I am so glad that bankruptcy was touched on in the consumer finance section. I have worked as a paralegal at a bankruptcy law firm for 13 years. I have experienced consumers under the old law as well as consumers under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention & Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) of 2005. Prior to the law of 2005, anyone could file bankruptcy. After 2005, congress developed a “means test” to determine whether a consumer qualifies for chapter 7. In my opinion, the means test does still have some flaws, but for the most part, it is a wonderful tool in determining bankruptcy abuse. Although the word “bankruptcy” is taboo in our society, bankruptcy can be very beneficial to people who are financially drowning. Not every person who files bankruptcy has to file due to irresponsibility with their finances. Many people file because they have accumulated mountains of medical bills due to an injury or an illness. I have met people from all walks of life while working at a bankruptcy law firm, and have seen so many people benefit from a fresh start.
After reading the piece about starting a business, I think that it is something that every consumer should read before making a decision. The American Dream is to one day own a business. But, what people don’t know is that the cost to own and run a business is very high. A business may bring in a lot of money each month, but people do not take into consideration how much money goes out to pay taxes, rent, wages, benefits, utilities, supplies, etc. No education on starting a business is why many business fold. The business owner does not have a full grasp on the costs and eventually the owner can not keep up with all of the expenses associated with the business. Perhaps states should offer more education on owing a business.
Poverty is a real thing in the United States. It is very sad how little money some people live on. I played the game that was offered under the finance matters tab. It really opened my eyes to how careful I needed to be spending my money. Although I do not live in poverty, I still have to carefully manage my money as well. It is not easy, and it is not something that is taught in school. Making financial choices can be stressful, and as the game shows, at times a gamble. While playing that game I realized that my main concern is my children. I made sure that they had a roof over their heads and food to eat.