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Bankruptcy May Be Your Option

Financial challenges likened to obesity as American epidemics

Two widely-publicized unhealthy conditions of Americans – financial debt and obesity – may have more in common that most people would realize. Although both may be influenced by outside factors, such as unemployment and a struggling economy for debt, and health conditions such as diabetes for obesity, both can also stem from a pattern of excess. 

In the financial context, what can be done to help those who currently find themselves having debt trouble and, maybe more importantly, what can be taught to young people to stop the epidemic of bad debt?

Some states, including Oklahoma, are attempting to address the issues at the college and high school levels. Before graduating from high schools in Oklahoma this year, seniors are tested on issues regarding personal finance in 14 areas such as investing, budgeting and even the dangers of gambling.

While Oklahomans are now being held responsible for knowledge in these areas before going to college or entering the workforce, Oklahoma is one of only six states that actually test graduating seniors on these concepts.

The question is, however, “Does it work?”  Some studies say no. While it doesn’t make financial literacy worse, there is no evidence that it actually helps. The return on investment, on financial education is being questioned.

So what does work? Some colleges are combining financial education with courses designed to educate students about nutritional literacy. One theory behind these programs is that the two issues are similar. Both stem from a pattern of long-term habits that are difficult to change. Each also seems to respond better to having students change one habit at a time, instead of trying to change entire behavioral patterns.

While all of these programs are relatively new reactions to what some have described as epidemics in American society, only time will tell if the educational efforts will pay off.

While filing for bankruptcy may be the best option for some people who find themselves in an unhealthy financial condition, an ounce of prevention may still be the best cure. Furthermore, as seeking a medical professional is a good idea when trying to cope with your health issues, speaking with an attorney can be beneficial when dealing with financial issues such as debt.

Source: Vox, “Why is it so difficult to teach people to manage money?,” Libby Nelson, July 1, 2014

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