If you recently filed for bankruptcy, you are likely experiencing a sense of relief from having your debts discharged and getting a fresh start financially. These tips for “life after bankruptcy” will help you avoid future debt problems and improve your credit score once your case is finalized.
Collect and preserve all paperwork from your case. Your bankruptcy attorney should provide you with a copy of your bankruptcy petition (i.e. – 40-50 pages of detailed financial information – including the facts about the debts and assets involved in your case.) You should also have a notice of bankruptcy filing directly from the court, which shows the deadlines that affected your case. Finally, you should have a copy of your discharge order entered by the bankruptcy judge. This is important as some lenders require to see a copy of the bankruptcy papers before lending you new credit.
Check your credit reports regularly. You can obtain your credit report for FREE from each of the three main credit bureaus once a year. It is important to see what creditors are saying about you. Especially after a bankruptcy, you want to make sure that all of the discharged debt is being reported to the credit bureaus with a zero balance so it does not count against you as outstanding debt. You also want to make sure the account is not transferred to a new collection agency who falsely pursues you for the discharged debt.
Start a budget and review it regularly. Creating and sticking to a budget is the key to staying on track financially. It is also a great way to manage your income and expenses and see where every dollar is going. Just like in the Means Test that compared your income and expenses over a six-month period to standards set by the Census Bureau and the IRS. The concept was to identify those who actually had the means to pay their debts, but who were living an extravagant lifestyle financed on credit cards and other debt. It’s an urban myth that people who file for bankruptcy live lavishly and are financially irresponsible. Statistics monitored since 2005 show that a very small percentage fit into this category. Most bankruptcies are caused by an unforeseen illness or medical expense, job loss, or even a divorce.
Start an emergency fund. When establishing a budget for yourself, make sure you put aside a portion of your income for savings. Having an emergency fund will help you avoid incurring unplanned debt or taking out cash advances to cover unexpected costs like a car repair or appliance repair.
Think about new credit. A great way to rebuild your credit after filing for bankruptcy is to obtain a secured credit card. You can open this card by depositing money into an account as security. Your credit limit is the amount you deposited into the account.
If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.