We need to eliminate ‘failure’ from our lexicon. Failure is when you give up. If you have a mindset of openness and a preparedness to deal with all the difficulties then you have not failed, you are still in the game. It is the mindset that is your leverage.
As you rebuild your financial life after bankruptcy, remember the hard lessons learned. You don’t want to become a serial offender; you DO want to rebuild, that’s natural, once you strip the emotional detritus that is currently around you, out of the way. Be diligent with your finances and be careful not to over extend yourself again. Take good care of your credit and your financial health after filing for bankruptcy.
The whole reason for filing for bankruptcy is protection. You want to be able to protect yourself, your family, or your business from creditors. What kind of protection you get really depends on who you call for advice. Remember, businesses and individuals both have different needs. There are a few things that bankruptcy will not protect you from. So you need someone who will have the answers and who guide you through the minefield – and it can be a minefield as our stories in the book will have sharply demonstrated.
Tricks and Techniques
So far I’m sure that it appears my stories have focussed on the emotional energy connected with financial issues, or indulgent waffling about my role in things, and I hear you asking – “aren’t there some tricks you can teach me?” You didn’t come here for a self-help book on your emotional wellbeing. I get that, I just think it’s equally important for you to realise that a clear mind and an unemotional approach is half the battle to rebuilding your fortunes. As surprising as it may feel to you at the moment if you’re suffering financial stresses, if you have the right mental approach, you might even enjoy the next stages of the journey. I guarantee you that they won’t be boring. There are many tricks – although let’s just call them techniques. Tricks sounds deceitful and I need to be very clear on this. The techniques I have deployed or witnessed over the years as people have navigated personal and business insolvency were all legal techniques to the best of my knowledge. They were techniques allowed for under the requirements of the Bankruptcy Act and the Law. I’m not a lawyer, I don’t give legal advice. The techniques I touch on in this
book are simply that. Techniques and some would say smart moves deployed by clear headed businesses and individuals.
Techniques that very simply have helped countless people use Bankruptcy and Insolvency options for exactly what it is intended for:
• To provide a fair process for dealing with the financial affairs of insolvent debtors.
• Ensure an orderly distribution of the estate of the bankrupt among creditors and
• Allow for the rehabilitation of the bankrupt or insolvent company where possible.
We don’t live in Ancient Greece, where a person (and their wife and children) unable to pay their debts was forced to work for his creditors until such time as the debt was paid off. It’s worth noting however, that even in Ancient Greece the state placed time limitations on this and most debtors were released from slavery after five years.
Avoiding Scurrilous Acts
Today, bankruptcy exists to allow for protection for individuals from having their lives destroyed by financial misfortune. It’s true that the laws have been exploited and as a consequence the Bankruptcy Act continues to be updated to prevent it’s exploitation by scurrilous individuals.
Ultimately, laws which are often updated to capture the scurrilous often also entrap the innocent or let’s just say less scurrilous individuals. Insolvency – the in-ability to pay one’s debts isn’t a criminal Act in most instances. It used to be – but that’s not the world we live in today. That’s important to remember. Creditors and debt collectors have been known to use fear of criminal proceedings to intimidate individuals in their pursuit of monies owed. There are circumstances where the court may consider that certain actions are criminal acts of fraud or acts deliberately undertaken to deny creditors the monies they are due. You should seek qualified legal advice to make sure that your own actions don’t fall under this category.
Acts that may be considered to fall under the category include:
• Attempting to put property or assets beyond the reach of creditors. (i.e. gifting property or putting them in the name of family or friends).
• Going into hiding or attempting to leave the country.
These actions will get you into trouble with the law and make it difficult to argue that you simply are in the unfortunate situation of not being able to pay your bills.
• Deceptive behaviour will likely be considered by the courts as just that – ‘Deceptive’.
• Your failure to pay a debt is not in itself an Act of Bankruptcy. It’s how you handle what happens after that that determines how your situation will resolve itself.