As regular readers of this blog are likely aware the much of the country has be dealing with financial difficulties over the course of the past few years. The Orlando area has not been an exception. One of the ways in which the financial health of a region can be measured is though the number of bankruptcies filed. The last few years many Central Florida residents found themselves turning to consumer bankruptcy to address their financial issues.
Even though bankruptcy filings are down around the country, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida is struggling with backlog cases. Furthermore, many expect the overall number of filings to actually increase as many Florida residents end up filing as a way to try and avoid foreclosure.
Bankruptcy trends tend to follow economic cycles. Typically, when the economy is good and housing prices are stable, consumers spend more freely and rack up more credit card debt. Then when something happens, like a job lay-off, medical emergency or divorce, those consumers are in a financially vulnerable spot. This in turn leads to an increase in consumer bankruptcy filings.
Recent numbers released show a decrease in national and local bankruptcy filings for the three month period ending June 30. However, while some may jump to the conclusion this means hard financial times are over, Florida residents should still take heed as the filings are still in the hundreds of thousands and many will face financial strife in the future and seek out debt relief.
Some bright financial news has come out of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida recently: bankruptcy filings in that area fell nearly 20 percent in 2011 compared to 2010. The middle district encompasses the large metropolitan areas of Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville.
Many people like to think that if you take certain steps in life -- go to college, get a degree, find a job and get married -- that you are also securing financial success. And while that may be true for some people, it turns out that those with good-paying jobs, who are college graduates and married, also fit the description of a growing demographic that are filing for personal bankruptcies.