Successfully discharging your debt in bankruptcy is great, in that you have received your financial fresh start. You no longer have those crippling credit card balances or medical bills. But that only resets things for you. You have to rebuild your life and stay financially sound in order for that fresh start to last. As such, there are some things that you should do in the months to come to get the most out of it.
Top 3 Ways to Make Your Fresh Start Last
First, you should be sure to tell your tax preparer or accountant that he or she needs to file an IRS Form 982 for you. This is because some of your creditors may file a 1099C with the IRS claiming debt forgiveness. Ordinarily, this would be considered income and taxable! An exception to this is bankruptcy, so you need to put the IRS on notice.
Second, you should take a close look at that Schedule J list of expenses from your petition and live by it! Amazingly enough, approximately 95% of all Americans do not have a household budget. Not knowing how much it costs you to live may well have caused you to file bankruptcy in the first place, so living on a budget from now on will keep you from digging yourself into another financial hole.
Third, start working on rebuilding your credit. Pull all three of your reports about sixty days after your discharge to be sure that all of your debts have been shown as discharged, and with a zero balance due. You need to correct any mistakes that there may be as soon as possible. Educate yourself about what goes into a credit score and plan out what you need to do to raise it over the next one to two years.
Remember, that fresh start you got from bankruptcy won't do you much good if you just slip into financial difficulty again. Discipline yourself to stay on a budget, monitor your credit reports, and be proactive about increasing your credit scores, and your financial life will be better in the years to come.
What About Student Loans?
You may have filed your bankruptcy with lots of student loans, but figured there wasn't much you could do about them because it is so hard to get them discharged in bankruptcy. However, you should not assume that there is nothing you can do.
Now that the bankruptcy has cleared your decks of other debt, it is time to tackle the student loans. If they are federal, you might get into a better payment plan, perhaps one that is income based. You can also get out of a forbearance or deferment, which may just be increasing your balance due through capitalized accrued interest.
Can You Help?
If you live here in southern New Jersey or the Gloucester County area and need advice in improving your credit score, please feel free to call me at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site to schedule a consultation in my office. I would be happy to be of assistance.
If you are looking to do something about your student loan debt, you should also contact me. I may be able to address your repayment problems and get you back on track.
Just looking for more information on what to do about your loans? Then download my free book for lots of good information!