One of the primary goals after filing for bankruptcy is rebuilding your credit. As tempting as it might be to swear off credit after bankruptcy, especially if it was a major factor in your financial challenges, you’re going to want to re-establish your credit history. The more efficiently you do so, the better your financial situation will be after bankruptcy.
Is It Counterproductive to File for Bankruptcy If You’re Concerned About Your Credit?
Not exactly. It’s no secret that filing for bankruptcy will have a serious negative impact on your credit score. However, if you are considering bankruptcy, there’s a good chance your credit is already in less-than-ideal condition.
Initially filing for bankruptcy is going to ding your credit even more. But from there, you can begin to rebuild. That’s something you’re unlikely to be able to do if you don’t file. Bankruptcy prevents you from continuing to dig your hole deeper and deeper.
Is There a Fast Track to Rebuilding Credit after Bankruptcy?
Yes and no.
It’s going to take time to rebuild your credit and get back on solid ground after bankruptcy. However, there are a few things you can do to get a jumpstart on things.
- Check your credit report frequently and make sure it’s accurate. You don’t want to let an inaccuracy mess up your situation.
- Apply for a secured credit card. These cards have “built-in” security that deters you from living outside of your means. Experian explains more about secured credit cards here.
- Make sure you only take on debts you know you can handle no matter what. Unless you know you can afford the payments on a debt even if you lose your job or face an emergency expense, don’t accept liability for the loan.
Long-term Credit Outlook after Bankruptcy
Once you’ve taken care of those quick-fix steps, you can begin to focus on what you’re going to do over the long haul.
Good credit is about maintenance. It’s a never-ending job to keep your credit score as high as possible. But first, you’ll want to work on gradually building your score back to the good range and keeping it there once you’ve reached that range.
Beyond monitoring your credit, getting a secured card, and living within your means, what can you do to rebuild your credit?
Avoid Your Previous Mistakes
Not everyone who files for bankruptcy got in over their head with credit cards. Some people face medical expenses or job loss or other drastic life events that leave them in a financial situation they never imagined. Even the most responsible money manager who saved their entire life can have their financial situation ruined by five- or six-digit medical costs.
However, if you are someone who made mistakes with credit cards or spending, you’ll want to learn a new way of living after bankruptcy. This doesn’t mean you can’t ever enjoy the so-called finer things, but it does mean you’ll need to spend the majority of your time living within your means.
Create a budget and commit to it. Plan for unexpected events as much as possible and use the information you’ve learned during bankruptcy to make smarter decisions about money.
If there’s anything 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic taught us it’s that everything can change in an instance. No matter how much you plan and try to save, things don’t always go as planned.
As a result of our unpredictable reality, some people decided to downsize. If you’re emerging from bankruptcy, this drastic approach might be right for you. Consider what you need in your life and what you’re able to let go of.
This doesn’t work for everyone, but if you’re serious about getting on firm financial footing and you want to take control of your credit after bankruptcy, considering serious life changes should be on your radar.
For more information about rebuilding your credit or to learn about our post-bankruptcy credit rebuilding program, contact the Law Office of Robert M. Geller at 813-254-5696 to schedule a free consultation.