One of the most common misconceptions about bankruptcy is that you can never recover. Yes, it gets rid of your debt, but then you have that bankruptcy on your record. You can never shake it, you can never really get a fresh start. It feels like giving up on your financial future.
This outlook may be common, but it is very misguided. The truth is that bankruptcy is a fresh start. It can be a positive for your financial future. You can not only recover from it, but you can thrive after bankruptcy. It’s time to put this myth to rest.
Bankruptcy does not stay forever
First and foremost, remember that a bankruptcy filing doesn’t even stay on your record forever. Yes, you know that it happened, but someone running a credit check 20 years from now isn’t going to see it. People often think of this as a life-changing decision they have to deal with forever, and that’s just not the case.
How long it does stay depends on which type you use. If you choose Chapter 13, which is a repayment plan, then it remains for the next seven years. After that time, you can likely pay off all of the debt, erase it from your reports and really get started again.
It does stay a bit longer with Chapter 7. This is a liquidation plan, in which you sell some assets, pay some of the debt, and then do not have a repayment plan for months or years to come. If you use this, it stays on your record for 10 years.
Either way, this is something you can put behind you. It does not negatively change the rest of your life. Not by a long shot.
Building your credit
Secondly, you need to know that you can build your credit back up. Your score declines when you file, but it goes up as you eliminate past financial mistakes and commit to positive decisions.
How do you do it? You have a lot of options. Secured credit cards let you use credit and pay it off with the help of a down payment. Credit-builder loans help you prove you can pay off smaller debts, all while earning interest. Making payments on any remaining debt — if you use Chapter 13 and have a repayment plan, for instance — helps build up your score.
What are your options?
Make sure you are thinking about bankruptcy correctly. Do not let any myths or misconceptions sway you. Find out what options you have and what they really mean for your future.