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Top 10 Things You Should Do After Bankruptcy

  1. Create a budget. Put some real thought into a budget that can work for you. Your credit cards and other unsecured debts are gone, so you have a real chance to start over. But the first thing you need to do is create a realistic budget and stick with it.
  2. Pay yourself first. You obviously have no savings at this point, and that's a big cause of concern. In fact, the absence of an emergency fund is a reason many people find themselves in difficult financial shape. Whether you take advantage of a credit union at work or find some other system, make sure at least some money goes into a savings fund every month.
  3. Get a copy of your credit report. This will actually service a couple of purposes. The first is for you to be extremely familiar with your report, so that you can spot changes or inaccuracies that you may need to correct. All Americans can get a free credit report once a year. Try the official site at
  4. Look for mistakes. A couple of recent studies have shown that as many as 4 out of every 5 credit reports have some kind of mistake. So this is far from a waste of time. And many errors can be the kinds of things that cause you to lose points on your credit score. So correcting the errors could mean more points on your credit score.
  5. Get a credit card. The goal is to increase your credit score and the only way to do that is to show responsible habits with bills. The goal is to get an unsecured card with no annual fee and a low percentage rate. But that is likely not going to be available because of your poor credit standing. Start with a secured card - one whose balance is your own money. Make sure the card reports to the 3 credit bureaus. Make one purchase a month and pay it off completely and on time.
  6. Don't co-sign a loan for anyone. Two issues here: First, your credit isn't likely to help anyone get a loan by using a co-signor. Second, you can be held liable on that loan if your friend doesn't pay up.
  7. Find a job with benefits. If the problem was unexpected medical bills and either no insurance or insufficient insurance to handle the load, then this is the time to search for a job with insurance benefits. That's certainly easier said than done, but be flexible with the fields and jobs you might consider. The goal is a safety net now to avoid another financial collapse. Remember, you can't file bankruptcy again for a minimum of two years.
  8. Consider a second job. If the issue was purely money and things are still tight after bankruptcy because of car or house loans, a second job may be a way to build up your emergency cash fund to a more comfortable level. There are many types of stay at home jobs available through the Internet. Just be careful of scams.
  9. Don't keep your bankruptcy a secret. More than a million people a year declare bankruptcy, so you are far from alone. Talk out your money issues with a spouse or significant other so that the financial responsibility in your relationship isn't all in your hands. If the problem wasn't a sudden unavoidable calamity, then talking about the issues is a good way to avoid a repeat of your financial difficulties.
  10. Be patient. Your financial situation will improve if you follow a budget and pay all your bills on time. But nothing will happen overnight. However, you could see a significant difference in your credit score in just 6 months. If your goal is to get a good car loan, don't rush to accept high-interest car loan offers that may arrive in the mail. Be disciplined, follow a plan, and good things will happen.

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