Many people tend to think of bankruptcy as the end of the road – the “nuclear option” when debt has become overwhelming. But in reality, bankruptcy is often a new beginning and a chance for a fresh start. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy protection, it might be a good idea to start thinking ahead to what your financial life will look like with most debts erased and with the credit score repercussions that typically accompany bankruptcy.
Whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, it will likely be harder to borrow money for several years. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The first few years after bankruptcy are an important time to make changes that can set you up for long-term financial success. This includes the opportunity to rebuild good credit by fastidiously making monthly payments on bills and other financial obligations.
Financial experts say that you should wait to borrow money until you can rebuild your credit score to 650 or higher. This will better ensure that your interest rates will be reasonable. Whatever you do, avoid predatory lenders entirely if at all possible. Payday loans may seem convenient when you need money right away, but no one can afford to pay 400 percent interest, nor should they have to.
Right after bankruptcy is also a smart time to start building savings. A good goal is to save 10 percent of your income, but building any savings habit at all will be beneficial.
Finally, make sure that you check your credit report regularly. These reports are notorious for errors, and you don’t want mistakes to unfairly hurt your score.
The decision to file for bankruptcy can feel scary, and it comes with a lot of uncertainty about the future. But please remember that bankruptcy is not the end for you financially. It is a tool to get you back on track and headed toward a bright financial future.
Source: Bankrate.com, "Bankruptcy timeline: Rebuilding credit," Brigitte Yullie