The people who get the best benefit from a bankruptcy filing are those who file early. In other words, those that don't wait until their entire financial world crumbles. Filing early allows debtors to make the most of their exemptions and preserve as much of their property as possible. Many potential debtors don't understand that bankruptcy court allows you to keep most (in many cases all) of your property. I had a wonderful client that came in when her contract job was coming to an end. Because she came in when she did, she learned that her retirement would be exempt if she filed for bankruptcy. She had been prepared to cash it in. Her unemployment would cover her living expenses but not her additional credit card bills, medical bills, etc. By filing for bankruptcy she was able to preserve her retirement while looking for another job, pay all of her necessary expenses and make it through 6 months of unemployment without liquidating all of her assets.