As any Westfield bankruptcy lawyer knows, filing for bankruptcy can be stressful.
The mixed feelings you might have about their past financial decisions and the unnecessary shame you might feel from filing for bankruptcy relief can make it tough to focus on the most important part of the bankruptcy process: the time after the bankruptcy case closes.
Below are some pointers from a Westfield bankruptcy lawyer that will help you reclaim your financial life.
Check Your Credit Reports
The first step to take after the case is closed is check credit reports.
You should probably monitor your credit reports for a 3-6 month period to ensure that the creditors have properly updated their reports. Many creditors do not properly update reports after a debtor of theirs has filed bankruptcy. This can lead to frustrating situations for you, as you filed to rid yourself of the negative history on your report and do not want to be plagued by that anymore.
Dispute Discharged Debts Still Appearing on Your Report
If a discharged debt still appears on your credit report, dispute it with the credit bureau. You can also contact your Westfield bankruptcy lawyer and see what they advise. Another action you can take is contacting the creditor directly and notifying them of the mistake. Some creditors are not as quick on the draw and take longer to update their records. In most instances, it is not purposeful by the creditor and they are not trying to collect from you. They just haven’t gotten around to updating their records yet and you are left hanging in the balance until they do. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be aggressive in trying to get them to fix their mistake; it does mean that you should research the situation before freaking out.
While many former bankruptcy filers never have any issues with the reporting on their credit report filing a bankruptcy, your Westfield bankruptcy lawyer knows that it is common for mistakes to occur and that an aggressive person who keeps up with their credit will be in a better position to fix the situation than one who does not.
Make Sure Reaffirmed Debts Are Listed
In addition to checking if any debts that were discharged are still listed, the debtor should also check to ensure that debts they reaffirmed, or kept official, are listed as official active debts on their credit report. Some examples of these debts include mortgage loans, vehicle loans and other secured loans.
A debt in bankruptcy is reaffirmed when a debtor and a lender both sign a reaffirmation agreement, which states the original terms of the loan that came prior to bankruptcy, and the agreement is filed with the bankruptcy court. Unless the reaffirmation agreement has been signed, filed and approved by the court, the debt is not valid. Your Westfield bankruptcy lawyer can tell you that in some bankruptcy courts, a debt is approved simply by the judge not rejecting it or calling it for a hearing. A reaffirmed debt can be one of the bigger boosts to a credit rating for a recent bankruptcy filer. It puts them one step ahead of everyone else who filed without a reaffirmed debt.
Avoid Getting Into Debt Again
The main thing a recent bankruptcy filer can do to make sure they never end up in the same situation is to try not to repeat some of the mistakes they made before they filed bankruptcy. Some situations can’t be avoided, such as loss of a job or health issues.
However, as your Westfield bankruptcy lawyer will advise, certain problems can be corrected, such as bad spending habits or budget problems. The first thing every person should realize is that, unless in tight financial conditions where every penny is needed to survive, saving money on a monthly basis is a must. For the average person with a good salary, living right at your means will lead to financial trauma if something changes, such as a salary cut or a medical issue of some kind.
Some jobs don’t last forever and when they end, there could be a period of unemployment. These are the type of situations where savings can help.
Budgets are great because they keep your spending in check. Without a budget, no expense is properly weighed against the prospect of running out of money or not being able to afford something more important. Budgeting can be the difference between you living a nice post-bankruptcy life or needing to file again down the line.
Rebuild Your Credit
Many people start out with secured credit cards that help them rebuild their credit without taking on the temptation that an unsecured credit card can provide. Another good idea is to get a car loan at some point after the bankruptcy (assuming a car is needed). As long as the debtor understands what their monthly budget allows them to afford and sticks to that, car loans are some of the best loans for rebuilding credit.
Make smart and informed spending decisions that don’t put any undue pressure on your finances. If you stick to a budget and don’t overspend, you should enjoy a smooth financial life after bankruptcy.
Contact a Westfield Bankruptcy Lawyer Today
To learn more about credit-rebuilding and spending tips from an experienced Westfield bankruptcy lawyer, contact our law offices today.