Declaring bankruptcy can be a major decision. There’s all this planning and stress and buildup – only for the whole thing to be over so suddenly that it leaves you wondering “What now?” So much works goes into the process of bankruptcy that any steps that should be taken afterward are often overlooked altogether. But bankruptcy isn’t the end of a financial situation. It’s the beginning of a fresh start – here are some steps you should take after declaring bankruptcy:
After filing for bankruptcy, everything starts moving very quickly. Many new arrangements are made and it can be easy to get lost in the shuffle. The first step is to make sure all the paperwork associated with your bankruptcy petition kept in a safe place. You bankruptcy petition is essentially a large packet that includes detailed financial information about your debts and assets. The court will also supply you with a copy of the notice of filing and a copy of your discharge order.
Despite all the paperwork you will encounter, these three documents are the most important.
Budget Your Finances
Now that you’re starting over, it’s only appropriate to re-assess how you got into the financial hole to begin with. While many variables may have been outside of your control, a bankruptcy gives you some space to re-evaluate the way you spend money and manage your credit. There are many free online resources that allow you create budgets and calculate your expenses for you. Start small and work your way up to a five-year plan or even a retirement plan. The money is yours!
Keep a Close Eye on Your Credit
Whenever a major financial even happens, you can count on you credit report reflecting the changes. Unfortunately, you can almost certainly count on reporting inaccuracies from collectors who probably just didn’t get the memo. A free credit report can be obtained periodically from the three major credit agencies. There are also free credit monitoring services out there that’ll let you make sure all reporting is accurate.
Start Building a Rainy Day Fund
Once budgeting is open and clear, you should have a much better idea of how much money can be dedicated to savings monthly. Once this figure is established, consider starting a proper savings for emergency situations. Having just gone through a bankruptcy, you probably already know the feeling of going through an emergency with little or no savings to rely on. If it can be helped, don’t go through this again!
Rebuild Your Credit
Once a good amount of time has passed, start giving thought to reestablishing your credit. Consider a secured credit card and use it responsibly – on time payments, use a slight amount of the credit limit, and really focus on keeping on track with payments. A low limit combined with responsible usage could lead to improved credit in no time.
Bankruptcy can be the beginning of a new financial slate. If you are considering bankruptcy and would like more information, contact us today.