Revive Your Credit, Restart Your Life

Progress in ActionThinking about filing for bankruptcy, but worried about whether you’ll ever recover?

It’s actually a chance to rebuild your credit and your life, says Ed Boltz, an attorney and board member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. He tells you how to make the most of life after bankruptcy:

    • Love your credit report. Check it six months after filing, and then every year. Not only should you verify that discharged debt is off your report, make sure your on-time mortgage and car payments are reported.

      Here’s the thing: creditors legally can’t lie, but they can refrain from reporting. If that happens, notify your bankruptcy attorney and write to the bureaus explaining that you’re paying on time. Your report should be updated to reflect your payments.


    • Live credit-free for at least one year. Credit-card companies will target you because they’re betting you’ll rack up debt—and get into trouble again, with no solution (you can’t file for bankruptcy again for four to eight years).

      Getting card offers? “Tear them up and run away,” Boltz advises.


  • Keep tabs on your timeline. Bankruptcy will affect your credit for the 10 years it’s on your report. But after two or three years, you should be awarded more credit and better terms, like a car loan with 5-8% interest, Boltz says. Rebuilding takes time, but your hard work will pay off.

Go for broke. Have you filed for bankruptcy? Are you thinking about it?