Do You Fit The Profile Of A Typical Bankruptcy Filer?
You have probably heard all the stereotypes about people who file for bankruptcy. There’s the guy who makes extravagant purchases and invests in business ventures that have little chance of success and then, instead of paying up, declares bankruptcy when the bills come due. Then there’s the guy who declares bankruptcy after a divorce, hoping that he can get a modification of his child support amount; meanwhile, he has his job pay him in cash so he can spend lavishly on his girlfriend. People who fit these stereotypes account for only a small percentage of bankruptcy filings; in fact, more than half of people who file for bankruptcy are women. Don’t assume that, just because you are not a womanizer or a wannabe business tycoon, you do not qualify for bankruptcy protection. Everyone’s bankruptcy filing is unique, and a Miami bankruptcy lawyer can give you advice about yours.
Bankruptcy Filing Statistics
There is such diversity among bankruptcy filing cases, that it is difficult to say that anyone is a “typical” person who is filing for bankruptcy. According to Debt.com, an increasing number of bankruptcy filings are by individuals, as opposed to businesses. In 1980, businesses made up 13 percent of bankruptcy filings, but in 2020, they represented only three percent.
These are some other statistics about how much or how little you resemble other people who have filed for bankruptcy:
- Florida is second only to California in terms of the number of bankruptcy filings per year. This is probably due to Florida’s large population and its lenient wage garnishment laws.
- Slightly more than half of all people who file for bankruptcy (52 percent) are women, contrary to the stereotype of bankruptcy filers as men who want to avoid financial responsibility for their families or unsound business decisions.
- Divorce is not the main driver of bankruptcy filings; only 15 percent of bankruptcy filers are divorced. 64 percent are married, three percent are widowed, and 17 percent have never been married.
- The median age for bankruptcy filers is 45, but about 15 percent are below age 35, and another 15 percent are above age 55.
- Student loans are a major source of financial hardship, but they also cannot receive all the blame for bankruptcy filings. More than a third of bankruptcy filers have never attended college, and only 20 percent hold bachelor’s degrees.
The biggest thing that bankruptcy filers seem to have in common is that they are experiencing financial hardship for reasons beyond their control. Many of them have suffered injuries or illnesses that led to costly medical bills while temporarily or permanently limiting the person’s ability to work. Remember that you have legal rights regarding how creditors can treat you; filing for bankruptcy may be the solution to your financial problems.
Find Out If Bankruptcy Protection Is Right for You
A South Florida bankruptcy lawyer can help you determine whether filing for bankruptcy protection is right for you. Contact Nowack & Olson, PLLC in Miami, Florida to discuss your case.