Bankruptcy isn’t exclusive to reckless spenders. Money-conscious consumers also can be financial victims. Those who file bankruptcy are required to take financial counseling courses to learn money management skills, but experts say those skills should be taught at an early age for best opportunity of understanding. Stories of bills piling up on Tennesseans are common especially in East Tennessee, where the unemployment rate is nearly 9% in Knox and surrounding counties.
From January through September, 4,672 Knoxville area residents filed for bankruptcy protection. That would be a 7% increase compared to bankruptcy filings in the first nine months of 2008. On average, more than 500 people a month file a bankruptcy petition in the federal district that covers Knoxville and 13 neighboring counties. The typical East Tennessean seeking bankruptcy protection is 44 years old. Most are white, male, married and own homes. They calculate a gross annual income of $35,917. Nationwide, Tennessee ranks No. 2 in overall bankruptcy filings, below Nevada and above Alabama. To sum it all up, the U.S. consumer bankruptcy filings totaled 1,046,449 through the first nine months of this year, first time since the 2005 bankruptcy overhaul that filings have jumped past the 1 million mark in the first three calendar quarters of a year.
“We’re expecting a lot more cases in the district this year than last year,” said Patricia Foster, trustee of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court that encompasses Knox county.
KNOX AREA BANKRUPTCY FILINGS:
Jan. 1-Sept. 30, 2009
- Chapter 7- 3,068
- Chapter 13- 1,588
- Chapter 11- 15