Many people who could benefit from a bankruptcy filing shy away because of concerns about the impact on their credit report and credit score. While it’s true that bankruptcy will ding your score and remain on your credit report for a minimum of seven years, you have to take the good with the bad.
There are many steps you can take to recover financially after bankruptcy, including the following:
- Review your credit report: When doing so, your primary goal is to check for accuracy. For example, all credit accounts covered by your bankruptcy should be listed as “discharged in bankruptcy.” Should you come across an error, don’t wait to dispute it.
- Check your credit score: Even though it may be shockingly low, don’t let that scare you. You want to know your score shortly after bankruptcy, so that you can track your progress in the months and years to come.
- Pay your bills on time: Don’t make the same mistakes that got you into financial trouble the first time. Pay all your bills in full and on time, as this is one of the easiest things you can do to rebuild your credit.
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew: For example, don’t rent an apartment you can’t afford or use a store credit card that you can’t pay off in full. If you do this, you could soon find yourself in the same situation.
- Use a secured credit card: You’re not likely to qualify for an unsecured credit card shortly after bankruptcy, so turn in this direction. With a security deposit, you gain access to a credit card that you can use for every day purchases. Just make sure the issuer reports all activity to the three major credit bureaus.
Even though bankruptcy will turn your finances upside down, there are a variety of benefits, such as the ability to discharge your debt in Chapter 7, that make it appealing.
Once the bankruptcy process is in the past, turn your attention to building a new financial life. By taking the right steps, you can rebuild your finances, boost your credit score and eventually find yourself in better shape.