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If you're facing possible bankruptcy, remember you're not alone. The federal government reported a record 1,625,813 consumer bankruptcies in fiscal 2003, up 7.8 percent from the previous record set in 2002 of 1,508,578. Business filings for 2003 actually declined 7.4 percent from 39,091 to 36,183.

The important thing is to understand what bankruptcy's all about, what it's not about and whether you need to file or not. If you do, keep in mind it's not the end of the world. Plenty of people have been there, done that -- including some very famous folks.

Managing your debt

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Starting Over

When all else fails Declaring bankruptcy vs. gutting it out -- Bankruptcy is like nuclear weapons, says the Debt Adviser: It gets the job done, but expect fallout.

Bankruptcy filings hit an all-time high -- Everything you need to know to file, chapter and verse.

Common misconceptions about bankruptcy -- Consumer bankruptcies are more more common than ever and set a new record for 2003. Yet misconceptions about the last-ditch way to get out of debt abound.

Coming out of bankruptcy -- The bad news is you had to file for bankruptcy. The good news? The damage need not be permanent, and you can begin right away on the road to recovery.

You're not alone Debt through history -- Columbus set sail because Spain was desperate for new resources to help her pay off her debts. The explorer is just one example of how debt has influenced world events.

Michael JacksonFamous debtors: Think you've got problems? -- You're not alone. Lots of famous people have struggled with debt, too.

Debt collector horror stories -- Harassment, abuse and illegal tactics appear to be the norm for some debt collectors.

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