Worried about your outstanding loans or debt? You’re not alone. In India, debt is one of the main causes of financial stress, affecting millions of people. Many folks take on debt to buy a car or house, go on a vacation, fund their education, etc.
According to a survey, about 67% of Indians switch to personal loans to meet their financial needs. It’s shocking, isn’t it? But debt is not always good. It has many negative consequences, such as high interest rates, penalties, etc.
Further, if you cannot manage the loan effectively, it can trap you in a non-stop cycle of debt and stress. This cycle could damage both your mental and physical health. Sometimes, it could also lead to bankruptcy. However, financial literacy can aid in managing finances after bankruptcy.
So, let’s explore what bankruptcy is, what causes it, how it affects your finances, and how you can use financial literacy to rebuild your financial health.
When you declare to the court that you can’t repay the loan to your creditors, you are declared bankrupt. Bankruptcy can differ based on your situation and the laws of the country where you reside.
One case can be that you sell all your assets, like a house, car, jewellery, etc., to pay back whatever debts you have. The remaining debts are forgiven in this case. But this will greatly impact your credit report and score.
Another option you have is to negotiate a payment schedule with your creditors. You will repay some debts gradually. You can do proper budgeting after bankruptcy.
Must read: Creating and sticking to a budget
What are the causes of bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy can be caused because of many reasons, including:
In India, many people face bankruptcy due to their medical bills. Why? The reason is that people can’t afford the high and uncertain costs. Further, many people do not have adequate insurance or savings to cover them.
What about spending too much? It can lead to bankruptcy too. If you live beyond your means, i.e., using credit cards, loans, or other debts to support your lifestyle, you will run out of money sooner or later and fail to repay your creditors if you spend more than you earn.
Imagine losing your job. You will have no paycheck or safety fund to meet your financial needs, which can strain your budget. Paying bills, rent, or mortgage will be very challenging for you, and you might end up in debt.
Usually, mortgages are the biggest debt people have. However, they hold great importance. If you do not pay your mortgage or home loan on time, you might have to let go of your home.
Also read: Financial literacy in India
Impact of bankruptcy
Bankruptcy can have a lasting impact on your personal and financial life. Here’s how:
If you are declared bankrupt, your credit score might drop. This lower score could make getting a loan, house, credit card, or other credit tough. It could also mean you pay more in interest, fees, or deposits. This makes borrowing pricier.
Filing for bankruptcy might mean selling your items to repay debt. You could lose assets like your home, car, jewellery or even your business. This might be emotionally and financially stressful as you could lose things you value.
Going bankrupt can hurt your reputation and credibility. If you are a business owner, a professional, or a public figure, this is especially true. People you work with, like customers, employees, investors, and clients, all might see you differently. It could also impact your job prospects and trustworthiness.
How to deal with bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy recovery strategies are very useful in rebuilding financial health.
Some of them are:
- Start by seeking professional help. They will steer you on the right path, familiarise you with your options, rights, and duties, and help you manage the needed paperwork. They will also negotiate with your creditors and even stand up for you in court.
- After filing for bankruptcy, it is crucial to play by the book. This means abiding by the bankruptcy rules and procedures. Show up for all necessary meetings and hearings. Finally, submit the required forms, documents, and payments.
- Bankruptcy should be taken as a learning lesson. It highlights the reasons behind your money problems, showing how to dodge them later. This experience betters your understanding of money. You learn to handle your finances effectively and responsibly.
- Handling bankruptcy can be really challenging. But remember, you need to take care of yourself. Try to focus on your health, balance your diet, do some exercises, get enough sleep, and relax. Advice from family, friends, or people who have been there can also help a lot.
How can financial literacy help in preventing and overcoming bankruptcy?
Can bankruptcy be prevented? Yes, financial literacy can help prevent and overcome bankruptcy to some extent. Let’s see how:
Budgeting is one of the most essential tools that can help prevent bankruptcy. If you are financially literate, you can create and follow a budget. A budget can help you live within your means, save for your goals, and avoid unnecessary expenses.
In addition, budgeting can aid you in identifying and reducing spending leaks, such as impulse purchases, subscriptions, or fees. Thus, if you can manage your money properly, bankruptcy can be avoided.
An emergency fund is a safety net that you set aside for any urgent or unexpected expenses, like medical loss, job loss, or car repairs, that may arise in your life.
Having an adequate emergency fund will ensure that you don’t need to borrow money or dip into your savings or investments when such situations occur. This will help you in preventing bankruptcy and rebuilding credit after bankruptcy.
Savings and investment
Being financially literate, you can save and invest your money appropriately. Ultimately, this will help you avoid taking loans for your financial needs.
Investing and diversifying properly will help you grow your wealth, which will secure your future and lead to a debt-free journey after bankruptcy.
It is the process of preparing for your life after you stop earning or working. It involves estimating how much money you will need to maintain your desired lifestyle and how you will get that money. Retirement planning helps in preventing bankruptcy and also in financial rehabilitation post-bankruptcy.
Also read: Importance of financial literacy
Going bankrupt is a serious problem that could hit anyone, no matter how old, rich, or educated you are. But, it’s not a dead-end street, and you can bounce back.
Budgeting after bankruptcy is one of the best ways to overcome this situation. Additionally, understanding how to budget, save, invest and plan for retirement can help you in rebuilding credit after bankruptcy quickly.
Thus, post-bankruptcy financial education can help you take control of your finances, achieve your goals, and enjoy a better quality of life.