In times of nationwide economic hardship, many individuals in Michigan and across the nation find themselves in financial situations that would have seemed unlikely or even impossible in previous years. Business owners, educated professionals and even prominent athletes are all vulnerable to economic troubles, and many end up filing for personal bankruptcy in order to end their hardship. This appears to be the case for an Olympic athlete who recently made the decision to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in an attempt to discharge excessive loads of unsecured debt.
The Olympian is Rulon Gardner, a gold medalist in two Olympic Games and the 2001 world title holder in Greco-Roman wrestling. Now 41 years old, Gardner and his wife own and run the Rulon Gardner Elite Training Center. The bankruptcy filing was made in early September and is intended to allow the wrestler the ability to liquidate his assets in an attempt to repay his creditors.
In the filing, Gardner claims debt totaling just under $3 million. His household income is listed at $3,116. By filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Gardner will be able to discharge a large portion of his debt following the liquidation of his assets. Among those assets is a home valued at just over $430,000, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a range of personal items with varying values. The property is scheduled to be sold at auction in the coming weeks, with the proceeds to go to Gardner's creditors.
This story should serve as a reminder to Michigan residents that financial turmoil can affect anyone, regardless of their abilities or past success. Furthermore, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not mean that an individual will not go on to even greater success in the aftermath. When debt becomes overwhelming, there is a tipping point beyond which it is virtually impossible to recover by simply paying down the balances. In this scenario, filing for personal bankruptcy makes solid financial sense, and can give consumers a fresh start.
Source: USA Today, "Rulon Gardner files for bankruptcy," Gary Mihoces, Sept. 19, 2012