I cannot say that I am surprised about the result of a recent poll of budget-conscious consumers conducted by the ACCC. The financial education group’s finding is that the vast majority of Americans do not understand the bankruptcy process. I am not surprised because all too often clients who come in to our bankruptcy law offices are shocked that they have needlessly suffered for years on end when they could have simply followed a few simple steps and gotten a fresh start years before they came in though our doors. All too often it takes the urging of family and friends.
If people had really had the right information in their hands when they first needed it, they could have reclaimed their lives so much earlier. I suppose the one fortunate externality of the increase in bankruptcy filings during our recent depression is that those who filed did so much to remove the stigmas surrounding bankruptcy. After all, when your boss or someone that you really respect has filed it becomes a little easier to file yourself.
I hope that in ten years when the ACCC does another poll, the vast majority of Americans will not regard bankruptcy as a mystery, but as a useful tool for getting back in the financial mainstream after being left out.