Filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy doesn’t have to result in the death of your credit score. Our Flexer Law office always provides you with a copy of your credit report before you file for bankruptcy. This credit report includes your current credit score and your projected score in 12 months, as long as you have healthy credit interactions.
Determining Your Credit Score
Your credit score rates your interactions with credit. If you have multiple accounts in collections, high balances, or late payments that are posting each month on your credit report, your score will continue to decline. Filing bankruptcy can help you establish a baseline from which you can start rebuilding credit.
After your case is discharged, you will want to check your credit report again to make sure that all your debts have been correctly reported as discharged. If not, you should send a copy of your discharge papers to the credit bureaus to have them updated.
Visit Annual Credit Report to get your credit reports from all three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. You are entitled to request your credit report for free once every year.
Taking Time to Budget
This is also a great time to review and revise your budget. When you prepared your bankruptcy petition in our office, we helped you fill out a monthly budget. You can refer back to that budget in your bankruptcy petition (see Schedules I & J) and update any changes in your income or expenses.
You can also find plenty of resources online to start creating a monthly budget. The key is sticking to the budget you make. This can help you spend within your means and can also show you how much you can devote to payments for a new line of credit. Also, it is important to pay your current bills on time to avoid any future negative reporting for delinquent payments.
We’ve collected some budgeting tips for you on our Pinterest page.
Establishing Credit After Bankruptcy Discharge
Finally, you will want to cautiously start applying for new credit. You might receive multiple credit card or loan offers in the mail after bankruptcy. It might be tempting to open multiple accounts to try to rebuild your credit quickly. However, applying for too much credit can hurt your score with each application.
Many experts suggest starting with opening a secured credit card. You can talk to your bank, credit union, or look online. A couple of websites that offer up-to-date information about secured credit cards to help inform your decision are NerdWallet and WalletHub.
If you are repaying student loans, setting up student loan repayment arrangements is one of the best ways to re-establish credit. There are programs available based on your income, and you can visit studentaid.ed.gov/ for more information. Keep in mind, student loans are generally not discharged in bankruptcy, so making on-time payments on these loans can help improve your credit score.
All of these measures will help you move toward achieving your goals: creating a savings account, planning for retirement, or even buying a home.
Top Bankruptcy Attorneys in Middle Tennessee
We are committed to helping you get a fresh start after filing for bankruptcy to improve your financial future. If you have already been discharged from bankruptcy, we hope that you will stay in touch and let us know how you’re doing. If you have a post-bankruptcy success story, please contact us. We would love to hear from you.
Flexer Law has been serving the legal needs of Middle Tennessee residents since 1981. Our experienced bankruptcy attorneys will work diligently on your behalf to provide the best financial outcome for you.
We have three office locations throughout Middle Tennessee to accommodate your legal needs. Contact us for a free consultation, either in person or virtually, and we’ll get started on finding the best solution to get your financial life back on track.