How to Talk About Bankruptcy with Family

How to Talk About Bankruptcy with Family

If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, then you’re also likely wondering how to talk about it with family members. Here are a few tips to help you discuss your decision with loved ones.

  • Be honest and accountable. It would be helpful for family members to understand the reasons that caused you to declare bankruptcy, if unknown to them. In your discussion, explain the reasons as honestly and neutrally as possible without assigning blame. This is especially important if your bankruptcy was the result of a family member’s unexpected medical emergency.
  • Discuss forgiveness. Bankruptcy is backed by the U.S. court system, which believes that debtors should have the opportunity to have their debts forgiven when necessary. So, if you are feeling judged by family members (or yourself) or guilty about your financial situation, remember you deserve forgiveness too.
  • Trust yourself. Filing for bankruptcy is a legal and legitimate way to remove yourself from debt that has become unmanageable. If you’ve made the decision to file for bankruptcy, you did not arrive at this decision lightly. You carefully weighed the pros and cons of filing for bankruptcy and decided it is the best course of action for you and your family at this time.
  • Highlight the benefits. When you are discussing bankruptcy with your spouse, relational partner and/or children, make sure you focus on the positive benefits filing for bankruptcy will bring to your family. For example, you may want to mention how filing for bankruptcy will free up money that you can use to save for your future – saving for educational expenses, purchasing a new house, etc. The filing will relieve stress.
  • Involve family members in the process. Work with your family to create a new financial plan, including a monthly budget that includes all bills, saving for retirement and establishing an emergency fund so that money is available for when the inevitable happens. Ask family members for ideas on how to trim expenses without sacrificing your family’s quality of life.

When discussing your bankruptcy with loved ones, don’t solely focus on why you’ve made the decision to file. Remember to also include how your decision will positively impact your family’s future. If you’d like to learn more about talking with your family members about bankruptcy, please contact me to schedule an appointment.