A clean credit report will take some time after bankruptcy. Your bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for approximately 10 years. Rebuilding your credit is a topic discussed in the financial management course that you were required to take before you got your discharge. There also are many places online that describe the process that can help.
Below is a summary of one of those pages from E-How.
- Create a budget. Be realistic about how you should spend your money and track your spending to be sure that it aligns with your goals.
- Pay all of your bills on time. Be conservative about the financial obligations you take on to ensure you can cover your expenses. This may mean downsizing to a more affordable home or reducing some luxuries in your life. Paying all of your bills on time, every time is the single most important part of cleaning up your credit.
- To clean up your credit, you need to be prepared for unexpected emergencies. Build up an emergency savings account. An emergency fund should cover sudden large expenses such as car repairs, saving you from needing to borrow the money and pay interest. Your emergency fund should also be able to cover your expenses for three to six months should you lose your job.
- Apply for a credit card. You may have trouble getting a regular credit card. In this case apply for a “secured” card. This is a card in which you give the lender a deposit and get a line of credit equal in size to the deposit. Look for a card with a low annual fee that will convert to normal credit within one to two years.
- Use your credit card a few times a month and pay off the bill in full each month. To build your credit score, you need to use credit responsibly.
- Get an installment loan, such as a car loan or mortgage. Your credit score is based on your ability to handle diverse types of credit responsibly. Take a loan only if you are confident that you can make the payments.
- Purchase health insurance or find a job that offers it. Make sure your coverage will be adequate for your needs. A study in the American Journal of Medicine found that 60 percent of bankruptcies are linked to medical expenses and that three-quarters of the people in medical bankruptcies had been under-insured.
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