With pandemic relief running its course, more and more households will be seeking bankruptcy protection to rid themselves of mounting debt. In a move that surprised many experts, bankruptcy filings have significantly dropped during the Covid-19 pandemic. Bankruptcy filings dropped 30% in 2020 and if filings in May 2021 are any indication, 2021 may have another 30% drop. But for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and delay i filing bankruptcy may come at greater costs for consumers. Currently, the average consumer is waiting more than 22 months after their first 90 day delinquency notice to file bankruptcy. The average household has a total of $240,000 of debt by the time they file bankruptcy. The delay in filing is increasing household "shadow debt" which is debt that does not appear on credit reports. Think of overdraft fees, nsf check fees, unpaid rents, and certain medical bills. Shadow debt, on average, is rising at a staggering rate of $7,200 per month for households delaying filing bankruptcy. Instead of delaying the benefits of bankruptcy and the opportunity for a fresh start, consumers should engage in the process early, reap the financial benefits and free up cash flow for their household. The idea that bankruptcy is bad or should be delayed is born from years of corporate propaganda, but the reality is that delaying bankruptcy is usually worse for most households.