In at least one part of Texas, bankruptcies fell last year for the third year in a row. But does that mean people are doing better, economically speaking? That might be a question to which facts and figures do not provide an easy answer.
In 2012, there were 3,955 consumer bankruptcy filings in the San Antonio-based U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Texas. In 2011, there were 4,387 filings and 4,880 in 2010.
Business bankruptcies for the same region also decreased last year.
Now, for the question of whether that means people are better-off money-wise than they were a few years ago. Many financial experts note that some people who really need to file for bankruptcy cannot because they cannot afford to. Estimates vary as to the size of this hidden population of people who want to file for bankruptcy, but most people who study the field agree that it exists.
Also, just looking at the number of bankruptcy filings does nothing to illustrate how many people are underemployed or unemployed, or those who are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy but have not made the decision to file yet.
The overall point we are trying to make is that times are still tough for many of us here in Texas, no matter how sunny the number of bankruptcy filings looks. If you are struggling financially and do not see things getting better in the near future, you may want to schedule a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney. If nothing else, you will come away from this meeting with a better sense of your options and a feeling that you have acted proactively to inform yourself.
Source: The San Antonio Express-News, “More people staying solvent,” Patrick Danner, Jan. 3, 2013