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Bankruptcy can loom large when jobs are insecure

Those lucky enough to never have needed to resort to filing for bankruptcy protection can be judgmental. Some of them may feel folks who file for bankruptcy protection are profligate in their spending habits and don't understand how to save for lean times.

But what those judgmental individual don't understand is that while there may be a few who get into finical trouble due to too much credit card use, for most it, is some far more mundane. They may have just lost a job or suffered a reduction in their hours, and may suddenly find bills that were manageable when working full time spiral out of control in very little time.

The other factor that is often unrecognized is the lessening of the security of full time employment that was once predominate, but now is receding into to the past. Grandparents may wonder why their children and grandchildren have so much trouble finding jobs or holding on to them.

They simply do not understand how outsourcing, both overseas and in this country, has left fewer and fewer solid jobs, with substantial benefits. Those defined benefit plans that contained the pensions that many of these grandparents now live on are mostly gone.

Replaced by the 401k, which requires both the discipline to save, but also sufficient income to be able to save. Many jobs are now part-time, contract or staffed by independent contractors. This is great when companies need to shed workers fast, but miserable for those individual workers who suffer the insecurity.

These trends have been in process for years, and the result is a workforce that is less stable. While some may be able to parlay that into large incomes for contract work, for most, it means the very real prospect of a bankruptcy filing could appear at virtually anytime.

Source:, "Rising Economic Insecurity Tied to Decades-Long Trend in Employment Practices," Noam Scheiber, July 12, 2015

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