One reason declaring bankruptcy terrifies so many people is the fact they have to admit they've lost control over their finances--and life in general. Nobody likes to feel powerless and out of options. But bankruptcy doesn't have to be the end, it can be the beginning of you taking back control over your situation. Here are a few steps that can help you feel more proactive and in control once you file bankruptcy.
Establish or Maintain Employment
Yeah, yeah, I know this sometimes seems easier said than done, but it's absolutely vital at this stage. If unemployment
was one of the factors that lead you to bankruptcy, you may feel out of home right now, especially in the current economy. But try thinking outside the box if you haven't already. Consider getting two or three part-time jobs if you can't find one full-time job. You may have to take a less than optimal position right now until the economy picks up. You may want to consult an expert on the fine art of resume-writing to find out the best way to draft your resume depending on which type of job you're going for. If you're a college grad, don't hesitate to contact your college's resource center to see if they offer free resume counseling. A stable employment history can go a long way toward making it easier to re-establish your credit when that time comes.
Pay Your Bills on Time!
Again, this may seem like an "Oh duh" bit of advice, but it's still true. It is imperative that you stay current on all monthly bills so you can keep your post-bankruptcy credit record clean.
Keep a Bank Balance
If you don't currently have a checking and/or savings account, you should open one ASAP. Having a history of charged-off bank accounts could
hamper your ability to open a new checking account, but many banks offer some sort of second-chance program for people in this situation. By maintaining a positive balance in all accounts at all times, you make strides to prove to creditors that you now have a reliable cash flow.
Take Steps to Re-build Your Credit
If trouble managing your credit is what drove you to bankruptcy in the first place, the thought of re-establishing credit can often seem overwhelming. One option is obtaining a secured credit card, where you can put down money up front in order to actually get the credit card and start using it. Take things slowly and manage your credit wisely. Get advice from financially savvy friends and family or obtain some sort of credit counseling (such as a good bankruptcy attorney) in order to plot a course and budget--and stick to it! You must
take all necessary steps to control your use of the credit and avoid racking up massive debt again. Make sure you are only buying things you absolutely need and pay them off the same month, or the next month at the latest.
Using post-bankruptcy credit wisely is the key that will open the gate of fiscal responsibility and get your financial feet back under you. If you prove to lenders that your financial woes are truly in the past, then this, too, shall pass.