Rebuilding & Repairing Credit After Bankruptcy
The number 1 most common myth that is out there is that bankruptcy will ruin your credit, you’ll lose everything, and your credit will never recover. NOT TRUE! Completely – Absolutely - NOT TRUE!
Where does this information come from? In my opinion, from two main sources:
Creditors – I would say credit card companies in particular. I see flat out lies and misinformation from creditors regarding bankruptcy constantly and it’s meant to scare, shame, and belittle the consumer who dares think of it.
Neighbors/Family/Friends who knew someone who filed back in the day – not realizing that laws were very different then. Or who knew someone who filed but not realizing that person filed in a different state. Bankruptcy laws in some states are extremely hard on the consumer and don’t allow for much protection (Mississippi is NOT one of them). Due to this, misinformation is passed around as if all states are the same. Mississippi offers great exemptions and protections for your assets (home, vehicles, etc). Or finally who knew someone that filed that had a bad experience but didn’t understand what truly caused it. There are attorneys that “dabble” in this and that, and bankruptcy law is complicated. You must have an attorney that knows bankruptcy law in and out and how to walk you through the process or sure, you could have a terrible experience. There are some people who even try to file their own case and to me, that would be like trying to save money by doing my own heart surgery! How could it be anything but terrible?!
First of all – bankruptcy will not ruin your credit. It may drop your score but most of the time, your score has already suffered! And if it hasn’t, it soon will all on its own because your financial situation is not good. Payments are late or soon will be and that tanks a score quickly.
By filing bankruptcy – your debt to income ratio immediately improves. Your score will soon follow. Within a year to a year and a half, by continuing with payments on the items you kept (your car, your house, etc), your score will be recovering. It’s all about “what have you done lately?” and 12-18 months down the road when you’re back on track, that bankruptcy will still be on the report, but will no longer be impacting the score. Another common misunderstanding is that because it’s reported for 10 yrs, it impacts your score for 10 yrs – NO! These two things are completely separate. As a matter of fact, it would take much longer to wait out a bad patch of late payments that hurt your score than to clean up your debt and have a new lease on your financial future.
There are other ways you can work to rebuild your credit score after bankruptcy as well. You need to understand how credit is reported and what’s important to the score. Don’t fall for these scammers that tell you “pay me and I’ll fix your report”. Nonsense! First of all, you can fix errors on your own for free, and fixing an error may or may not help your score. If something is on your report that is bad, and it’s honestly reported, it will not go away until the time is up.
Your financial future is important to me – just as important as helping you with your present situation. I provide all my clients with a packet of specific information they need to rebuild their credit. I’m always happy to answer questions in this area as well. Don’t let fear keep you from talking to me. I’m here to help.