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Former child star files for personal bankruptcy

The economy has been rough on a lot of New Yorkers. While recently it has been strengthening, post-recession incomes are not what they once were for many people. Others are struggling to find a job after years of trying. Even Hollywood stars have not been immune from this economic shift.

According to reports, former child actor Drake Bell has filed for personal bankruptcy. Bell rose to fame in the mid-to-late 2000s on the hit Nickelodeon show "Drake & Josh." During this time, the actor reportedly made significant money. In 2012, the actor's income was reported as $408,000. However, after the show ended, so did the income. In 2013, the actor allegedly only made $14,099.

In his bankruptcy petition, the actor says he has monthly expenses of $18,771. However, his income is only $2,820 and does not cover his expenses. The actor says he has debt around $581,000. The actor also owns a home worth $1.575 million, but reports suggest that he owes more than that on the house.

For people who are suffering with a high debt load and a smaller income, like Bell, personal bankruptcy can be one way for people to get a fresh financial start. While people do need to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, those who file will see immediate relief from harassing creditors and collection efforts. The court will then determine if people property that can be sold to pay the debt. However, in many cases most of a person's personal property will be protected from sale by state and federal bankruptcy exemptions. Following the sale of any qualifying property, any remaining debts are discharged.

While bankruptcy may have had a social stigma in the past, many New Yorkers now understand its importance in these rough economic times. People should not be afraid to explore their personal bankruptcy options when they are struggling to make ends meet.

Source: New York Daily News, "Drake Bell, former Nickelodeon star, files for bankruptcy: report," Zayda Rivera, Feb. 12, 2014

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