For a number of reasons, many residents of the Buffalo area may run into serious financial problems.
Recent statistics from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the employment rate hovers around 7.5% in Buffalo, meaning more than 1 out of 20 households may be out of work.
These statistics do not account for underemployed individuals, that is, those who are currently not able to find work in their profession of choice and thus may not be earning an income that is enough to maintain their standard of living.
In other cases, a serious medical emergency or other crisis can put a family in upstate New York into a financial tailspin with little or no warning.
These families should understand that the reason the United States allows bankruptcy in the first place is that our society recognizes that responsible and honest people do sometimes face profound money problems and are not able to pay their debts without sacrificing basic needs.
The point of bankruptcy is to give these families a fresh start on their finances, and there is certainly no shame in asking for this second chance.
Individuals have choices when deciding how to pursue bankruptcy
Most families in the Buffalo area will have one of two viable bankruptcy options available to them. Most will choose a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in which they will turn over all of their non-exempt property in exchange for debt relief.
For others, a Chapter 13, in which they will agree to repay all or part of their debts over a period of 3 to 5 years, will be the better or even the only available option.
In both cases though, filing for bankruptcy will usually stop collection efforts. A successful bankruptcy could help a family permanently wipe out thousands of dollars in debt.