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Bankruptcy offers a chance at starting over

You fought hard, but no matter how you tried, you couldn't catch up with the overwhelming debt. Whether it was a medical emergency, divorce, job loss or just bad luck that set your finances in a downward spiral, the point is that bankruptcy is your best option. Despite the assurances that a successful bankruptcy is like a reset button for your financial life, you still may feel like a failure.

It may be easy to stay in that frame of mind, but if self-pity is not where you want to be, there are some positive steps you can take. All the negative things that brought you to this point can serve to strengthen your resolve to make the next phase of life even better.

Take one giant step forward

Feeling depressed and angry are natural emotions, and you have every right to them. However, you can still feel those emotions while you work your way into a better frame of mind. For example, although it may seem that the terms of your bankruptcy may last forever, logically, you know they won't. Each day that you make a decision to move forward is one more day closer to your goal. You can take some practical steps to assist yourself, for example:

  • Request a copy of your credit report to verify that it is accurate and that your bankruptcy status is correct. All accounts should show a zero balance, not a default status.
  • Take action immediately by filing a dispute if there are discrepancies on your report. Make sure you contact all three credit reporting agencies.
  • Apply for a credit card and use it wisely, paying the balance each month, to begin rebuilding your credit.
  • Establish a budget that will help you learn to reduce your spending and increase your savings. This may also help you recognize past mistakes and avoid falling back into them.
  • Weigh the possibility of applying for a credit-building loan, which your credit union may offer to those in your situation.

It may be difficult at first, especially when you realize the amount of sacrifice still ahead. However, many others in Wisconsin and beyond have returned from bankruptcy strong and successful in their efforts. Instead of living the rest of your life burdened by uncontrolled debt, you have the opportunity to start fresh and build healthy financial habits. You may find that this experience is a stepping stone to a secure and stable future.

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