Many of our clients are surprised by just how good they feel after declaring bankruptcy. Not that filing for bankruptcy is an easy decision; on the contrary, the decision to discharge your debts should only be undertaken with care and consideration, not to mention consultation with an experienced Florida bankruptcy attorney.
But as we tell our clients, once that choice to file bankruptcy is made, your future can begin. Here’s what to expect as you navigate your life after filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.Your newfound freedom might be tinged with sadness and guilt. This reaction is common, and perfectly normal. Like any huge decision, bankruptcy shifts the foundation you’ve built your life upon, forcing you to consider old patterns of behavior and develop new, healthier ones. Think of this as a growing process, rather than an excuse to beat yourself up. Bankruptcy happens to good people. Your job at this point is to learn from the experience and move on.Your credit will have taken a big hit. Unfortunately, wiping your financial slate clean isn’t without consequences.
After you declare, you’ll have to start the process of repairing your credit by applying for a secured credit card after being discharged from bankruptcy. You’ll need to give a deposit for the amount of the credit limit ($500 for a $500 limit, for example), and pay on time to avoid what will be a higher-than-usual interest rate. But use this tool wisely, and you’ll illustrate that you’re responsible with your money so that you can eventually make a big purchase with credit, like a car or a home.
Your budget can show you the way. You’ve taken the time to figure out why your bankruptcy happened in the first place, so you know that going forward, your finances are going to be different. So develop a budget (so many great tools are available online, including our picks Mint and YouNeedABudget) and stick to it, prioritizing your bills with due dates so no late or missed payments ding your credit report. And because you’ve discharged much or all of your debt, depending on which type of bankruptcy you’ve filed, you should have a much easier time saving money to create a cushion for your new life.