So, the bankruptcy was filed. Now, the story of how I rebuilt my life and my businesses and protected my assets…
(Get caught up on the whole series here: Read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four & Part Five.)
So now, the question you’ve all been asking…
How did I bounce back from bankruptcy so quickly and protect my most important assets along the way to make rebound, rebuild and repair easier than you would think?
Before I share the details, let me remind you that it was only two years ago (nearly exactly two years ago in fact) that I filed bankruptcy. Two years later and my work is being supported by companies that are ten times (maybe even 100x) as strong as the companies supporting my work then. I am making far more money than I was even at the height of my pre-bankruptcy success in 2009, the year my former companies were earning just shy of $2,000,000. And, conflict has nearly been eradicated from my life. Contrast that with a life full of conflict prior to the bankruptcy.
Now, I’m not saying that bankruptcy is the solution for everyone. There’s a lot of people who should NOT file bankruptcy. I’ll speak more to who those people are and what kind of debt is not appropriate for resolution via bankruptcy in a future post. But I am saying that when it’s time to let go of anything (whether through bankruptcy, divorce, breakup, or even death), when done well and right, you will be rewarded. As I am being rewarded today.
So, how did I do it well? And what can you learn from it?
First of all, I invested my credit in things that could never be taken away from me via the bankruptcy process. My education, coaching, self care, well-being, travel, experiences, and community. Ultimately, I invested in my resourcefulness and creativity. The best part about that is that no matter what happens in your life (unless its death), resourcefulness, creativity, and true community is never at risk.
Second, I didn’t own the pre-bankruptcy companies that supported my work and I don’t own the post-bankruptcy companies that support my work now. All of the companies that support my work, our customers and clients and pay me to do my work in the world are owned by irrevocable trusts of which I am just a beneficiary, but have no direct control over the assets. My stepmom and grandmother each set up a trust for me and it was these trusts that started the companies to begin with. I never owned them, therefore they could never be taken from me in a bankruptcy.
Before you go off thinking I’m some kind of trust fund kid, let me correct that misperception.
My grandfather left my grandmother enough money to live on after he died, if she would have died 10 years ago. She didn’t. She’s still alive. And has outlived her savings. She has social security and kids who make up the difference in financial and personal support. Back in 2005, she put a few thousand dollars into a trust for me and the Trustee of those Trusts used that to start the first two businesses to support my work outside of my law practice, which was owned directly by me.
Then, in 2010, my stepmom created another trust for me and also put in a few thousand dollars of what my dad had left to her after he died. That trust started two more companies to replace the initial two that had not been built properly with the right foundations, team support or structures. Today, those companies are worth millions of dollars and if they are ever sold, all of the sale proceeds will be protected in that Trust, excluded from estate taxation at my death, and totally protected in the event of my death, a divorce or any type of creditor event. The Trust is set up to exist for generations.
And, so, all of the businesses supporting my work in the world, including my intellectual property, client lists, and the income coming into those businesses, were totally protected and I was able to bounce back from bankruptcy quickly leveraging the resources I had invested in (like my education, my network, and my community) that could never be taken away from me.
I wonder … are you investing in things that can never be taken away from you?
By intentionally setting my life up to be able to take big risks and then taking them, I have been significantly rewarded. And, you will be too, when you do it.
When you know the value of what you offer, invest in long-term asset protection to assure your work serves for generations. Tweet It!
This is the final written post in this series of How (and Why) I Ended Up in Bankruptcy. And it’s been less about the debt, money and bankruptcy, and more about the story of my own personal Heroine’s Journey.
So many of us are in the midst of some sort of big shift, ripping away of past comforts and beliefs, stretching further than we believed we could. And being rewarded for it greatly.
We come out on the other side better and stronger than we could have ever imagined.
Thank you for coming along for the journey. I’ll be sharing more details about all of it in a future book, “You Are Not Your Credit Score.”
Next week, I’ll be posting a Bonus Q&A video for the FINALE, where I’ll be answering your biggest questions from this series. If you’ve got a question for me, be sure to post it in the comments below (or on any of the previous blogs in this series) and I’ll personally answer them in the video finale next week.
Stay tuned for our big FINALE, and keep an eye out for my books “Financial Liberation” and “You Are Not Your Credit Score” plus Get the Financial Liberation Mini-Course here, now. Read the whole series here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four & Part Five.