With CNN Money reporting that in the third quarter of 2009, the total number of bankruptcies filed spiked up 33%, the highest level since 2005, and the American Bankruptcy Institute, an industry research firm, recording 388,485 bankruptcies filed during the last quarter of 2009, compared to 292,291 in the same period of 2008, it’s clear that Americans are experiencing the harsh consequences of what we didn’t know. The 1,117,771 bankruptcy filings in 2009 represent 1,117,771 hard-learned lessons about financial risk. Reuters’ January 5, 2010, report on global consumer and business bankruptcies demonstrated that Americans aren’t alone in this painful school of hard-knocks, with 89,402 business bankruptcy filings globally in 2009, compared with 64,584 in 2008, and personal bankruptcies increasing to 1,357,565 in 2009, from 1,031,562 in 2008.
The New York Times reported on the effects of the recession on college freshmen, a group deeply involved in learning. The American Freshman, National Norms Fall 2009 report revealed that students were more likely than before to have an unemployed parent less likely to have job, themselves, to pay for at least part of college expenses. Nearly two-thirds of expressed moderate to high levels of concern about paying for their education, and 53.3 percent of students had taken out loans, the highest percentage in nine years. John H. Pryor, director of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program at the University of California, Los Angeles, which conducts the survey, said that they expected, in the current economy, to find some impact on people’s ability to pay for college, but they were surprised by the recession’s affect on other issues, such as how students chose a college and their purpose for college.
Everyone, including those fortunate enough to be experiencing no personal damage from the recession, knows that we need to learn more about managing our finances – to protect what we have, to increase our financial security, to have our money work as hard for us as we do for it, and to avoid excessive risk. How are we to learn from this recession’s experience? What resources exist and how can we access them?
Resources That Help Everybody Learn More
Information resources that can help people address their financial worries include those listed here:
- Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies – Here, you can begin finding a local counseling agency.
- Bankrate.com Debt Management and Financial Literacy – From this page, you can also find links to debt management calculators, dealing with old debt, and the answers to various “How do I …?” questions
- Consumer Credit Counseling Services – This site contains pages with articles on financial crisis topics, financial worksheets, planning tools, online counseling, and informative blog posts.
- Consumer Federation of America – The Consumer Information page contains links to understanding credit and your credit score, savings strategies, debt management, and other consumer issues relating to general safety as well as financial prudence.
- Institute for Financial Literacy – The Bankruptcy Related Services page is a portal to information on bankruptcy and the services people may need for filing.
- National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys – The home page displays lead-ins and links to news articles you may find interesting and a search capability for attorneys near the address you enter.
- National Foundation of Credit Counseling – The home page is a portal for finding a credit counselor, bankruptcy education, housing advice, and general financial education, including a list of publication resources in Spanish as well as English.
Resources for the Disabled Community
The Real Economic Impact Tour, a national initiative, delivers free tax preparation and filing assistance, along with other asset building strategies and education to low-income persons with disabilities. Sealund and Associates participates in this outreach to the disabled community through our involvement with the 2010 Real Economic Impact Tour (REI Tour) by donating access to the Alaris™ Financial Literacy Curricula, within which our Credit Management curriculum now offers a version compliant with accessibility Rule 508.
A Sealund Resource for the Corporate and Educational Institution Communities
Of course, if you’re an employer, a human resources or workforce development professional, or the leader of a community organization or educational institution, our best-in-class Alaris™ Financial Literacy Curricula can help your team gain skills and peace of mind in dealing with credit card debt, budgeting (including increasing thrift for greater savings), and identity theft. For many kinds of public as well as corporate organizations, we offer channel partnership opportunities to help your organization do well while doing good for your clients, students, alumni and employees.
What do you think? Please share your comments.