In 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne published a novel that caused a good bit of controversy, but became an American (and international) classic. In “The Scarlet Letter,” Hester Prynne bears a child out-of-wedlock in a Puritan New England village. As punishment for that sin, she was to wear a scarlet “A” on her dress when out in public.

When you decide to declare bankruptcy, there is no giant “B” that will follow you around in public.

To be certain, bankruptcy is a legal remedy to a monetary woe, and aspects of that will follow you around as you rebuild your financial health. Unlike Hawthorne’s heroine, however, this is not intended as a badge of shame. 

So how do you wear the bankruptcy badge?

You should understand that you are not alone. In 2017, there were almost 770,000 non-business bankruptcy filings. People with debt they couldn’t handle used a legal recourse to try and recover their financial stability. 

If you’ve successfully filed for bankruptcy, this also means some people think you’re smart enough to deal with it. You’ve hopefully sought legal counsel, and that counsel was willing to stand behind you. At some point, a court of law agreed that your financial situation would benefit from the use of this legal remedy. 

At the end of the day, you’ve taken an important step to stop the earthquake of foreclosure letters, late notices, and fines. You’re actively participating in rebuilding your finances.

And that’s something to be proud of.