At the Gunderson Law Firm, our team spends a lot of time making connections with leaders in the fields of real estate, insurance, and finance. We also spend plenty of time getting to know not only our clients, but the many small business owners, individuals, and households who make up our Roscoe Village neighborhood, and the city of Chicago as a whole.

And in all of this, there’s one thing that comes up again and again. When it comes to issues of debt and bankruptcy, there is a lot of misinformation out there. Myths and misconceptions get taken as facts. Rumors and exaggerations fly around. Or consumers may be told one or two things by businesses – but without being giving any context, or the whole story it takes to understand these complex issues.  

From time to time, it’s important to shed some light on things, and really dive into the facts, to help provide that bigger picture – and separate fact from fiction.

What’s the old saying? “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” Well, in that spirit, let’s dive into 10 bankruptcy and debt facts and figures you may not have heard. For instance?

Did you know…

  1. Nearly 13 million consumer bankruptcy petitions were filed in the federal courts between 2005 and 2017, according to a report from U.S. Courts
  2. Nonbusiness filings (those involving consumer debt) accounted for the vast majority; they made up 97% of all Chapter 7 bankruptcies and 99% of Chapter 13 bankruptcies
  3. Of those filings, about 68% were filed under Chapter 7, and 32% under Chapter 13
  4. In 2016, there was roughly one Chapter 13 filing for every 405 households nationally
  5. According to a Harvard study, reported by Huffington Post, medical expenses accounted for approximately 62% of personal bankruptcies as of 2015; among those who filed for bankruptcy due to medical expenses, 72% had “some type of health insurance”
  6. Student loans are a growing and significant cause of bankruptcies, accounting for at least 1% of U.S. bankruptcies, according to HuffPo – that’s in the tens of thousands of filings per year
  7. As of the 2010-11 census, almost 70% of households in the country had debt, with median household debt hovering right around 70% – up nearly $20,000 from the year 2000
  8. Total consumer debt is projected to reach a record-shattering $4 trillion by the end of 2018, according to a report brought to our attention by CNBC
  9. Americans spend more than a quarter (26%) of their annual income on debt – that’s up by more than 22% since 2012
  10. Debts on auto loans and credit cards are climbing at a rate of 7% per year, while housing debt is rising at a rate of roughly 2% annually

The Big Picture On Bankruptcy and Personal Debt

So, what’s the takeaway from all of these stats?

Broadly speaking, things aren’t all doom and gloom – and that’s important to realize. Even more important? It’s crucial to recognize that if you’re struggling with debt, you’re not alone. Millions of households across the country are grappling with similar issues – and many have already found that bankruptcy can offer a “light at the end of the tunnel.”

While it often tends to get a bad rap, due to myths, misinformation, and some questionable reporting, declaring bankruptcy is often a viable strategy to help you escape the crushing grip of debt, and strike out for a fresh financial start.

Bankruptcy is understandably often viewed as a last resort. But with that being said? Here in Illinois, bankruptcy laws can offer individuals, couples, business owners, and corporations numerous ways to get financial relief, offering the solutions they need to get out from under debt, and put their lives back on track to reach a more productive future.

Looking for Guidance Through the Bankruptcy Process?

No judgements, no misinformation – just honest opinions, realistic financial planning, and the chance to get a fresh financial start. That’s what the Gunderson Law Firm brings to our bankruptcy clients, day in and day out.

At the Gunderson Law Firm, we will take all steps possible to protect you and your assets from the start, and throughout every step of  the bankruptcy process. We can also counsel you on realistic ways to avoid such serious debt issues in the future. Whether you are a business owner, a wage earner, retired, or otherwise, we can address your specific situation with strategic plans, designed to protect your assets to the full extent allowed by today’s laws.

We pride ourselves on helping our clients get the debt relief they not only need, but genuinely deserve. Don’t hesitate to drop us a line or give us a call to see if you qualify for bankruptcy, to talk over your financial planning alternatives, or to ask any burning you questions you might have. Our team is here to help you leave debt in the past – whatever it takes.