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Do Bankruptcy Statistics Follow the New Federal Study About Wealth in Boston?

In a study undertaken by the Boston Federal Reserve Bank regarding wealth and race, some unfortunate results were uncovered.   White households have significantly more wealth as measured by home equity, retirement accounts, and other such standard measures of wealth.  For example, over 56% of while households have retirement accounts while only 21.2% of black families in Boston have such accounts; even fewer Boston Dominican families have retirement accounts, at 7.5%. 

Another concerning factor is that while 79% of white families owned their homes, only one third of black families owned their homes; half of Caribbean black households owned their homes; but only about 20% of Dominican and Puerto Rican families owned their homes in Boston.

This federal report matches statistics uncovered by a Brandeis University study regarding national trends:  73% of whiles own their own homes while fewer than half of black families own their homes nationally.

How Do These Statistics Affect Bankruptcy?

We don’t know.  And we don’t have any anecdotal evidence.   But the statistics are alarming.  Especially when you consider that home ownership can be protected in bankruptcy with the homestead under Massachusetts Homestead Law; and retirement accounts can be protected in bankruptcy under the allowable exemptions.

For example, you can have up to $500,000 of equity in your home and exempt that equity when filing bankruptcy in Massachusetts; you can keep your home and discharge your debts.   You can have up to a million dollars in your retirement account and still exempt those assets when filing for bankruptcy protection, and discharge your debts and get a fresh start.

What is Dischargeable in Bankruptcy in Massachusetts?

Again, equity in your home and retirement accounts are exempt.  You are allowed to keep a vehicle up to a certain value, clothing and household items up to a certain value, tools of your trade up to a certain value, and even money in your bank and financial accounts…up to a certain value.  What value?  It depends based on all of the items you wish to exempt.

How Can Planning Help You In Preparing for Bankruptcy?

Believe it or not, you can have tens of thousands of dollars in your bank or financial account and, with careful bankruptcy planning, file for bankruptcy.  You need an experienced bankruptcy attorney to be sure that the monies are properly utilized in legitimate exempt investments, such as your home or your retirement accounts.

Most importantly, get expert advice as your case may be different from your neighbors, or the person writing a column on the internet.  Remember, many “published” articles are written for entities that are owned by the banks; they may have a vested interest in keeping folks from learning about filing for bankruptcy.

Can I Get A Free Bankruptcy Consultation?

Yes.  Call experienced Massachusetts bankruptcy attorney Neil Burns and get a free initial consultation.   Do this BEFORE you undertake your own “bankruptcy planning” based on something you read on the internet as you may or may not be getting good “advice” from such articles as the facts may not apply to your situation.

Our initial consultation is free.  We offer fair and reasonable rates for bankruptcy planning and for drafting and filing your Massachusetts bankruptcy petition and schedules.  You get Attorney Neil Burns, with 29 years of experience, for your case.

Call for a free consultation today:  617-227-7423.

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