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What Wisconsin residents can learn from Kodak's bankruptcy

Kodak was once the mighty photography company who encouraged consumers to "capture moments," but it lost its way in the crowd of technological advancements. The firm had filed for bankruptcy to eliminate debt and to restructure. Now, the phoenix-like company is rising again, this time with a new and better perspective.

Lessons can be learned from the rise, fall and rebirth of the company. After enjoying decades of success, the imaging company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2012 after accumulating $6.75 billion in debt. It was also brought down by delays in falling into step with advancing imaging technology and the high pension costs of its employees.

However, through all the challenges, the company persisted and is now emerging from bankruptcy, this time with a clearer vision and greater resolve to reinvent itself. With a stronger balance sheet and leaner structure, it is now focused on consumer goods packaging and high-speed digital printing.

Individuals can take a lesson or two from Kodak's persistence. In the face of mountainous personal debt, people seek desperately to stop creditor harassment and sometimes make faulty decisions, such as taking out loans to pay off existing debt.

Kodak also demonstrated wisdom by opting for an honest and legal Chapter 11 solution to obtain relief from its debt. While reorganization under Chapter 11 is an option for businesses, in the case of personal debt, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often more appropriate.

Chapter 7 gives people the option to pay off debt without sacrificing their homes or personal belongings. A bankruptcy law specialist can answer questions about how to go about filing. Whether debtors live in Appleton and Outagamie Counties, Wisconsin, or elsewhere in the country, they can learn from the example of the iconic imaging company that they can have a fresh start even after facing financial troubles.

Source: NBC News, "A New Kodak Moment: Emerging from Bankruptcy," Sep. 03, 2013

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