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Dear Dad: Father’s Day, Fathers, and Bankruptcy

Posted by Théda Page | Jun 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

Always running behind! Father's Day is the third Sunday in June only because the June 5 date chosen by its originator, Sonora Dodd, did not give everyone enough time to organize for the event. With Dads, it seems like we're always trying to catch up: “Quick, you'll be late for the school bus,” or “Come on, slowpoke. The catfish are biting in Lake Lewisville.” This Father's Day, get ahead of Dad: plan to talk to him about finances sooner, not later. 

Fathers and Finances

Maybe your Dad taught you the value of earning your way. That sets your aging father up for a potential stumble when, like all of us, he faces an unforeseen setback. Your father's finances might have been strong until something beyond his control knocked him on his heels. 

Perhaps Dad had medical issues, an unexpected cutback in job hours, or poor stock performance in his retirement portfolio. His expenses may now outstrip his earnings. 

A very common problem bankruptcy attorneys see is the overextended Dad. The guy who ran interference for you with so many of life's hard knocks may have tried once too often to help out a family member. A recent report reveals that 45 percent of aging parents have given money to their adult children during this time of COVID-19. 

The amounts are staggering: Parents with annual household incomes (HHIs) of less than $40,000 gave, on average, $1,403. Dads and Moms with HHIs between $40,000 and $80,000 gave an average of $2,170. And parents with HHIs of more than $80,000 plopped down an average $8,530!

Perhaps Papa helped you out during COVID-19, and now Dad is in financial difficulties. 

Dads and Dollars

You know your Dad deserves his dignity, but he may also need your help. What to do? Kiplinger recommends starting off a conversation about money by promoting the positive, and encouraging Dad to open up about his situation. Talk up your improving financial situation and how you are dealing with debt. 

Outline the facts about mounting debt among seniors, the risks of ignoring ballooning personal debt, and the reasons so many people of all ages are facing tough financial times through no fault of their own. 

Maybe Dad is struggling because he is single or widowed and unaccustomed to meeting his needs on only one income. Sonora Dodd, inventor of Father's Day, was raised by a single dad, no easy feat then or now. 

Remember that your conversation norms are not dear ol' Dad's norms. Generational differences, says Bank of America, may mean older parents view the adult children as “grilling them” when the grown kids see themselves as simply trying to suss out the parents' whole financial picture. 

Be willing to ask Dad the tough question: Dad, are you struggling to deal with your own debt? Would you like some help organizing your finances, and finding a way out of the problem? 

Begetters and Bankruptcy

The cold reality of today's life, a life much different from when Dad was a young wage earner, is that bankruptcy is a respectable and realistic solution to serious financial problems. This Father's Day, perhaps the greatest way to repay Dad for a lifetime of kindness is to guide him through a realistic appraisal of his finances and suggest filing for bankruptcy. 

Dad may find numbers appealing. According to the United States Courts, more than 733,000 bankruptcy petitions were filed by individuals with debts that were predominantly consumer in nature (“consumer cases”) in 2019 (the latest data year). That means your proud Pa will be in good company. 

Dad may react to an emotional argument. Share this with him: studies show that debt induces anxiety but our governmental systems have very few resources to deal with that anxiety or debt. The one bright spot? A functioning bankruptcy process. Dad can find relief both financially and emotionally by filing for bankruptcy. 

We offer several ways to approach Dad because Dad is likely to spurn your initial offer of help. Even if you outline the alternatives to bankruptcy -- foreclosure, mounting debt in his “golden years,” ruined credit -- Dad may still resist. He's proud. He's sure of himself. He's your Dad. 

Because he is your Dad, you cannot give up. Work with him over hours or days to help him view a Texas bankruptcy as the key to his financial freedom. 

Sonora Dodd invented Father's Day as a way to recognize her Dad's accomplishments raising six kids by himself. You can pay tribute to your Dad this Father's Day by arranging a 40 minute complimentary strategy session with an experienced Frisco, Texas, bankruptcy lawyer. Contact us today or telephone our offices at (214) 618-2101. We may also be reached by email at [email protected]

About the Author

Théda Page

Théda Page's practice of law is motivated by the desire to help people through difficult circumstances. She spends time with her clients in order to understand their needs so that she can provide them with comprehensive and quality representation.

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