Skip to Content Top

Debt is a Symptom — Not the Problem

Blogs from August, 2013

Lawyer taking notes

Many people come to the offices of our Woodland Hills bankruptcy lawyers because they have a problem with debt.

Person standing with arms in the air

It’s true that when debt becomes overwhelming‚ bankruptcy is often one of the best ways to get out from underneath it entirely.

But what people have to recognize if they hope to avoid finding themselves in a similar situation again is that debt is often a symptom of a greater ill.

True‚ there are situations when it piles up beyond our control. Usually‚ this is in the form of medical bills or expenses incurred in the midst of a divorce or in the wake of a job loss. These are things you don’t expect to happen and even if you try to plan‚ you can’t always fully cushion the blow.

However‚ if we are honest with ourselves‚ we know that debt-driven woes become cyclical when we fail to address the controllable underlying issues that got us there in the first place. When this doesn’t happen‚ elimination of the debt is not an elimination of the problem.

That is‚ we could have all debt discharged by bankruptcy. But if the underlying issue isn’t identified and addressed‚ you will find yourself back in this financial hole once again.

Think of it like this: Let’s say you have a headache. Your first response might be to reach for some medicine. This will treat your symptom‚ for a while. But it doesn’t address the underlying cause‚ which could be high stress‚ eye strain or even a medical emergency. Until you address the problem‚ you’re going to keep getting headaches.

The true cause of overspending‚ when we take an honest look‚ has to do with our own personal attitudes and habits. What that means is that the solution is going to be not just financial‚ but personal.

More than likely‚ your debt isn’t a result of any colossal misjudgment‚ but rather a culmination of smaller money mistakes you’re making on a regular basis. In the end‚ getting out of debt is simple: Reduce your spending and increase your savings and‚ if possible‚ your earnings. That’s the easy part.

It involves day-to-day choices like:

  • Making your coffee at home and taking it with you to work‚ rather than stopping at a cafe to buy it;
  • Buying a reliable vehicle and maintaining it‚ rather than leasing a new one every few years;
  • Cooking healthy meals at home‚ rather than frequently dining out;
  • Shopping for what you need rather than for recreation.

These may present some challenges‚ but the greater obstacle is shifting your personal attitudes to align with these goals.

For example:

  • View finances as a personal responsibility‚ rather than seeing yourself as a victim of financial circumstances;
  • Actively plan your finances;
  • Practice delayed gratification;
  • Define your self-worth in terms of values‚ rather than things.

Bankruptcy is often just the very first step in what will be a journey to greater financial freedom and personal reward. We want to make sure it’s a successful one‚ and we are dedicated to providing you with all the tools you will need to make a fresh start.

If you are contemplating bankruptcy in Woodland Hills‚ contact Cal West Law to schedule your free consultation. Call (818) 446-1334

Share To: