Recession Still Being Felt by Chicago Residents Dealing With Debt

It's all over, folks. At least, that's what the National Bureau of Economic Research has to say about the Great Recession.

But for many of us, it's not so clear-cut. Whether we really are on our way out of the latest recession as some experts speculate, or headed into a so-called double-dip recession as others suggest, doesn't really matter, say Chicago bankruptcy lawyers. What does matter is what's going on with our own finances.

It's easy to blame the economy for our financial problems - and it deserves some of the blame, especially for the layoffs and fickle housing prices that hurt our bottom lines. But it's not all bad luck - most of us share the blame for our money woes. For instance, if you're in the habit of biting off more debt than you can chew and spending with abandon, you're probably going to be struggling whether or not the GDP is on the rise.

So forget the headlines and forget the talking heads. There's no need to let bad news about the economy get you down, but you also shouldn't let good news about the economy give you false hope. The biggest predictor of your future financial success is whether you can change your economic behavior.

We've said it before and we'll say it again. By using this economic downtime to improve your personal finances, you stand to be in far better shape when things do pick up - meaning you'll have more to gain. For most of us, that means keep better track of what we're spending, coming up with a realistic budget so we can better save money and paying off debts so we aren't prisoners to interest for the rest of our lives.

Feeling a little overwhelmed? If you've neglected your finances for years, it's no surprise. Fortunately, free help is just around the corner. At a DebtStoppers-hosted free community financial workshop in Chicago, you'll find advice from experts on how to spend smarter and save more, whether that means a simple budget or lowering your debt with bankruptcy. Isn't it time you stopped watching the news - and started making something happen?

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