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Life After Bankruptcy: How to Move Forward and Recover

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 2:50pm | by Guest Contributor

There are many goals that one has in life, but there's no one who ever has "I want to file for bankruptcy" on their list. Still, sometimes, the demands of life become overwhelming and after some wise financial counsel, filing for bankruptcy is the best the time.

If this is your personal testimony, the main thing to keep in mind is that there is life following this kind of decision; you can definitely move forward and recover. You can go beyond merely "making ends meet" to thriving and flourishing.

Are you still not convinced? If that's the case, we have enclosed five tips that can help remove the shame and stigma of a bankruptcy so that you can rebuild your finances, your credit rating and your life.

Let it go. The only really good thing that comes out of regret is that if you channel it correctly, it reminds you to make sure to choose differently in the future. Other than that, it's a very counterproductive emotion. So, before doing anything, make a concerted effort to accept that your current reality is what it is and that it's now time for focus on making a smart plan for your future.

Create a plan. "Winging it" is never a good idea for anyone, but especially someone who filed for bankruptcy. Whether it's an accountant, a financial planner or perhaps even a bankruptcy attorney, it definitely is a worthwhile investment to consult with someone who can help you to create a one and five-year plan so that you can have a budget in place and reach some attainable goals.

Downsize. Living above your means and/or having things that you don't really need are both surefire ways to find yourself in financial trouble once more. Whether it's moving into a smaller home, selling your car and getting a used one, or simply cutting some corners (do you actually need the cell phone plan that you currently have? Does it really make sense to have to largest cable package?), don't be afraid of or ashamed to downsize. The peace of mind that comes with knowing that you can afford your lifestyle will make it all well worth it.

Pay your bills on time. You will definitely need to convey to your current creditors that you are trustworthy and the best way to do that is to pay your bills on time. An easy way to make sure that you do this is to set up your bills on an automatic payment schedule. Also, since rent is now being tracked by credit reporting companies like Experian, also make sure that you pay yours, preferably on the first day that it's due and not the fifth day of your grace period.

Consider a secured credit card. One way to establish some new and better credit history is to use a credit card. However, in order to keep yourself from abusing it, you might want to start out with a secured credit card with a low limit. Whether it's something like a container of milk or a pair of gloves, the main objective is to buy something and pay it off, in full, immediately. That will start to establish a secure credit history, which will help, in time, to improve your overall credit score. Definitely something that anyone with a bankruptcy needs. Good luck.

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