The lessons learned from bankruptcy at a young age

Few people at the age of 21 can claim many, if any “real life” setbacks, let alone learning from the experiences.

At the age of nineteen, Omar Spahi, today the founder of Ocean Avenue Realty Inc., inherited more than 30 multi-million dollar properties. However, the windfall was ill timed as the economy collapsed months later. With only equity and without cash flow from rentals, he contacted the mortgage holders who refused to modify the loans.

Bankruptcy was the only option to protect those assets from creditors, specifically from foreclosure proceedings. Barely in his twenties, Spahi decided to restructure through a Chapter 11 filing, but only after learning important lessons that come from having one’s back up against the wall financially.

  • The attorney you select should not be based on how much money you can save. Spahi focused on cost cutting measures, hiring a lawyer lacking Chapter 11 experience. After essentially getting what he paid for, he retained more experienced legal counsel.
  • Have a plan in place before filing. Proactively create a business plan that works best for you. Specify what you can afford to pay debts. It should serve as a blueprint as these types of financial strategies are usually subject to change.
  • Conduct yourself respectfully in bankruptcy court. Hiding assets or purchases will only work against you. Continue to be honest and forthcoming, including the timely filing Monthly Operating Reports (MORs).
  • Plan ahead. Save money in the event of another economic collapse. Having a financial reserve will help during down times.
  • Learn from the experience and your mistakes. The last thing you want is another trip to bankruptcy court. That ounce of prevention starts with proper forecasting and evaluation of your business and its future.

Insight from someone who has experienced bankruptcy provides necessary insight. Representation from a bankruptcy attorney can provide you the debt relief and peace of mind you need.

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