they will do it to find motivation to get yourself back up as well. This whole event makes you realize that financial difficulties can target anyone. You need to stop deluding yourself into thinking that you are immune to it. Even if you are earning a lot right now, that is not an excuse to be reckless with your money. Be wise with your financial choices to keep yourself out of financial difficulties.