Bounce Back after Bankruptcy


Almost anyone can get credit soon after a bankruptcy. It's just a matter of knowing how. It's true that bankruptcy deals a devastating blow to your credit and your credit score, the three-digit number lenders use to gauge your creditworthiness. But the effects don't have to be lasting. Long before the bankruptcy drops off your credit report, you could be qualifying for loans with good rates and terms.

Nothing is forever. Ken from Chicago filed Chapter 7 liquidation after unemployment and overspending caused him to rack up more than $20,000 in credit card and other unsecured debt. Four years later, his credit scores ranged from 655 to 719, decent numbers that are just below the cutoff to get most lenders' very best rates. He applied for a secured credit card (usually reserved for people with troubled credit) and was informed that he qualified for an unsecured card - a possibility he hadn't even considered.

According to ken, he is going to be very careful with his new credit card and heartened that creditors consider him an acceptable risk. Although repeat bankrupts show that getting credit after a Chapter 7 or 13 filing is possible, you shouldn't want to emulate those who file more than once.

At first glance, people who file more than one bankruptcy seem to be beating the system: They run up big bills and then walk away. Think about it a little more, though, and you'll see these multiple bankrupts are really defeating themselves. Their debts and credit history often mean they're paying out big bucks in high interest payments during the time when they're prohibited from filing another bankruptcy. (The 2005 bankruptcy law provides that, under Chapter 7, eight years must elapse before you can refile. If you go for Chapter 13 after a Chapter 7, you must wait four years.

Going from one Chapter 13 to another, two years must elapse. And most people can't file for Chapter 7 liquidation if they have significant assets to protect, such as home equity or savings. So these folks who are repeatedly going broke often have little to show for all the money that's leaving their pockets. Instead of building wealth over time, they're losing ground.

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