John E. Matheny had a thriving financial planning business, with $35 million in assets under management, until three years ago. That's when the planner confronted disorder in his own finances.

After what he describes as "a perfect storm" of personal and financial misfortunes - including the breakup of his marriage, an unexpected surgery on his neck and the crash of the Florida real estate market in which he was heavily invested - he filed for protection under Chapter 7 of the federal bankruptcy code in December 2009. Matheny's bankruptcy led the Certified Financial Planner Board's Disciplinary and Ethics Commission a year ago to suspend his right to use the CFP certification marks.

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