Top 10 Reasons People Go Bankrupt

Written By Jeff Hindenach
Last updated December 1, 2020

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April 13, 2015

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

In today’s economic climate, personal bankruptcy has climbed at an alarming rate. According to U.S. bankruptcy court statistics, more than 1.5 million people file for bankruptcy every year. Most significantly, nearly 97 percent of bankruptcy filings are made by individuals, not by businesses.

Here are the top 10 reasons people go bankrupt:

A recent Harvard University study showed that medical expenses account for approximately 62 percent of personal bankruptcies in the U.S. Interestingly, the study also showed that 72 percent of those who filed for bankruptcy due to medical expenses had some type of health insurance, thus debunking the myth that only the uninsured face financial catastrophes due to medical-related expenses.

Companies are cutting down on their expenses, and for many employees, this results in major pay cuts and reductions in bonuses. The end result to employees can include bankruptcy.

Even if there’s a substantial severance pay, job loss can quickly deplete one’s savings and assets. Plus, job loss brings extra expenses such as COBRA insurance — and there’s no guarantee as to when a new job will be forthcoming.

Credit debt isn’t just a result of irresponsible spending. It can also pile up due to catastrophes such as illness and disability, job loss, emergency expenses or unexpected income reduction. Here are some good tips on how to reduce your credit card debt to help avoid bankruptcy. If you need help, a company like National Debt Relief or Accredited Debt Relief can help you either consolidate or settle your debt. Keep in mind, debt relief companies usually cost about 18% of whatever debt is settled.

If your credit card debt is dragging down your credit score, credit repair companies might be able to help you raise your score so you can get a low interest consolidation loan to help lower your monthly payments. Check out our credit repair reviews to get a better idea if credit repair will work for you.

Divorce is a costly business, even without counting lawyers’ fees. Divorce and separation can also mean a significant loss of income and assets for either or both partners.

Emergencies can hover just around the corner, whether they involve a car breaking down, a tree falling on the roof or catastrophic storm damage. Just one of these events can quickly drain savings that took years to accumulate.

If you haven’t paid that student loan off yet, you’re not alone. Statistics show that student loans account for at least 1 percent of all U.S. bankruptcies, which translates to roughly 15,000 bankruptcies a year. If you are having trouble paying your student loans, look into consolidating your loans into a lower interest loan, through one of the many online loan companies.

For many of today’s homeowners, the rising costs of heating, air conditioning, electric and other necessities can quickly help pave the way to bankruptcy.

According to statistics, more than 1 percent of Americans have to file for bankruptcy in order to avoid foreclosure on their homes.

Thanks to inflation, managing money is harder than ever, and a combination of bad budgeting and uncontrolled spending can provide a shortcut to skyrocketing debt and bankruptcy. Here are some tips on how to create a healthy budget.

While bankruptcy can provide a sensible debt solution for some people, others have found that by consolidating their debts, they can avoid the trouble and expense of bankruptcy and still take control of their finances. Whichever method works, the important thing is to start dealing with the situation as soon as possible — because debt is one problem that, unfortunately, doesn’t disappear on its own.

About the Author

Jeff Hindenach

Jeff Hindenach is the co-founder of Simple. Thrifty. Living. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. He has a long history of financial journalism, with a background writing for newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Examiner, as well as writing on personal finance for The Huffington Post, New York Times, Business Insider, CNBC, Newsday and The Street. He believes in giving readers the tools they need to get out of debt.

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