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The paper discusses the insolvency of households and the methods of solving it through debt relief. Personal bankruptcy in the Czech population increases by 30 % annually, and personal bankruptcy is a new approach to debt relief. The greatest risk of indebtedness occurs in low-income groups that use systems of loans to improve their financial situation. Within this debtor group, some kind of overestimation of their own income potential often occurs, which causes a situation where permanent insolvency is solved through other loans.
The reason for the constantly increasing number of filed insolvency proposals in the last few years can largely be attributed to the present economic situation. The reasons for the emergence of personal bankruptcies can also be found in psychological or socio-economic aspects. According to Stumm et al. (2012), who researched this problem in Great Britain, the psychological aspects of viewing one’s financial situation and the general manner of handling money that could lead to personal bankruptcy can be divided into three basic groups. First, they mention financial ability, with which we can conceive the general knowledge by consumers relating to financial matters and their abilities to direct and control finances. The second group is represented by an attitude about money that expresses consumer feelings and opinions. This can be primarily influenced by the present situation or by incidental events.
Money can also be understood to be a symbol of power and control. People distinguish themselves and make manifest their standing through money. Money is also associated with expressions of love and generosity. The last category is the
feeling of freedom and independence that money gives to people, representing the possibility of escaping from everyday reality. Socio-economic factors form the last group of psychological aspects that influence the financial situation of families and individuals. In this group, we classify the level of income and education attained. According to research in Great Britain and the U.S.A., people from poorer socialclasses have a greater tendency towards bankruptcy because they have far fewer
financial reserves at their disposal than individuals from the other social strata.
Research studying a sample of persons in bankruptcy was conducted in the Czech Republic. A total of 109 persons in personal bankruptcy were observed. Information about debtors (age, sex, social standing measured by income, average amount of income, entire amount owed) was obtained from the Insolvency Register. The survey showed that the magnitude of total debt in the hundreds of thousands (CZK). The largest share of borrowers was represented by those whose debt ranges from CZK 300,000 to 599,000.
The largest group of debtors were married and aged 30–39 years. Efforts to maintain the family and settle housing issues are assumed as possible reasons for their bankruptcy. Furthermore, their lack of experience in family cash flow management is acknowledged. None of these debtors had their own housing, and instead lived in rented accommodations. The persons observed had predominantly primary education or training. The major source of income for debtors was their salary (CZK
16,500, or EUR 650 on average). The average fulfilment of debts was 66.48 %, but only around 30–49 % of total debt was fulfilled. According to social standing and from the perspective of income source, the largest group of debtors was the group of employees not receiving a pension. The reasons for indebtedness among people of retirement age are different from those among young people. Although they have life experience, they nevertheless act very irresponsibly at times. Because of their age, they are less resistant to pressure and have a reduced ability to assess critically in stressful situations. For instance, they are frequently manipulated into situations where they make hasty purchases during promotional events. At other times, they fall into the debt trap in an effort to solve a difficult financial situation in the family when helping their adult children. From the assessment of the survey, it follows that debtors took loans without careful consideration, that is, without having assessed whether they would be able to repay the loans with interest. Approved debt relief deeply affects every debtor throughout the usual five year duration of debt remittance (assuming the debt is not repaid before then).