Yesterday (January 5, 2021), news websites reported the following two headlines:
PANDEMIC SPURS MOST BANKRUPTCY FILINGS SINCE 2009
The sky is falling, the sky is falling!
BANKRUPTCY FILINGS HIT 35-YEAR LOW THANKS TO GOVERNMENT PANDEMIC AID
Wait, what? I thought the sky was falling.
How can both of these headlines be true? Because the reporters cherry-picked statistics to make the most sensational headlines. As far as business bankruptcies go, it’s true that bankruptcy filings were way up in 2020. However, consumer bankruptcy cases were way down in 2020. So, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
To explain, businesses struggled with shutdowns and lack of funding to pay leases, payrolls, and expenses with no revenue. Many businesses have held off filing for bankruptcy to see what a recovery may look like before jumping into bankruptcy, but many were not able to hold off, which resulted in high business filings compared to recent years.
However, consumers and individuals are currently struggling with how to predict the future. It did not make sense in 2020 for most people to file bankruptcy without knowing what debt and income looks like going forward. Also, the pandemic unemployment helped many people stay current on bills. Finally, the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums, along with court closures, have made it less urgent to file immediately to stop those proceedings.
So, take your headlines with a big grain of salt these days. It also helps to remember that you are not alone in facing difficulties. Get advice for your specific situation and use the tools that are available to you.
This is just a basic overview and is not legal advice specific to your situation. If you have questions about your rights when it comes to debt and credit, you should speak with an attorney in your area for legal advice. If you live in California or North Dakota and would like to speak with Jen Lee Law regarding your situation, please schedule an appointment.