One of the first (and best) fantasy novels that I read was A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin.
For those that don’t know, the HBO series Game of Thrones is based on these novels.
The story centers around warring families battling for control of Westeros, a fictional land. One of these families is the Lannisters and on the morality scale, they teeter just a bit towards evil.
The Lannister family motto is: “A Lannister always pays his debts.”
Just last week, fantasy intersected reality when I had a Lannister in my office for a consultation.
The Family Motto
As soon as she sat down in my office, I could tell she was distraught. She immediately started tearing up and was visibly upset.
Bankruptcy lawyers see this on a regular basis as being in debt is stressful, hurtful and puts a strain on emotions and relationships.
This is why bankruptcy can be such a freeing, relieving experience.
My client, however, was concerned and upset for a different reason.
She did not want to disappoint her parents.
Keep in mind, this is a single Mom, in her late thirties living with two children.
She talked with me about how she was raised by hard working parents who always paid what they owed. It was a value instilled in her from childhood.
She said her parents would be devastated if they found out she was even considering bankruptcy. This is why it is so important to filter the noise and consult with a professional when making life changing financial decisions.
Like the Lannisters, this family believed in paying their debts no matter the cost.
Bankruptcy can be Noble
There is nothing noble about sacrificing everything to make sure creditors get paid. In fact, I would argue that this type of “pay at all costs” behavior is ignoble.
Never sacrifice the health, happiness and mental stability of yourself and your family to make sure Bank of America, Chase, etc. receive their minimum payment on time every month.
While you should pay your debts if you have the means, it is irresponsible to do so if it means neglecting more important financial obligations you may have to yourself and your family.
Family mottos, ethics and pride are wonderful and can help build backbone and responsibility, however, sometimes life happens
Bankruptcy can be the crutch to get you back on your feet and off in the right direction. At times, it is the noble thing to do.
So, if you are experiencing financial hardship and come from a family of Lannisters, please withdraw from the family “pride” and consult a professional to at least understand your options and get a fresh opinion.
Image courtesy of DancesWithLight (Flickr).