Should bankruptcy be made easier or harder? – it's a question of vision

In a recent survey carried out by R3, the trade association for insolvency practitioners, – click here – two thirds of the public said they thought that a one year period for bankruptcy was too lenient, especially when it was reckless spending that led to it.

It’s interesting to note that people’s attitudes to bankruptcy have hardened, at a time when Joe and Joanne Public owe more now than they ever have in the history of man.

Let me share a dream with you…

What would living in the UK be like if there were fewer relationship breakdowns; people had fewer physical and mental problems and had more control over their financial well-being short and long term, even into retirement?  Less would be spent on healthcare; drink and drug dependency would fall; families would stand a far better chance of sticking together than they do now; there’d be more money available to improve areas of our lives, including education, that would benefit us all or on the more vulnerable members of our society; this recession would have been far shorter, shallower; people would live happier and longer lives.

And just two things would be needed to make this happen: making it easier for people to go bankrupt, and providing better financial education at and after school.

UK personal debt now stands at £1.5 trillion.  That’s £1,500,000,000,000.   Just how much does it have to reach before Joe and Joanne Public think it’s time to use the ‘control-alt-delete’ button to reset how society operates?

You see, I fundamentally disagree with the public’s view, I think there’s a compelling argument for bankruptcy to be made even easier than it is at the moment.  I also think there’s a real need for us all to think an awful lot harder about how and why we have got to the position we’re in, so that we start to plan to do something about it so that our kids don’t repeat our mistakes.

Even though we’re in the pit of the deepest recession for 100 years and there’s no end in sight, I’m really worried that there’s not even the slightest glimmer of the major change of mindset that’s needed to start the journey.  Perhaps it’s because the public has little or no grand vision as to how they want to see their or their kids’ society?  I do, and I’m not giving up on it.

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