Surf City Lawyers October 2018

714-533-9210 OCTOBER 2018




There’s no cookie-cutter strategy to avoid financial pitfalls. You might be making six figures and get in a snowboarding accident that transforms your life forever. We’re all one hospital visit away from bankruptcy. Medical bills are undoubtedly common in bankruptcies, but, more often than not, it’s a job loss that gets the ball rolling. I’ve seen plenty of clients eat through their savings and into their loved ones’ reserves in an attempt to get back on their feet after a career change.

“Live like you’re going to die tomorrow, but plan like you’re going to live forever.” To me, these words encompass the best way to broach avoiding bankruptcy. I love this quote because it details the perfect harmony between the reckless abandon that can make life so rewarding and the necessary grounding that keeps us tethered to reality. Spenders often have no problem living like they are going to die tomorrow, and savers have no problem planning like they are going to live forever. Finding a balance between the two can be complicated, but it’s indispensable to living a healthy life. Whether You’re a Saver or a Spender, Prevention Is in the Preparation

Savers and spenders alike can run into bankruptcy, and I want to put a stop to it. Most everyone is going to assume that because I’m a bankruptcy attorney, I don’t mind people getting into debt. Helping people file bankruptcy is part of my job, after all, so why would I care about preventing it? The truth is that, while I believe bankruptcy to be an excellent tool for those who need it, I desperately want to keep people from ever getting to the point where it’s required. When clients come to see me, I can see stress oozing out of every pore. The financial burdens they carry put stress on marriages, destroy families, and create life events that people never recover from. It’s impossible not to have empathy, so I spend every consultation with my clients approaching their financial situation from the perspective of “What advice would I want?” If someone comes to me who isn’t comfortable with bankruptcy, or doesn’t need it, I work with them on alternative plans. I am a bankruptcy lawyer, but above all else, I am a human being. We live in a broken financial system, and I want to help individuals understand that getting out of debt and staying there is a result of self-discipline and resiliency. It’s about more than just changing habits; it requires finding a way to overcome adversity. I’m an instrument to do both. It’s more comfortable to sit down with an attorney than it is to carry the weight of debt. Our consultations at Surf City Lawyers are free, and we don’t do that as a marketing tactic, but rather because it’s one step forward in helping the human condition. Financial freedom starts with making strides ahead, not backward. That’s why I do what I do — not just because I’m good at it, but because it’s part of who I am.

“Many of the wonderful people I’ve worked with believe it’s their moral obligation to society to repay their debts, and I respect that.”


Every one of my clients would pay back their debt if they could. Many of the wonderful people I’ve worked with believe it’s their moral obligation to society to repay their debts, and I respect that. Bankruptcy is rarely the result of someone being delusional about their financial standing; it often stems from a failure to adjust spending habits. As your life changes, you have to alter your approach to finances. Most of my clients tapped every resource possible — and even the assets of friends and family — before coming to see me. They got to this point not because they wanted to, but because they didn’t re-evaluate their habits. Debt happens one latte at a time.

–Christine Kingston

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