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Life after bankruptcy—an interview with Girl Bankrupted
By Tammy may


Bankruptcy should be seen as a last resort“My first full day of bankruptcy was surreal. I didn’t feel any different but I had a sense that somewhere, somehow, the machinations of the world outside were groaning and clunking to turn the ship so slowly that I barely saw the light changing direction. … A tree was falling in my forest and I could barely hear it myself.” –Girl Bankrupted

At MyBudget, we look at all your options, and consider bankruptcy a last resort and only when it’s absolutely the most suitable way to go. Less than five per cent of people who join MyBudget go through with bankruptcy. We help the remaining 95 per cent avoid insolvency and its far-reaching consequences through budgeting.

When it comes to bankruptcy, the journey can be very confusing. There are lots of companies that promote insolvency services, but very few sources of information about what it really means. One MyBudget client decided to change all that by documenting her bankruptcy experience in a blog called Girl Bankrupted. Each post is filled with honest and compelling insights into the personal aspects of bankruptcy—the emotional journey, as well as nitty-gritty practicalities, like surviving without a credit card:

“Have you ever considered a life without credit? ... The thing about having no credit is that when you reach the end of your pay period, there is nowhere to go.” –Girl Bankrupted

Throughout bankruptcy, Girl Bankrupted was especially lucky to enjoy the emotional and financial support of her family, a level of help that many people don’t experience. It’s important to understand that bankruptcy is not a magic bullet. The path back to financial health after bankruptcy is usually long and difficult, often impacting the person’s career, relationships and, of course, financial outlook. Some people never fully recover. In Girl Bankrupted’s case, bankruptcy was her last and only viable option.

MoneyTalks: So, Girl Bankrupted, how is life after bankruptcy?

Girl Bankrupted: It’s good! I have savings for the first time in my life. Even though I’ve been on a very small wage, in the last three years I’ve saved more than I’ve ever been able to save before in my life. It helps that my expenses are really low because I live with my parents. It’s the best financial shape I’ve been in since leaving uni, which happens to be when I got my first credit card. From that point onwards, I never had more assets than I had debt—until now!

MoneyTalks: Now that you’ve been discharged, do you still feel that bankruptcy was the right option for you?

Girl Bankrupted: Definitely. There was no other way out for me. I went over it a million times and there was just no other way. If anything, I should have done it earlier because I’d be two or three years ahead of where I am now.

MoneyTalks: You talk in your blog about the challenges of living without credit. How have you adapted?

Girl Bankrupted: I’ve been very, very lucky that I’ve been able to live with my parents [since going bankrupt]. All the utilities are in their name and my phone is a business expense. And in the past my mum has let me use her credit card when I need to do any online purchases. My parents have also said that they’d be willing to go guarantor if I ever want to buy a house or something. I know that not everyone is that fortunate and that I’m in a fairly privileged position in that sense.

MoneyTalks: It sounds like you’ve had amazing support from your parents. Do you plan to move out at some point?

Girl Bankrupted: This is where it’s going to get interesting. I’ve met someone and I’m in a new relationship and this was one of the things I was worried about—I didn’t want to be the bankrupt person without a credit rating that becomes dependent on someone. The next little while will be interesting because we’re planning to live together eventually. That’s when all this stuff [about needing access to credit] is going to come to the fore again.

MoneyTalks: Do you have any plans to leave MyBudget?

Girl Bankrupted: No. I don’t care how much I earn in the future. It’s like having a personal bookkeeper managing all my admin. I’d rather have someone else manage that [my money] for me and tell me how much I have for discretionary spending!

MoneyTalks: Do you have any major concerns about the future?

Girl Bankrupted: The main thing I’m concerned about now is that my parents would eventually like me to be a director of their company. I can do that right now if I want to, but it does worry me about how it might reflect on the company if word gets out about my bankruptcy. (Laughing…) I have this paranoia that there’s going to be some terrible public shaming if I’m too successful one day. But I’m just going to have to be brave because it’s ridiculous to say that I don’t want to be too successful in case someone finds out I failed once.

A big thank you to Girl Bankrupted for talking with us. You can find out more about her and her bankruptcy experience by reading her blog here.

If you have questions about bankruptcy, are going through bankruptcy or feel that you’re running out of options, please feel welcome to call MyBudget. Our bankruptcy assessment service is free.

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