A certain amount of spending and consequent debt is healthy for the economy overall, but you may not feel comforted by statistics at all when lying awake most nights trying to figure out how to pay the mortgage, keep the car from being repossessed on a monthly basis, and feed your family; in fact, you may even be thinking about filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. For the average household today, debt is over $135,000 to include a mortgage. And while auto loans and credit cards are a major consideration, student loan debt has a growing percentage of the 44 million borrowers in the US extremely stressed out; in fact, they may have been so financially challenged that they were driven into filing for bankruptcy—while having an extremely hard time getting a discharge for the educational loans that put them there in the first place.
What about the after-effects and the rebuilding that comes after bankruptcy? If, for example, you have just received your discharge for Chapter 7, usually within three to six months, you may be extremely concerned about previous pitfalls and how to avoid them. For some, money mismanagement was not an issue. Sickness or an accident, overwhelming medical bills, or unemployment may have caused finances to spiral out of control. For many others, success after bankruptcy begins with learning how to avoid typical issues like allowing credit card debt to build without the means to pay it off. There are numerous measures you can take to avoid the same old problems, including:
- Setting a new household budget – this begins with sitting down and outlining what is coming in and what is going out; more importantly though, discuss these positive changes with the whole family—especially children (of any age) as they may have ongoing, non-essential financial requests that you will be saying no to a lot more in the future.
- Avoid temptation – consider what triggers you to spend on unnecessary items and then avoid such issues. For many, eating out is a huge expense that could be avoided—for others, the simple act of window-shopping leads to exorbitant credit card charges. If work stress triggers you to seek escape routes, find other coping mechanisms aside from ‘retail therapy’ or activities that require you to spend money you really don’t have.
- Ignore offers for credit cards – you may be surprised to find that offers are still coming your way even after filing for bankruptcy. While it may be prudent to have one credit card for emergencies, throw all other offers in the trash and stop the vicious cycle before it even has a chance to begin again.
- Begin creating an emergency fund – this is crucial to financial survival at any point, for anyone. Once you have exited bankruptcy and gained your footing again, begin putting away a portion of each paycheck until you have built up at least a few months’ worth of pay in case disaster strikes later.
- Get involved in financial planning for the future – speak with your attorney about how to prepare better this time around, as well as for the rest of your life, and beyond. Speak to a financial planning consultant about how to protect your family after you are gone.
Speak with an attorney from Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC as soon as possible to examine your options. Our attorneys have decades of experience in serving clients as they navigate through challenging financial situations, to include student loan issues, bankruptcy, and other debt management processes. We are here to help! Click here to schedule a free 30-minute consultation, call us at (844) 431-3851, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.