Many people view bankruptcy as a finality – the end of a long, challenging financial road. In truth, bankruptcy was designed to offer Americans a fresh start toward a more stable financial future. With these tips in mind, you can repair and rebuild your credit to be stronger than it was prior to your filing.

Building strong credit is a path that never truly ends. Even with a credit rating in the highest range possible, there are still things that can be corrected. Here are some tips to start you on the road to rebuilding your credit.

  1. Create a budget. You will likely receive information and strategies about how to do this effectively prior to the debt discharge. Having a budget and sticking to it helps you avoid common financial pitfalls such as overspending or missing critical payments.
  2. Read your credit report. It is wise to get a monthly credit report and see how different factors affect your credit rating. Also, you should use the same company each month so you’re not comparing two different rating metrics. Additionally, use your credit report to identify various lines of credit that should be closed. A department store charge card that you opened as a college student and never used? It’s probably wise to officially close that account.
  3. Start building credit. Bankruptcy can be a double-edged sword for many creditors. Many credit card companies will see you as a risky investment for some time after your filing. Many credit card companies, however, will be willing to work with you. It might be wise to sign up for a secured credit card to begin your long road toward stable finances. This kind of card is backed by a deposit with the limit typically equaling that deposit. You will likely face annual fees and a high APR, but by using and paying on this card, you can start to show banks that you are on the mend.

Every financial situation is different, and it is wise to discuss your options with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Your lawyer will take a thorough look at your finances and provide guidance about your options for escaping debt and rebuilding your credit.