If you’ve just recently filed for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy or are struggling with credit card debt, looking at your credit score may be the last thing you want to do. However, credit ratings aren’t set in stone. The actions you take today will have an impact on your score tomorrow.
No matter how damaged your credit is, there are steps you can take to improve it over time. If you exercise patience and have a sound strategy, you can get your credit score back up to a respectable level that will allow you to borrow enough to get that house or car down the line.
Here are five steps you can take to begin improving your credit score right away:
1. Get your credit reports: There are three major national credit bureaus, (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and you can get a free report from each once per year. It’s hard to create a plan to improve your credit without knowing your score. Find out your post bankruptcy credit score, so you can mark a starting point and review your progress in the next year. You will also have the opportunity to dispute any incorrect information.
2. Pay bills on time and start saving slowly: It’s important to begin establishing a pattern of responsible financial management in the wake of your bankruptcy. Paying your bills on time every month and establishing a savings account will really help. In addition, building up savings will potentially save you from putting large emergency purchases (like car repairs) on a credit card.
3. Apply for a secured credit card: Since your credit is likely damaged from bankruptcy, getting a secured card is ideal. First, they are cards designed to help you improve your credit slowly, second it may save you from yourself, since you’re essentially spending your own money. However, don’t max your card out and make sure you pay it off in full each month.
4. Set a realistic budget: If you’ve had some debt discharged, resist the urge to go on a spending spree. Instead, take a moment to regroup and assess your income and then distinguish the difference between your wants and needs. Exercise some restraint, especially if you got into hot water by overspending (as opposed to effects of the tanked economy.)
5. Learn from lessons of the past: (A follow up from the last point: exercise some restraint.) Those who do not learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them. You know the actions which put you in this position. Now, with your fresh financial start, you have a chance to make decisions and take steps which will prevent you from falling into financial despair once more.
Contact the Law Office of Joel R. Spivack today for a risk-free consultation to discuss your financial situation and your options. For more than 20 years, Joel R. Spivack, Esq. has helped countless people, like you, get back on the road to financial health through bankruptcy protection.