- Bankruptcies primarily impact individuals and households, varying across states due to economic conditions.
- Bankruptcies can induce moral and economic strain in communities, leading to job losses and reduced municipal services.
- Real estate values may decrease due to bankruptcies resulting in foreclosures or evictions, affecting community prosperity.
- Bankruptcies can lead to increased stress levels, longer-term unemployment, and weakening trust within the community.
- Communities can cope with bankruptcies by providing affected individuals loans, emotional support, and budgeting advice.
Bankruptcy is a situation that no one ever wishes to find themselves in. However, it’s a reality that can happen to anyone, including businesses, households, and even entire cities. Bankruptcy can cause significant financial stress on the people affected, but its effects extend beyond individual lives to the community. Here’s what you need to know about bankruptcies in the country, how they can affect your community and ways you can deal with it.
Bankruptcies in The U.S.
It’s estimated that there were over 380,000 bankruptcies filed in 2022. Of these bankruptcies, the majority (about 70%) were filed by individuals and households. Businesses accounted for around 25% of bankruptcies, while cities comprised the remaining 5%.
The number of bankruptcies in a given year can vary from state to state due to differences in economic conditions and debt levels. In states like California and New York, filing rates are typically higher than in other states due to the high cost of living.
When a business or individual files for bankruptcy, it can have rippling effects throughout their local community. Here are some ways it can affect your community:
1. Ethical and Moral Impact
Bankruptcy is a sensitive issue that may lead to shame, stigma, and loss of respect in the community. When people are publically bankrupt, it may discourage others from seeking help from them, both in business and personal relationships. Since it’s common knowledge that financial accountability is vital in any community, people tend to regard those who are financially unstable as irresponsible. As a community leader, it’s essential to offer moral and ethical support to people going through bankruptcy, even if it’s only empathy.
2. Economic Impact
The economic impact of bankruptcies on your community can be significant. When a company goes bankrupt, it may lead to job losses. In turn, employees that have lost their jobs can strain social services and aid programs that the community provides. Furthermore, this loss of income may cause a ripple effect as households that rely on that income are also affected. Fewer business profits also result in lower tax revenues for the city or municipality, which may translate to a reduction in essential services such as sanitation, water provision, and public safety.
3. Real Estate Impact
Real estate values can be affected by bankruptcies in your community. When people or companies are bankrupt, they may be unable to pay their mortgages or rent as agreed. If these cases go unresolved, it can lead to foreclosure or eviction, leading to a decline in home values, and the whole community’s prosperity is put at stake. Furthermore, if commercial properties go bankrupt, they may remain empty and unsightly, reducing the overall appearance of the city or municipality.
4. Social Impact
The social impact of bankruptcies on your community might not be immediately apparent, but it’s equally crucial. People who are going through bankruptcies are likely to experience higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, which makes them more susceptible to mental health issues. Furthermore, if people lose their jobs due to bankruptcy, they may find it challenging to navigate the employment world, leading to long-term unemployment and poverty. Maintaining a supportive social environment for people undergoing these changes can go a long way toward helping them back onto their feet.
5. Community Impact
Finally, a community that has undergone the collective experience of bankruptcy may face a more challenging time rebuilding than a community that has not experienced it. This is because bankruptcy can weaken trust in financial institutions, businesses, and personal relationships. Since trust is a crucial component of the social fabric of any community, its loss can be consequential. As a community leader, you should invest in rebuilding trust by promoting transparency, accountability, and ethical practices in businesses and personal relationships.
Helping Deal With Bankruptcies
Being able to deal with difficult financial situations is an important skill in any community. Here are three tips you can share with your fellow residents on how to manage bankruptcies:
It’s important that your community is capable of giving loans when community members need it. A trusted loan from a community bank can be beneficial in times of emergency and prevent people from resorting to high-interest loan sharks. Additionally, having a local credit union can also be beneficial.
Your community should be capable of providing emotional and practical support to individuals going through bankruptcy. This includes offering counseling services for people struggling with the mental effects of bankruptcies and training programs that help them find new employment opportunities.
Finally, your community should provide budgeting advice to households dealing with bankruptcy. This can include simple tips such as creating a budget, tracking expenses, and eliminating unnecessary spending. It also includes helping people understand the debt repayment process so that they can make informed choices when negotiating with creditors. Having access to these types of resources can go a long way toward helping people manage their finances more effectively.
Bankruptcies can have far-reaching consequences for people, businesses, and entire communities. Being aware of its effects and knowing how to manage it is essential for the long-term well-being of your community. By promoting financial literacy, providing practical support, and investing in building trust, you can help your fellow residents cope with this difficult situation.