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Spending Compulsions and Bankruptcy


Oftentimes “retail therapy” is a way that people cope with stressful situations, by shopping excessively or without need. These unnecessary shopping trips can be harmless in many cases, however, over time can prove to be a serious financial challenge. Spending compulsions can lead to overwhelming debts, and ultimately the need to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, if not addressed, the same issue will present itself after the bankruptcy as well, and the debtor will find him or herself in the exact same financial situation again and again. When spending money becomes a compulsion or a maladaptive coping mechanism, it can result in serious financial and emotional problems.

Credit Card Debt

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will often eliminate a great deal of consumer debt, such as those debts created by purchases with a credit card. Once these debts are eliminated in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy however, oftentimes a person will begin their same spending habits and patterns over again, landing them in the same situation a short time later. However, there are strict laws regarding how often and when a person may file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy again. The ability to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not unlimited and is not available in every situation. Therefore, if the issue of spending compulsively is not addressed during or after the original Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor can find themselves in an even more challenging situation and be unable to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Debtors Anonymous

If you, or someone you love, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, consider attending Debtors Anonymous. This organization is based upon the principles found in “Alcoholics
Anonymous”, including 12 steps and a support group. This nonprofit organization seeks to help those people struggling with how to handle money in a positive and healthy way, instead of using shopping and spending as a quick fix for emotional relief.

Questions To Ask Yourself

Debtors Anonymous has a series of questions to ask yourself if you believe that you may suffer from a spending compulsion problem.

  • Are your debts making you or your family unhappy?
  • Do you feel pressure every day regarding your debts that distract you from your home life or work?
  • Do your debts affect your personal or professional reputation, or how you think of yourself?
  • Have you ever provided illegal or false information to attempt to gain credit?
  • Do you give unrealistic promises to your family or creditors regarding your debt?
  • Do you fear that people will find out how much you owe?
  • When you are faced with a financial situation and consider borrowing more money to relieve that debt?
  • Have you ever abused alcohol or other drugs to relieve the pressure of your debts?
  • Do you believe you will get a negative response when someone needs to investigate your credit for any reason?
  • Have you ever borrowed money without a thought as to the rate of interest?
  • Have you ever cancelled your plans to pay off your debts when you are under any kind of pressure?
  • Do you ever justify your spending by saying you deserve the purchase, or you are simply better than other people?

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

Contact the West Palm Beach bankruptcy attorneys at Kelley Kaplan & Eller at 561-264-6850 for a consultation and to help you understand the benefits of bankruptcy and how to get your life completely back on track financially after the bankruptcy process.


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