Professionals in different fields can and should learn from each other. I know I try to do just that by reading journals from other professional fields, including employee benefits, general law, and financial planning. I find this reading so rewarding, because, often, I can gain insights that help me provide the best and most up-to-date advice to my Indiana bankruptcy clients. This week, I found a very interesting piece in a human resources and employee benefits journal that relates to the tie-in between financial health and mental and physical well-being.

“Employee Benefit Advisor” magazine talks about ways to help employees stop smoking and lose weight (both of these things present major challenges for employers trying to save on health costs). Here’s something I thought was so appropriate for people experiencing severe financial problems who are facing bankruptcy: “Someone who loses twelve pounds with an eight-week weight-loss program may appear successful, but does he or she really have the skills needed for long-term weight management?”

One of the key misperceptions about bankruptcy, I’ve found over my many years in the practice of Indiana bankruptcy law, is that it is an “instant fix”, a way to get rid of one’s obligations. The truth is, as I’ve emphasized in these bankruptcy blogs, bankruptcy is a process, with the most important part of the story being the sequel. That’s the part where clients work on rebuilding their financial lives, including building a whole new set of skills and habits, very much on the line of effective long-term weight management through building healthy eating habits. In Getting On Track After – Or Before – Bankruptcy, I recommended keeping a “check register” for each credit or debit card, which is a way of building the habit of tracking expenditures. The bankruptcy legal process serves as a safety net, helping people get back on their feet. But bankruptcy’s far from an instant cure. Life is going to continue to present financial challenges, and it’s crucial that those people learn to practice responsible money management even in the face of those challenges.