It’s likely that many Illinois readers have been glued to the television during the 2012 summer Olympics. While watching the amazing feats of athleticism it’s easy to forget all of the hard work, and money, it took for many of these athletes to get where they are. That’s why it’s not surprising that some families of Olympic athletes are struggling financially, and some have admitted to filing for bankruptcy.
One of those parents is Natalie Hawkins, the mother of Gabby Douglas, America’s new sweetheart gold medal gymnast. Hawkins honestly acknowledged her bankruptcy saying that she is not embarrassed by it. She filed to protect ownership of her Virginia home.
Like most people who file bankruptcy, Hawkins financial troubles were not a result of a luxurious lifestyle and overspending. She is a single mother raising four children on $30,000 annually. A medical issue qualified her for Social Security medical disability benefits which helped her stay afloat for a while. Of course, the cost of training and preparing Gabby for the Olympics was not cheap, either.
Although these Olympic athletes may seem different than the average American, many of their stories are the same. Between 2007 and 2010 the median household net worth fell by 40 percent, according to the Federal Reserve. The worst recession since the Great Depression has led to financial trouble for many American households. Fortunately, there is a way for many Americans to free themselves from debt. Speaking with an experienced bankruptcy attorney is the best way to determine what is right for you and your family.
Source: The New York Times, “Olympic Bankruptcies for Ordinary Families,” Helaine Olen, August 8, 2012
Bankruptcy helps average Americans and Olympic athletes alike