My Personal Bankruptcy Story

My bankruptcy trade line just came off my credit report. Ten years this bankruptcy has been on my credit report and now I reflect on my life in these last ten years.

In June of 2008, my back was against the wall and I was trying to climb out of the abyss. I had just become a lawyer and I was broke. My parents had both passed away when I was in law school, so I had to make it happen for myself. I waited tables and worked nearly every day. I had a ton of credit card debt and nobody knew it. I remember getting debt collector calls while I was with my girlfriend and glancing at my Nokia and muttering, “just a wrong number.”

When you have debt, you’re living with a secret that only you know or you and your spouse know. You pay the minimum payment. Sometimes you don’t. The stack of unopened bills keeps getting higher. You stay up at night and watch TV. You play “who will I pay this month” every month. It is stressful and depressing.

In 2008, I said the hell with it and was true to myself. I knew I had to file bankruptcy. and I did. I met with the attorney and told him (there I said it), “I have about $33,000 of credit card debt.” Now I know as a bankruptcy attorney ten years later, how freeing it is to tell a stranger how much debt you have. It feels like a boulder has been lifted off your shoulders.

So the Chapter 7 bankruptcy I filed went better than expected and all the debt that I was hiding from everyone was gone. And now…ten years later my bankruptcy that I have held close to my heart like a wound from the battlefront has now been removed from my credit report. The best part is I don’t even care. It hasn’t affected me since 2009. I remember when I first filed bankruptcy I was terrified. I’ll never have credit. I’ll never own a home. This is embarrassing. I couldn’t have been more wrong with the picture I had painted in my head.

In the ten years since I filed bankruptcy, I have been practicing as an attorney and sharing my personal experience with the best clients anyone could ever have been blessed with. Bankruptcy clients – old and new – nearly 10,000 Central Florida residents that share the news with their friends and family. The news that bankruptcy will change your life. No more debt. No more late nights worrying. Like a Band-Aid you rip off quickly to cause less pain. Slow removal is significantly more painful.

After bankruptcy, life went on. Houses, cars, credit, good credit, great credit, a Restart. My slogan is Life Has a Restart Button for a reason. I believe that. I believe Life can restart for you. You have the power and courage to press the reset button. I want to help you on your journey. You know how they say: Life is a Journey, Not a Destination. “They” are right. Everyday of your life is important. You are important. You deserve more in your life. With me and my team, we don’t judge. We welcome you and shoulder the burden for you. We are here to serve you and help you too. Press the Restart Button in your life.

Walter Benenati

The Benenati Law Firm 407-777-7777