Few things in life prepare you for bankruptcy. Each part of the process is a bit like navigating without a map. You know you are going somewhere, but the scenery is unfamiliar.
Adrenaline is a good survival friend during the bankruptcy process, but once the ordeal is over the adrenaline leaves. You may enjoy a period of relief and relaxation, but unexpectedly, you begin to experience anxiety and mood swings.
Take inventory of your position
You know when you are low on groceries or gas, you know when your partner is unhappy with you and you know when the family dog wants to go outside. But what do you know about life after bankruptcy?
When real life sets in, you can run the gamut of emotion. You may wonder if you will ever feel settled. Going through bankruptcy feels somewhat like a burn. It hurts, and the healing process is not fun.
You have the tools you need
There is good news on your horizon. You have all the tools right now that you will need to build a new life out of the ashes. Others have survived bankruptcy, and they have emerged as stronger people with stable lives. Here is how they did it. Start by developing new habits:
- Learn there is a significant difference between what you need and what you want.
- Make do without convenience items.
- Shop only at thrift stores and discount suppliers; pay only with cash.
- Create a simple budget and stick to it.
Congratulations! Once you can consistently use better money management skills, begin the exhilarating climb to financial freedom and repair your credit score:
- Do not borrow money from family or friends except in an actual emergency.
- Open a secured credit card, use only 10 percent of the credit line, and pay off the entire balance each month.
- Never take out a paycheck or payday loan.
- Start an emergency savings account and make even a small deposit every month.
Beware of bankruptcy scams
Your caller ID shows a message from your bankruptcy attorney's number. The recording instructs you to wire money immediately to pay a debt or face police arrest. Do not wire money. This is a scam. Save the message and report the fraud to your local police department.
Be patient and keep putting your new skills to work one step at a time. You will be on secure footing sooner than you imagine. You can be proud of mastering your money instead of letting it master you. Allow yourself to enjoy the new self-respect you have earned.