Jack Nicholson’s most famous line in his movie career goes something like this: “You want the truth?! You can’t HANDLE the truth!” My clients come in to see me, as a bankruptcy attorney, and they want advice on how to “fix” their money problems. They may have a large amount of credit card debt, and can’t keep up on the payments. Or, they may have stopped paying already, and gotten sued. In which case, a wage garnishment is about to hit their paycheck. So, the wage garnishment will take so much from their check that they cannot afford anything else! Now is the time they ask, “what should I do to stop the garnishment?”
Then I go through their whole financial situation: How much they earn on their job, after taxes, how much their rent or mortgage payment is, how much their car payment is, and other monthly expenses. And, I tell them the truth.
I am like a doctor, and a bankruptcy case, either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 can help some of your symptoms: I can “treat” the debt, and you can file bankruptcy. But sometimes, there are larger problems. Even after getting rid of their credit card debt, or other debts, some people still cannot afford to keep what they need! I then give the client the whole truth. You might have a “cash flow” problem. Cash flow problems happen when you are spending more than you make, just for food and rent, and the necessities. You might not be able to really afford the house or car. This would be treating the actual illness, not just the symptoms. My clients would tell me they need or want to keep the car, but the payments are $700.00 per month! What is the truth? Can the client handle the truth?
When you see a doctor, he or she is trained to help you with the symptoms, for instance, that you are short of breath. So you get medications prescribed to help you breathe. But, the next step for the doctor is to treat the real problem. You can get the medications and be back in a few weeks with the same problem. Or, better yet, you can get a diagnosis, and get ways to solve the problem for a long time.
When you see me, I look at your whole situation and give you a diagnosis. I want to give you the truth, so that I can help you solve your whole problem, not just one part of your financial problem. If you file bankruptcy, the idea is that you won’t be coming back years later with the same problems!!!
So, if you CAN handle the truth, come see me. I can treat your whole situation, and help you solve your financial problems for good, not just for the one problem you have now. And, you’ll feel better and more in control of your life! Don’t put it off! The sooner you take care of your money problems, the better!
I am looking for a few good clients– are you one of them? Can YOU handle the truth?
Daniel J. Winter
Offices in Chicago, Gurnee, Oak Lawn, and Skokie, Illinois