Bankruptcy Experiences #4

Written by Charleston Bankruptcy Attorney, Russell A. DeMott

I have a soft spot in my heart for my bankruptcy clients, but this couple really stands out.   As described below, they did indeed go “kicking and screaming” into bankruptcy.

They were fighting back against an economic tide that no one could fight brought on by a combination of Wall Street greed and governmental ineptitude.   So it didn’t matter how hard they worked, or how much more money they pumped into their business.   They were in a business hit especially hard by the economic crisis of 2008 and the continued downturn in the economy that followed.

They did everything they could to avoid filing bankruptcy, including getting advice from financial adviser Dave Ramsey.   But his advise didn’t make sense giving their particular financial situation.   Bankruptcy was their only meaningful option.

Here’s their story:

I confess that I went into bankruptcy kicking and screaming. Just the idea of it bothered me.   I’d been a successful businessman for years.   I made a good living.   I saved money and invested.   Then came the economic downturn in 2008.   Business went from good to bad almost overnight.   We couldn’t make a profit.

I began subsidizing the business with my own resources hoping that things would bounce back, but they didn’t.   My wife was stressed out.   She’d begun a new career, and her timing couldn’t have been worse.   Together, we scrambled to make ends meet hoping for the economy to improve, but it didn’t.

We met with Russ and went over our finances.   He advised us to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.   Still, I resisted.   My wife resisted even more.   We went so far as to call Dave Ramsey.   He assigned a personal financial counselor to us to help.   We told Russ about this, and he said that he saw nothing else that could be done, but if Dave Ramsey could figure out something, then that was fine by him.

After discussing our situation with the David Ramsey counselor, we were actually featured as callers on the Dave Ramsey show. His advice to me was to get a good job, and his advice to my wife was to make more money in her new career.   Needless to say, both these things were easier said than done.   Good jobs were few and far between, I was trying to save my business, and my wife was trying to earn as much as she could.   The whole experience was insulting and a waste of time.

After trying to find a solution with Dave Ramsey, we went back to Russ.   He again reviewed our situation.   Again, he advised that we file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.   We followed his advice.   We had no choice.   There was simply no other way to get out from under the crushing debt.

We got our discharge, kept our house, our retirement, our whole life insurance policies, and, most importantly, our dignity.   While I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone, I’m glad for the fresh start bankruptcy has given us. God is good and provides.   We’re rebuilding our lives.   We’re thankful for the second chance bankruptcy has given us.


Notice Required by SC Rule of Professional Conduct 7.1 : “Any result the endorsed lawyer or law firm may achieve on behalf of one client in one matter does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.”


  1. Charles Evans says:

    Another good one. David Ramsey always sings the same tunen and lives in a fantasy world.

    I also can appreciate the reference to God’s provision.

  2. DBF says:

    Yes, I agree with you about Dave Ramsey. Nothing is as cut & dry as he makes it. Ramsey or especially Oprah’s opportunities, connections, and possibilities are different than the 55 year old who was in a career for 33 years, rose through the ranks, and is not let go to hire someone half my age, not having dependents, and cheaper on the health care bill. So, it’s not always easy just to go out and find another job. If you’re older and darker skin, then it takes alot more time to find work. And, how can people recover without some safety net, but they’re disappearing (like unemployment). So, bankruptcy is the last choice that was made without me participating in the discussion.

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