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Life After Bankruptcy: What Should I Expect?

life after bankruptcyIf you are over-burdened by consumer debt and are considering filing for bankruptcy, you may have wondered what life after bankruptcy would look like. Will you ever be able to re-build your credit or take out a loan? What about your future? While there’s no denying bankruptcy is a big financial decision, with some hard work, life after bankruptcy can be even better than before.

All About Life After Bankruptcy

What is Bankruptcy?

Before delving into life after bankruptcy, defining the word is a good place to start. Bankruptcy is a Federal court proceeding in which someone who can’t repay their debts liquidates their assets and is relieved of further liability. In order to file for bankruptcy, debtors are required to undergo bankruptcy counseling from an organization approved by the Department of Justice’s U.S. Trustee Program. Additionally, it is important for those considering bankruptcy to understand the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Chapter 7: When the court appoints a Trustee who liquidates or sells some of your assets to pay your creditors. You will cancel most of your debt. However, you may choose to pay some creditors, usually to keep a car or home where the creditor has a lien.

Chapter 13: Reorganizing your debt into a single monthly payment. The payment will continue for 36 to 60 months. In no case may a plan provide for payments over a period longer than five years. You do not have to repay all of your debt. You pay only as much as you can afford. But, the property you want to keep may affect the minimum payment. When you complete the payments, debt not paid is discharged.

Life After Bankruptcy

Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to bankruptcy. Some advantages include a fresh financial start, discharging most of your unsecured debts, and even possible exemptions of some assets. Disadvantages include bankruptcy remaining on your credit report for 7-10 years and trouble getting a loan in the immediate future.

What makes life after bankruptcy so full is the feeling of relief from cumbersome debts. And, the comfort of better understanding how to stay out of financial trouble in the future. There are a few steps you will need to take immediately after filing for bankruptcy. For one, start a realistic budget and follow it! Use this financial planning worksheet to help you get started. You will also want to take actionable steps to repair your credit score to once again be an attractive applicant to lenders.

To fully understand the implications of life after bankruptcy, it’s best to seek out a debt counselor who can advise and inform you in your decision.

If you are seeking help with bankruptcy & credit card debt, call ACCC today at 800-769-3571 to speak with a certified credit counselor. 


Madison is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. She is excited to share her tips on saving money and being financially responsible here on the Talking Cents blog!

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