My name is Walter Benenati. I have come to the realization it is really important that my clients and colleagues know who I am and what I have been through on my own financial journey. It has now been 5 years since my bankruptcy trade line came off my credit report in 2018. For 10 years this bankruptcy was 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. During my college and law school years I had lost my parents to cancer and a heart attack, respectively. I was on my own. Although I worked full time waiting tables, I took student loans to pay for school and private loans to pay for living expenses. I also lived on credit cards and maxed them out. It was a long, hard road and no one helped me. I had just become a lawyer and I was broke. 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 (remember this is 2007) 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, after I graduated and passed the bar exam, I was left with massive loans and excessive credit card debt. I had to sit down and really think out a plan to get myself back on track. I started researching what was the best course to take. I needed to press a reset button! 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 14 years later, how freeing it is for my clients 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…fourteen years later my bankruptcy that I have held close to my heart like a wound from the battlefront is a distant memory and my credit is excellent. The best part is I don’t even care. It hasn’t affected me since 2009, one year after I filed bankruptcy. 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 fourteen 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 15,000 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.
The Benenati Law Firm 407-777-7777