If you are so deep in debt that you feel like you may never get out again, you are not alone. As of 2015, statistics from United States bankruptcy courts indicated that every year more than 1.5 million people, 97% of them individuals rather than businesses, file for bankruptcy.
Severe debt can afflict anyone, at just about any point in life, for a wide number of reasons. Often, the circumstances that place you in debt are not of your own making. Here are some of the top reasons people in the United States end up filing for bankruptcy.
- Job loss
You do what you can to prepare for the eventuality that you may lose your job. Nevertheless, even when you receive some prior notice, job loss can deplete your savings quickly.
- Credit debt
Credit debt can pile up quickly due emergency expenses, sudden catastrophes, unexpected income reduction and job loss.
- Reduced income
Reduced income can result from job loss, but it can also result from bonus reductions and pay cuts. Even when you keep your job, you may not have enough money to pay off your debts.
- Student loans
Every year, student loan debt in the U.S. causes 15,000 people to file for bankruptcy. In other words, student loans are responsible for an estimated 1% of all bankruptcies that occur in the United States.
- Medical expenses
People may think that having health insurance means that they will never have to file for bankruptcy, but that is not necessarily true. Having health insurance may mean that you incur less debt, but it does not necessarily cover all expenses related to health care. As a result, nearly three-quarters of all people whose medical expenses caused them to file for bankruptcy had health coverage of some type. Medical expenses also account for well over half of all U.S. personal bankruptcies: approximately 62%, according to one study by Harvard University.
You cannot always control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them. Filing for bankruptcy may be a way to give yourself a fresh financial start.