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Photo of attorneys Shelley Slafkes and Bruce Levitt
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After the Bankruptcy Discharge: Forging Ahead on a Positive Note

On Behalf of | Sep 8, 2017 | Life After Bankruptcy

While many still see a stigma attached to the process of filing for bankruptcy, just as many debtors (and some in the public eye) are completely upfront about their financial struggles. You may have friends or family who have filed after extreme financial challenges. While they began the process in a state of stress, once their debts were discharged you may noticed them announcing their joy on social media, calling loved ones, and celebrating overall. This is indeed a time for rejoicing, as the discharge of debts represents a clean start and new control over finances.

Moving ahead means being careful not to repeat the same mistakes. You don’t want to end up in bankruptcy again! It is all too easy to fall into the same old habits, but after all you’ve gone through to receive a clean slate, you should be motivated to reach for success. Here are some tips for moving forward on a positive note, and staying there:

· Start planning your future and looking toward new success as soon as you file for bankruptcy. Whether you have filed for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, begin educating yourself immediately on how to plan for your financial future. You may want to make an appointment with a financial planner or sign up for a course in personal money management. If you cannot find an affordable route, look for an entertaining radio or TV show that centers around finances, and start getting inspired.

· Reflect on what went wrong before filing for bankruptcy. You may want to write your thoughts down so you can refer to them when feeling torn or tempted about actions that could lead you into a bad financial position again. While bankruptcy may have been dictated by issues mostly out of your control, such as illness, unemployment, or a contentious divorce, there may have been some spending habits and money management issues that you do not want to repeat. It can be hard to change-but look at how far you have come already.

· Gain pleasure in living on a budget – and beneath your means. This is not always easy when the Jones family next door is driving the fanciest car and has all the latest gadgets, conveniences, and comforts. While you may be tempted to start spending again, consider the peace in knowing you are debt-free, along with enjoying the organization that comes from having a set monthly budget. If you filed for Chapter 13, you may have already become acquainted with living a simpler lifestyle while repaying your debts. Let that habit continue so you can begin building an emergency fund for your new life, as well as sleeping at night knowing you are in control-rather than the opposite.

· Go slow when getting back into the credit game. Some consumers are shocked to find that they are receiving offers right after their discharge, while others have a very hard time finding a creditor or bank that will extend credit after they filed for bankruptcy. You may want to apply for a secured credit card to start rebuilding your credit. A small deposit is usually required and that sets your credit limit. It may be increased over time, and eventually you can work your way back up to an unsecured credit card. If you need to buy a car after bankruptcy, you may also find there are lenders who specialize in helping buyers who have filed for bankruptcy. In every situation where you are borrowing and repaying, you will be rebuilding references and credit.

Celebrate the fact that rather than just ignoring your problems, you reached out to your bankruptcy attorney and worked with them to take back control of your future-and your finances. Not only should you emerge from bankruptcy debt-free, but also stronger and more confident-empowered by the fresh start ahead.

The experienced attorneys at Levitt & Slafkes, P.C. can answer all your questions regarding bankruptcy issues. Contact us today so one of our attorneys can evaluate your case and discuss the best options available to you. We are here to help! Call us at 973-323-2953, or contact us online to schedule a consultation at no cost.