What I would do differently....I would have opened every piece of mail when it arrived and had a filing system to keep it organized. I had gotten to the point that I let mail pile up. When mail arrived and I saw it was someone I owed money to, I did not bother to open the envelopes. It was as if I did not open the envelopes I would not have to think about the situation I was it. I had years of envelopes that I had to open when we filed for bankruptcy. The envelopes will have to be opened some time or another!
I was doing my yearly purging of paperwork yesterday and was thinking back on the paperwork nightmare I was in just a short time ago. Like I said, I got to the point that I had years of unopened envelopes and the situation my paperwork was in was quite a nightmare. I know that this situation made it extremely hard to file anything, taxes, bankruptcy, etc. It isn't because I did not know how to keep a good filing system it was because it got out of control and once it got out of control, it was impossible. What was I scared of? Opening the mail and having it being a reminder of what a mess my financial life was would not take care of anything. I was constantly reminded in a million different ways every day!
I was in deep denial. I knew that we were sinking...in fact we were already sunk! Did I not do anything because I did not know WHAT to do? Probably! Most of the time I did not believe that we could do anything. Did I talk to anyone about this? Besides my husband, no one! Maybe if I would have, someone would have advised me to file for bankruptcy. Instead I kept my dirty little secret and the mail just kept piling up. I was drowning with the idea that I was doomed!
There was a point when we were in the midst of losing our house (which we did but that is another post) and we went to see a bankruptcy attorney. We had to bring a ton of paperwork with us so I worked and worked on some of the paperwork to some semblance of order. We filled out two hours of paperwork once we arrived. We wanted to file a chapter 13 which would have saved our house from foreclosure or so I thought. After going over everything, five hours later the attorney let us know that we were not eligible to file a chapter 13 because we could not qualify for the re-payment. The chapter 13 is a reorganization and repayment plan for your creditors.
When we asked about the chapter 7, we were told that we could not even file until our taxes were all filed. The chapter 7 would not protect our house from being foreclosed. At that time, I should have gone home and started putting together all the paperwork for 7 years of tax returns that needed to be filed but instead I went home and started the preparation to move!
I'm just saying that it makes good sense to get your paperwork in order. Make a file folder for each creditor and start opening that unopened mail. Even if you are now where near a bankruptcy situation, your paperwork should be in order. If you think you don't have time, do it in front of the TV, just do it!
This disorganization stopped me from filing things that I should have filed. It was not the only reason but it was a huge monkey on my back!