Some people feel shame around the prospect of declaring bankruptcy. They may feel that bankruptcy should be their very last option, or that somehow bankruptcy represents a moral failing. Some people even go so far as to sacrifice their businesses rather than follow through with a bankruptcy filing that could have kept them afloat.

Weighing your options

The truth is that people face bankruptcy for all sorts of reasons, many of them outside of their control. Divorce, medical debt and job loss are three such reasons. Often people make things even worse for themselves when they try to stay the course and deal with debt on their own. Without the protection bankruptcy provides, creditors can sue to garnish your wages. You could lose your home to foreclosure. You could lose your business, if you have one. Creditors can harass you nonstop. They may even start harassing your neighbors in an attempt to get you to pay. Is all of this worth it just to avoid a bankruptcy filing?

Your credit can recover

You may be reluctant to file for bankruptcy out of fear of what doing so will do to your credit score. Some people even mistakenly believe that if they file for bankruptcy, they will no longer qualify for any sort of credit or loan for the rest of their lives. This is simply not true. While your credit score will take a temporary hit from a bankruptcy filing, it is just that: temporary. And the hit is likely worth it if you’re already missing payments or have a huge balance on credit cards that’s affecting your income-to-debt ratio. Bankruptcy allows you to start re-establishing your credit right away with a better financial base. You may be surprised at how quickly your credit score can improve.

Taking the plunge

Like diving from a high board, bankruptcy feels much better once you’ve committed to the process. Sure, it can feel terrifying when you’re standing at the precipice. But for what you get in return– the opportunity for a fresh start after a difficult journey–it’s often more than worth it.