Over the next three columns we will address some common financial challenges many of us face in these different economic times.  This first column will address some valuable community resources you can access BEFORE you have more serious financial challenges.  The second and third columns will address how the two major forms of individual bankruptcy, so-called Chapter 7 (of the bankruptcy code) straight bankruptcies and so-called Chapter 13 Wage Earner plans, work. But if you seek out your options BEFORE you have more serious challenges, bankruptcy may be the best problem you NEVER have.

One of the more helpful non-profit organizations in our community is Financial Pathways of the Piedmont.  This highly regarded agency is supported by our United Way and many other groups as well.  Their counselors are fully trained and certified about options, and you would be well served to contact the agency with your questions.  Many if not most of their initial sessions now are conducted by telephone or by virtual conferences, and often their initial conference fee is waived due to these challenging times.  If you have questions, contact them.  The telephone number is 336.896.1191,and their website is www.financialpaths.org, which contains links to helpful budgeting tools.  You can also email the agency at info@financialpathways.org with confidential questions.

Creditors have become increasingly more flexible in harder times to help debtors work through their financial challenges. The 2008 economic downturn changed the attitude of many creditors.  Many see that the creditor is better served if hard-working debtors are given some chances to get caught up, because in part bankruptcy rarely works well for creditors.  And the involvement of a highly credible non-profit organization helps to validate that a debtor is serious about trying to get caught up on a past-due loan.

A session with a reputable non-profit agency is strictly confidential.  Neither your friends nor anyone else will know you are seeking a little direction.

This article was original written by Mike Wells and published by the Winston-Salem Journal. To read the full article visit the Winston-Salem Journal Online here.