Bankruptcy Basics: After Bankruptcy, Learning to Budget Means Financial Freedom

23 Apr Bankruptcy Basics: After Bankruptcy, Learning to Budget Means Financial Freedom

Often when I finish talking to a potential client about bankruptcy, the person will ask: “How will my credit score be affected? Will I be able to purchase anything on credit again EVER?” I tell them it is up to them how their credit score is rebuilt after a bankruptcy. My clients receive a information packet at the end of their case which offers suggestions for rebuilding credit. Also, in that packet is a list of websites that I suggest become part of their weekly or daily internet reading. The websites are divided into different areas:

Financial:

www.bankrate.com and www.hsh.com– (free) sites offering information on interest rates for credit cards, autos, mortgages and links to the prime rate and the LIBOR rate. the site also lists offers for low interest credit cards.

Budgeting:

www.mint.com – (free) budget creator for managing household expenses

www.choosetosave.org (free) calculator designed to help folks save for retirement

Charity:

www.irs.gov – look up where your money is going (type in the search box “charities”); make sure your donations are going to the right place and then make sure you take the deduction on your tax return.

Continue to Learn:

www.sesameworkshop.org – site offers videos and basic money lessons from Elmo. It is never to early (or late) to learn the basics of money and simple budgeting.

www.careprogram.squarespace.com – program offered by bankruptcy courts around the country to educate elementary and high school children about money and budgets. If your school doesn’t offer the program, call the principal and ask why?

Credit Reports:

www.annualcreditreport.com – links to three credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax and Transunion. You are able to get one free report from each every year. My clients are advised to get the three credit reports about 30 days after their bankruptcy is complete and to check the credit reports for outstanding balances and accuracy. If items are reported inaccurately, you should see your bankruptcy attorney.

www.chexsystems.com and – www.telecheck.com — both are another kind of credit reporting agency. These provide service to banks and credit unions before a new account is opened. I advise my clients to get these two reports too.

 

By using your credit wisely and learning to budget for savings, retirement, and the necessities of life, you will recover quickly from the effect of bankruptcy on your credit score!

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I'm a consumer protection lawyer in Oregon, working with people in Klamath; Lake; Jackson; Josephine; Curry; and Deschutes County. I speak regularly on bankruptcy and consumer protection issues nationwide.
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