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The decision to file bankruptcy is a deeply personal and emotional one with a combination of shame and guilt. Waking up each day to a dark cloud hanging overhead and the fear of what others will think. The longer you remain in denial, the longer you and those you care about continue to suffer and one finds filing bankruptcy the only solution.

In 2008 I lost my job with the American Red Cross of Montana. I was certain I would find work but discovered jobs in my field scarce, due to the economy. No luck finding work, I decided to start an event-planning business.

After about six months into the business, my father had a stroke. I was unable, financially and emotionally, to continue my business while caring for my parents needs.

I found a few temporary jobs with no benefits or that were not the right fit for permanent employment. I was left in debt and with credit card payments — nearly all of which went to the interest. I found myself looking in the mirror, asking "What the hell do I do now?" I tried to make arrangements I could handle, and after several months of anxiety and pressure, I had to investigate bankruptcy.

I chose to file bankruptcy in order to protect my assets and my loved ones. It was the most responsible thing I could do.

Perhaps the real American dream isn't some fairy-tale of glorious ease and prosperity, but rather one of second chances.

Kristie Lee Boelter

Billings

Editor's note: Boelter has declared herself a candidate for the GOP nomination for Yellowstone County clerk of District Court.

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