Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer Bryan W. Stone of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Do I need an attorney to file bankruptcy?”
Many people believe that the path to financial ruin ends at bankruptcy. Many people, however, do not understand what it means to be bankrupt, other than the fact that one’s debts far outpace one’s ability to ever repay them. If you’ve read this blog before, then you know that I think people can view bankruptcy as a chance for a new beginning, not as an end.
One of the most common misconceptions about bankruptcy is that it is, in financial terms, the end. It is not, and having the right frame of mind about things often changes things—even lives—for the better.
If I could give people who are in financial straits and facing potential bankruptcy one piece of advice, it would be this: embrace change. Change is the constant that fuels the energy of our universe and, on a much smaller scale, it could save you from financial ruin. If you are close to financial ruin and considering bankruptcy, then whatever you were doing to get where you are landed you in a place of financial hardship. Decisions were made along the way that hurt you. Life packed its share of punches. You didn’t deserve those.
Maybe you did, but if it is any consolation, your pain is shared, and it has been shared by some of the wealthiest corporations in the world. Five billion-dollar companies that either walked right to the edge of bankruptcy or went through it—Harley-Davidson, Lego, Apple, General Motors and Ford—have shown that change is the only constant, and embracing it may be the ticket out of financial straits.
Apple, now seen with Google as among the most profitable corporations ever organized, skirted right along the line of bankruptcy in the 1990s. Its failure, said late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, was ironically one of innovation. The Apple brand became stagnant, and was outpaced by its competitors. No more. On Jobs’ return to the company and the invention of an entire suite of new handheld devices (pictured above), Apple literally changed the face of the modern world.
Both General Motors and Ford faced their money woes during the recent Great Recession. General Motors passed through a taxpayer-funded managed bankruptcy and is profitable again, while Ford restructured itself “from top to bottom,” according to analysts. In order to stay afloat, companies that were all but synonymous with the American dream had to change the entire manner of their business and products. They had to make tough changes to survive and thrive.
When Richard F. Teerlink took on the task of turning around Harley-Davidson’s fortunes, the company was $90 million in debt and couldn’t get a loan. Teerlink forced the company to make “drastic but critical changes throughout the company,” all of which were geared towards improving the company’s product. The result, in 2014, is a Fortune 500 company with some $10 billion in assets.
Toymaker Lego was once a staggering billion-dollars in debt. The company spent years working itself out of debt, finally entering the black again in the second half of this century’s first decade. The company’s revenue in 2013 was $4.7 billion. Like other companies, Lego had to rebrand itself for a new generation of consumers and defeat the perception that its products were “outdated.”
We can learn from the success of these companies. At one time, they were seen as failures. They were bankrupt or close to it. They kept plugging, but more than that, they looked in the mirror and realized that in order to survive, they had to change. Now they are thriving.
You too can thrive again, but nothing is easy. If you need help assessing your financial situation and exploring the options that are best for you, please give me a call and set up an appointment. It may be your first step towards thriving.
If you find yourself needing the services of a Charlotte, North Carolina bankruptcy attorney, please call the skilled lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC find additional resources here. As professionals who are experienced at handling all kinds of bankruptcy matters, our attorneys will provide you with the best advice for your particular situation.
About the Author
Bryan Stone is a Partner with Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses his practice on all aspects of bankruptcy, including: Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 13, home loan modifications and landlord-tenant issues.
A native of Macon, Georgia, Mr. Stone attended the University of Georgia, where he earned a BBA in Banking and Finance, and Wake Forest University School of Law, where he obtained his law degree.
Following law school, Mr. Stone relocated to Charlotte, where he currently serves as Chair of “Bravo!” – a young professionals organization associated with Opera Carolina – and founded the University of Georgia Alumni Association of Charlotte.
In his spare time, Mr. Stone enjoys perfecting his barbeque skills for the annual “Q-City BBQ Championship” and playing softball in the Mecklenburg County Bar softball league.
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