My buddy Craig Fossett of Fossett Financial pulled the curtains back on a particularly painful experience that millions of people face each year: bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy can seem like a failure of epic proportions, but it can also be a fresh start if the correct lessons are learned and necessary adjustments are made.
In this New Year New You 2015 profile, we take a look at how abundant life can be achieved after bankruptcy.
Craig uses his experience to help other improve their financial literacy. He shares his experience with life after bankruptcy.
1) How long did you wrestle with negative feelings about the bankruptcy or yourself? How long did it take to recover mentally from the experience?
It’s been 16 years since I filed bankruptcy. It was a negative feeling for a few years. That negativity became a headache when I was working with insurance and investment companies and they all wanted a detailed story with every application to become a licensed agent. The agencies I worked for typically offered 8-12 companies and I had to fill out a mini novel for each one. I now use the experience as a positive to help others solve their financial issues.
2) Has the bankruptcy prohibited you in a meaningful way from accomplishing any of your financial goals?
I don’t believe I’ve been held back from achieving any of my financial goals. Certainly, for a time things were a little tough. Right after the bankruptcy there were feelings of inadequacy and failure. I had heard a number of multi-millionaires say they had been through bankruptcy and that it was part of the process that shaped their success.
2.5) What good came out of your experience with bankruptcy? How do you avoid being in that situation again?
A lot of good has come from it today. My church sponsors a home buyers class designed to help first time home owners. Many of the people we see have messed up finances. I can say that my situation was worse than 99% of the people I teach so they can see hope for their situation. As for avoiding the situation again, I’ve went on a quest to make sure it never happened to me. It was a few years after that I started helping with the class and sharing my story. Today, my testimony teaches others what to do as well as what NOT to do.
3) You met your wife after filing, how soon into the relationship did you disclose your financial history?
My wife and I met in December ’02 and were married in October ’03. By February we were discussing our finances. Neither of us hid any of our financial challenges. The honesty and openness helped us grow closer and build trust. Before she learned about my issues, she was worried I’d find her student loan debt to be a big problem and burden. Both of us accepted the financial situation and we went into the marriage with our eyes open. God gave us a vision to pay off all our student loan debt before me moved into a home. We paid it off in 2012 and built up a 20% down payment for our home. We closed on our home the day of our 10 year anniversary.
4) Any thoughts for someone facing a major financial decision such as bankruptcy in the near future?
I believe every situation is unique. I also believe many people rush into bankruptcy because of fear. Most people don’t have a financial coach like yourself to help them understand how to go through the process and work their way out of debt. When people lose hope they look for the easiest way out and often that is bankruptcy. The biggest thing people need to do is change their habits first by filling out a budget (or whatever you want to call is) and being accountable for their financial decisions. They also need to know that they can negotiate some of their debts and interest rates. A financial institution would rather get 60% of their money than have you file bankruptcy and leave them with nothing. If you are struggling financially, don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Find more motivation on our New Year New You 2015 profile’s page.
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