Who Can You Trust?


We have learned over the years to be skeptical. We have been mislead so frequently that our expectations have been permanently altered. Advertising has promised miracles and delivered dissatisfaction. Relationships have been launched with optimism, only to crash on the rocks of reality. As this is being written, we find ourselves in the middle of another political primary season. Need I say more?

A challenge to counseling people is the strange sources from which they seek advice. It is understandable that a well meaning friend or family member would be trusted, even when they have no expertise in a legal matter. I can even understand how the internet could fool you into reliance on what appears to be authoritative. When advice is in writing and so confidently stated, it must be true. Right? While I can cut you slack on getting bad advice from associates or the media, I am shocked that you would trust your opposition. Almost every week I hear someone argue that their creditor, ex-spouse, opposing party in a lawsuit, etc. has expressed an opinion that they value above that of their attorney. It’s unwise for chickens to take the advice of the fox for the security of their hen house. It is equally unwise to listen to people who stand to gain from your failure. Please retain and listen to experienced counsel. Someone on your side. Some one you can trust.


Unsafe Water, Lawsuits and Bankruptcy

A company called Blitz USA has caused a problem in West Virginia by polluting the water system. As can be expected, lawsuits began to be served upon the company. While they did not make great decisions, it soon became apparent that the company could not pay the claims that were filed. They filed bankruptcy to stop the lawsuits long enough to see if they have adequate assets and insurance to cover the loses.

While individuals do not have to file bankruptcy because they polluted the waters, often they also have to file bankruptcy to stop a flow of lawsuits. Bankruptcy gives you the breathing room needed to deal with the economic bleeding and the attack on the person’s assets. It can let you start over and get a “re-do.” None of us makes all great decisions. Sometimes we get hit with things completely out of our control. If this is where you are, and you are having difficulty with your cash flow, it is a good idea to seek professional help and see a qualified bankruptcy attorney. Most good bankruptcy attorneys will give you a free consultation at no risk. You then can decide if you need the professional help.


Brookstone Gadgets: Way of the Future or Behind the Times.

Brookstone is that fun little store in the mall that we all love to stop by and look at all the neat little gadgets that are for sale. It carries that cool stuff that one cannot find anywhere else. Remote controlled chairs, key chains that beep, and every type of massage and radio equipment known to mankind. However, keeping the stores up to date has been harder and harder. Malls are not inexpensive pieces of real estate to maintain and they are largely a failing model. Malls have been closing at a much faster rate than they have been opening. Unfortunately, Brookstone has heavily invested itself in the mall model. What they want to do is follow the Chick-fil-a model. Chick-fil-a saw this trend years ago and started building restaurants that were independent of the malls.

The problem is even greater for Brookstone. They have very high-dollar leases that keep them locked in. They need substantial capital to upgrade their inventory. Those cool little gadgets have not really changed in the last ten years and there is not much new in those stores. That takes money and they are using all their money keeping those high-rent stores open. All of this is happening as mall traffic has dropped. Brookstone has attempted to sell the company for a number of years. Unfortunately, there have been no takers.

The latest rumors indicate that Brookstone will look to file bankruptcy in the next couple of weeks. If you are a fan of Brookstone, take heart! It does not necessarily mean that the company will end. Look at American Airlines. They filed bankruptcy and have come back stronger than ever. If Brookstone files a reorganizational bankruptcy, they will be able to get out of those leases that are draining all of their capital. If they decide that the company just cannot succeed under any model, they have the option of closing the stores also. Just like individuals, they can only spend the money they have and sometimes that does not get them where they need to be.

Individuals are often caught in the same situation. They have more and more of their capital going to pay debt. They get to the same place as the big companies. They no longer have the capital they need to purchase transportation or housing to make a change. Just like the large company, sometimes they need to reorganize or simply escape the traps they are in. Bankruptcy gives them that option. It may give you the fresh start to walk away from those old debts caused by changing economic times, divorce or illness.

If you are faced with too much old debt, bankruptcy can be used to help you become more lean and efficient. It can help you begin setting money aside for the children’s education and future. If you are in this situation, book an appointment with a skilled bankruptcy attorney. At Bailey & Galyen we would like to help you achieve your new future.


The Squeaky Wheel


I recently listened to a leadership expert address the challenge of dealing with the “squeaky wheel” in your organization. A squeaky wheel is a person or group that is constantly complaining or acting out. How much time and energy do we commit to greasing the wheel? His suggestion was that you grease it once and if it continues to squeak you ignore it. Most organizations spend too much time and energy on the squeaky wheel to the detriment of the rest of the team. They do so at their peril.

It reminded me of the people I have counseled over the years regarding their finances. The tendency is to focus on addressing the noisiest creditor and neglecting the quieter ones. We confuse our priorities when we pay the noisy unsecured creditor and fail to address the mortgage or car payment. I use the analogy of the patient who stubs his toe in the Doctor’s office after receiving news of a brain tumor. The throbbing toe is loud and immediate, but it can’t be the priority. Don’t let the squeaky wheel set your financial priorities. Seek wise counsel.


Cancer May Cause Health Problems

Nobody can imagine what it feels like to hear the doctor utter those horrible words. “You have cancer.” A flood of thoughts go through your mind about what that means. The first and foremost concern is surviving. At this point, no specialist and no therapy is too expensive or out of the question. The doctor then explains the recommended treatment that the doctor explains. It will be a long, long road that you not only are willing to make, but that you really have no choice to make, either.

The reality of the situation often does not contemplate the economic costs because those are simply not important. However, as survival becomes certain so does the reality of the economic impact. A group called the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer authored a study recently published that showed several intersecting results. A person with cancer is more than 2.5 times more likely to file bankruptcy. 4,408 people diagnosed with cancer filed bankruptcy.

The reasons are both obvious and not so obvious. The obvious reason is that there are so many costs that are not covered by insurance. Even if everything was covered, the co-pays can be in the thousands of dollars. The non-obvious reasons include the inability to work during the treatment and the loss of a productive member of the household.

When a person is ill, they cannot do the “normal” functions whether it is housework, yard work, car maintenance, or taking the kids to school. The other spouse has to pick up those activities, but they are often reduced to being full time care giver and chauffer in addition to trying to keep the family supplied with income. Things around the house that used to be done on a shared basis no longer can be accomplished. Often, the family has to hire help to either be a nurse, yard worker, mechanic, etc. These things all take huge sums of money.

When the treatment is over, the reality of debt soaks in. It is not at all uncommon for a cancer survivor to emerge with over $100,000 in medical debt. That is a non-survivable amount of debt without help. Fortunately, our country just has provided a safety valve that takes care of such horrible situations. We have the ability to file bankruptcy to shed ourselves of that debt which we did not have any control of.

If you are faced with too much old debt, bankruptcy can be used to help you also become more lean and efficient. It can help you begin setting money aside for the children’s education and future. If you are in this situation, book an appointment with a skilled bankruptcy attorney. At Bailey & Galyen we would like to help you achieve your new future.

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