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Anyone can end up in financial trouble and filing for bankruptcy

Financial troubles do not discriminate based on an individual's income level. Anyone from the average New Jersey resident to famous actors such as Mekhi Phifer can end up filing for bankruptcy. Granted, the average American will most likely not have $1.2 million in debt, but the burden created by any amount of debt can often feel as though it is insurmountable.

In Phifer's case, a large portion of his debt is owed to the IRS for unpaid taxes. Accounting and legal fees in the approximate amount of $50,000 are also listed on the former "ER" actor's Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. Despite having more than $67,000 in assets, the actor and his wife of a little over a year are unable to meet their monthly obligations, which total around $11,574. The actor claims his income is only $7,545 per month.

Many New Jersey residents and people across the country are also unable to meet their monthly bills. The impact of this, however, could look very different for Phifer than it does for others. Some people find themselves having to choose between making credit card payments or buying groceries. Debt collectors provide a stressful reminder that the family finances are overwhelming.

Filing for bankruptcy could offer some much-needed stress relief for many families. Even though taxes are generally not discharged in a bankruptcy except under certain circumstances, other debts can be eliminated. Filers have the chance to come to terms with their current financial situations -- minus the stress of debt collectors -- and move forward with a clean slate.

Source: ABC News, "'ER' Actor Mekhi Phifer Files for Bankruptcy", Luchina Fisher, May 8, 2014

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